WEST ORANGE, NJ – On April 24, the Zoning Board of Adjustment held a special meeting to hear an application for a new Quick Chek store at 555 Northfield Ave. The location is the former site of Spectators.
Jeff Albanese, a Quick Chek Real Estate Manager responsible for several Quick Chek sites in New Jersey including the Northfield Avenue location, gave a presentation about the store and answered questions from the Board.
According to Albanese, the proposed Quick Chek would operate 24/7 and have a gas station, ATM, groceries, beverages, hot soups, coffees, sandwiches, and “thirty linear feet of convenience.” There will be thirteen inside seats strictly for the convenience of customers, but no waiters or waitresses. There will be no hot foods made on site and only a toaster oven will be used for sandwiches and steam tables to keep the soups hot. “There is no cooking done on premises. I want to make that clear,” Albanese said.
The location was chosen for several reasons. First, the location is on a major thoroughfare that will produce customers and easy access to nearby public transportation. “We think we can serve a part of the community there by putting this location up, and we would hope the board would see it that way, too,” Albanese said.
Alabanese continued with his presentation by noting that Quick Chek has been voted one of the best places to work for five years straight in New Jersey, and two years straight in New York. Employees are trained thoroughly through meetings, orientations, and personal meetings with Quick Chek owner Dean Durling.
Albanese highlighted the importance of the community to Quick Chek. “We will hire between 30 to 50 people to work in an operation like this. That is a mix of full-time and part-time.”
Quick Chek seeks to hire directly from the community, and the Northfield Avenue location is in close proximity to mass transit, allowing people who lack reliable personal transportation to work there. Albanese also stated they usually promote from within the company.
There would be sixteen security cameras inside and outside the store, and in case of criminal activity Quick Check will “work closely with the local police department.”
The frequency of deliveries to the site would depend on the shipment’s contents. Garbage pickups would occur two to three times a week as needed; fuel deliveries would take place six times a week; and small box trucks that contain products like bread, chips, and soda would deliver once or twice a day. Albanese stated that Quick Chek can arrange the time of gas deliveries and would be willing to work with the Board to find a suitable schedule.
Concerns were varied throughout the night. The Board questioned Albanese about cars being unattended while customers pump their gas and shop inside the store; whether e-cigarettes would be sold to minors; and if the money safes would be secure. While no documentation was present at the time, the Board requested statistics of incidents at 24/7 Quick Chek stores over the last five years to be available at the next hearing.
Albanese did confirm later in the hearing that e-cigarettes would be regulated and ID scanned just like traditional cigarettes. The Northfield Avenue Quick Chek would not sell alcoholic beverages.
Following Albanese’s presentation, Grayson Murray, a licensed professional engineer and Principal/Branch Manager of Bohler Engineering, was brought to the stand to be a fact witness to the general characteristics of the project and to answer questions.
The general safety and efficiency of the delivery and usage of gas at Quick Chek was raised. Murray stated Quick Chek’s gas would be delivered in four tanks: a pair of 20,000 gallon tanks that will contain regular gasoline; a 12,000 gallon tank for premium gas, and another 12,000 gallon tank for diesel fuel. The prototype for this Quick Chek’s development presented eight multi-product dispensers and sixteen fueling positions for people to pump their gas on site.
The underground storage tanks for gas would be vigorously regulated. There are four areas of compliance for the gas: monitoring, corrosion detection, spill prevention, and overbuild protection. The monitoring uses old stick measurement technology and modern computer technology. “Every ounce of oil is inventoried and measured,” Murray noted. Any irregularities in the oil would lead to a shut down until analysis is done. The tanks are double- walled, corrosion resistant, and do not rust. The designs of the tanks were positively described as ‘redundant’ in that they extensively prioritize safety. Extensive training would be given to employees who operate the fuel dispensing system.
Following the presentations, the Zoning Board and West Orange residents expressed concern regarding traffic complications and pedestrian safety. Detailed answers were postponed until a traffic engineer could be present to talk about specifics.
A designated cross walk was proposed in the development plans, and Grayson assured residents that state noise regulations were met.
The hearing will continue on June 12.