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Eatontown Planning Board Hears Traffic Concerns Over Route 35 Wawa

EATONTOWN: The borough planning board continued to hear testimony for the proposed Wawa, gas station and Chick-Fil-A at the corner of Route 35 and Wyckoff Road during its Oct. 27 meeting.

A lawsuit and subsequent court order brought the application back to the borough planning board in July. The 5-count lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kennedy Auto Service Inc. and Excellency Enterprise, LLC, which are an Exxon station at 150 State Route 35, Gas of Eatontown, Inc., which is a Citgo station at 24 State Route 35, on Feb. 24. The business owners are looking to have all approvals for the project deemed null and void, for the developers, Fidelity Eatontown, LLC, to not begin any construction and reimbursement of legal fees.

The gas station business owners contested that their professionals were not given a chance to testify before the board when it originally voted to approve the project on Dec. 16, 2013.

The objectors' traffic expert Gordon Meth testified and said he did a study of Wawas in similar locations, such as the one on the corner of Shafto Road and Route 34 in Farmingdale, to determine the amount of trips in and out of the facility.

Meth said the sites averaged 671, 513 and 508 trips per hour during the morning, midday and evening peak hours, respectively. He said these numbers were close to the ones he presented when he first testified in July, but that the morning peak hours were higher than he projected.

In July, Meth said his study, compared to one performed by the applicants, generated nearly triple the amount of trips during the morning peak hours and Saturday peak hours and nearly double the amount of evening peak hour trips. He also said the additional traffic would make it harder to make a left turn from westbound Wyckoff Road to southbound Route 35.

He said there were 32 crashes at the intersection in 2013.

"This intersection experiences a very high crash rate," Meth said. "One must think of the what the potential safety implications might be."

Meth said a revised site plan he received called for a left turn from the facility onto Wyckoff Road and a left turn from the site to Route 35.

Originally, the Eatontown Planning Board approved the site plan with the condition that no turns would be allowed from the site to Route 35, because it determined that it would be dangerous for cars to cross another lane of traffic to make the turn.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation would have to approve a left turn from the site to Route 35, and the applicant would also need approval from the board to include in the site plan.

Experts from both sides also testified on the storm water management plan for the site, and offered differing opinions on whether or not the plan met the borough's storm water ordinance.

The board did not make a decision on the application, which will continue on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.


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