The Washington Township Zoning Board of Adjustment began hearing testimony Tuesday from applicant First Hartford Realty Corp regarding use variance and bulk variance requests for a proposed CVS and secondary retail space along Pascack Road.
Attorney Russell Huntington, representing the applicant, began by introducing to the board and the public the reasons why the variances were being sought. He also said the area was more suited for the proposed retail use than it was for its existing residential use. He explained the township would benefit if the land is allotted for the county to make improvements to the intersection of Pascack Road and Washington Avenue, as has been proposed.
His first and only witness at the meeting was engineer David Caruso, who provided an overview of the proposed use. The retail space would encompass lots 6-11 of Block 2110, also known as 660-668 Pascack Road (directly across Washington Avenue from Seasons). The existing single-family homes, several of which are dilapidated or in poor repair, would be demolished to make way for the new retail space.
The proposed CVS Pharmacy would be 13,080 square feet of retail space, but a total of 15,180 square feet when the mezzanine and second floor storage are factored in.
In addition to the pharmacy, the northern retail space would be 4,000 square feet, and examples set forth by the applicant for the variance request included a beauty salon and coffee shop such as a Dunkin Donuts.
Access to the site would include two left and right turns off of Pascack Road to the site, likely at Jefferson Avenue, and a single option off Washington Avenue. The CVS would feature a drive-thru pharmacy at the northeast corner.
The proposed drive-thru, Caruso explained, was not typical of most CVS locations. He said it was moved to be less of an inconvenience to local residents, as the proposed store would potentially be open up to seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Mention was made about bringing in utilities like gas, water and electric most likely off Pascack Road. The applicant estimates pharmacy deliveries to the CVS would be weekly while perishables like soda and milk might be delivered daily.
Drainage would meet or exceed New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requirements, and Caruso and Huntington stated that the proposed plan would improve overall runoff issues.
While Caruso conceded that the proposed plan would include 80 percent impervious coverage for the retail spaces and parking, he said there would still be landscaping considerations for screening and deciduous and shade trees on the site. Preliminary information was presented, though Huntington explained that in all likelihood a landscaping expert will be brought in for more thorough testimony in the future.
Zoning Board Chairman William Johnson pointed out that like the court system, this would be a lengthy process. Board members are expected to continue hearing from the applicant at the July 19 Zoning Board meeting.