Home Government Five Hour Meeting Ends Without a Vote on Route 70 Wawa Project

Five Hour Meeting Ends Without a Vote on Route 70 Wawa Project

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Plans for a Wawa and quick-serve restaurant off Route 70 in Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Plans for a Wawa and quick-serve restaurant off Route 70 in Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Nearly four hours of sparring between attorneys representing a real estate developer, the township’s Board of Adjustment and the owner of a vacant property off Lake Shore Drive delayed public comment Wednesday night on a proposed Wawa convenience store, gas station and adjacent quick-service restaurant near the corner of Route 70 and Duquesne Boulevard.

Vincent Sanzone, a criminal defense attorney from North Jersey, cross-examined an engineer on the project – often pausing to debate objections with John P. Miller, the board’s attorney and John Jackson, the developer’s attorney – before battling to have his sister recognized as an expert witness and testify against the project.

Meanwhile, neighboring residents waited – and waited – to have their say, which finally came after 11 p.m. Three neighbors asked questions and gave comments, and when Board Chairman Harvey Langer saw that more than a dozen more people wanted to speak, adjourned the meeting to March 22, when public comments will resume.

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Neighbors have raised concern that traffic, noise and lighting from the complex will disrupt their quality of life. The developers, Paramount Realty and Riviera Realty, require approval by the board because a small portion of the property includes an office and residential zone rather than the standard business zone. All of the physical buildings, however, are located in the business zone.

Sanzone, who has tried unsuccessfully to have Wawa buy his deceased parents’ property which abuts the proposed development, appeared again before the board after drawing several rebukes last month by Miller, who objected to his line of questioning of several witnesses. The objections resumed Wednesday, but the biggest controversy of the night occurred when he called his sister, Diane Sanzone, to the stand to testify as an expert witness.

Diane Sanzone, who holds a doctoral degree in the science field and considers herself an expert in environment issues, admitted she holds no licenses in New Jersey and had never testified as an expert witness in the past, but strongly asserted her education qualified her to speak as an expert. Jackson objected, saying her lack of licensure and her tacit connections to the issues at hand – Diane Sanzone has worked for major oil companies and was part of the cleanup effort after the Deepwater Horizon incident – did not meet the standard to be declared an expert. He also said there was a conflict of interest since she had a financial stake in the outcome of the case.

Testimony continued Wednesday in the application for a Wawa on Route 70. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Testimony continued Wednesday in the application for a Wawa on Route 70. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

“This whole exercise has been nothing other than a filibuster attempt,” said Jackson, accusing Sanzone of trying to delay a vote on the matter. “It’s like firing with a machine gun and hoping you hit something.”

Miller limited the scope of what testimony Diane Sanzone could provide as an expert. She provided testimony on hydrocarbon emissions, environmental impact statements and several areas of data modeling.

“You have homes very close to that gas station and you have carbons going into the atmosphere,” she said at one point, under questioning from her brother.

Jackson argued that the local zoning board does not have purview over regulations that are set by the EPA and state Department of Environmental Protection.

Eventually, Diane Sanzone was forced to admit she had not read documents related to the case at hand, claiming she requested the documents under the state’s Open Public Meetings Act. Officials said they had not yet received the request, which was sent through postal mail. Vincent Sanzone, after a drawn-out discussion on whether his sister’s testimony on high-level environmental issues could be relevant to the zoning application of a local gas station, ended his line of questioning.

“We’ve had many people come before us to build gas stations, rehabilitate gas stations … they have to meet every state and federal and local environmental impact code and laws,” said Langer. “They’re meeting it. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. They’re meeting every law that they have to meet.”

Sanzone then requested the meeting be adjourned until the OPRA request was filled, which resulted in a denial.

“It was your obligation to have whatever reports, or whatever you needed to present your case today,” said Miller, adding that the documents have been available since November. “Right now this is your day. If you don’t have those documents or you haven’t looked at them, the board won’t wait for you.”

Finally, members of the public began to speak.

Patricia Young, a Lake Shore Drive resident, said she owns one of the only split level homes in the area, which stands 18-feet tall.

“Currently, when I look out my window I have woods,” she said. “If they end up building this, I’m going to see Wawa and Wawa is going to see me.”

Young said she did not oppose development, per se, but wanted to preserve her privacy. Jackson said his client would agree to plant extra trees on Young’s property to further block the view of the Wawa store and any light that it emits.

An engineer on the project said the parking lot lights would be LED-equipped, meaning they would not give off a glare like traditional lights.

Ken Fielder, a Birch Bark Drive resident, said his chief concern was traffic.

“The traffic in this area has been getting overwhelming in certain parts of the day,” he said. “We personally feel this will be a detriment to the neighborhood as it will bring additional traffic. Allowing it to go into the residential area is what my largest objection is right now.”

Public comment will continue at the March 22 meeting, after which the board will finally vote on the project.

