BRICK – It was back to the drawing board for Brick 70 Developers LLC after a March 22 decision by the Board of Adjustment to deny their application for a Wawa gas station, convenience store and drive-through restaurant for the corner of Duquesne Blvd. and Route 70.
The developers and owners of the property, Paramount Realty and Riviera Realty, held an informal meeting at Town Hall on Nov. 29 to go over a new proposal for the site and to answer questions.
Maser Consulting Engineer Mike Gallagher said that the biggest change in the new plan is there would no longer be access to the site from Lake Riviera’s North Lake Shore Drive and Duquesne Blvd.
In the original application spanned over five Board of Adjustment meetings (that started in November 2016), with scores of Lake Riviera residents attending, mostly to express their concerns about traffic backing up into their neighborhood.
The former proposed entrance to the 4.97-acre complex off North Lake Shore Drive/Duquesne Blvd. would now serve as an additional buffer for landscaping.
There would also be a detention basin in the same area comprised of a bio-soil mixture that would allow water to infiltrate the ground, Gallagher said.
The detention basin would not be “a big hole in the ground surrounded by a chain-link fence,” said the developer’s attorney John Jackson, but would eventually look like wetlands and “would become an amenity over time.”
Gallagher said that another change in the new proposal would be combining the development’s entrance with the Brick Office Park next door. The exit/entrance would be “right in, right out” only, with an additional entrance to the east that could be used for larger delivery vehicles.
The developer would still add a third lane to Route 70 which was designed and permitted when Costco was built, but it was never done, the engineer said.
An eight-foot tall wooden sound wall would separate the development from nearby homes, and the quick-service drive thru restaurant was shifted three feet towards Route 70 to allow for an additional row of hedges between the sound wall and the drive-thru, Gallagher said.
“This is a big upgrade from our standpoint,” Jackson said. It would have been better “from a business end” to capture all the traffic from Lake Riviera, but “people were concerned about the complexity of the intersection and traffic off Duquesne,” he said.
During the first round of hearings on the previous application, attorney Vincent Sanzone, a criminal defense attorney whose family owned an abutting property at 628 North Lake Shore Drive, spent hours cross-examining the developer’s professionals in an attempt to draw out the meetings and make them as long as he could, said Board of Adjustment Chair Harvey Langer at the time.
Since the application was rejected in March, Paramount purchased the Sanzone home which was not part of the application.
The 5,585-square foot Wawa and six-pump (each with two hoses, which adds up to 12 fueling positions) gas station would be open 24 hours, as could the 4,362 square-foot quick service restaurant, which was not named.
Brick 70 Developers LLC would still have to appear before the Board of Adjustment for some bulk variances, Gallagher said, mostly due to the odd shape of the property.
Gail Tramontano of North Lake Shore Drive was one of only a handful of Lake Riviera residents who attended the hearing.
“I’m really happy they took the time to explain the new plan and that they made revisions for the traffic issues,” she said. “That was my issue.”
Gallagher said that a typical Wawa takes about seven months to build, but it could take a little longer because of the necessary widening of Route 70.