Zoning Board OKs Bachmann’s modification

Readers who’ve long been asking “When’s Bachmann’s reopening?” finally have their answer. The Zoning Board of Adjustment on Monday night gave unanimous approval of minor changes to an application that was adopted several years ago.

The original application had office space in the basement that now will be in the attic, taking the application from 2 1/2 stories to 3 stories — which still is permitted in the zone. A maximum almost 374 square feet for the third-floor office would still be within the allowed floor area ratio (FAR).

“This neighborhood grew up around this use,” said Richard Keller, the applicant’s engineer and planner.

In operation since 1942, the original Bachmann’s on St. Georges Avenue was demolished three years ago this month, and much of the frame of the new buliding was up by the next spring and is “90 percent constructed.” The Zoning Board approved the original application in February 2007 (.pdf).

The former Bachmann’s

The first question after hearing testimony came from Zoning Board Chairman William Hering: “Why has it taken so long to get here?”

Keller said several issues have come up, including the need to obtain an access permit from the state Department of Transportation [St. Georges Avenue/Route 27 is a state highway] and a traffic maintenance plan, as well as a change in architects. The owner, he added, “is very anxious to get this approved.”

Owner Charles Bachmann told the board he’s lost “a million dollars on this” and intends to move forward as soon as plans are approved.

Larry Mitchell of St. Georges Avenue and another resident testified in favor of the application. “It’s our landmark as much as Merchants and Drovers. I saw Reggie hit three home runs there. We want it back, and I’m sure all of the neighborhood would say the same,” said Mitchell.

Here’s a recent story about the proposed KC Jazz Restaurant on the corner of Irving Street and Seminary Avenue. This report on MyCentralJersey.com quotes City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier that the entire interior of the building has been gutted but the owners have run into trouble with financing. Two people were injured when a stairway collapsed as they were checking on the basement following Hurricane Irene, according to the story.
On its website, KC Jazz still proclaims a grand opening for fall 2011 (which officially begins tomorrow, by the way).

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