A convenience store and canopy covering gas pumps will help modernize 5 Star Gas and improve the site from the "eyesore" it is now, according to attorney Bruce Whitaker.
Whitaker completed the application for Sky Trading's proposed gas station and convenience store to replace the exisiting gas station and garage on the corner of Pascack Road and Washington Avenue during a meeting of the Washington Township Zoning Board Tuesday night.
The plan will require two use variances and four bulk variances from the board for the owner to proceed with construction of the 1,206-square-foot store and four-island gas station in a residential zone. If granted, the use variances will allow the expansion of the current gas station use and the new store use, which Whitaker said will be less invasive to neighbors than the garage currently on the site.
Neighbors and other residents have criticized the size of the proposed building and canopy despite it being shrunk down from the original draft of the plan.
"It will be bigger than my house," neighbor Donna McGinnis said at a previous public hearing.
Whitaker acknowledged the concerns of residents, but said the application's positive impacts would outweigh any detriments, which he said would not be "substantial."
Whitaker noted changes to drainage, traffic flow, parking and landscaping among the benefits he said would come with an approval from the board. The owner has also agreed to give a portion of land at the existing site to the county for a future improvement to the Pascack Road and Washington Avenue intersection.
"Overall, this becomes a better site than what is there now," Whitaker said.
The board will have the option of setting conditions for an approval. Whitaker compiled a list of conditions based on the concerns of board members and residents discussed at previous hearings. Whitaker suggested fuel deliveries be restricted to the least busy time for traffic during the day, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so as not to disrupt drivers while also not disturbing neighbors with noise from the truck at night. He also suggested the station be limited to operating hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Over the next month, board members will be able to review the plans and previous hearings. At the May 15 meeting, they will ask any questions they may have to Sky Trading's experts and then hold a vote on the application.
Even if the variances are not granted, Whitaker said, 5 Star Gas will remain at the site.
"It's been there a long time and it can continue to be there," Whitaker said.