 


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  • Aliceo

    Its true that the witness is related to the lawyer. She has testified all over the world related to environmental impact and is a published author in professional journals. She brought up modeling studies to get a baseline of noise and air pollution since it abuts many residences. She was dismissed as ‘ this isnt an oil rig its a gas station’ by our board. That said, she was unprepared. And blamed the secretary. It was not cool. And the 2 lawyers had no regard for our time. Clearly Lake Riv residents are going to have a seismic shift in their day to day travel and sightline and air quality. But lets see this through! March 22nd. LR proud.

    • Frank Rizzo

      The cult will get its way….they are a protected class…you will be the downfall of our town by not allowing this land to be used up…a temple can be built on 2 acres or more

      • Bob Nate

        It’s disgusting that you are calling a religious group a “cult”. Maybe you should do your homework on the property before coming up with incorrect conclusions.

      • Frank Rizzo

        So you think the Lakewood group is mainstream…you think they look favorably on anyone who is not one of their own..they even hate secular Jewish people for not being Jewish enough..They are not far away at all from hardlined Muslims…What is there I need to know about the property..please school me…If they want to put a temple there…they can and will…..You must be new to the area sir…

  • Frank Rizzo

    The lakewood clan will not go away…a judge will force a temple there….stupid is as stupid does….wawa or a foot in the door for the cult

  • Dr. Jonathan Pitney

    What the neighbors in this development really need is more egress points. Let them build the Wawa but connect Sloping Hill Terrace to Sherock Street and connect Highland Court into the back of the Dick’s Shopping Center. Now, Brick gets it’s ratable and no one in Lake Riviera has to be inconvenienced.

    • Bob Nate

      Lake Riviera residents don’t need another entrance into the development for transient people off Rt 70 and Shorrock. Very bad idea.

      • Frank Rizzo

        You expect what to be built here along a major highway…are you ready to buy the land from the owner…who has a right to build on it whatever it is zoned for…Just because it is near your home does not make the land unusable…a judge will decide this for your misguided group…

      • albertWestpy

        I don’t live in the Lake Riviera area but I am from Brick and to tell you the truth don’t have a very strong opinion on the issue one way or the other but I do have a question for you.
        Are you of the opinion that a land owner has no responsibility to the citizens and community where that land is located ?

      • Frank Rizzo

        No obligations what so ever…the town zones it and makes any and all appropriate approvals to what is proposed. If the town zoned it commercial retail then its game on…this is what makes the land more or less valuable. If you bought near a commercial zoned area then you need to expecct this to occur.

      • albertWestpy

        Thank you, for your reply to my question. To make myself clear I don’t have any problem, since the area in question is zoned for commerce use, too be used for commerce use.
        The problem as I see it is a total disregard for the type of business that is going to be built there and it’s effect on many other factors that you seem to overlook such as increased traffic, the quality of life in the area, and the future of the township itself regarding it’s “curb appeal” to potential future residents. A question that I believe is of the utmost of importance is whether or not citizens have any say as to what is taking place in their community or not.
        Given the political climate, and the general lack of ethics in the country as a whole; where some even view corporations as people, I don’t expect much more from Ocean County so therefor I will not go into the responsibility that the both the state and it’s citizens have to be just as was pointed out in Plato’s “Republic”.

      • Frank Rizzo

        Well what is your idea of a proper commerce use type building…Look at chambersbridge rd and the adult bookstore across from the school…Not my idea of a proper place for it but no one can decide on the type of business that goes into a zoned area for commerce. I’d love to see tattoo parlors banned….smoke shops…cash for gold which are pawn shops for heroin addicts….but we do not have the power in this state to do those things. Other states can tell what color sign Dunkin Donuts must use…in NJ the builders lobby has paid the democrats off and they can do as they please with little restrictions.

      • Uncle Sam

        He likes adult bookstores.

      • albertWestpy

        I disagree with your view on land owners not having any “obligations what so ever”, as I feel that either directly or indirectly we all have a degree of obligations to each other.
        I do agree with your not thinking that an adult bookstore should be that close to a school but have no objections to tattoo parlors, smoke shops, or pawn shops in general but do feel that they do, in my opinion, lower the aesthetics as well as the value of an area that they may be located in.
        As far as your comment about the builders lobby paying of the democrats the very same could be said about the republicans but unless I could prove a statement like that I would never enter it into any debate.
        So, Frank I think that we will end this by saying that we will have to agree to disagree on some things.
        Good night and best of luck to all of us.

      • Frank Rizzo

        We are a Democrat controlled state. I see no Democrat standing up for the little people as we are lead to believe about them. Why does the Democrat majority remain silent about the ability for these builders to change the land at their whim with zero impact fees. We the little people are left to build schools, add police, and live with the results. Your opinion of what is appropriate goes as far as long as the tattoo parlor is elsewhere im o.k. with it.

