New conditional use proposed in Neighborhood Commercial zone

Staff Writer

JACKSON — An ordinance that would, if adopted, add automobile service stations to the list of approved conditional uses for several neighborhood commercial (NC) zones throughout Jackson is set for a public hearing and possible vote for adoption at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Township Council.

If the ordinance is adopted, applicants proposing to open gas stations and automotive repair garages would no longer be required to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment to seek a variance before setting up shop in certain NC zones.

“At the end of the day, gas stations are important to the neighborhood community,” Business Administrator Jose Torres told the Tri-Town News. “Having a gas station close by is a convenience.”

Although there are about 20 NC zones scattered throughout Jackson, the amended ordinance specifically states that the proposed changes only apply to properties at a state road or county road intersection that has a functioning traffic light.

As for the property itself, it must have a minimum lot size of 3 acres and 300 feet of frontage.

“What [this ordinance does] is that now if an applicant has the 3 acres and a 300-foot frontage … an applicant will not have to go for a variance because it [will be] a permitted use if they meet those requirements,” Torres said.

Other conditional uses in Jackson’s NC zone include child-care centers, nursery schools, day-care centers, places of worship, public utilities, and single-family residences “lawfully existing as of Sept. 2, 2002.”

Torres said the prescribed requirements mirror those of previously approved variances for similar projects.

According to Torres, one project that received a variance is the Quick Chek gas station and convenience store across from the municipal building on West Veterans Highway.

“If those are the conditions [an applicant] would need to comply with to get a variance, then it makes sense to support the neighborhood. … and the overall economic development of that neighborhood,” the administrator said. “This [ordinance] meets, for lack of a better word, better practices, and it is consistent with the master plan.”