Brick Township’s zoning board on Wednesday night approved an application that will change a longtime service station into a combination filling station and luncheonette.
Lepore’s, currently in business as a BP station on Herbertsville Road, will be leased to two business owners – the gas station and the restaurant – with the Lepore family continuing as its owner. The towing business currently connected with the site will be moved to the transmission repair shop farther east on Herbertsville and the area that currently serves as the service garage will be turned into a 33 seat restaurant which will be open daily.
“We’re not really changing anything except taking a portion of the property and making it into a restaurant,” said attorney John Jackson, representing Sohail Abbas, the owner of the restaurant which will be called “Streetlight’s.”
Though the physical buildings on the property will remain, the site will change for the better, both Abbas and township officials agreed. Sidewalks will be built around the property, aesthetically-pleasing landscaping will be installed and handicap-accessible ramps will be placed along the site. The current tow and scrap yard area of the property will be turned into a 12-car parking lot for patrons of the restaurant, and an island will be constructed to separate traffic in and out of the gas station from those who are parked to dine.
“It’s going to be a less intense use, especially on the off-hours,” said Jeffrey Carr, the engineer for the project, explaining that tow trucks will no longer be operating from the site at all hours of the day.
At the suggestion of Township Planner Tara Paxton, Abbas agreed at the meeting to install a new six-foot fence between the Lepore’s property and his neighbors, which will taper down to four feet near the entrance. Along with trees and flowers, the property line will become more pleasing to the eye and better separate the business from its residential neighbor, Paxton said.
Abbas said at the meeting that he plans to open the restaurant between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. As currently envisioned, the establishment will not serve breakfast, however the proposed hours could change prior to opening. Carr said there will be counter service and several tables inside as well as a picnic table outside. The menu will mainly consist of sandwiches, gyros and snacks.
Carr said most of the pavement on the site will be removed and replaced – at the very least resurfaced – and improvements will also be made to make the gas station’s signage more aesthetically pleasing.
The board voted unanimously to approve the application. Abbas and his representatives did not provide an estimate as to when construction would begin.