As the application for a Wawa convenience store and gas station in the southwest corner of town works its way through the regulatory process, a developer has applied to build a second Wawa store, gas station and adjacent shopping center in another area of Brick.
Plans filed with the township last week call for a much larger development than the one proposed for Route 70 and Duquesne Boulevard. This development, proposed for Route 88 and Jack Martin Boulevard, at the site of the Laurelton Mobile Home Park, will include a 5,051 square foot Wawa convenience store and associated gas facility; a 4,535 square foot bank; a 7,182 square foot commercial building including a 3,000 square foot, 124 seat restaurant; a 9,288 square foot daycare center; plus a total of 117 parking spaces on a 9.4 acre plot of land.
The project is being proposed by JSM at Martin Boulevard, LLC, a company owned by developer Jack Morris, who is currently engaged in litigation with the township over his inaction in redeveloping the former Foodtown site on Route 70. A filing with the township did not name the bank nor the restaurant; only the Wawa was listed by name.
For years, Morris has planned on developing the trailer park into a commercial property, but has faced occasional pushback from tenants. He has pledged a section of the property will remain available to trailer owners.
In order to gain approval, Morris must obtain a use variance from the township’s Board of Adjustment since more than one principal use – a trailer park, convenience store and bank – are proposed for a site current zoned commercial. The developer is also applying for a slew of more minor “bulk” variances, including relief under the township’s zoning code for minimum lot area, depth and width, setbacks, impervious coverage and sign height.
The purchase of the mobile home park by Morris has been the source of numerous controversies since 2005. Residents, at one point, were served eviction notices after they withheld rent from Morris, who they accused of allowing the community to deteriorate. In 2006, it was determined that concrete tainted with traces of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the former Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant in Edison was used at the site, prompting the state Department of Environmental Protection to order its removal.
The Board of Adjustment is scheduled to hear testimony on the application at Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at the township municipal complex.