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Butler Quick Chek Application Approved

Residents disappointed with planning board's decision.

It was neither quick nor convenient, but the 16 months of consideration over an application for a conditional use variance to allow the construction of a convenience store and gas station to be built on Route 23 North, between Boonton Avenue and Bartholdi Avenue, in was approved 5-2 by the Butler Planning Board Thursday night.

The board has heard testimonies from various engineers, experts and the public over the past year-and-a-half regarding the application for a 24-hour convenience store and 12-pump gas station. Nearly 20 variances are needed for the project to move forward on the site.

Thirteen neighbors who live near the proposed development site some citing what they expect to be congested traffic, noise and gas fumes from the store, including the mother of a 20-year-old multiply disabled man who lives behind the proposed site, who , healthwise, by the Quick Chek.

Read all of Tri-Boro Patch's coverage of the board's consideration of the Quick Chek Mega-Gas application here.

Prior to the vote, Planning Board Attorney Jim Barbarula told members to "look toward the law that controls the conditional use variance" and not consider emotional testimony when making their decision. Instead, he asked the members to only consider what they determine to be fact based on evidence provided by Quick Chek's attorneys and the attorneys of those in opposition, which include neighors behind the Route 23 site and Craig Brinster, the owner of the 7-Eleven accross Boonton Avenue from the site.

Barbarula also said the members should take into consideration whether the deviances from the conditions set forth by the borough are worth allowing the project and whether approval of the application would provide an overall benefit to the borough.

The site is in a Highway Commercial 2 Zone, and, according to Board Member Jim Brown, who gave a statement immediately after making the motion to approve the application, while variances are needed to allow the application to move forward on that site, many other applications would need the same variances.

"No matter what the use, the proposal will require a number of variances," Brown said.

Brown's motion also was based on the condition between the store's property and residences on adjacent residential streets be no more than 20 feet high.

Brown said he did not feel some of the testimonies he had heard during the application process should have been relevant to consideration of the application.

"The 'what if' game has no end and I believe should not be played during these proceedings," he said.

He also said that he felt the applicant, Quick Chek, had addressed many of the initial concerns and that the project would be supported by the borough's master plan.

But Bill Sulski, a member who voted against the application, disagreed.

"The applicant has not proven to me that this application works for this property," he said. "I think there are better uses."

Planning Board Chairman Jim Nargiso, who also voted in favor of the application, said he did not feel the project would have a detrimental affect on the borough. Several residents, whose properties are near the site, objected to that statement after the meeting.

"I'm very, very disappointed for the community," resident Jerry Allison said. "What's next?"

Maryanne Holdsworth, who lives on Bartholdi Avenue, said she is concerned about breathing in fumes from the Quick Chek gas station.

"I don't understand why they feel that it's not going to damage the neighbors," she said.

Butler resident Ken Montanye also said he was disappointed in the board's decision.

"Butler is a follower and not a leader," he said. "No matter what goes on in town, Butler isn't in the forefront to lead, just follow."

What do you think of the Butler Planning Board's decision to approve the Quick Chek application? Let us know in the comments.

eotdevice June 18, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Mary, yes I do live in town, since 1998. Lived in a an adjoining town since birth prior to that so I know the area quite well. I also knew when I looked for and eventually bought a house near High Street not to buy next to a highway, near an office or industrial zone, church, school, or a flood zone etc. I did my homework just as anyone should that makes such a large financial investment. Bartholdi Avenue, Boonton Avenue and Kiel Avenue were off limits in my search due to traffic volumes. I found a nice, affordable house that needed work on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood.
Mary June 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Well, eto. If anything ever happens in the neighborhood of High Street (cell tower) or some other unexpected construction that requires more than 20 variances and a 20' wall, I will support you just like I'm supporting the folks soon to be near the gas.
Sherry June 19, 2012 at 04:35 PM
mimi, I AGREE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mary Anne June 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
eotdevice...So now it's the property owners fault that the town failed to follow their own master plan? I'm glad you found a fixer-upper on a quiet street, but the women with the child with special needs had a bit more of a hardship then you. It really is sad that you are patting yourself on the back at the bad luck of your neighbors...
Sherry June 25, 2012 at 04:10 PM
SO TRUE MARY ANNE.

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