Zoning board awards site plan approval for new store


EAST BRUNSWICK – The Zoning Board of Adjustment has paved the way for a gas station on Route 18 to be converted to a 7-Eleven.

The board awarded minor site plan approval, as well as use and bulk variances, to Dharmesh Patel, also known as Lombin LLC, to develop the site into a 7-Eleven mini-mart. The area, located between Highland Street and Parker Street on Route 18, is about one half of an acre, and no new structures are proposed, according to the application.

The site is currently home to a Lukoil with a 2,283 square foot one-story building, along with three service bays, a 546- square-foot sales area and a storage area. The plan is to change the garage and retail area to a roughly 2,300- square-foot 7-Eleven. Gas stations and mini-marts are conditional uses in the HC-2 zone, according to the township’s staff report.

A number of variances were requested, including one for the amount of parking spaces. The application proposed 12 spots, but 14 are required by ordinance, according to the report. In addition, the building height is proposed at 23 feet, while only 22 feet are allowed.

Other variances requests included those for front-yard setbacks, mini mart building coverage, landscaping, and freestanding signs, the report said.

While the board granted a number of design waivers and variances to Patel, there were also a number of previous variances granted for non-conformities relating to the gas station use. For example, where a property abuts a residence or residential zone, an all season buffer 25 wide by at least 6 feet in height is required, as well as a 6- foot masonry wall. Also, gas pumps need to setback a minimum of 20 feet from the front property line, the report said.

The application said no new structures are proposed, and the only facade changes will be made to the existing building, the report said. There will be new striping for the parking lot.

The report said the southeast section of the parking lot will be modified to reserve handicapped parking spots adjacent to the building. In addition, a gravel area with a board-on-board fence for the recycling area is proposed for the rear of the building.

Additional site improvements include reconfiguring an existing access driveway on Highland Street, and new landscaping for the easterly side of the site, the report said.