The Township Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a Pep Boys automotive service and tire center for Blackwood Clementon Road.
The 4,988-square-foot facility will be built on the northwest corner of Blackwood-Clementon and Little Gloucester roads, next to McDonald's. It will feature six service bays—two of which will be dedicated to oil changes—but will not include retail space.
Tuesday's session marked applicant Embree Asset Group Inc.'s second appearance before the planning board in three weeks. The developers, represented by attorney Aravind Aithal, of Piscataway-based Bob Smith and Associates, were joined by Pep Boys officials.
The May 22 hearing was continued after an attorney representing the McDonald's franchisee indicated his testimony could take up to two hours.
Sam Rabinowitz had indicated he was concerned overflow Pep Boys parking would take up his business' spaces.
Embree Asset Group sought as part of its site plan application a request for a variance to allow for just 17 parking spaces. The township zoning ordinance calls for 30 spaces for the commercial use.
The attorney, Thomas Shovlin, withdrew his client's objection Tuesday night, telling the board Pep Boys officials had assured Rabinowitz the 17 parking spaces and six bays would be more than enough for their business.
He also noted the automotive-care company pledged to penalize employees who park in the McDonald's lot and to pay for signage marking the fast-food property's parking spaces for its customers only, if necessary.
"Quite frankly, my client would like to see Pep Boys there. His only concern is about the spillover parking. If we can satisfy that, then we do not have an objection," Shovlin told the board.
In addition to the parking variance, Pep Boys was granted a variance, among others, to build the facility on the 0.79-acre lot at 1501 Blackwood Clementon Rd. Zoning requirements for the area call for a minimum of an acre for an automotive repair facility.
Several Woodmill residents attended Tuesday's Planning Board session, as well as the board's May 22 meeting, to express their concerns over noise and other potential environmental impacts coming from Pep Boys.
Planning Board members were joined by Embree and Pep Boys professionals in attempting to address those concerns, but clearly some in the audience were not happy as they left the meeting immediately following the unanimous approval.