Quick Chek Proposal Resistance Continues
Quick Chek consultants give OK while neighbors say "No way!"
At their latest presentation to Butler’s Planning Board, representatives for Quick Chek -traffic consultant Charles Olivo and planner John Mcdonough–said Thursday the proposed convenience store and gas station would have no adverse effects on the community and surrounding roadways.
To study the store's impact on adjacent roadway traffic, Olivo analyzed the volume of cars on Route 23, Boonton Avenue and Bartholdi Avenue during peak traffic hours in the morning, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. He presented some of his findings at a planning board meeting Thursday.
Using projections for traffic growth and average figures for the number and length of customer visits, he concluded that the increase, due to the proposed Quick Check, would be minimal.
Butler Engineer Paul Darmofalski and other board members pointed out the potential for congestion within the store parking lot because no shoulder exists for egress onto Route 23.
“People that are looking to get into that righthand lane will not go until the light turns red because you can’t trust when other people are merging over,” said Darmofaslki.
He asked Olivo, “Would you ever look to construct a shoulder between your exit driveway and Boonton Ave.?”
Olivo said he did not think it would be required but that he "would certainly be willing to prepare a gap study to take a look at whether adequate gaps in traffic are available to process the vehicles out of the site.”
Members of the public had similar concerns in addition to the potential for increased traffic on Lafayette Avenue, which runs parallel to Route 23. Because the store is bordered by Boonton and Bartholdi Avenues, yet no entrance or exit to the site exists on Boonton, neighbors fear that Lafayette may be used to circumvent accessing the store from Route 23.
Olivo said he plans to update his analysis with another count of vehicles during rush hour, a gap study to determine the feasibility of entering and exiting the site and a queue diagram to display how cars will line up during hours of peak operation.
Quick Chek’s planner, John McDonough, finished the meeting with his presentation, outlining the present site from a land use and variance perspective, in addition to explaining the benefits that would arise from the use variance Quick Chek needs to build their store.
According to McDonough, the existing property use is non-conforming because it is used for used auto sales, U-Haul rentals and car repairs. The Quick Chek would have only the two uses, he said, being a convenience store and gas station.
McDonough stressed this would be an improvement, saying it’s a “reduction of uses on the property in question. From a planning standpoint, that’s a benefit.”
The site in question is in an HC2, highway commercial zone. In an HC2 zone it is permitted to build only a gas station or convenience store and it is up to the planning board to decide whether the two can be permitted at the same location.
McDonough also described the six conditional use standards the planning board would also have to allow. Most are required due to the small size of the property in question.
The lot area is 1.1 acres versus the 2 acres required for a limited service station and convenience store. Lot depth is 122.7 ft. instead of the 125 ft. required and the front yard setback would only be 7.8 ft. instead of the 50 ft. required by conditional use standards.
Quick Chek also requests a rear yard set back of 41.8 ft. instead of the 100 ft. required, a coverage of 16.8 percent vs. the 10 percent required and a building height of 21 ft. 8in. vs. the 15 ft. cap.
As the application continues, some Butler residents are exploring different ways of stopping its fruition. Lafayette Avenue and neighboring roads are now peppered with signs on their lawns reading, “NO! Quick Chek Mega-Gas.”
Jerry Allison, a resident of Lafayette Avenue, is one of many exploring ways to discourage the Quick Chek application.
“A generous individual paid for all the signs, but that person will have to come forward on their own,” Allison said.
Residents who attended the meeting discussed other options to protest Quick Chek's plans, such as a petition that can be signed by people in Butler and surrounding towns who are against the proposed Quick Chek.
Butler’s Planning Board will resume the Quick Chek hearing with questions for Planning Analyst John McDonough at 7:30 p.m. on May 19 at One Ace Rd.