Mahwah June 3, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 3 Environmental expert: Pilot plan would have no impact by Frank J. McMahon An environmental expert who prepared an impact study for the Pilot Corporation has told the Mahwah Zoning Board of Adjustment there would be no significant environmental impact if the board approves Pilot’s plan to renovate and upgrade its existing truck stop on Route 17. Pilot plans to renovate its site and upgrade it from an overnight parking truck stop to a separated gasoline and diesel fuel service station for motor vehicles and trucks with a new 4,200 square foot convenience store. The plan would eliminate overnight truck parking, rooming facilities for truckers, and the truck weight scale, and would reduce the available truck parking spaces from 85 to eight. If approved, the Ridge Road access to the site would also be closed. The environmental expert, Steven R. Ewing, summarized the Pilot plan and noted that a redeveloped site, such as the one proposed, has less potential for environmental impact. He said the state prefers a redeveloped site in order to minimize any environmental impact and to provide the opportunity to provide storm water management to the site. Ewing addressed the potential impact of renovating the site on air quality, soil cleanup, water quality, and wildlife. On air quality, he referred to a report previously prepared by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that was based on the current, more intense use of the property, which concluded that the possibility of inhaling air pollutants was low and there was no violation of air quality standards in the area. He also emphasized that Pilot’s proposal would reduce the number of trucks parked on the site overnight. Ewing pointed out that the proposal would allow a cleanup of any contaminated soil at the site, and would permit the installation of new storm water management features to improve the quality of the water that drains from the site. “There is no storm water management there now,” Ewing said, “and the storm water management in the plan would provide significantly better water runoff from the site.” Ewing said he contacted the state about any endangered species that may live on the site, and he concluded that it is not a suitable habitat for wildlife. He said he believes the improvement of the site would not have any impact on any endangered species and the site would not “even come close” to providing a habitat for endangered species. “In my opinion, the site will not have a significant environmental impact and it will be an improvement over the existing conditions on the site,” Ewing told the board. Ewing was asked to speak specifically to the use variance being requested and any impact the new site might have on the nearby schools on Ridge Road. He again referred to the NJDEP air quality report, which he said concluded the site would not have any impact on the air quality at those schools. He also said another expert has said there would be no noise impact on the schools from this site, and the cleanup of the soil at the property would provide improved water quality for the residences located downstream. “In summary, I would conclude, in terms of the variance application, that the adjacent property owners and other residences of the vicinity will see an overall environmental improvement as a result of the improvement of this site,” Ewing said. He added that he did not believe there would be any adverse effect on the school property. Board Chairman George Cimis asked Ewing his opinion on the impact of having 240 cars come to the site during peak periods, or 1,300 a day. Ewing said his conclusion would not be any different because those cars would not be new to the area, but would have been fueling at other Route 17 service stations. When Cimis pursued the point, Ewing emphasized that the state’s report addresses the traffic on Route 17 and the change in the number of vehicles using the site and concluded they would not have any significant impact on air quality. Prior to the testimony by Ewing, the traffic experts for Pilot and Paks Fast Service Inc., which owns the Valero Service Station situated north of the Pilot site and has been opposing Pilot’s application, continued to debate the traffic gaps at both the Pilot site and the Valero Service Station in regard to which is safer for the exit of cars and trucks. Susanne Curry, a member of the board of education who said she was speaking only as a resident, claimed more trucks would be coming to the Pilot site if it were renovated. She asserted, therefore, it would not be safer. “It’s dangerous now, and common sense says there will be more trucks,” Curry said. “If it is dangerous now, it will be more unsafe.” Curry also voiced the opinion that, even if the Ridge Road access to the site were closed, trucks would still use the West Ramapo Avenue overpass. Cimis suggested she bring that condition to the attention of the superintendent of schools to see if an additional crossing guard would be needed in that area. ���������� erennials ������������ P ��������������� ������ ���������������� �������������� You May Not Need a New Driveway… racks and potholes do not necessarily mean that you need a completely new driveway, according to Rich of McFarlane Driveway Restoration. The McFarlane family has a history of servicing the Bergen/Passaic area. 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