Two Troubled Properties in Little Egg Harbor Targeted for Businesses

Dec 13, 2017

The Little Egg Harbor Planning Board heard two applications from two businesses hoping to locate to the township and both have potential for getting rid of eyesores along Route 9.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, representatives form AZ Tuckerton LLC proposed a new 6,000-square-foot Auto Zone retail store for 409 Route 9 South. The site is presently a dilapidated and abandoned house in front of the Acme shopping plaza.

Developer Kurt Hutter said the store would employ 10 to 15 local people including management. Hutter is the developer of 15 Auto Zones in the tri-state area of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Auto Zone is a national chain with 5,800 stores.

The store would be the standard prototype, said Hutter, who asked for some relief from the landscape requirements of the township’s “Route 9 Scenic Overlay Zone.”

Hutter envisioned 20 parking spaces and a storm water recharge system beneath the pavement. Hours of operation would be 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“It’s a retail operation, offering parts and supplies for vehicles. There is no maintenance,” said Hutter.

The meeting on Thursday was an informal application and Hutter said he hoped to be back with a formal application in early 2018.

The second application heard by the board was for a contractor’s materials and supply yard for 880 Route 9 North in the Parkertown section of the township. Michael MacIntyre purchased the property that was a former used car lot.

He proposes to utilize the existing building as an office and for small equipment rentals and sales. He would also store sand, gravel, stone and topsoil used by construction companies and offer wire and other equipment needed for concrete projects. He said he saw the need because at present, concrete suppliers have to go to Waretown or Atlantic City for their wire supplies.

MacIntyre proposes to surround the front of the property with a chain link privacy fence.

Prior to his bank closing on the property, MacIntyre was asked by the bank to do soil sampling and, if needed, environmental remediation.

“We found two buried oil tanks under concrete we excavated and also contaminated soil that we took out. We also found fuel contamination in back of the garage. We took out eight 30-yard containers of buried car engines, tires, hoods. They buried everything they could,” he said of the previous owners.

“It was all done under environmental review by the bank and now we have a clean bill of health.”

MacIntyre said he would have seven employees including himself and the hours of operation would be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

He estimated the maximum number of customers in the mornings would be six to eight trucks that would load and be gone within a half hour.

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Peter Ferwerda suggested that the height of aggregates not exceed 10 feet because of the potential for wind-blown debris. He said sand in particular could cause health problems.

MacIntyre said he would not have piles higher than 10 feet and concrete mix would be in bags, not loose. He also said no concrete mixing trucks would utilize his business in response to a question by the public.

After landscape architect Scott Taylor suggested street trees be planted on Route 9 to serve as a visual buffer and board on board fence rather than chain link, MacIntyre argued the trees would be cut back by utility companies and board on board for the 200 feet of frontage on Route 9 would be too expensive.

But he was willing to meet with Taylor to work out a solution to the aesthetics of the site.

The planning board granted MacIntyre’s request for his minor site plan approval.

Mayor Ray Gormley, who serves on the planning board, said, “The town has had quite a bit of trouble with the previous owner bringing the site into compliance. It’s a good thing we have someone who will respect the property and clean it up. It’s nice to see.”  

— Pat Johnson


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