PENNINGTON: Concerns arise over future of Sunoco station site

By Frank Mustac, Special Writer
PENNINGTON — Because of concerns a piece of property with a Sunoco gas station on it might be used for something else in the near future, the Pennington Borough Council has postponed a vote on whether to extend water service to the business.
Councilman Glen Griffiths on Monday was the first member of the borough’s governing body to suggest tabling the matter, at least until next month’s council meeting.
The 2-plus-acre property at the corner of Route 31 and Ingleside Avenue is only partially in Pennington Borough. Even though the gas station’s address is 105 Route 31 South, Pennington, less than a quarter acre of the property is part of the borough while the rest is part of Hopewell Township.
The property owners, Alfred and Delores DeBlasio, have requested water service from the Pennington Water and Sewer Utility. The borough previously has extended water service to properties partially within the municipality. The gas station is currently receiving sewer service from Pennington Borough, but not water service.
During Monday’s Borough Council meeting, council members debated whether to ask the property owners to reveal their plans for the site before an extension of water service is approved.
Some council members suggested the owners have the right not to divulge such information and that any proposed changes at the site would be revealed through an application process with the borough’s Planning Board.
Currently, the property is zoned as residential with a use variance for the gas station.
Councilman Joseph Lawver expressed concern that postponing the vote on the water service extension would adversely affect the borough’s reputation.
“Pennington has a reputation as being difficult to do business in, and this doesn’t help that,” Mr. Lawver said.
Mayor Anthony Persichilli said he has knowledge of the plans for the gas station property and would share what he knows with council members, but not during a public meeting.
“I know what’s going there, but I can’t talk about it at this point,” the mayor said. “I don’t think it’s going to be something major.” 