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Gas Station Owner: Early Opening Was 'My Bad'

A new Delta gas station on Franklin Turnpike took over for a Lukoil that created some controversy last year before going out of business

The new Delta gas station on Franklin Turnpike appeared to have a strange grand opening plan – at the end of last week it was open, the beginning of this week, it had been shut down, and by the end of this week, it had reopened.

At Monday night’s planning board meeting, Chairman Todd Sherer revealed the business had been cited by township construction official Gary Montroy for opening before its tenant application was officially approved by the town.

When Sherer asked why the signage at 147 Franklin Turnpike had been changed from the station’s previous occupant – Lukoil – to Delta signs, and the station started operating before getting the proper approvals, Kuldip Singh, the applicant representing station owner Westfield Consultants, told the board it was “my bad.”

“We submitted all the applications, so I understood we were good to go,” he said. “Then we were asked to close down until we got approval from the board.”

Though board members chuckled at the applicant’s response, Sherer told him Mahwah “takes enforcing township laws very seriously, so if you don’t know the rules, please ask beforehand.” 

The board also told the applicant it needed approvals from fire code officials before it could resume operations.

The board did not grant permission for the tenant approval without first warning Singh that it wanted to avoid a controversial parking issue that came up last year between the former tenant at that location, who operated a Lukoil gas station, and residents who live behind it.

Lukoil’s tenant application turned into a six-month hearing last year as residents questioned an arrangement between the Lukoil and neighboring business Flyte Tyme Limousine. The businesses argued a fleet of seven Flyte Tyme vehicles was being serviced and inspected by that gas station daily, which made parking the vehicles at the gas station an accepted practice in the township.

However, neighbors who complained of a view of Flyte Tyme trucks and buses said they were being store at the station, which would not be allowed.

The board decided to allow the arrangement, with some restrictions, last December. Planning Board member Jerry Crean pointed out Monday that “we finally got that issue settled, and [the Lukoil was] gone within 30 days.”

Singh said he will be leasing the garage portion of the station to another business, but told the board “we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

However, in response to questioning by Board Member Ward Donigian, Planning Board attorney Peter Scandariato pointed out that the town cannot legally limit the size of vehicles serviced at the station.

Though the board granted the tenant approval, allowing for the new station to open this week, the board asked Singh to be respectful of its new neighbors.

Westfield owns other gas stations throughout Bergen County, but this is its first in Mahwah.

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JP December 06, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Speaking of gas stations, there should be a federal law enacted that prevents customers from pumping their own gas similar to New Jersey's. Not only would this potentially eliminate any safety issues, it would create new jobs across the country helping individuals, the economy, and boost income tax revenue.
Patchy McPatchigans December 06, 2012 at 08:07 PM
gas station jobs will not clothe house and feed a family.
Andy Schmidt December 07, 2012 at 02:14 AM
The survival rate of drivers is excellent in Western Europe - while filling their own cars for many decades.
Jacqueline December 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Patchy, that response was irresponsible. It's that same attitude that has people staying home collecting unemoymemt and welfare while everyone else struggles to get by. A job is a job and none should be put down. Money earned is money earned.
JP December 17, 2012 at 05:07 AM
You reluctant to create thousands of jobs Andy and at the same time boost revenues too?
JP December 17, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Better then being on welfare.
Andy Schmidt December 17, 2012 at 05:16 AM
JP, time to bring back 2nd engineers to trains, have a law that prevents shoppers from bagging goods themselves. Why stop there - imagine if we stopped selling lawnmowers to individuals - if EVERYONE needed to pay for landscaper. Oh the jobs you could create... You really want to FORCE people to pay someone extra (through higher gas prices) for a service they are willing and able to do themselves?

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