A fleet of seven Flyte Tyme Transportation Services vehicles is allowed to stay parked in the Franklin Turnpike Lukoil’s lot while they are being or waiting to be serviced there, however there will be some restrictions on the arrangement.
The existing agreement between the two Franklin Turnpike businesses, as presented by their lawyer Andy DelVecchio, is that Flyte Tyme limos are dropped off nightly for inspections, which are performed on the vehicles every morning. The inspections are required Department of Transportation ‘bus driver’ checklists that must be filled out on a daily basis, but do not legally need to be done by a mechanic. DelVecchio said the vehicles are also repaired on site if the inspector finds anything wrong with them, and are gassed up at the Lukoil.
After a determination from township Zoning Officer Gary Montroy that parking the vehicles on site for fueling, inspections, and maintenance is a permitted use at the site, the Planning Board approved Lukoil operator Sam Ellahi’s tenant application to operate his business on the site.
Though on its surface a simple application, the matter has gotten complicated since August, when a Board of Adjustment hearing began to determine whether or not the vehicles were being stored at the gas station. Residents of Stephens Lane, which is at the corner of Franklin Turnpike at the station, have complained about the appearance of the vehicles, and suggested that they are stored there on a regular basis. After sworn testimony from the owners of both businesses, Montroy said he believes they are being serviced, not stored.
The Lukoil was approved, but with several conditions, namely that white lines must be painted on the ground where the vehicles will be parked. “There seems to be a concern of curb appeal to the residents on Stephens Lane, so [a way for] the curb appeal to be improved would help, I think” Planning Board member John Kelly said. The board found that having the vehicles parked in a neater configuration might ease some of the residents’ concerns. The Flyte Tyme vehicles are also only allowed to maneuver into the delineated spots on the Lukoil property, not on Stephens Lane or Franklin Turnpike.
As a condition of the approval, the Lukoil is also required to put in some fencing and shrubbery at its rear to shield some of its neighbors.
Board member Chuck Jandris proposed denying the application based on a lack of proof, outside of testimony, that the vehicles are being serviced, and to request a traffic pattern study to detail how the vehicles will be parked in the spots. The motion died when no other member seconded it.
The approval, which Board member Jeremiah Crean said he moved because there were no grounds to deny it since the zoning officer found the arrangement to be a permitted use, was passed with a 6-2 vote.
Ellahi, who has been cited multiple times for this and other issues since taking over the station in 2010, said he is happy to have this issue behind him. “I am looking forward to doing business in Mahwah now,” he said. “[The conditions on the approval] might make business a little bit more difficult, but we are trying to be good neighbors. Hopefully this will help.”