BRICK – Plans to build a car wash on a busy section of Route 88 has met with resistance from residents of Laurelton Heights, when about two dozen of them came out to a recent Board of Adjustment meeting to make their feelings known.
JAC Operating LLC has submitted an application for an automated 2,800 square-foot car wash with 12 outdoor vacuuming stations at 1905 Route 88.
The site is currently wooded and located next to the Camp Mall shopping center. Attorney for the applicant, Jason R. Tuvel, said there would be no new “curb cuts” on Route 88 since the plan calls for access to the car wash from the existing strip mall.
The site design presents some challenges, Tuvel said, since it has three frontages (Route 88, Kenneth Place and Kieser Boulevard). Front yard setbacks call for 50 feet, so they are asking for two variances since the proposed setback on Route 88 is 30.9 feet and the Kenneth Place setback is 27 feet. The Kieser side meets the requirement since the setback there is 58 feet.
Tuvel argued for the variances, saying that the carwash is “not an intense use.”
The applicant’s engineer, Mark Whittaker, said a car wash is a permitted use in the B-2 zone. The zoning allows for 30 percent lot coverage while the 28-foot wide, 100-foot long car wash would only have 9.9 percent lot coverage. The design plan includes room for an 11-car queue.
The engineer said there would be no water runoff from the site since the plan calls for pervious pavement, which would also capture roof runoff. Trench drains would reclaim 60 percent of the water used to wash vehicles and it would be recycled back into the carwash, he said.
The existing entrance into the strip mall, which would also be the entrance to the proposed car wash, is directly across from a Wawa entrance on Route 88, which has already resulted in traffic jams, accidents and complaints from residents. The plan calls for the installation of sidewalks on Route 88 only.
Currently, left and right turns are permitted leaving the Wawa, but in November of last year, the NJ Department of Transportation – who has jurisdiction over Route 88 – reached out to Brick Township to ask if the council would pass a resolution banning left turns out of Wawa.
The governing body passed the resolution, which would prevent the left turns that require cars to cross over Route 88, and approve the appropriate signage. The township administration has said they hope to come to a new access agreement with the owner of the Wawa.
During the meeting, township planner Tara Paxton said her main concern is traffic circulation at the car wash with “driver confusion” accessing the site. “It’s a mess right there on Route 88,” she noted.
Paxton asked if the noise from the vacuum stations would be under 65 decibels, which is required by ordinance. Whittaker said the main vacuum would be located near Route 88 from which hoses would run to each station.
Board of Adjustment chair David Chadwick allowed for limited public comment directed towards the professionals who testified at this hearing.
Michelle Testa said she has owned two adjacent properties in the area for 36 years. She said she would like the developer to be required to build sidewalks at all three road frontages since there is a nearby bus stop. “There are so many children, it could be a safety issue,” she said.
Laurelton Heights resident Kevin Maloney, who said he moved to Brick to get away from northern urban areas, said he does not like the proposed name of the car wash, “Urban Express” – and proposed one that is more appropriate for Brick, such as “Seaside Express.”
These and other resident concerns are likely to be addressed at the next meeting, dedicated to this application only, when traffic engineers (one hired by the developer, another representing the township) will testify, as will the applicant and other professionals. Afterwards, there will be additional public comment.
That meeting will be held on Wednesday September 13 at 7 p.m.