BRICK – Wawa is seeking approval to add a third new convenience store/gas station complex in town by demolishing an existing Wawa store and an adjacent empty building on Lanes Mill Road near Parkway interchange 91.
The other two Wawa complexes approved in recent months include one on Route 70 and Duquesne Blvd. (opposite P.C. Richard and Sons), and another at the site of Laurelton Mobile Home Park at the intersection of Route 88 and Jack Martin Boulevard.
Also, an application for a Royal Farms convenience store/gas station was recently approved for the site of the former Jersey Paddlers at the intersection of Routes 88 and 70.
Lanes Mill Developers, LLC presented their application at a special Board of Adjustment meeting for a rebuilt 4,730-square-foot Wawa with six fueling stations (12 hoses).
Professionals hired by the developer – including attorney John Jackson, engineer Matt Sharo, traffic engineer John Ray and planner Christine Cofone – presented their testimony over a three-hour period.
Jackson gave an overview of the project which is located at “a major gateway in and out of Brick,” by a jughandle turn at the newly configured Garden State Parkway interchange 91.
The attorney said the site, where there is currently an older Wawa and the former 1,900 square-foot Rice King Chinese restaurant, would be improved due to the addition of water quality management, landscaping, improved traffic flow, lighting, pedestrian access, and more.
“Unoccupied sites tend to gather debris and trash,” Jackson said. “This will be a beautiful business that is good for the community.”
Traffic engineer Ray said the site currently has four “curb cuts,” or driveways, which would be reduced to two. The driveway on Burnt Tavern Road and the Rice King exit would be eliminated, and a new 30-foot-wide driveway would be added to Herborn Avenue. A second driveway (which would be right-in and right-out only) would be added to Lanes Mill Road.
Ray had conducted traffic counts during morning and afternoon peak hours and an analysis of new traffic that would be generated by the Wawa convenience store/gas station.
“There is not going to be a significant increase in traffic since 75 percent of peak hour traffic is on the road already and is not drawn to the area,” he said. “This business is highly dependent on pass-by traffic.”
Also, the traffic engineer said there would be “no measurable impact” on three nearby signalized intersections.
Civil engineer Sharo described the types and times of deliveries for Wawa, the configuration of the loading zone, the trash enclosure, stormwater management, landscaping, buffering, building and gas canopy construction and underground fuel tanks, which are fiberglass-reinforced double-wall plastic tanks with safety controls.
The existing outdated lighting, which includes three spotlights, would be removed and replaced with anti-glare LED fixtures, Sharo said. He said there would be 477 new plantings where there are currently 39.
Township planner Tara Paxton said she has concerns about the safety of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic from the nearby Bernard J. Cooke Park, which is currently undergoing renovation.
Sharo said there would be timed, handicap-friendly crosswalks, sidewalks surrounding the site and bike racks.
The Board of Adjustment would have to approve a number of variances and waivers for the project to proceed, including a Use Variance since current zoning for the B-2 commercial zone does not permit a convenience store/gas station.
Planner Cafone said the site is “particularly suitable” for the proposed use because it would be a “full service rest stop” for travelers on the nearby Parkway.
She said the B-2 commercial zone allows for a “myriad of uses.”
“It is sufficient space in a convenient location. The existing property lacks curb appeal, so you would be substantially improving the aesthetics,” she said.
No vote was taken on the application since several other audience members, who own homes near the Wawa, are opposed to the application did not get a chance to speak.
Also, attorney Edward F. Liston, who was hired by an opposing resident, would get a chance to cross-examine the professionals at the next special meeting for the application, carried to January 30, 2019 at 7 p.m.