MILLBURN, NJ - Representatives of Walgreens appeared before the Zoning Board of Adjustment Monday night to request a use variance that will allow the company to establish a pharmacy on the corner of Millburn Avenue and Morris Turnpike.
The company, which is applying under the name Sound Short Hills, is seeking to build a 15,200-square-foot store on the site of the former Short Hills Caterers, which went out of business a number of years ago. The tract also includes land on which a Shell gas station was located before the applicant purchased the property. A use variance would waive that limitation.
The township’s development regulations limit retail space in the business zone where the store would be located to 5,000 square feet, with the exception of grocery stores, which are allowed 15,000 square feet. The applicant will also need other variances for parking, deliveries and signage but is pursuing the use variance before developing detailed site plans, according to John Wyciskala, the attorney for Sound Short Hills.
“We do believe this property is particularly suited for this use,” Wyciskala said. “There are a lot of benefits that will result…. “It’s going to eliminate a lot of the traffic conflicts…. We’re going to reduce impervious coverage, increase landscaping, and a number of other things related to that.”
Civil engineer Keith Cahill of Bohler Engineering described the conceptual plan. Among the features of the new pharmacy would be a drive-through window accessed by a driveway off Millburn Avenue.
Other features would be an all brick and glass storefront with some overhangs. Three signs, including the name “Walgreens” in script and a large “W,” would be used.
The property, also bounded by Farley Place, has four street frontages, which poses challenges for the development, he said.
As planned now, the site will have 48 parking spaces for employees and customers. That is less than the 76 required by development regulations.
The engineer also said deliveries are expected by tractor-trailer trucks twice a week while the store is closed. During the week box trucks would make other deliveries when the store is open.
A Walgreens is located in the Kings shopping center on Morris Turnpike but that store is not freestanding. The approximately 40 employees would relocate to the new building, according to Cahill.
Wyciskala said he plans to call two other experts to testify, but the zoning board ran out of time at Monday’s session. The hearing was carried to Dec. 2, at which time the board will schedule future hearings.