Agency passes on salon

By the slimmest of margins, the Redevelopment Agency did not recommend a zoning overlay that would allow a salon on Irving Street, within 1,000 feet of another similar business.

The Redevelopment Agency deadlocked at 3-3 on a resolution that would have recommended a zoning overlay to the Planning Board. With Commissioner James Farrell abstaining because he was not at last month’s meeting when the presentation was made, the resolution failed. Voting in favor were commissioners Tony Diege, Antonio Garay and Courtney Clarke while William Rack, Timothy Nash and Nancy Saliga voted against.

Redevelopment Counsel Frank Regan said a resolution would be memorialized at next month’s meeting, but the agency could conceivably vote on a new resolution after Farrell has reviewed the original presentation.

In a presentation prior to the vote at Wednesday night’s meeting, City Planner Lenore Slothower explained the purpose of the city’s proximity rule, which does not allow a “personal service business” within 1,000 feet of another. The ordinance was instituted several years ago to “mediate businesses so they weren’t clustered in one location,” she said. At least one other barber shop or beauty salon is located within 1,000 feet (Earl’s Cuts and Curls), and there are at least four others downtown.

The zoning office gets about one request every two weeks for a salon, Slothower said, and some might return if a waiver is granted for Lisa King’s proposed “Heavenly Hair Styles” at 1645 Irving St. The problem with setting a precedent is that when a zoning overlay is done, she said, it runs with the land, even after business leaves the location, and any type of salon would be allowed, whether upscale or not.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment would be more appropriate since it listens to testimony and applicants must prove specific reasons for a variance and whether it will enhance the neighborhood and be consistent with the city’s master plan. Because of the technical issues that the Zoning Board must consider, Slothower recommended the agency take no action on the zoning overlay. The location also is within the arts district, which the city has been trying to keep to retail art shops and artists’ studios, she added.

Rack suggested the agency maintain the proximity ordinance and stick to the redevelopment plan while Garay said an exception should be made because the applicant is looking to bring something more creative to the are than just a cut and style.

King countered that the nearby barber shop is not the same as her upscale, full-service salon, and does not serve women. “Rahway is growing, obviously you have a need because salons are doing well, there’s no competition. The ordinance doesn’t really make too much sense, I wouldn’t be taking business from other salons,” she said, adding that stylists, whether for hair or nails, are artists, so it’s “a perfect location for us to be.”

The proximity ordinance doesn’t make a distinction between a barber shop or beauty salon, identifying them only as a personal service business.

19 thoughts on “Agency passes on salon”

  1. Good! While I have great respect for the, er, artists at hair salons, I don’t think that’s that type of art that Rahway had in mind when it created the Rahway Arts District.

  2. I use my fingernails and hair as paintbrushes,don’t you? and i use my nicely manicured toes to make pottery.the art just flows though me after i had my150 dollar hour at the saloon,oop’s, art hair salon.

  3. THANK GOD! It’s nice to know that the redevelopment team is keeping the long term best interests of the town by now overloading the area with these types of shops. The people that voted against it will have my support.

  4. I agree with the comments – that is the last thing we needed in downtown Rahway – If we are to become the next Hoboken or Westfield lets take a walk to their downtown and count how many hair places they have in their downtowm area.Enough is enough – it’s time to upscale downtown

  5. Lies, Rahway denied the overlay, and did not say a resolution would be memorialized at the next meeting. They simply denied my request. There shouldn’t have been a concern for Ms. Slothower regarding others questioning why I was allowed and prehaps they were not, because I went through the necessary process to get the overlay, they obviously did not, and that is what should could have told them if she was questioned. Yes, there is another “personal service” within 1000 feet, which is Earl’s cuts, it’s a barber shop, they service men in cutting hair, my proposal was to create a full service salon that services women, somewhere they can come relax and get pampered. As for the 1000 feet zoning rule, who is that rule for? A “tattoo Salon” was just approved through the Rahway Redevelopment Agency to open of shop within that 1000 feet, and I’m not saying anything bad about the tattoo salon. The artist there do great work, my point is simply, you can’t go around lefting rules for some, and sticking to them for others. What hurts me the most is that one of the commissioners who voted “no” at the October meeting was the very one that was so for me at the 1st meeting in September. This commissioner said to me at the first meeting “this is a great idea, and perfect timing for what is going on in Rahway with the renewing of the City, he also said that the location would be very relaxing because it overlooks the Rahway River. At the October meeting, he was very rude to me when I attempted to defend my vision and plan. To add to all this unfair ruling, Silcon the developer for the Indigo Hotel downtown Rahway are the people I was to rent the space from, I had already signed a lease, they are still holding on to my $10,700.00, and they initially told me that they had the overlay or variance, whatever you want to call it. Later, when it was discovered they didn’t have it, I was told I needed to request it myself, and I allowed them to hold on to my security $10,700.00 while I went thru the process in getting the variance. If it was known, that it was not a possibility for me to open a salon at that location, tell me why was I even allowed to go through the process to get the overlay? Come on Rahway, please don’t insult me. To date, I have been denied. I will not be operating my shop at that location, but Silcon refuses to return my $10,700.00. When the contract simply states “contingent upon approve to operate a beauty salon”. Now, you tell me what is wrong with this picture.

