The Bordentown Township Planning Board heard initial testimony this month from a developer seeking to build a CVS Pharmacy storefront on Farnsworth Avenue after multiple adjournments to present a site application.
The township planning board held a Dec. 12 meeting to hear a site application for Pomona Development Group LLC, which calls for the proposed construction of a 9,600 square foot mixed-use, single story CVS storefront location on the corner of Route 130 and Farnsworth Avenue.
The applicant sought preliminary site plan approval at the December meeting as well as a major subdivision approval and related bulk variances associated with a proposed development of the CVS Pharmacy, associated parking, and site improvements for the existing McDonald’s restaurant located on the Route 130 and Farnsworth Avenue corner property. The site proposed for the pharmacy is in the township’s Gateway Commercial – South Zone.
The variances request per the application include a reduction in lot width and frontage, a sign variance and a variance to permit a freestanding sign area. The applicant is also proposing a sign variance associated with the approval to permit a monument sign on the planned site identifying the existing McDonald’s restaurant and any additional tenant/s on an adjacent lot.
Due to prior, separate applications discussed at length during the December board meeting, the Pomona application for the proposed CVS storefront public hearing was cut short at 11 p.m. just before the applicant’s traffic engineer could provide testimony.
Although the board members and applicant agreed to continue the public hearing to the next meeting on Jan. 9, multiple Bordentown residents who attended the meeting spoke out during the public comment period to voice their concerns with the proposed application.
One resident, Joan Borocz, who lives on 808 Farnsworth Ave., expressed her worries with the proposed site plan and how it will impact traffic at what residents said is already a “busy intersection” on Route 130 and Farnsworth Avenue.
“I am greatly impacted by what’s going on at this planning [board meeting],” Borocz said. “This is such a dangerous road, which everyone here who travels this road knows. I’m not telling anybody something they don’t already know.”
During Borocz’s comments, she informed the board members that she conducted her own traffic counts on two separate days in September from her property, and totaled the number of cars and trucks that passed her home.
According to her testimony, Borocz said that on Sept. 3, she counted 489 cars and 56 trucks from 7-8 a.m., which included box trucks, dump trucks, gasoline tanker trucks and 18-wheel trucks. Between 8-9 a.m., Borocz said she recorded 414 cars and 61 trucks.
On Sept. 9, from 4-5 p.m., Borocz said she counted 558 cars and 38 trucks. From 5-6 p.m., she said she recorded 597 cars and 23 trucks.
“When you sit on Farnsworth Avenue, waiting to get through the light, this is why,” she said. “It is a major, dangerous situation.”
Following Borocz’s testimony, Clark Boyd of Boyd’s Pharmacy, spoke out as well during the public comment period.
Although several Boyd’s Pharmacies are located in the Burlington County area, including Bordentown and Florence, Boyd said he understood “it’s just fair that this is practice when other businesses want to come in,” but he still raised concerns with the proposed CVS site location.
Boyd said a proposed CVS storefront at the corner of Route 130 and Farnsworth Avenue could potentially cause a split between the city and township, which would affect local businesses.
“You have to look at it as, ‘Is this a real asset?’ because not only does it affect other pharmacies, you have a traffic situation on a major [road] that could cut Bordentown City and Bordentown Township off,” Boyd said. “It will affect a lot of businesses. Not just the pharmacies, but all the retail businesses and different restaurants.”
Following additional public comment, the board members made a motion to continue the public hearing for the application at a scheduled meeting on Jan. 9. Planning board meetings are held at the municipal complex on 1 Municipal Drive. Meetings open to the public at 7:30 p.m.