By Elaine Van Develde
It’s official. Fair Haven is down to one gas station in town.
As locals have long speculated what will replace the nearly three-year shuttered former Fair Haven Sunoco at the corner of River Road and Cedar Avenue, equipment has been digging into the tarred lot, fenced-in lot and officials have only confirmed that it will not be re-purposed as another gas station.
In fact, they said at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting, all the excavation by EV Banta Co., of East Orange, is about the “decommission of the (gas) tanks” on the site. That’s all.
No plans for anything to be built at the site have yet been submitted to the Planning Board.
Yet, because of the permits acquired for the decommissioning, it is clear to officials that “there is no intention to keep it as a gas station,” Fair Haven Administrator Theresa Casagrande said.
Zoned for business use, no one offered any more information about what may be unofficially planned by a lessee or new owner. For a couple of years a “For Lease” sign was hung on one of the building’s bays.
The site long housed a gas station under management at different intervals. In its last life, it was Rich’s Ultra Sunoco. Rich’s could no longer afford the lease, Mayor Ben Lucarelli had said. Before that, it was Duckworth’s Sunoco. And that list of gas stations on the plat of land goes back a long time.
The only remaining gas station in the 1.4-square-mile borough will now be the Valero a few blocks away on River Road, formerly Ray Miller’s Exxon and Esso at one point.
Years back, there were yet another three, besides Valero and Sunoco, gas stations in town: another on the opposite corner from Sunoco, at Cedar and Hance roads; one sat on the corner of Gillespie Avenue and River Road, where a veterinarian’s office now sits; another was on the corner of Fair Haven and River roads, where Balderose Fine Foods now sits; and yet another was where the Foreign Cars of Monmouth is anchored.
Between Rumson and Fair Haven, dating back a couple of decades, there were 12 gas stations — six in Rumson and six in Fair Haven.