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Township Springs for Service Station

Cinnaminson officials opt to buy the vacant Barone's service station, as residents question the cost and ask for Route 130 sidewalks instead.

voted Monday to approve the , a vacant service station on the jughandle of Highland Avenue and Route 130.

However, a few township residents voiced their concerns on the $355,000 price tag attached to the property.

“I just think it’s an outrageous price to pay,” said resident Ken Gertie during the township committee meeting Monday night.

, questioned if the grant money the township is using for the property is being used properly.

Township residents Eric Yates and Cindy Pierson said the same thing; Yates asked committee if they thought about sidewalks along areas of Route 130, especially since the highway was .

“Just as you have done your homework, so have we,” Mayor Don Brauckmann said. “It’s nothing we haven’t considered already—we thought about other uses [for the money].”

According to Minniti, the building would be knocked down and grassed over, and provide a safer bus stop for residents. The only potential buyer the lot has had since Barone’s closed last year was from Goodwill, whose officials expressed an interest in putting a clothing donation box there. That sort of use is not permitted along the business corridor without a variance from the zoning board.

Minniti said the seller decided to go with the township’s offer, even though the Goodwill offer was for more. According to tax records, the lot was recently assessed at $411,400.

The property owner is Larmanis LLC, and it's listed with Weichert Realtors.

If it stays as is, Minniti said, it would become “a nuisance property.”

Sidewalks are something township committee has talked about, Minniti said, although the cost is unattainable at the moment. Not to mention, Young added, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations change frequently.

When the Shoppes and Mainline centers in town were being renovated, the DOT did not approve sidewalks along Route 130 in front of those locations, Young said. However, recently, Young said the DOT is in favor of sidewalks along Route 130.

Cinnaminson cross-adopted the county’s Route 130 standards plan, which now includes property owners to fix up the properties they buy. In some cases, that means putting in sidewalks.

However, to use the $355,000 grant money, which is left over from the Route 130 reconfiguration project, for sidewalks, the pavement wouldn’t extend very far.

Young said it cost $300,000 to put in the new sidewalks on Union Landing Road, but only about half that length could be installed on Route 130 with that kind of money. That’s because since Route 130 is a state highway, there are many more stipulations and extra costs associated with the project.

“There’s a whole different criteria for building sidewalks along Route 130,” Young said.

