By JOHN T. WARD
A supersized convenience store and gas station proposed at one of Red Bank’s busiest intersections is scheduled to go before the borough zoning board Thursday night.
With no residential neighbors directly impacted, the board’s consideration of variances may turn on matters related to traffic impact at a crossing where motorists typically sit for three minutes or more waiting for a green light.
Site owner A&B Property Holdings has proposed the creation of a WaWa shop and filling station at 6 Newman Springs Road. For the past three years, the site has been the home of Auto Exotica, a used luxury vehicle showroom , and was previously the home of vehicle rental business.
A&B, of Atlantic Highlands, is fully owned by Auto Exotica principal Frank Scala, according a the application. He plans to lease the 1.7-acre triangular property, located just west of Broad Street, to WaWa for 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation, with six fuel dispensers
If approved, the business would be the third gas-and-convenience-store combo in Red Bank, all on Newman Springs Road, joining a Shell and an Exxon, both at the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue.
But A&B will first require a use variance, as the combination is not allowed in the highway business zone in which it is located, according to a review by board engineer Ed Herrman, of T&M Associates. And its store, at nearly 5,600 square feet, would easily be the largest of the three.
According to WaWa traffic engineer John Rea, of McDonough, Rea & Associates, the property abuts an intersection that has a “level of service” rating of “F,” the lowest grade, by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The grading system “reflects factors such as speed, travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, and delay,” according to the DOT.
WaWa’s plan calls for access from a right-turn-in-only driveway at the site’s eastern end, about 200 feet west of Broad Street; and a “right-in/right-out/left-in” driveway another 200 feet west of the intersection, Rea wrote in a report filed with the application.
Monmouth County has jurisdiction over Newman Springs Road/Route 520, and in consultation with the county engineering department, WaWa will prohibit vehicles from making a left, or eastward, turn out of the site, Rea wrote.
“Based on the operation of the traffic signal” at the nearby intersection, Rea wrote in his report, “significant gaps are provided during a typical traffic signal for right-turn exit movements to enter westbound CR520 safely.”
In addition to the use variance, A&B needs variances for setbacks and signage. With 54 parking spaces provided, where 22 are required, the proposal has more than enough, according to the analysis.
The proposal includes the sale of diesel fuel for cars and light trucks, but the site can’t accommodate large trucks either in terms of space or refueling capacity, according to the application.
The board meets at 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.
Here’s the applicant’s traffic report: rb wawa traffic report 101817
Here’s T&M’s review of the proposal: rb wawa T&M review 112217
Here’s the applicant’s response to the T&M report: rb Wawa Traffic Response Letter 011518
Here’s the meeting agenda.