NORTHFIELD — A proposal to build a 216-unit apartment complex on a wooded area behind the Tilton Shopping Center is being met with community opposition.

The parcel and the adjacent shopping center off Cresson Avenue are owned by Max Gurwicz Enterprises.

Northfield residents who own property within 200 feet of the proposed apartment complex recently received letters from the attorney for Gurwicz notifying them of the proposal. The letters noted that the area is currently zoned for age-restricted senior housing, but Gurwicz has applied to the city’s Planning Board for a variance to bypass the restriction and build homes for all ages, including young families with children.

Gurwicz is scheduled to go before the Planning Board on Thursday. Mitchell Gurwicz, of Max Gurwicz Enterprises, did not return messages left with his receptionist Monday and Tuesday.

Northfield resident Marceda Grillo, who lives within 200 feet of the site and opposes the project, said the complex would strain city services and bring an overwhelming influx of new students to the school district, both of which would raise taxes. The apartment complex would also decrease nearby property values, including her own, Grillo said.

She and her husband have created a handout outlining reasons why they feel the board should reject the plan, and have distributed more than 100 copies to neighbors to encourage them to attend Thursday’s meeting.

Debbie Giovanetti, who lives down the street from the Grillos and also is against the project, said it has been a main topic of conversation within the community and she hasn’t met anyone who supports it. She, too, will be at the meeting.

“We just love our community,” Giovanetti said while doing yard work Monday. “It’s a happy, safe, nice hometown, and it’s a little disheartening to think of what a project like this could do to our image.”

Russell Schanker, owner of Atlantic City Dinettes and Barstools in the Tilton Shopping Center, said he supports the development plan.

“I’m in the business of selling furniture, and the more new homes, the more furniture sales, so I’m all for it,” Schanker said.

Contact Elisa Lala:

609-272-7260

@ElisaLala on Twitter

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.