ROXBURY, NJ – A former cement plant in Kenvil that’s been unused for a decade, and is now a graffiti-covered, dilapidated “eyesore,” would be cleaned up and converted into the new home for a local company, under plans being reviewed by the township.
If it receives approval for the project, Fullerton Grounds Maintenance would relocate to the 77 Hillside Ave. site from its current headquarters on Berkshire Valley Road in Kenvil. It would do so after demolishing some parts of the former cement plant and completely restoring others, according to plans on file with the township.
“This is a good thing for the town,” said Edward Dunne, a Ledgewood lawyer representing Fullerton on the project. “That place has been broken into many times. The entire inside has been damaged by vandals.”
Fullerton, owned by Roxbury Rotary Club member Scott Fullerton, is seeking approval from the Roxbury Zoning Board. Its next appearance before the board is scheduled for November.
The property and buildings are owned by American Stone-Mix/Bonsal of Atlanta, Ga., according to records. Dunne said American Stone-Mix last operated the plant in 2008 or 2009.
“The premises have fallen into disrepair from lack of use and maintenance and have been a home for vagrants and an attractive nuisance for vandals and trespassers who have soiled the interior … covered the outside with graffiti in spite of locked gates and buildings,” says Fullerton’s land development application. “The premises are fully overgrown with weeds and unsightly brush, parking lots are in disrepair and it is otherwise an eyesore.”
Dunne said Fullerton, if it receives zoning board approval for the project, would purchase from American Stone-Mix the 7-acre site and buildings. The property is currently assessed at about $760,000. Dunne said Fullerton’s proposed rehabilitation would “exceed a million” dollars.
In a letter to the zoning board, Scott Fullerton speaks about his company’s Roxbury roots. “We are looking to expand our operation to the 77 Hillside property to accommodate our growing staff and establish a corporate headquarters,” said Fullerton in the letter. “Although the majority of our business is east and south of this region I would personal like to maintain my offices in Roxbury because of my close ties. I was born and raised in Roxbury, attended K through 12th Grade, got married and raised all three of my children here right through high school. In addition, I started my business here in Roxbury and have been here ever since.”
Fullerton wants not only to create corporate offices at the site but also to run his company’s “regional branch” from the location. That, he wrote, entails five landscape maintenance crews, three residential maintenance crews, a lawn-care crew and four construction crews.
Fullerton proposes removing two metal silos and other industrial equipment adjacent to the railroad tracks flanking the south side of the property, according to the plans on file.
The project has generated concern among area residents who fear the truck traffic. The property is overlooked by homes on Kentwood Road, but it's other side is bordered by mostly businesses along Route 46, including C&L Audo Body and Midas.
In his letter to the township, Fullerton said current plans call for parking 35 trucks at the site “with parking designed for 50 and additional space to expand if necessary.” But Dunne said the project would have “minimal impact” on traffic in the vicinity since most of the trucks will go right out onto Route 46 and out of town. “Whatever else goes to Kenvil will be minimal,” he said. “They picked this because it’s isolated” from most residences.
“It’s a pre-existing, non-conforming industry,” he said. “We are attempting to improve that use, make it less burdensome to the area, prevent crime from occurring there – which is rampant – secure it and make it nice and beautiful.”
On that note, Fullerton, in his letter, called the property “a tremendous eyesore” with buildings blemished by “vulgar” graffiti and “slowly being torn apart” by vandals.
“Every week I visit the site tehre is more and more damage,” he wrote. “I addition, it is very unsafe. Despite extraordinary measures, vandals continue to climb on top of the building and those ‘silos’ t deface and destroy the property. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.”