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Board Approves Expanded Gas Station, With Conditions

Members of the Washington Township Zoning Board set stipulations for their approval of a planned gas station and convenience store.

Members of the Washington Township Zoning Board approved all the variances requested for a plan to replace with a new gas station and 1,206-square-foot convenience store Tuesday, though they did set some conditions with which the applicant, Sky Trading, will have to comply.

The variances included two use variances to add the convenience store and expand the gas station in a residential zone. The expansion of the gas station was only approved after the applicant's experts made some impromptu changes to the plan, reducing the size of the planned canopy and lowering the number of proposed pumps from eight to six. Board member Laura Merkle said the change would help dampen the impact of the expansion.

"It's not going to be as crammed," Merkle said.

Board Chairman William Johnson said he believed the plans would improve drainage, ventilation and the flow of traffic through the site. He also said it could use the aesthetic improvements.

"This has been a gas station forever and it is an eyesore," Johnson said. "If we're going to have a gas station on that corner, I would like it to look nicer and be more functional."

Board members voted on each variance separately. Johnson was one of two board members who voted against the convenience store use variance because the township's Master Plan does not suggest expanding any retail uses outside of existing commercial areas. Despite having been a gas station for many years, the site is still zoned for residential use. Neighbors have expressed .

"I cannot get beyond the Master Plan," Johnson said.

Other board members said they believed the convenience store would have less impact on surrounding homes than the garage currently on the site. Board member Rick Sonntag noted the applicant's offer to give some of the land to the county for a future intersection improvement and board Vice Chairman Richard Miras said the demolition of the garage will allow contaminated soil at the site to be removed.

"It definitely is an improvement," Miras said.

There will also be conditions for how the business is operated, once construction is complete. Fuel deliveries will 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. The station will also be limited to operating hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The board will review the complete list of stipulations with Sky Trading representatives at their next meeting June 19.

Edward J Rodriguez June 11, 2012 at 02:13 AM
The benefit of CVS and another gas station and convienence store is realy a lose of property value, cost of reenginering the roads, and risking our children in the massive traffic speeding down side streets to avoid the gas station and CVS (Pascack Road and Washington Ave). GARDEN STATE PARKWAY has dramaticly raised their tolls. Sparking a toll avoiding driver headed north-south Pascack Rd and east-west on Washington Ave. So, the GSP lost revenue. Meaning another increase. So, the cycle continues. Our taxes are one of worst in the nation. Its time to stand our ground. Say no. Elect officals that are for the people by the people or are we going to continue bending our laws to benefit a select few. It was once a democracy.
Edward J Rodriguez June 11, 2012 at 02:39 AM
We as employed or self employed realize out job duties and responsetbilities in keeping a cash flow. If we don't forfill our duties we suffer the consequences. Why don't we have residents of this town have their own town meetings. Have the agenda pre designated.One idea we should discuss is put together a contract spelling out the job duties of our elected officals. If they don't furfill those duties, they need to resign. We will continue as a resident counsel memebers. Use blogs, but open to all residents to voice there concerns and bring those concerns to our own meetings once a month to determine our own futures.Then maybe we will get somethings done.
Concerned June 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Thanks Zoning Board. Did you read the paper today. Diesel Fuel exhaust is now officially a carcinogen. Change your vote!!
Pauline June 21, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Couldn't agree more with Falcon Fan "The housing market is so great that we should make the owners of the proposed CVS property build three new houses that no one will buy instead of a retail strip that would bring commerce, jobs, and ratables to town." And Chris Cortazzo "The real problem isn't this gas station upgrading, it's that Woodcliff Lake won't let people turn right at exit 171, which causes the massive traffic on Washington."
Pete February 22, 2013 at 01:25 AM
The site is an eyesore because of willful neglect. I mean, come on -- approving development of property willfully allowed to decay to the point that "anything is better" simply endorses this kind of tactic. The township should be ashamed of this tacit approval of this underhanded play.

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