  6. As for all the comments left on this blog,it’s all bull and you guys know it.I think it would be a great idea having a upscale beauty salon in Rahway.I grew up in Rahway and to have to go out of the city and find beauty services else where was a big inconvience.So for the board to deny Mrs.Kings proposal was a big let down for a tax paying resident of Rahway for the past thirty years.So quit being greedy and money hungry and refund her money.The nerve of you deny her then try to keep her hard earned money.

  7. Wow!! this is so interesting. I know the number one person who is behind this. Lenore Slothower. She is one of the biggest racist I have ever met in my life, and after reading this, I didn’t even have to wonder the race of Ms. King because I’ve been a victim of a similar situation in Rahway. I would bet my life savings that Ms. King is an africian american women. Those people in city hall of Rahway think they are Gods and they try to rule the entire City. City hall needs to be investigated. There is nothing but corruption and racism going on there. I’ve been a victim myself. I no longer live in the town, but I’m going to make it my business to find out who this Ms. King is and I’m going to share my story and assit her in fighting the city because she sounds like a fighter. When I was a victim of discrimination by the hands of Rahway, I had no one to back me up and it was hard to prove, but she strikes again. Ms. Slothower, your days are numbered, you have been found out. Ms. King, I still have family and friends in Rahway. I’m going to find you so that I can assit you. As for Silcon, ashame on you!!!

  8. I have been a rahway resident for 12yrs. I’ve also worked in rahway, and my children attend rahway schools. I am a very hard working single mother, and I think it would be a great idea to open an upscale salon for my family and I to frequent. Being a long time resident, I only see doobie shops in rahway. I know that for a FACT! rahway has lots of seniors that would love to shuttle to get their hair done close by. who are we thinking about rahway residents or city hall workers that’s probably not even rahway residents? its so not fair to have doobie salons and no upscale salons for european and african american hair. how racist is that? and what in the world do you mean those types of salons? explain that one! .. as for silcon…you just had a beautiful property built and u don’t have money (thats not even yours) to return…shame on you.

  9. Lisa,”my point is simply, you can’t go around lefting rules for some, and sticking to them for others.”That’s my point too, and the exact reason I don’t want another variance put in place for another personal service business within 1,000 feet of an existing one. If EVERYONE gets an exception, then what’s the point of a rule? And it seems to me the point of the rule is to ensure that a variety of businesses move into downtown, not a slew of hair/nail/tattoo salons.As for your dispute with Silicon, well, you definitely should see a lawyer about that. It sounds like you should be getting your deposit back.As for Lenore Slothower, I have no idea who she is, but I think calling her a “racist” because she voted against a variance for a hair salon is ridiculous. I’m sure Ms. Slothower will find many people that support her decision, and I’m one of them. You can call them all racists if you’d like, but that’s just pathetic.”I think it would be a great idea having a upscale beauty salon in Rahway.”Perhaps it would be. How about in a location that does not require a variance from existing zoning laws?

  10. Im not sure who in city hall is sleeping with the Silcon Execs – but obviously somebody is allowing that Silcon limo to be parked all day in the 5 min loading zone outside the Indigo. Anyone else parked in that location would be ticketed and towed! Additionally, parking in this location must be in violation of fire codes – god forbid an ambulance or fire truck needs to utilize the space for an emergency.This type of favoritism should not be tolerated by our government and elected officials. The people in town hall should remember that they work for us – the tax paying citizens of Rahway – and if this keeps up they should be “fired” in the next election.

  11. Lisa: What “lies” exactly are you referring to, I’m curious? The Redevelopment Agency took a vote. My understanding is all votes, whether by Redevelopment Agency or Planning Board, must be memorialized, which usually occurs at the next meeting. Redevelopment Agency Counsel Frank Regan said he would be drafting a resolution regarding the vote for next month’s meeting (Nov. 12). Matthew: Lenore Slothower is the city planner. She’s a city employee and does not sit on the Redevelopment Agency and does not vote on it. Technically, it wasn’t a variance commissioners voted on, but a zoning overlay which also would then have to be approved by City Council. A variance would go before the Zoning Board, which the applicant can still do. Everyone: Whether in favor or against the proposal, I’m sure you can make your case without resorting to calling people racists. Like “lies,” “racism” is a serious accusation that really shouldn’t be tossed around so lightly without presenting a least a modicum of fact.

