took the first step of what won’t have to be many in a possible move down Kings Highway, scoring approval from the West Deptford zoning board Tuesday night on a relocation plan.
While owner Greg Payer stressed it’s far from a done deal, he presented a plan that would move the business less than a mile from the Sherwood Square Shopping Center to the former location of Terry’s Tropical Tans, near the intersection of Parkville Road and Kings Highway.
And that presentation went off with little opposition, as the zoning board overwhelmingly said yes, in a 6-1 vote.
Much of the debate about the proposal came over how the liquor store would share space with , especially when it comes to deliveries—both zoning board members and the board’s professionals raised concerns over how delivery trucks would maneuver through the parking lot.
That isn’t an issue at the store’s current location, Payer said, and given the size of the lot, shouldn’t be an issue if the move goes through.
“I see tractor trailers pull into Dunkin’ Donuts all the time,” he said. “They shouldn’t have a problem at my store.”
Board member Charles Dahmer suggested stripping out a few parking spots for a dedicated loading zone, which he said would solve the issue permanently.
“It’s tight with a regular car,” he said. “That would be much safer.”
Besides a possible loading zone, the only other issue raised by the board came from Eric Agren, the lone no vote on the plan.
“The concern I have is you’re putting a liquor store next to a residential area,” he said. “It’s a big difference with Forest Creek versus this development.”
The new location would put the store directly behind homes in the Village Grande, an over-55 community, as opposed to its currently location, a few hundred yards from apartments and condominiums.
But the handful of residents from the Village Grande who came to the meeting said they were fine with the store relocating next door—provided there’s a fence dropped in between them and the business.
“I’ve seen the traffic…it’s going to work its way back to us,” Joseph Hahn said. “The best buffer’s a fence.”
And earlier in the day, King of Steaks owner Joe Gregoria said he’s open to the idea of having a liquor store right next door.
“It’s a good thing. I think it would create a lot more traffic,” Gregoria said.
Unlike being next door to a tanning salon, he said he thinks both the liquor store and his place would feed off of each other’s business, especially during football season.
“It’s the same clientele,” said Gregoria
It’s not exactly clear how long that relationship might last, though—Payer said he aims to buy the building, which has been on and off the market repeatedly over the past five years, and the liquor store could potentially expand to twice its current size of 2,000 square feet.
That would likely put King of Steaks looking for a new home, though Payer said it would be some time before expansion plans would go through, should the liquor store make the move.
“I don’t have an agreement with them as of right now,” Payer said.
Reporter Shannon Sadler contributed to this report.