Board approves Sunoco station

11 pump station to be built at the intersection of Route 522 and Cranbury-South river Road.

By: Sharlee Joy DiMenichi
   The Zoning Board of Adjustment gave the green light last week to a Sunoco gas station proposed for the intersection of Route 522 and Cranbury-South River Road.
   Board members voted unanimously Jan. 29 in favor of granting variances to allow the project to be built.
   The station is expected to include three diesel pumps, eight gas pumps and a 4,305-square-foot convenience store, according to the plan submitted as part of the application. The zoning board approved a use-variance for the plan in December 2002. The variance allows for a convenience store and gasoline station, commercial uses, to be built in an industrial zone.
   Sunoco representatives returned to the zoning board to request bulk variances to allow for a greater percentage of the site to be paved than currently allowed in the zone and to ask for permission to hang more signs than are usually permitted.
   The station would have 57.3 percent impervious coverage rather than the 55 percent normally allowed on industrially zoned properties, according to the application.
   The application originally called for eight signs, rather than the two typically allowed. In response to comments by township officials, the application was revised to require only seven signs, said Keith Cahill, an engineer hired by Sunoco, who testified at the meeting.
   Mr. Cahill said the left-turn lanes township traffic officers requested on Route 522 and Cranbury-South River Road are expected to be part of county plans to improve the roads, both of which are owned by Middlesex County. Because county officials plan to add the lanes, Sunoco need not do so, said Brian Sullivan, assistant township planner.
   Mr. Cahill said the site was designed to ensure the safety of drivers by separating trucks stopping at the diesel pumps from cars.
   "It’s designed to have the larger vehicles, the 18-wheelers, drive along the perimeter of our site," Mr. Cahill said.
   Although zoning board members favored the application, officials in Monroe, which borders the property, had a different view.
   Monroe officials said the township objected to the proposed site of the gas station because it would be located across the street from homes.
   Monroe Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously denied a similar application in June 2001 that would have brought a 10-pump gas station and a Wawa convenience store to a 7-acre lot at the intersection of Route 522 and Cranbury-South River Road, which is located across the street from the South Brunswick site. Wawa was seeking variances for a 4,676-square-foot store and a canopied gas station in an area zoned for residential use. The facility would have been open 24 hours.