HOWELL – The Township Planning Board recently heard testimony for a proposal to construct a BP gas station at the long-empty gas station property located at 695 Route 9 North and Wyckoff Mills Road in Howell.
The Jan. 17 meeting ran long but testimony was still not completed; the case will be heard again at the Feb. 21 meeting of the planning board.
Gill Petroleum Inc. presented their application for preliminary and final site plan use of the property at Block 140, Lots 1, 2, 3 and 4.01 to establish a BP gas station and convenience store.
The company plans to remove “all existing site improvements including the existing access drives and construct a 3,000 square foot convenience store with gasoline fuel dispensing service consisting of six (6) pump islands and an attendant kiosk beneath a 62 foot x 62 foot canopy.”
The site would also require the installation of three 15,000-gallon underground fuel storage tanks for regular, premium and diesel fuel, a right in-only drive, a right out-only drive, a right in/left out drive along Wyckoff Mills Road, 17 parking spaces, a trash enclosure, an infiltration basin for rainwater, landscaping, lighting and signage.
Attorney Salvatore Alfieri represented Gill Petroleum at the meeting.
Gill Petroleum’s first witness was Richard Simun, a Licensed Site Remediation Professional through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Simun discussed soil contamination and groundwater impacts at the site.
According to Simun, he was retained by BP to provide insight on the storage tank removal case. He was meant to review the case to determine whether it met NJDEP remediation standards, which he said it did.
Following the removal of the tanks and an investigation into the soil and groundwater in 2008, Simun informed the board that “all soil on the site complies with applicable soil remediation standards.” And groundwater contamination is “stable or decreasing.”
After this determination, a report was filed for a Remediation Action Permit with the NJDEP to ensure monitoring of the site until the groundwater concentrations reach compliant levels.
According to Simun, there is nothing they have found that would prohibit development on the property.
Freehold resident Barbara Dixle, a regular at Howell Township meetings, took the opportunity during public comment to address her concerns about gasoline contamination from the site. She entered numerous documents and photos as public evidence with the board attorney during the meeting.
Another resident and local business owner, John Woolley, owner of Woolley’s Fish Market and Seafood House, praised Gill Petroleum for their work on determining the environmental impact at the location. Woolley’s Fish Market is located at 655 Route 9, near the property in question.
Despite praise, Woolley requested the possibility of installing groundwater wells on his property to ensure that no gasoline would contaminate it.
To this, Simun stated that the groundwater would flow from north to south and the “limited contamination is within the boundaries,” of the gas station property.
The second witness for Gill Petroleum was Brian Shortino, Licensed Professional Engineer for Burton Engineering Associates. Shortino’s firm submitted the preliminary and final site plan.
“What we’re proposing to do is the demolition of those remaining structures, and the applicant has acquired a portion of the parcel to the south which actually expands the site…and they plan on redeveloping the site with new convenience store, new canopy, new pump layout,” said Shortino.
Shortino’s testimony explained the layout of the property. On the southernmost end would be off-street parking and the location of the underground storage tanks. He added that the driveways on the site will be new, but will function the same as the old ones. The larger expanded site simply required new drive ways.
The center of the property will house the new canopy and six pump islands for regular gasoline. The diesel fuel island will be located east of the proposed tanks on the southern side of the property. The diesel island will not have a canopy, said Shortino, in order to accommodate the larger vehicles that require diesel.
“The intent is to keep it separate,” he said.
The application will continue at the Feb. 21 meeting at 7 p.m.