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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.

Mary Anne June 15, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Just wanted to add another point, everyone has agreed that the current location is an eyesore, however there are zoning laws already on the books to prevent this and clean the property up. My question is, if the town never demanded the current owners clean up the property, what makes you all think that the property will be better maintained in the future?
Jackie O. June 15, 2012 at 09:30 PM
With a portion of the site being landscaped it would allow for stormwater recharge, which is good for the environment, and something that the current development does not offer. Also the gas station will most likely have to treat a certain portion of the runoff for contaminents. As the site currently stands, who know how much oil or contaminants leak wherever they want, and I bet none of it is being treated before discharging offsite. Especially if the business has been there for years, noone may even bother to think if it is contribuing pollutants. Mary, you keeps saying we could have done better, but we do not have other development offers. Our choices are, a tired looking bad representation for our town, or a fresh new development that conveys the message that our town is worth investing in. Ideally you are right, a nice friendly business would be wonderful, but there are none offering us that option.
Jackie O. June 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Mary Anne, my problem with the current site goes beyond maintenance, you are right, the town does have the power to tell people to keep a tidy business. My problem is the absolute sea of pavement that looks horrible. I do not think the town could do anything to make the current owners change that, but there is hope that the next people would have to. I dont think its anyones dream to have a large gas station but i feel like doing absolutely nothing is no better.
NJ Steel June 15, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Maybe Quick Chek is building a 20 foot wall because YOU are to loud for them! I would rather stare at a new 20 foot wall than what is behind there now. What is this "we" business you speak of? The town of Butler does not own the property and neither do you. Its a private developer that was most likely was approached by Quick Chek. What gives your the right to even tell a developer what to build? How do we know if the property will be better maintained? Well Quick Chek has a track record of always keeping their stores neat and tidy as well as their gas stations. No need to prove it. Just go to any Quick Chek with a gas station. Even the older Quick Chek stores all eventually remodel. What was is the track record for the current building? Its looked like that ever since I can remember.
eotdevice June 15, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Mary, you wrote..."if it was a vote by the town it wouldn't have passed." What you fail to realize is the Planning Board members are appointed to represent the town and they did just that by granting approval to this application
Mary June 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM
I don't doubt your a nice person eot....but HOGWASH!! I didn't appoint that board and they don't represent me or my friends or family that live in this town. I was at those meetings and some of those board people are rude and insensitive.
Mary Anne June 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
NJ Steel, I find it interesting that you know so much about the Quick Chek operations, why don't you just admit that you are not a concerned citizen, but either a shill for the property owner or the Quick Chek, stop hiding behind the concerned citizen mask...as for the Quick Chek building a wall because I am too loud, it would have to be a very long wall as I don't live near the location I do live in Butler and I do care about my fellow taxpayers who are long time Butler residents..Where do you really live? Green Pond????
Richard Dean June 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM
This phase is now history. Maybe the court will rule against and maybe it won't. Most of us patronize convenience stores and buy sandwiches from places like this or delis or Subway or Quizno. All of us with motor vehicles have fuel pumped into them. The days of service stations with 2 or 3 pumps is in the past. A retail fuel dealer with 12 pumps is not a mega gas station to me like a truck stop that would be. I do applaud the 5 members of the board who had the courage to vote yes and I respect the 2 members who voted no; most of them have been in town a very long time with at least several lifelong with them seeing a lot of changes here mostly for the good.
George J Jones June 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM
VERY GOOD POINT
Just Saying June 16, 2012 at 01:55 PM
@ Jackie O & Rich Dean, thank you for the intelligent, well-expressed, calm manner in which you convey the obvious. Unfortunately, the majority of these comments sound like a group of kids on the playground during recess, rather than grown tax-paying homeowners! Perhaps the "many" who have chosen to rather inarticulatly express their negative closed-minded point(s) of view rather than embrace change and welcome a tax ratable in a positive manner would like to pledge that they will not run up to the Q.C. for a gallon of milk or loaf of bread when they are suddenly caught without and the kids want some pbj or cookies and milk, but rather drive that extra mile to the over-priced "supermarkets" with the crowded parking lot and the long lines at the register. Oh, and maybe they should pass up the nickel per gallon savings on gas, or more, and drive an extra mile to the mega Hess they all approved on the same highway, in the same borough, adjacent to the same type of residential area. Let's get over it, like your neighbors up the street did when Hess came to town and get on with the future.
monte87 June 16, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Richard, I and many others prefer not to buy the slop at Quick Chek. We will give our money to hard working local business owners who are being driven out of business by the likes of QC and Subway. And as it's stated in the article above this addition is most definitely a MEGA GAS STATION on that small parcel of land. It will become a truck stop now 24 hours 7 days a week. Christine, of all the people that wrote here YOU sound more like a child than anyone with your run-on sentences and misspelled words. Of course we all welcome a tax ratable in this town. I'll bet you don't pay $14,000 a year in property taxes like my family. But I will not compromise my town or its residents for a nickel in gas savings. That corner of Butler will be a traffic nightmare. I have already witnessed several near accidents at the 7-11. The addition of this business will exacerbate this problem 10 fold.
