Wednesday, August 19, 2015


The Township Committee on Tuesday night approved major changes to Springfield Avenue regulations with a string of ordinances redefining business along the avenue and helping to pave the way for a new Wawa Market near the Irvington city line.

The new laws change much of the avenue from highway business designation to pedestrian retail zone, disallowing more industrial and auto-related shops and promoting more storefront retail outlets.

Two portions of the avenue, however, will remain highway business zones, including the area designated for the new Wawa just east of Boyden Avenue.

In addition, the TC gave final adoption to an ordinance establish a new zoning designation of a "convenience store with fueling services," which will address Wawa's request to have gasoline sales at its site. In addition, it permits 24-hour gasoline sales within the highway business district, which will also meet a Wawa request.

Previously, gasoline sales in town were prohibited between 11 p.m. and  5 a.m.

The TC voted 4-1 on the 24-hour ordinance and the creation of the convenience store with fueling services ordinance, with TC member India Larrier voting no. Larrier said she objected to the 24-hour approach for Wawa, stating, "my concern with this ordinance is we don't know what the impact will be."

"For me, that's very disconcerting," she added, noting that no other area towns allow 24-hour gas sales, which could prompt increased overnight traffic to the area. "I'm against this business model."

Larrier did join in the 5-0 vote on the ordinance to redefine most of the avenue as pedestrian retail. 

See that ordinance and the specific designation changes block by block HERE.

But the other elements did not sit well with her and at least two residents who spoke out against it, including one who said she lives behind the 76 station at Springfield and Millburn avenues and fears crime.

Mayor Vic De Luca said he had spoken to the 76 station and was informed it would likely not expand to 24 hours if allowed.

"We are getting a major investment by a very stable, very good company," De Luca said about Wawa,

Also at issue was a provision in the pedestrian retail zone change that allows first-floor offices for non-retail or non-professional services. Planning Board member and Township Committee candidate Nancy Adams spoke out against that provision, noting that offices that do not serve walk-in customers could be allowed to operate and hurt the efforts to have pedestrian-friendly businesses on first-floor locations.

De Luca said that that issue could be addressed after the ordinance is passed, but urged that it be passed sooner to allow Wawa to begin construction.

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