Parking spots in front of the Mahwah Honda location on Franklin Turnpike stalled an application the business made to the township’s Planning Board this Monday to expand its facility.
The dealership is no stranger to growth. Two years ago it appeared before the board to get approval for an additional building, and it built a showroom for its cars on Route 17. It held on, too, to its original location on Franklin Turnpike, which has been there for 30 years. That location now houses pre-owned cars for sale and a service department.
The dealership applied to the board this week for approval to add 9,985 square feet to its Franklin Turnpike building, and in the process redo the building’s exterior to make it look new.
“As Mahwah has grown, Mahwah Honda has continued to grow,” Tom Ashbayan, an architect and planner who testified on behalf of the dealership, said.
“This is the next phase for Mahwah Honda. Having an [essentially] new facility along Franklin Turnpike will have a positive impact.”
The plan for the expansion is to add to the service and parts area to include a drive-through service area. The back of the building will also have a new area for six cars to get quick services, like oil changes. And, the plan calls for a bigger waiting area for customers, and an additional break room and other spaces for employees.
The upgrades were prompted by manufacturer requirements that dealerships amp up their “customer care center” areas, representatives from the company said.
The approval of the expansion plan was stalled after Honda began discussing parking spaces, particularly about a dozen in front of the building and a few on the side, that the fire inspector cited make it difficult for emergency vehicles to get access to all parts of the building.
Honda reps suggested several alternatives Monday night, but said that lining up cars in front of the dealership is a sales method.
The board also questioned what the specific spots in the lot are used for – where customers for the new customer care center will park, as well as cars that have already been serviced, and customers going into the showroom.
Representatives from Mahwah Honda said they will meet with the inspector to come up with a solution to the issue, and will come back before the Planning Board on August 12 seeking approval for a revamped plan. It is also set to bring a detailed parking plan based on the spaces it has.