Edison Planning Board may designate former ExxonMobile Chemical Co. site as an area in need of redevelopment

EDISON — The Edison Planning Board will begin to investigate two areas — one known as the former ExxonMobil Chemical Co. gas site on Route 27 and the other, at the corner of Oak Tree and Plainfield roads — to decide whether or not the areas should be designated as areas in need of redevelopment.

The Township Council moved forward two resolutions for the investigations at a meeting on March 28.

Township Attorney William Northgrave said the investigations are non-condemnation redevelopment areas.

“The council is not going to look to take anyone’s property if declared as an area of redevelopment,” he said, adding any existing business will be involved in negotiations with any redevelopment that may move forward.

Northgrave said the site at 2195 Lincoln Highway (Route 27) is the area that holds a Lukoil gas station and a Dunkin’ Donuts. The area had been home to an ExxonMobil research lab and synthetics plant, which closed in 2014.

“An idea has been kicked around to alleviate traffic problems in the area,” he said.

Edison is the thoroughfare of the busiest area of suburbia, Northgrave said.

“We are at the crossroads of Perth Amboy all the way to Princeton,” he said.

Northgrave said the idea involves moving the Lukoil and Dunkin’ Donuts property, and removing some of the property to create an acceleration lane from the ramp off Interstate 287. The lane would pass the current jughandle to almost the southern part of the Lukoil property.

“Right now when you come on Route 27 [from the I-287 ramp] you pull straight on Route 27,” he said. “[The acceleration lane] would give a significant area for people to accelerate and merge and also create queueing [into the lanes] so the traffic wouldn’t back up going into the Dunkin’ Donuts property or onto Vineyard Road,” he said. “Traffic backs up onto I-287 often at times. By creating an acceleration lane, it would make merging of traffic better and allow greater queueing if crossing to go to Walmart or Costco [by] looping around the back of Dunkin’ Donuts. Right now you make the turn in front of [the Dunkin’ Donuts].”

As for the corner of Oak Tree and Plainfield roads, a resident asked the council to talk to the neighbors before any redevelopment occurs, which includes an existing business and an abandoned gas station.

She said the property in question has been in discussion for 10 years and the neighbors are concerned about the potential for increased traffic in the area.

Northgrave said the Planning Board will investigate the areas to see if there is a need for effective redevelopment of the sites.

“The [Planning Board’s] recommendation will come back to this body for a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ to designate the areas as a need of redevelopment,” he said. “If the council considers a redevelopment plan, then the council will look at the pros and cons of what can be built and what is appropriate for the area.”

Northgrave said the process, which will take four to five months, also includes comments from the public.