Here’s a quick look at some retail and commercial turnover around town in the third quarter of 2016 (and then some):
There are more than 300 residential properties on the city’s foreclosure registry, as of Sept. 1, including almost 100 vacant properties.
Construction of an ice cream shop on the former Decker’s Tavern site is on hold until oil remediation is completed on a neighboring property.
Jim Biniaris, owner of Piece of Cake Frozen Specialties across the street, said in a telephone interview this week that he had the opportunity to purchase two neighboring Jaques Avenue homes after the Zoning Board originally approved plans 20 months ago. He’s waiting on oil remediation to be completed on one of the recently acquired sites, which could take several more months, before moving ahead with the project.
When the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the application of Gourmet Ice in September 2010, the plan was to begin construction at Jaques and West Inman avenues the next spring and hopefully open this year.
The original application called for a 2 1/2-story building with an ice cream shop and service counter on the first floor and a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor. Variances were needed for 11 parking spaces, retail and apartment in an R-2 zone, front yard setback of less than 25 feet, and maximum impervious coverage of more than 60 percent.
Decker’s Tavern closed in about 2006 after 66 years and the two-story building was demolished in October 2010. A proposal in November 2007 to build two three-bedroom duplexes was rejected by the Zoning Board.
The old Decker’s Tavern at West Inman and Jaques avenues was demolished earlier this month. The tavern had operated for 66 years until it closed in 2006 and will be replaced by an ice cream shop, Piece of Cake, which operates its manufacturing facility across the street.
Here’s a story I’d been meaning to link to for awhile from The Star-Ledger/nj.com: “Summit considers charging for parking in free lots in downtown parking district.” It’s always curious to see what other municipalities are doing with their downtown in general, but especially when it comes to parking since that’s an integral part of it.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved an application Tuesday night that paves the way to demolish a former tavern and construct an ice cream shop..
Jimmy Biniaris, owner of Piece of Cake Frozen Specialties, told the board he plans to open the ice cream shop by spring 2012. Half of the store would include 13 freezer doors to store items for pick up from his manufacturing facility across the street, with the other half serving as an ice cream shop, he said. All production would remain at the facility across the street at 62 W. Inman Ave., which serves hotels and banquet facilities but also is “retail legal.” Three neighbors spoke in favor of the application.
A few aspects of the application mentioned last night were slightly different from what was reported here last month: there will be no indoor seating area, only a service counter area, and there were 11 parking spaces proposed (not nine as previously reported) but 12 are still required, making a variance necessary. Other variances sought were a use “d” variance for a nonconforming use and bulk “c” variances for front yard setback and maximum impervious coverage.
Decker’s Tavern operated for 66 years at the corner of Jaques and West Inman avenues until it closed in 2006 and also was a nonconforming use. Planner Nicholas Sottoes argued that the site is at the edge of the R-2 zone, is more influenced by an adjacent industrial zone, and the proposed residential-retail combination is more consistent with the two-family homes in the area.
Board members had some questions about street parking and traffic. Decker’s had but eight parking spaces while 20 spaces were required considering it had seating for 20 and about 15 bar stools, according to Sottoes, who added that four street parking spaces (one on Jaques, three on West Inman) could be used as well.
Craig Peregry, a planner hired by the applicant, seemed to allay board member concerns about a potential for increased traffic at the four-way stop intersection and street parking. Current volume at the intersection is very low, and low speed, with about 200 vehicles per hour, he said. Trip generation projections at peak hours — weekday evening and Saturday midday — indicated about 14 in and out of the site per hour while the state considers a “significant increase” to be 100+ trips per hour. “The traffic impact is a wash versus the previous use,” Peregry said.
More details about the application, which includes an apartment on the second floor, can be found in this previous post.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled hear the application at its Sept. 14 meeting at 7 p.m. We detailed the application in a post about a month ago.
Our latest blog poll will be up next week. I’m thinking, “What’s your favorite breakfast place?” I’ve got a few places in mind to include in the poll but, as always, I’m open to more suggestions, especially for any out-of-the-way places that aren’t downtown. Feel free to email to rahwayrising(at)gmail.com, or find us on Twitter or Facebook.
8/16 UPDATE: The applicant decided to postpone the hearing until the
Sept. 13 Sept. 14 meeting because only six of the seven Zoning Board members were present. A use change requires five affirmative votes.
Decker’s Tavern, at the corner of Jaques and West Inman avenues, closed several years ago and a proposal in November 2007 that sought to build two three-bedroom duplexes was rejected by the Zoning Board, fearing it was too intense for the site. Continue reading Piece of Cake has plans for Decker’s Tavern site