Just Saying June 16, 2012 at 03:39 PM
How sad for you that the only response you can give is to be concerned with my typo or my run-on sentences! Guess you think we are in grammar school after all! Have a nice life with your new GAS station, Bud!
Scondo June 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM
They have great coffee.
Mary Anne June 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
In reading the comments of the pro-Quick Chek group, I am amazed at the lack of understanding of this project. The site in question is one acre, Ouick Chek's own standards for this are two acres, the project needs 20 variances to be built, and includes a soil moving operation to raise the Boonton Ave section of the lot,(where the building will be placed) 16' higher then it currently is, I guess so the 7-11 can't be seen from RT 23. I am not opposed to development as long as it is in keeping with the same standards that everyone else had to deal with. Why did Quick Chek get a pass and everyone else have to comply? I am also sick of hearing that the slop passed off as coffee is the reason we need convience stores next to each other. It passed, and I bet the people who should have come out to fight this will be the first to complain about the traffic on RT 23, and the need for addtional police...too bad so sad... be careful what you wish for
Mary June 17, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Thank you Mary Anne for sharing your obviously extensive knowledge on this issue. With respect, Mary
mimi June 17, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Hello,duh!!! Do you see the size of the space that the Lukoil sits on? Do you see houses behind and a 20ft fence? What are you people smoking?
mimi June 17, 2012 at 01:24 AM
You know actually if they would build 20ft high fences all along 23 north and south so none of us with the disgusting businesses that have expanded out of control behind us see or hear them, maybe we would all be happier.
mimi June 17, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Thats why this town is an eyesore, because they dont do there job and rather spend there time butchering trees instead of cleaning up the businesses on the highway or in the center of town. Nobody loitering is moved on only our kids. Why didnt they come up with a place for the kids to go. This town for all our increasing taxes provides nothing for our kids to do.
MorrisCountyDude June 17, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Competition will be healthy between this Quick Check and 7/11, let the better store win. Glad they are opening up one.
eotdevice June 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Just one final comment on this site. The site in question consists of three small lots totalling 1.417 acres. The Lukoil on the northbound side of Route 23 in Riverdale which has 12 pumps and a conveince store is 0.4988 acres. The Lukoil on the southbound side in Riverdale is 1.3 acres. The Hess on Route 23 north in Butler which has 16 pumps? is 1.26 acres. So the Quik Chek site is actually LARGER than all the other local gas stations with convenience stores!
mimi June 18, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Granted but those sites are deep not narrow and long and directly behind homes. I don't know what would have been a better business in here. Like we need another strip mall, like we need another business to go bust up here. How many vacant store fronts does this town have. I don't know why we can't move ahead like other towns, nothing seems to do well here like we're a toxic dump.
Mary Anne June 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I guess it is a sign of the times that the golden rule is "he who has the gold rules" I feel really badly for the residents who will have their only major investment (their homes) devalued by a greedy corporation and the wealthy property owner, who has a very sucessful auto dealership up country, get even richer at their expense. I hope they all get an appraisal of their homes before the gas station and after it so that they can at least get their taxes lowered. It will be difficult for them to sell because FHA, VA, and reverse mortgages are not written if you are within 300' of a gas station. I really feel badly for the poor women who will not be able to live there because of her son's severe disabilities. .God bless her, and I'm sorry the $$$boro let her down, I wish her the best!
Mary June 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Interesting stats, but to quote you again: "all the other local gas stations with convenience stores!." So you inadvertently proved that we DON'T need any more ugly gas stations (and there are more than you named) or "convenience" stores on that stretch of Route 23....especially one that requires a 20' wall to insulate our residents. Do you even live in Butler.
mimi June 18, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Mary, that was my point. I don't want anymore things on this highway, it is becoming an eyesore. On other stretches of the highway they have more depth that we do and it's bad enough that way. Butlers property is so narrow. And the only station I mentioned is Lukoil. And unfortunately I do live in Butler and behind another stretch of 23 with businesses behind me. So I worry what is next. We have to position our furniture so we don't get those big ugly lights from the bank in our bedrooms at night after the bank expanded it building and parking. Nobody considered that either. This town only is concerned with the money that it gets not how the town looks or quality of life. I keep getting told it's getting better, but where. Not in my backyard.
Mary June 18, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mimi, my last comment was to eotdevice. Mary
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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