EATONTOWN:Two property owners whose businesses would be in close proximity to the proposed Quick Check on Route 35 South are voicing their objections to the project.
Developers hoping to build a second Quick Chek convenience store and 12 fueling stations at 164 Route 35 were back before the Eatontown Planning Board on Dec. 22 to present more experts for their application.
Quick Chek's engineer, planner and traffic expert all testified to explain why the board should grant the bulk variances needed for the project to move forward.
However, owners of the Ashley Furniture store located across the street from the proposed site and the Exxon located just north of the site also were on hand to question Quick Chek's witnesses. No litigation has been filed at this time, but it was noted during the meeting that the borough's gas station proximity ordinance could be challenged. The borough's proximity ordinance states that no gas station shall be located within 2,000 feet of another.
Attorneys have asked for the ordinance to be revised and interpreted by the Eatontown Zoning Board of Adjustment to see if it should not fall under their jurisdiction instead of the planning board. Eatontown Planning Board Attorney Mark Steinberg said in the past, applicants who have sought relief from the proximity ordinance have gone before the planning board, including the Wawa developers who had their project approved earlier this month.
The plan for the Quick Chek was revised to include more landscape buffering between the site and Route 35 after the board requested at the last meeting.
Traffic Expert Charles Olivo said that the site will not generate a lot of new traffic and that during peak hours, 60 percent of the visits will come from people who are already on the road. Olivo said the site will have a right-in, right-out entrance/exit on Route 35 as well as ingress and egress on South Street.
A traffic expert for the Exxon owner is expected to testify the next time the Quick Check developers are before the board.
Planner Christine Cofone said the Quick Check convenience store and gas station is a permitted use in the zone and said the proximity ordinance is a "non-issue" because of the advanced safety procedures that will be in place at the fueling stations. She said the Quick Chek will be an upgrade for the site which currently holds a vacant building.
"It will be more conforming and will have better curb appeal," Cofone said.
The board is expected to hear objectors' testimony and possibly reach a decision on the application at its Jan. 12 meeting.