The Clark Planning Board unanimously approved an application to open a 7-Eleven Convenience Store on Westfield Avenue, replacing the Provident Bank that moved to Raritan Road.
The 7-Eleven, located at the corner of Westfield Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard, will open in the existing structure, with an addition built on the Lincoln Boulevard side of the building.
The board listened to testimony from a panel of engineers and architects from Langan Engineering, who have been working on the plans for the convenient store.
The board decided to approve the application, under the condition the property owner make several aesthetic and safety upgrades to the building. John Hague, an attorney representing the owners of the 7-Eleven, said all conditions are doable.
The application was submitted for approval of three variances, which would change the minimum yards surrounding the building and change the amount of land the building covers.
The variances were unanimously approved.
The main entrance will be facing the parking spots in the back of the building. There will not be an entrance facing Westfield Avenue.
The building will be 19 feet one inch high, made with dark brown brick and a glass overlay, Hague said.
The planning board questioned the aesthetic of the building, saying that the side facing Westfield Avenue will look like a simple brick building.
Hague said the engineers and architect would work on making the Westfield side more appealing, suggesting columns or windows to be installed.
An addition will be added to the Lincoln Boulevard side of the building. The basement of the building will be used for storage.
The 7-Eleven will be open for 22 hours a day – two hours between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. will be used for restocking shelves. The store will be open, but not to patrons.
The planning board will suggest the hours of operation for approval from the town council, said planning board chairman John Zamboni.
There will be between six to 12 employees, with two employees working a shift at any given time, Hague said.
No cooking or baking will be done on the premises, Hague said.
Security cameras will be located on the entrances to the convenient store, but the board suggested adding cameras to monitor the parking lot for safety reasons.
The property, which measures approximately one-third an acre - will be landscaped with two red maple trees. Shrubs will surround the new addition and will border the back of the property, said Joseph Yannucci, senior project manager at Langan Engineering.
The back row will also have three stand lights with house shields to prevent the light from entering the surrounding houses.
A strip of concrete in between the sidewalk and building will be removed, and grass will be put in its place, Yannucci said.
The facility will have 15 parking spots, including one handicap parking spot, Yannucci said.
There will be two regular parking spots on the side, one handicap spot behind the addition and 12 parking spots located behind the building.
Each parking spot will measure 10 feet by 20 feet, the standard for parking spots, and new lines will be drawn in the parking lot when construction begins, Yannucci said.
There will be an entrance to the parking lot on Lincoln Boulevard and on Westfield Avenue, said Karl Pehnke, a traffic engineer for Langan Engineering.
The lot entrance on Westfield Avenue with be a right turn-in only and right turn-out only street. Cars will not be allowed to make a left into the parking lot from Westfield Avenue. They will have to make a left onto Lincoln Boulevard and turn into the property via the side street.
The Lincoln Boulevard entrance will also be the main entrance for deliveries, which may cause congestion on the one-way street, said Clark Police Sgt. and Traffic Bureau Head Mike Pollock.
Pollock suggested the right turn-in and-out system on Westfield Avenue to ease traffic, but is concerned about large delivery trucks attempting to turn out of the property onto Lincoln Boulevard.
Pehnke estimated during peak hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., approximately 35 to 40 cars turned into the bank, which previously used the facility.
With the 7-Eleven, Pehnke estimates an additional 50-car increase at the site, especially in the morning for the pre-work coffee run, he said.
Construction on the site will begin once the architects and town officials meet to discuss the aesthetic of the Westfield Avenue side of the building.
The hours for the store will be submitted for approval by the town council.