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.

Jeffrey Tammen May 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM
This town never seems to amaze me. Apparently they do not care about us on this side of town since it doesn't impact them directly. Again we must pay for their lack of caring. If they only kept up with owner and property we wouldn't feel our hands were tied
B@B May 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Was this ever in doubt? Did anyone ever actually think this would not be approved? This town is completely in the pocket of local business interests and the recreation contingent. They care not one whit for residents. And we have no one to blame but ourselves, for continuing to vote for these people and not demand contested elections. We get the town we deserve.
DMF May 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM
This approval is absolutely stupyfing. How this board could have approved replacing a garage that does no business and a gas station with low customer rate with an expanded gas station with a store at the heart of one of the most congested and dangerous intersections for miles around is beyond imagining. The adverse impact on this town will be nothing less than enormous.
Michael May 16, 2012 at 01:15 PM
If you don't like your towns business' boycott them all & shop in others towns. They would be happy to have those tax dollars
janie meyer May 16, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Typical Wahington Township! The town is totally political and run by money.....what about the other corner with those beautiful run down, rodent infested homes ...Is there a doubt what is gonna happen there????? Let's alll pretend that our tax dollar works for us and we are living in Pleasentville!!!!
al May 16, 2012 at 04:39 PM
This sight has been an eyesore for many years and is grandfathered. The not on my block syndrome seems to be at work here by a few people. We should be happy that the sight is finally going to be improved and hopefully there may be some competition to the high prices we pay for gas in town.
B@B May 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
That the site is an eyesore, as with the site on the other corner, is the business interests' way of holdiing residents hostage. The town "government" could have taken steps to get these sites cleaned up years ago, and chose not to because they decided their allegiance is to business, not residents. So now that both sites are an eyesore (deliberately), these business interests have the town by the, shall we say, cojones. We the people should have been up in arms about the deplorable condition of these sites for years instead of continuing to elect the same idiots, cronies and slackers who have deliberately turned a blind eye to these outsiders pillaging our town for their own personal gain.
Chris Cortazzo May 16, 2012 at 06:16 PM
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. I'll be happy to see the station improve, as it is an eyesore, but blaming the gas station for the traffic is silly.
Ruth Carrino May 16, 2012 at 09:08 PM
yes the site is an eyesore, but we sure do not need a convenience store in that area...if you came to the meeting and heard some board members declare this area as commercial, when in fract is it a B residential, you can bet the next project approved will be the CVS....we residents of McKinley aVE CAN'T TURN LEFT OUT OF OUR BLOCK AS IT IS NOW....too bad more people didn't come to the meetings the last two years....
Ruth Carrino May 16, 2012 at 09:16 PM
The problem with this decision is it didn't affect many residences in town, only those north of Wash. Ave. The potential for increase in theft of that business and surrounding residences will remain to be seen....if that DOES increase, what will the township come up with as a solution....our quality of life has been deminished with this decision...we certainly do not need this store as there are NUMEROUS stores empty in the shopping center,,,,,,I guess the Zoning board decided that the residents didn't matter and business does....go figure.....
scruffy May 16, 2012 at 11:52 PM
There are numnerous stores empty i nthe strip mall because the owner at the time forced them out and/or raised the rent so they would leave as their leases came up. She wanted to have the zoning changed to build condos/apartments. That was not going to happen but by the time someone forced her to see the light it was too late and she had destroyed the businesses she had. Someone with good marketing skills can bring business back. No way should CVS be allowed for the corner of Washington and Pascack but let's see if the Board can stop it. No matter what the town should be forcing them to clean up the lots. You have a Board of Health and don't tell me there are no violations there at that site. It has become a bigger eyesore than ever in the past two years. Wake up people and storm city hall at meeting, bring signed petitions. get civic minded and make things happen instead of just venting online.
scruffy May 16, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Start a letter writing campaign for those who cannot go to the meetings. Send your comments to the Zoning Board, Board of Health and the Building Department, as well as the Mayor and Council members. Make your voices heard loud and clear.
Falcon Fan May 18, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Yeah, write letters and tell them we won't stand for progress. Improving existing businesses can't be tolerated. Don't allow the county to come in and make improvements so we can keep the intersection clogged. 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 (gasp). And another thing, don't even think about improving our parks and recreation facilities. Don't those kids have backyards to play in? We should demand that we come up with a new offical slogan : The Township of Washington, a place where nothing ever gets done and we like it that way.
Jeffrey Tammen May 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Dear falcon fan you haven't a clue . This intersection has been in the works for for 20 yrs the town council had to get new file cabinet to hold the amount of blue prints the county has sent us.rudy wenzel and Janet sobkowitz had blocked it .the fire dept needed a light in front of fire house to stop traffic ,back in 88 and the county said they would pay for everything but the intersection had to be improved but the town shot it down every time.the gas station is collecting taxes right now and 3 abandoned homes taxes are still being collected .so I'm confused and I'm sure the value of your home is ok but not ours with the garbage there. How would you like in your back yard
Jeffrey Tammen May 18, 2012 at 09:27 PM
The problem with seasons properties is that it is residential and the only thing he wants is more parking for his cars unfortunate the previous zoning boards and mayor and councils let them build many additions and not worry about when all booked up what to do with the cars .you could not move they used the tennis club the bank and behind those vacant homes until people complained they clear cut trees and dumped fill there to park cars.god forbid there is fire or emergency while being open you can't move fire trucks in and around ther.what they should do is build condos
Concerned May 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The administration of WT has done it again. The Mayor, the Council. The Zoning Board have no guts or brains. You want to violate the master plan, cause congestion, overbiuld come here. It will be approved.
Jeffrey Tammen May 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM
The township residents need to get together and remove these politicians who have there own agenda .they are supposedly here for our protection and to move this town ahead. Janet sobkowitz has been part of the council for over 20 yrs doing very little it anything worth wild. Now being mayor what's been done spent 2 yrs fighting with council over administrator spot. If they got rid of angus smith earlier our town would not be dealing with some of the same issues over and over again .she was the original person who allowed seasons to cut trees down with no permit. But then would bully other residents to get back at you , that's because I fell in her path when beautifying my side yard ,she forced the police to drop of summons after I cut down 12 over grown shrubs , which she said they were tree. Really but I replaced with 20 arborvitae anyway.just the towns way to bully a resident glad she's gone . Now we must work on the rest of the cronies
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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