Berkeley Heights Zoning Board Denies Enrite Gas Station of Canopy Structure

Enrite's application to add a canopy and kiosk at the gas station location at 525 Springfield Avenue was denied by the Berkeley Heights Zoning Board of Adjustments on Thursday night. Credits: Bobbie Peer

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Members of the Berkeley Heights Zoning Board on Thursday night denied an application from Enrite to build a canopy over the gas station pumps and add a kiosk at 525 Springfield Avenue on the corner of Plainfield Avenue. 

The application was for a wall-less structure with a roof and a kiosk. When originally introduced in 2013, the lighting and size of the canopy concerned the public. 

While the board commended the applicant for their dedication and time, they voted five to two in favor of the denial of the application. This has been going on for some time, we appreciate the dedication and hours spent, said Board Chairman Raymond Sullivan.

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The 5-2 decision dealt a blow to the applicant’s attorney, Steven Schaffer, and his team, who worked with Township Planner Mike Mistretta with the various revisions to conform to the downtown standards to improve the site. These improvements included signage, design, lighting and landscaping improvements. 

This application had lots of give and take, said Board Member Robert Miller. "This is a function of how you look at it -- whether there were more positives that weigh out the negatives. There were a lot of changes that benefit the downtown. In the long run there's more positive than negative," said Miller, who voted in favor of the application.

There was a significant change to the plan, said Schaffer. The roof height went from 21 feet to 17 feet and the roof itself went from seven feet to three feet while maintaining the colonial style. "We think it improves the site. The height is consistent with most of the canopies in Berkeley Heights that were introduced in the summation," said Schaffer. "It is consistent with the gas stations along this corridor between New Providence and Warren."

Sullivan appreciates the site and sign improvements. Although this reduction in height was an improvement, his concern remains with having an accessory structure in the front yard that triggers violations with the accessory structure and setback variances. 

In other Zoning Board of Adjustment matters:  

  • The application to demolish a single family dwelling and construct a new building containing eight condo units situated at 569 Springfield Avenue was adjourned to a future date.  
  • The board had an informal meeting regarding Anco Environmental Services' property located at 40 Russo Place. The application is the result of a series of zoning violations against the property for not having approval for the property use. The board will address the application at the July 23rd board meeting. 

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