      • albertWestpy

        Thank you for sharing your opinion with me.

      • Frank Rizzo
      • Uncle Sam

        You would have no problem with a gay bath house, an adult book store or a mosque being built in that location.
        You would even write letters in support of their constitutional right to build wherever they choose.
        You just dont like capitalist corporations that dont fit into your marxist, socialist, lefty agenda and lifestyle.

      • albertWestpy

        I find it a shame that there are many people in this part of the state who are so under-educated that they cannot stay with the topic at hand and must resort to name calling and personal insults in order to give meaning to their boring and uneventful existence.
        You had been using a different “handle” the last time this occurred and I reported you. I will not report this time only due too the fact that I find you and those like you to be so lowly that I pity you.

      • Uncle Sam

        Listen to yourself. “So many people in this part of the state who are so under educated.”
        You have no idea how educated anyone is. You are a bigot.
        You think you are more intelligent than everyone else on these public forums.
        I don’t know where you suddenly popped up from, but I have read your posts on the Guardian and other sites.
        You are an admitted anti- American, socialist, atheist homosexual, that refers to anyone with a differing opinion than you, as your intellectual inferior.
        Go back to where you originated from.
        These under educated people from this part of the state don’t need you.

      • albertWestpy

        Hiding behind a pseudonym may not give the anonymity that one may think. With that being said I leave you with the legal definition of slander.

        Slander, oral or written defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which harm the reputation of the person defamed.

        I have no problem with you saying that i’m a socialist, atheist, or homosexual because saying those things say more about the type of person that you are than about me. I’m not sure you will understand what I mean be that but others will.

        The thing that I do take issue with is you saying “You are an admitted anti-American”. Your on very thin ice by saying something that slanderous !

      • Uncle Sam

        I’m sorry, someone with the same name as you thinks that the USA is the “evil empire” and its people are “dump” (sic).

        I have lived most of my 74 years of life in the greater New York City area. Not only do I love the area I also find it to be the worlds richest city in diversity which brings with it an exposure to cultures that most people would never be exposed to in a lifetime.
        I have travled the world, and I’m not talking about tours of six cities in 4 hours, and have lived in both Amsterdam and Berlin.
        That being said it was not until my first trip to Europe, in the late 60’s, did I begin to discover what my own country, the USA, and most of my fellow citizens were like. I regret to say that most are more concerned with the quantity of material goods than the quality of life and the true gifts that the world has to offer such as enlightenment through education, literature, music and art.
        It was in 1983 when Ronald Reagan refered to the USSR as the “evil empire” but in truth it’s the United States who was, as is, the “evil empire” beggining with the Truman administration, in full force, and countinuning up until this day. Clinton, Trump, Cruz are no more than an extention of that empire and most of the American people are to dump to realize that and always vote against their own class interested.

      • Uncle Sam

        Dont bother replying to me as I am blocking you because your socialist views are boring.
        But just in case I need a good laugh, I have saved all your posts on the web with screen shots and other means before you block them or delete them.
        Good night..

      • Aliceo

        It is before the board of adjustment because they are asking for a relief from provisions of local zoning ordinances. If it were within zoning regulations, they would not need to be heard by the Board of Adjustment. And are we supposed to let everyone build whatever they want as long as its not a house of worship? There are many properties over 2 acres owned by many people. Maybe we should be united and let people know that Brick has high standards and we aren’t willing to throw our neighborhoods in the garbage by making them truck stops.

      • Frank Rizzo

        One day you will get understand…then it will be too late, Take a look at what Jackson is going through….http://jpupdates.com/2017/03/14/jewish-community-worries-about-discrimination-after-new-jersey-ordinance-bans-dorms/

      • Aliceo

        thank you.

  • Frank Rizzo
  • Uncle Sam
  • albertWestpy

    It seems as if “Uncle Sam” has deleted all of his slanderous comments to and about me once I informed him of the legal definition of slander. He sent me a message telling me that he was saving my comments on the internet before I could delete any of them, as if I would, and then went on to tell me that he was going to block me because he found my “socialist views” to be boring. Then he went on to delete the comments he made about me on this thread……but not before I printed them so I have a record of them.
    I moved down here several years ago to be near the ocean and because as a child my parents had a summer home here where we would spend the summers Brick was the first location I thought of but my mistake was not doing some research first. The area has changed a lot since the late 40’s and the 1950’s when, as I remember, most of the people were summer residents from Philadelphia and a few from northern New Jersey. A lot has changed since those days and not for the better. I have meet some very nice people down here but unfortunately people such as “Uncle Sam” do seem to be very obviously a part of Brick.

  • Frank Rizzo

    The courts will not side with you….Allow WAWA or face this onslaught of lawyers and liberal democrats….http://jpupdates.com/2017/03/14/jewish-community-worries-about-discrimination-after-new-jersey-ordinance-bans-dorms/