The Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) had extensive deliberations on the proposed Stop & Shop gas station on Thursday night, but did not vote on the application. The P&Z is now expected to vote on the matter at its March 21 meeting.
One member, Brian Quinn, had not had a chance to listen to the recording of one of the three nights of public hearings that he missed. While a P&Z alternate who had been at all three hearings was present at the Thursday meeting and could have voted instead of Quinn, it was decided to wait so Quinn could listen to the recording and vote on the matter.
What is being proposed
Stop & Shop wants to build a 10-pump gas station on Route 111, slightly north of Cross Hill Road. The 528 Monroe Tpke. site is not adjacent to the Stop & Shop supermarket but is just north of the Rite Aid. The Beardsley Brook passes through the property as well as an intermittent waterway.
Two underground fuel tanks would hold 30,000 gallons and 10,000 gallons, with about one fuel delivery per day.
The station would require two curb cuts on Route 111. The southern one, toward Rite Aid, would be for both entering and exiting. The northern entrance, toward the Goodwill store, would be for exiting to the right only (to head north on Route 111).
Indications of how they might vote
During deliberations, two P&Z members expressed support for the application — Chairman Patrick O’Hara and Vice Chairman William Porter.
O’Hara said opponents had presented no expert testimony, including on environmental issues, while the applicant had presented evidence showing there would be no negative impact on traffic or property values. He said the gas station would have many state-of-the-art safety features to prevent environmental damage or safety problems (such as fires).
Porter said the proposal had been approved by the Inland Wetlands Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, was an allowed use in the Design Business-2 District where it is located, and had incorporated the recommendations of an environmental expert hired by Inland Wetlands.
Another P&Z member, James Weinberg, spoke out against the proposal. Weinberg was concerned that the contaminants (especially MTBE and petroleum hydrocarbons) on the property could be affected by the development and move off-site with the groundwater flow. He also said many questions exist about the source of the contamination.
Neither Quinn nor the fifth voting member, Karen Martin, gave any strong indication of how they might vote.