Joseph Gross March 21, 2012 at 05:21 PM
355K for the lot - How much for demolition - How much to grass it in - How much for seeding/sodding, mowing, edging, etc. forever??? If the owners didn't maintain it satisfactorily, couldn't the township take it for nothing???
Joseph Gross March 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Another question - if it's a bus stop, why doesn't NJT buy it??????
FbS March 21, 2012 at 05:27 PM
That building could be demoed for about $20-25k. Peanuts..
Silvia March 21, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I did a quick google search of the address and found this real estate listing: http://www.showcase.com/property/503-Route-130-S/Cinnaminson/New-Jersey/4289300 It shows a listing price of $450K and the township paid $355K. Sounds like the twp did good making an offer where the owner accepted a selling price of almost 100K of what he was asking. Kudos Twp Committee! Keep up the good work and keep improving Rt.130. There are some additional good ideas here for improvements so I hope there is more money and consideration of these thoughts in the future.
Ric March 21, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I prefer to see sidewalks but I do concede the township has a legitimate reason for purchasing this parcel. A Goodwill depot would not add to the attractiveness of this town. It was my understanding the township will be looking into ways of requiring and funding sidewalks and that is encouraging. With all the bad publicity about our section of Rt. 130, the township should easily convince the state to push for sidewalks and to fund them since we lack them because the fault of the state. I certainly will remind the township to push the state with each next Rt. 130 pedestrian fatality. I pray there will be no more pedestrian fatalities.
Committeeman Anthony Minniti March 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
A few points of clarification;First, there was no "either purchase Barone's or install Route 130 sidewalk" considered by Committee.This purchase did not occur at the expense of sidewalk installation.An opportunity to remove a blighted vacant property with antiquated access presented,Committee deliberated, and made a decision.With regard to Route 130 safety, Committee has been actively investigating options to enhance safety along Route 130 for several years, our most dramatic improvement being the reconstruction of the 5 points intersection.We are looking at all options (red light cameras, sidewalk, barrier fence, & lighting) and evaluating how best to incorporate an "all of the above" approach to make Route 130 as safe as possible.In fact, the removal of exits/entrance points at Barone's is itself a safety enhancing feature.NJDOT has not allowed those types of access points in many years due to safety concerns.We are actively reviewing options and will implement a plan that will enhance the safety of the traveling publicWith regard to the "value" of Barones'; value was established by the bona fide offer made by Goodwill Industries for reuse of the property as a donation drop off site.This offer was made prior to the town's and would be accepted by any court or appraiser as "fair maket value".This purchase is a proactive step to remedy a property that is danger of being either abandonded or occupied by a business that is counter to our enhanced Route 130 standards.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Second Editor's Note: It was taken out because it implies the township committee chose to buy the service station over sidewalks, which is not the case. Sidewalks were only brought up here on Patch in a comment, and from a few residents at the township committee meeting, which is why we focused on it in the story.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Editor's Note: Our headline for the story has changed a bit to take out two words "...Sidelining Sidewalks." We received two comments saying how the headline could be misleading, and we agree. Just wanted to let you know in case anyone questions it. If you have questions, e-mail me directly. Thanks for reading, Patchers!
FbS March 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
yup. This is what I have been saying.... $355k is not much for land on a busy highway..
bob andrews March 21, 2012 at 07:16 PM
How about the rest of the bus stops ??? they look horrible and trash is left behind at all of them. What is committee's plans for those ?
Cindy Pierson March 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I think we need to stop saying "bus stop". The property just happens to have a New Jersey transit stop at it's edge, but I guess because the words were used in the public notice, people still think that's why the township wants to buy the property. I believe the township just wants to tear down the building and landscape the lot to make it look nicer. I also wonder about the cost of demolition and landscaping added on to the purchase price. I will also be interested to see who gets the landscaping contract. The committee chose someone for the survey and title work when they came out of closed session, but I didn't get back inside fast enough to hear who it was, or if they had a price for that service yet. I am guessing that it will show up in a published notice in the BCT (although you can see the notices without buying the paper by going to www.publicnoticeads.com) I have heard from an anonymous source that there was another inquiry was made about the property - but it came from an auto repair business that is no longer something the township wants along the highway - he would have had to go to the zoning board and asked for a use variance, which he would have been happy to do - except that he was told the purchase price of the property was $750,000. The township has much better real estate skills, getting it for $100,000 less than the asking price of $450,000.
Richard Bickmore Jr March 21, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Blah blah blah people! It was the right decision. The vacant gas station is an eye sore! Good job to the administration for doing your homework!
Dawn seagraves March 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Once again the question that no one seems to be answering is who owns the property! And who and where is the $355,000 going? Not one person has answered that!
Tom M March 21, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Dawn - I may be wrong, but I believe the property is bank-owned at this point.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Dawn, the owner is Larmanis LLC, and it's listed with Weichert Realtors. I should have added that into my article and will do so now. You can do a Google search and see the listing actually.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Cindy, the two low bidders got the contracts.
Dawn seagraves March 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Thank you Christina I was just curious! Just sounded like it was very fast moving
Jennifer March 21, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Good Will drop off is a mess for sure! Definitely a much better option, to add a bus stop and grass it over. Love Dan's idea about seed grenades! I think it was Dan, but whoever=let's flower the place up!
lesanda March 22, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Do you mean to tell me that when Weichert presented an offer from a buyer for $450,000 theyturned it down and accepted one for a $100,000 less?Something is just not kosher here. The real estate company is obligated to secure the highest and best offer for his client to earn his commission. Commercial commission on a sale is higher than residential . Who obtained the buyer ? Is there a co-op realtor involved. Follow the money.
vincent3403 March 22, 2012 at 11:14 AM
One idea for the use of the property could be to rent it out for signage. For example, there is no visible sign to show that the country club is right down the road. Plus a grassy area is a much more attractive "entrance" to Highland ave. But it is odd that Larmanis would accept an offer so much lower; guess you'd have to talk to the managing member(s) whoever they are.
DR March 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Why can't the current property owner be forced to maintain or demolish the property like the residents are responsible for maintaining their property? Easy way out if you can't sell your business site.....let it become an eyesore until the township buys you out.
Den March 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Good Job Patch, You woke this town up, !!! Nice !!
Christina Paciolla (Editor) March 22, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thanks Den, appreciate that.
Teacherewski March 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM
What a ripperewski! As a teacher I say they split that $355K up between us babysitters and give us an extra $50K a year minimum! As us teachers say, "hardly work, play hard!"
Dawn seagraves March 22, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Maybe if teacherewski thinks of themselves as a babysitter they should find a different profession.
Lom Rombardo March 22, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Right on you silly willy's!
king george March 26, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Marietta..... SEE YA....Dont let the Door hit ya on the way out....
Anthony March 29, 2012 at 02:47 PM
IT THINK ITS A SHAME TO TAKE ANOTHER RETAIL SITE FROM CINNAMINSON.JOBS TAXES SO ON AND SO ON.WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY.LIKE SLEDDING HILL IT REALLY WHENT TO GOOD USE.WASTE OF TAX PAYERS IMCOME
Steve S March 29, 2012 at 04:01 PM
RETAIL SITE....Are you kidding me???JOBS.....What, one or two? TAXES......peanuts???Waste of time and money like the SLEDDING HILL…..seriously??? Why don't you stop looking up old articles and admit that good things are happening in Cinnaminson and this is yet another example.
cinnalert April 23, 2012 at 01:05 PM
IMPORTANT MEETING ALERT! I have learned from sources that Cinnaminson planning committee will be hearing an application tomorrow(Tuesday) night 4-24 at 7:30pm. The plan for reuse of the Corestates Bank on the corner of Meeting House and Route 130 will be presented. I'm told that former candidate for council, KEN GERTIE is the owner and is FIGHTING against the township requirement for sidewalks on Route 130. PLEASE ATTEND and tell all who are worried about Route 130 safety to come. The planning committee needs to know the people of Cinnaminson support a safer Route 130! It is important that we the community DEMAND Mr. Gertie put the safety of our town and Route 130 first!

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