Mahwah October 21, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 3 Members of the public comment on Pilot plan by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Board of Adjustment listened to more than two hours of comments from the public regarding the Pilot Corporation’s proposal to renovate its Route 17 truck stop into a diesel and gasoline fuel dispensing service station. Zoning Board Chairman George Cimis opened the hearing to the public, explaining that all the testimony and questioning of witnesses who have testified before the board since the public hearing on Pilot’s plan began in Aug. 2008 has been completed. However, Cimis first asked Mahwah School Superintendent Charles Montesano to read a resolution concerning the Pilot plan that was passed by the school board in May. That resolution “strongly encourages the closing of the vehicular and pedestrian access to the Pilot Truck Stop from Ridge Road while indicating its trust that the zoning board will take into consideration, when making a decision on the Pilot plan, the additional concerns regarding the proposed expansion of the Pilot Truck Stop which could be detrimental to the health and welfare of the students and staff of the Mahwah Public Schools.” Montesano said he was not prepared to speak on any other issues other than the resolution, and said, “The resolution speaks for itself.” Seven people spoke against the plan, three spoke out in defense of it, and one person asked a question about the number of fuel pumps that would exist at the Pilot site under the proposed plan versus the number of pumps at the Valero service station located north of the Pilot site. The attorneys for Pilot and Valero advised that there would be six truck fueling positions and 12 automobile pumps on the Pilot site, while the Valero station has five pumps. Armando Padon, who lives on Highland Road and has been a truck driver for 23 years, predicted that, if the board approves the plan, there would be trucks lined up on Route 17, which he said would be a tremendous hazard. He also complained about the rear access ramp to and from Ridge Road. Cimis pointed out to him that the plan has room for 16 trucks to line up on the site, and assured Padon that, if the plan is approved, that access would be closed. Gladys Moriarty of Glasgow Terrace noted the site’s proximity to the township’s schools; the plan’s violation of the township’s ordinance that prohibits service stations within 500 feet of a school; the convenience store, which she described as an attractive nuisance; and the potential hazards to the environment. “Any benefits will not come for free,” she added. Suzanne Curry of Pierson Court, a member of the school board who said she was speaking as a resident, cited problems she alleged that Pilot has had at its Bloomsbury location. “Past behavior is the best prediction of future behavior,” she said. William Krane of James Brite Circle said he does not like the scare tactics being used by the opponents of the Pilot plan. He said he believes there is a small minority of people opposing the application and their comments should not affect the board’s decision if the plans represent an appropriate use. He said Pilot is a private company that has a right to make a profit and, the company is going through the right process to get the plan approved. “I’m in favor of the application,” Krane told the board. “The applicant has the right to a fair assessment of their application regardless of what the public’s opinion is.” (continued on page 25) Welcome back, all! Members of the Mahwah Branch of the Valley Hospital Auxiliary recently attended a Welcome Back Luncheon in Allendale. They were treated to a demonstration and informational talk by Jean Marie Herron of POSSE on Organizing 101- Back to Basics. Pictured are Jane Kirsch, Jo-Ann Glock and Nadine Moores. 25% OR 50% OFF ALL HALLOWEEN COSTUMES