  12. Mark: at the meeting Oct 1st, the discussion about a resolution was mentioned, however, it ended whereby since the vote was 3 to 3, they were allowed to determine whether to proceed at the next meeting or not. They decided to not proceed and they denied right then. There was alot of back and forth talking regarding the rules of the committee that were not clear to me, so I simply asked, “what does all of this mean” and I was told “your request is denied, it will not be memorialized at the next meeting”. At that point, my husband and I left the meeting. Maybe you missed that part, we didn’t. So, this situation is dead, it won’t be at the table at the next meeting, and I’m not interested. I am moving on with my vision and plan and handling my legal affairs. Rahway will not stop me from doing what I have been commissioned to do, and “no weapon form against me shall prosper”.Matthew: I’m sure if Ms. Slothower was called a racist, that is one’s personal opinion and they probably have a reason to assume she is. You don’t know their story. Don’t say it’s pathetic if you don’t know their story. You can’t judge a person or a situation until you’ve walked in their shoes or have experienced there issue. You were not at the 1st meeting, nor the 2nd meeting. You can’t comment on how things went down, and what your reading is not the entire story. Lastly, you probably never experienced racism, so you don’t even know what it feels like nor what it looks like, and I don’t expect you to. For the person that is trying to contact me, feel free LiKi444@aol.comLisa

  13. “You can’t judge a person or a situation until you’ve walked in their shoes”A very good reason why you shouldn’t assume I haven’t experienced racism – you have absolutely no knowledge about what I have experienced.”Personal opinion” unsupported by facts does not support hurling the insult “racist” around at anyone who disagrees with you, or whenever you don’t get your way.

  14. Matthew, how do you know that there are no facts? And it sounds like you have a personal attachment with the issue, because you ditto something that was previously stated to me regarding having my way. Having my way is not the issue. Again you don’t know all the details, oops maybe you do? So tell me, how about the slew of dry cleaners, coffee shops, eateries, candy stores, etc., that are within 1000 feet of each other? What is the real deal about “personal services”, which they should have simply stated “beauty salons”, because the real issue is “beauty salons”, can you answer that? Lastly, there soon will be a slew of condo’s which means that a slew of the other services will be needed hopefully. The rule simply doesn’t make sence, and I personally feel that it was put in place for other reasons that are not being noted. The town should be more concerned with being able to service all of the people that are moving into the town, so that the money can stay in town and people won’t have to go outside of the town for services.Lisa

  15. Lisa, I guess we’ll differ on our definition of “lies.” From my recollecton, and my notes from the meeting, I got the impression there would be a resolution memorialized. Agency Counsel Frank Regan said the board’s vote is not necessarily written in stone but that initial vote gives him guidance on how to draft the resolution for next month; at least according to my notes.My understanding was the vote was on whether to recommend a zoning overlay; to me, it’s six of one versus a half dozen of another as to whether it was “denied” or “not recommended.”If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to clarify the post, but not until such time that I’m presented with evidence otherwise, like meeting minutes or something.I’ll agree there was a lot of back and forth discussion and confusion about whether in fact the resolution passed initially since it was a 3-3-1 vote.

  16. Mark, I have an e-mail from Ms. Slothower, indicating that it was denied and won’t be memorialized at the next meeting. She e-mailed me stating quote “no means no.Lisa

  17. To be honest with you guys there is enough room in this town for alittle bit of everything that want to be built. Now if this lady has the money to start something let her go forth with her plan we have enough stuff that incomplete or who knows whats going on with? what ever happen to the Savoy in the so called Gas Lamp District? Heavanly Hair got prejudged by the name and you guys don’t want to admit it but it is what it is! Art district my foot haven’t really seen to many folks looking for art lately. If you need to go after someone go after all the developers with there incomplete jobs don’t go after someone creating jobs for people that need a license in the first place to operate. so they went to school in order to do this type of services. Well sorry for the tangant but i want to see bigger things for this town but you guys can’t see the bigger picture

  18. For all of those who have been following this story, Heavenly Hair Styles was able to secure a new location. And we will be open for business on November 5th. Our hours will be Tuesday – Friday From from 10AM to 6:30PM & Saturdays 8:30AM to 4:30PM.Our new location is:1735A St. Georges Ave in Rahway(732) 381-1116Parking in the Rear on Union St.Visit our website @ and also view our blog @ http://www.heavenlyhairstyles.blogspot.comThanks!!

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