Trail Side Cafe (Hoffman Construction & Real Estate)
SBL: 37.18-2-79, SBL 37.18-2-80
Location: 1807 Commerce Street. 1811 Commerce Street
Contact: JB Hernandez and Al Capellini
Description: Proposed change in tenant from retail to an ice cream cafe and parking variance
Planning Board, 4/9/2012
See earlier discussion below.
With the use for one of the two buildings involved in this proposed project resolved, the issue before the board was how to legalize the use of one of the buildings that appears to have existed for decades but which does not meet current parking requirements: According to the Building Department , there are no records that explain how the use the existing two story garage evolved over the years to permit retail or office use on the lower level and residential use on the upper level. For that reason, the Building Department advised the property owner to seek a variance that would pave the way for the proposed ice cream parlor/café with seven fewer parking spaces than would be required under current C-2R zoning.
After reviewing existing street parking along Kear Street, as well as the commuter lot across the street and public parking adjacent to the Yorktown Glass site, as well as the Comprehensive Plan’s goal of encouraging walking in the hamlet, the board agreed to notify the ZBA that it supported the variance request.
In supporting the reduced parking requirement for this applicant, the board was cognizant of the need for consistency in applying a flexible parking approach to other proposed projects in the area, especially as there is a small vacant parcel abutting the proposed site. It was noted, for example, that when another building on Commerce Street came in for site plan approval for office use about two years ago, the board supported a reduction in the number of required spaces, even though it was said at the time that visitors to a medical office were not likely to walk from a nearby parking lot. (See Summary of Developments, 2008-2010, Fertucci Site Plan.)
Planning Board, 1-9-2012
The applicant plans to combine two adjoining buildings, one at 1807 Commerce St (the former Lena’s) and a second, garage-like building on Kear Street (behind a nail salon), into an ice cream parlor/café. The plans involve two separate applications as each involve separate planning/zoning issues. Satisfied with the parking plan submitted by the applicant for the 620 sq ft. Commerce Street property, the board unanimously approved the change from the existing retail use to the ice cream parlor. The board will possibly take up the Kear Street building at its next meeting after visiting the site. The use of this building, used over the years as a garage, for storage and retail use, needs to be legalized.