CHATHAM, NJ - First Student, Inc., which provides busing for the School District of the Chathams, will be leaving its Chatham location at 29 River Road this summer.
Citing the Borough of Chatham's Master Plan for redevelopment on River Road, First Student representatives announced that they will be selling the property and moving to a new location, at the Borough of Chatham Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting on Wednesday night.
"We will not be in Chatham anymore," Keith Peloso, area general manager for First Student, said. "We're looking for an alternate location."
The announcement led to the unanimous approval of the associated variances that allow First Student to park its buses at the River Road site through Aug. 31, 2020.
"The applicants are listening to the board and understanding the master plan of the borough, and trying to comply with the intent of the borough to expand into an improvement zone," Michael J. Oliveira, attorney for First Student, said. "What we're proposing here is a fair compromise in that we're just asking the board to allow us to use the property in the manner that we've been using it."
First Student attorney Michael J. Oliveira asks for the temporary variance
The temporary variance approval will allow First Student to continue parking 52 buses, eight vans, 35 cars and two charter buses on the property through Aug. 31, 2020. The company also agrees not to ask for any variances for two more years, guaranteeing that they will be moving the business from that location.
The First Student property is located at 29 River Road, across the street from where the BNE Real Estate Group plans to build up to 259 luxury rental apartments on River Road.
Michael A. Cifelli, chair of the zoning board, talked favorably about the wisdom of the move (see video below) by First Student, considering "what would occur across the street" in terms of redevelopment on River Road.