Jul 26, 2014

Zoning Board Rejects Proposed 7-Eleven On Route 35

Board also memorializes New Bedford Road Alpaca farm

Zoning Board Rejects Proposed 7-Eleven On Route 35

The Board of Adjustment at its meeting Wednesday denied an application for a proposed 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station on Route 35.

In a 3-2 vote, the board turned down the application, which proposed to turn the Gulf gas station on Route 35 and Allaire Road into a 2,187-square-foot 7-Eleven store, citing concerns over the lot size and an insufficient number of parking spaces at the site.

After hearing closing testimony from Sema Food Mart, the applicant, and the Danskin Real Estate and Insurance office, a neighboring business that objected to the proposal, the board debated the possible detriment, if any, the store would have on surrounding businesses and traffic.

Wilma Morrissey, board vice chair, said the nearly 35,234-square-foot site was too small to add a convenience store, and said she was worried there would not be enough room to accommodate parking and traffic on the property.

Board member James Gray disagreed, saying the lot could reasonably handle the uses as well as provide sufficient parking since many customers would be parked at a filling station while quickly running inside the store to shop.

“If it’s too crowded, people will keep driving,” Gray said. “I don’t see overcrowding happening.”

Board Chair Mary DeSarno cast the deciding vote to reject the application. DeSarno said the possible stacking of cars at the site posed a potential safety problem.

The township ordinance permitting such businesses requires a 60,000-square-foot lot, but the site fell short by nearly 25,000 square feet, according to testimony.

DeSarno, Morrissey and Ray Slocum voted against the application.  Gray and Nance-Ellen Draper voted in favor.

In other business, a T-Mobile application proposing a cell tower at 2041 Hospital Road was withdrawn, the board said at the top of the meeting. No explanation was given.

The board also finalized the approval of an application for Living Water Church Ministries . The church, run by The Rev. Jeffrey Bassett, of Central Avenue, had received the land through a donation, Bassett said at a previous meeting.

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