FAIR LAWN, NJ – The Planning Board approved an application for an AutoZone store on the former Chase Bank site at 28th Street and Broadway.

On Aug. 13, the board approved the auto parts store at 27-02 Broadway by a vote of 6-3 after questioning AutoZone’s lawyer, Frank DeVito and engineer, Thomas Pugsley for more than two hours.

The store is planned for two lots, 114 28th Street and 27-02 Broadway, totaling 4.4 acres. The 7,382-sq.-foot store is in a B2 zone, fitting with the commercial use of the area.

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There are 41 planned parking spaces where 30 are required. Those who voted negatively for the project said they were concerned the extra spaces would be utilized for on-site car-servicing. DeVito said there would be nothing more than courtesy service, such as installing windshield wipers, changing a car headlight bulb or assisting with a car battery.

The Chase Bank has been closed for about one year and DeVito referenced the difficulty in finding a tenant because there was a non-compete clause with the property. In other words, another bank could not move-into the location.

Board members who voted no said they felt the chance to improve the site was missed, although DeVito said AutoZone would work with the Fair Lawn engineers to improve the landscaping onsite and construct an upscale façade that was in keeping with Fair Lawn.

“I’m sure your engineers will beat us up pretty good,” DeVito said. “We want to be a good neighbor.”

DeVito said they would consider two faux windows for the front of the brick façade to improve the appearance, as well.

AutoZone needed a sign waiver for the two planned for the site, one that faces Broadway and one that faces 27th Street.

“I don’t want people to say, oh, there it was,” DeVito said referencing passing the store in a car on Broadway/Route 4.

The Board asked about the underground storage tank that must be removed and DeVito said AutoZone had planned on compliance. A local business owner asked about trash for the site and it was stipulated in the approval that AutoZone must maintain and keep the site clean from debris.

Board member Edward Baldofsky asked why there were no plans for a sprinkler system in the building. DeVito responded with, “We’re doing what we’re required to do by code. We’ll meet the code.”

He said they have not had fire issues in any of their other locations, in spite of the sale of flammable liquids.

DeVito said the business had met with the Broadway Improvement District officials and the BID had made suggestions for the project.

AutoZone has 6,000 stores nationwide, with the nearest three located in Paterson.