Township Zoning Board Examines Proposal from Sky Trading for 24/7 Convenience Store
The Zoning Board of Adjustment heard testimony about a proposed plan for redevelopment of the 5 Star Gas station location
The Washington Township Zoning Board of Adjustment entertained the multi-faceted zoning variance requests of Sky Trading, LLC at a meeting Tuesday night.
Attorney Bruce Whitaker spoke on behalf of Sky Trading. He began with an overview of the application, which was begun in June 2010.
Due to proposed modifications to the intersection of Washington Avenue and Pascack Road, changes were made following consultation with Bergen County engineers, incorporating possible changes to the intersection.
The proposal is for the current 5 Star Gas station, to be knocked down and replaced with a four-island station and a convenience store, to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A canopy would be erected over the island area and eight parking spaces for the convenience store would be included.
Whitaker presented Brian Shortino as the applicant’s engineering expert. Shortino explained in detail the overall layout of the plan. He showed that with the proposed county road improvements, some land would be subject to a “dedication” (where the county acquires the land from the property holder) and some subject to easement (where the property holder still owns the land, but allows the county use of it). This would make the overall space to be used 13,177.4 square feet.
Shortino went on to explain that the existing underground fuel storage would still be used, with the addition of another 20,000 gallon storage tank, allowing for three grades of fuel. Two driveways, one on Pascack Road and one on Washington Avenue, would provide access. Sidewalks would be added and the proposed canopy would be 44 feet by 54 feet, 15 feet from the ground to the top, with an additional 3.5 foot fascia.
Concerns raised by board members in their questions included traffic flow through the proposed station, spacing between vehicles and property features and the smaller than normal parking spaces in the proposal (9 feet by 18 feet rather than 9 feet by 20 feet).
Following several more questions for clarification by members of the board, the citizens had a chance to question Shortino. Ten residents questioned the engineer, asking about delivery trucks bringing fuel and food, the aesthetics of the canopy and the convenience store façade and traffic flow around the proposed new space.
Local resident Linda Murphy also questioned the reports of contamination to wells and soil located on the site. Shortino was not familiar with this issue and Whitaker pointed out that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection would have a hand in determining any necessary remediation of the land.
Dorothy Alderson questioned whether this would produce even more water run-off and flooding potential. Shortino believed the opposite would be true, though he did not present any hard numbers to that effect.
Township Engineer Paul Asolino presented an overview of the 18-page report he had presented to the Planning Board. For the most part, he did not take any issue with Shortino’s testimony or supplemental materials, and also agreed with Shortino’s assessment of the water run off, even lacking the numbers.
Asolino’s main concern was over the proposed canopy lighting, which he thought was far too bright given the neighborhood and size of the site.
Because there was more to be presented by the applicant, and the portion of the meeting had already run for almost three hours, Board Chairman William Johnson called to adjourn the meeting. The Sky Trading proposal will be taken up again at the April 12 meeting.