Land Use Board Approves New Restaurant Conversion and Addresses Community Concerns

The Allendale Land Use Board recently approved the conversion of a former bank into a restaurant at a prominent location, while also addressing community concerns regarding parking, waste management, and accessibility. The board gave the green light to the adaptive reuse project on West Allendale Avenue, which promises to revitalize the corner of West Allendale and Maple Street. The meeting also involved the approval of several resolutions pertaining to local property developments.

The proposed restaurant project, which will transform the former bank building into a dining establishment, was the focal point of the meeting. The applicant’s representative, Mark Male, and the project architect, Matthew Evans, presented plans for the property’s renovation and operation. The restaurant’s layout includes a reconfigured main stair, a reception area, seating in front and on a mezzanine floor for a total of 112 patrons, two handicap-accessible restrooms, and a kitchen with service areas. The board closely examined the implications of the renovation for parking, waste management, and the building’s appearance.

Parking concerns were at the forefront of the discussion, given the discrepancy between the existing six parking spaces and the 38 required spaces for the restaurant’s seating capacity. The board deliberated on the lack of specific parking requirements for restaurants in the code and the anticipated parking demand. The Mayor, Amy E. Wilczynski, emphasized the importance of improving signage for the municipal parking lot to alleviate potential parking issues.

Waste management was another significant topic, with Ronnie Basile, owner of the adjacent family business, outlining plans for trash removal that align with the existing business practices. The board expressed concerns about the continuity of these practices should the business be sold in the future. Board Attorney Chris Botta highlighted that the applicant would need to adhere to solid waste or garbage enclosure requirements independently in such an event.

Accessibility was also discussed, with board members inquiring about the ease of access to the second floor for individuals with disabilities. Although the area around the egress door on Maple Street is flat, eliminating the need for a ramp, the board suggested considering the installation of a stair lift.

The board’s concerns extended to the building’s structural and operational changes, including the installation of a sprinkler system, compliance with health department regulations, and aesthetic considerations. The architect assured the board of their intention to comply with all borough requirements, including those pertaining to sprinklers and signage. The proposed exterior renovation aims to maintain the building’s existing character while implementing necessary updates, such as power washing, repointing mortar, and replacing the HVAC system with a rooftop unit.

Michael A. Sirico raised questions about fire safety and the building’s signage, with the project architect confirming the plan to comply with local regulations and not seek any relief regarding signage until the design is complete. The architect also addressed exterior lighting, stating that they aim to avoid visual pollution while considering necessary illumination for safety.

The meeting covered other items on the agenda, including the approval of four resolutions that encompassed property developments such as senior restricted housing expansions and renovations to local structures. Although these resolutions were approved, the board’s focus remained intently on the restaurant conversion due to its broader implications for the community.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Amy E. Wilczynski
Land Use Board Officials:
Michael A. Sirico, Melissa Bergen, Ron Kistner (Borough Administrator), Frank Putrino, John Dalo, Joseph Daloisio, Gregg Butler, Jason Warzala, Chris Botta (Board Attorney), Mike Vreeland (Board Engineer), Ed Snieckus (Professional Planner)

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