‘Restaurant Row’ inching closer in Lyndhurst

LYNDHURST —

Is there a “restaurant row” in Lyndhurst’s future?

That’s the hope of the township Board of Commissioners in having voted Oct. 10 for the introduction of an ordinance amending the local zoning code to create a “business restaurant overlay zone.”

This new use — assuming it first passes review by the town Planning Board on Nov. 1 and a BOC public hearing on Dec. 20 — “shall include all properties situated along Stuyvesant Ave., specifically, having any portion of a parcel of land adjacent to Stuyvesant Ave., and located in the business zone.”

Permissible uses in this new zone would be:

  • Eating and drinking establishments, including delis, offering table service with at least 10 seats, but no fast-food retail.
  • Residences above the ground floor where the ground floor has a restaurant establishment having a minimum of 1,200 square feet; residential units must be at least 700 square feet.

In the new zone, buildings could be as high as 35 feet and four floors (versus 35 feet/3 stories under the old code) but the fourth story “shall be set back a minimum of four feet from the third story fronting the primary street of the premises.”

Brian Haggerty, a former township commissioner and currently, an unpaid redevelopment adviser to the township, told The Observer that with the zoning change, “We hope to entice Stuyvesant Ave. property owners into doing something with their buildings — if they add a restaurant, they get to add an additional floor with the setback and added income from those rentals.”

At the same time, Haggerty said, the township is hoping to persuade owners of Stuyvesant Ave. properties with expansive rear yards to consider doing transactions with the township that could provide additional off-street parking opportunities.

That parking, he said, could then accommodate patrons of the additional eateries the township is promoting through the proposed zoning amendment which could help “revitalize Stuyvesant Ave. and enhance the value of properties” in and around the area.

Some seven decades ago, Haggerty said, Stuyvesant Ave. was the township’s premiere business district and now the township hopes it can provide the tools to make that possible once again.

In other business at the Oct. 10 meeting, the BOC introduced an ordinance, up for public hearing Nov. 13, to amend the township’s public health nuisance code by prohibiting the feeding of wildlife “in any public park or on any other property owned, operated or controlled by either the Township of Lyndhurst or any private owner…” to prevent “over-concentrated areas of birds and wildlife, which increases the risk of disease and disease transmission to pets and humans.”

Further, the ordinance would ban anyone from leaving or storing “any refuse, garbage, food product, pet food, forage product or supplement, slat, seed or birdseed, fruit or grain” that could attract wildlife.

Additionally, the ordinance would hold property owners liable for the “securing or removal of outdoor trash, cooking grills, pet food, bird feeders or any other similar food source” after being advised by the township to do so.

That being said, however, the “feeding of songbirds and other backyard birds is permitted,” provided that:

  • No bird seed “shall be thrown or scattered on the ground … or place on any fence.”
  • Bird feeders must be “enclosed and suspended or elevated no less than five feet from the ground.”
  • A maximum of three bird feeders is allowed on any one property.
  • Bird feeders are restricted to the front and rear yards “and not less than 10 feet from the property line or any fence.”
  • No more than three pounds of bird seed/food can be placed in bird feeders.
  • Bird feeders cannot “create an unreasonable disturbance” of neighbors.
  • Bird feeders cannot “become an attraction for rodents or other wildlife” nor can they “create an accumulation of droppings and/or fecal matter….”

Offenders have 24 hours to comply. Failure to do so makes violators subject to prescribed penalties.

The BOC also introduced an ordinance, slated for public hearing Nov. 13, to increase local water utility rates and fees as a pass-along of costs incurred for installation of new water mains/trunk lines covering nearly half of the township and of higher water rates assessed by the Passaic Valley Water Commission.

As proposed by this ordinance, water rates would rise from the current $3.80 per 100 cubic feet of water consumed per quarter to $3.90, along with the minimum per-quarter fee, from the current $31 to $33, effective Jan. 1, 2018. (The minimum quarterly water charge will include a minimum “consumption charge” of $12 and the “capital maintenance charge.”)

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, those rates would increase to $4 per 100 cubic feet per quarter and $35 for the minimum per-quarter fee. (The minimum “consumption charge” will go to $13 per quarter and will include capital maintenance.)

While the township assumes full cost for maintenance and repair of water mains and meters, consumers must pay for replacement of water meters.

The residential minimum quarterly capital maintenance charge varies, depending on the size of the water meter. For example, a residence using a 5/8-inch meter currently paying $19 per quarter will pay $21 in 2018 and then $22 for 2019. A residence with a 6-inch meter now paying $1,650 per quarter will pay $1,700 next year and $1,735 in 2019.

The minimum quarterly capital maintenance charge for commercial users will see comparable increases. As examples, a business with a 5/8-inch meter now paying $30 per quarter will pay $32 next year and $34 in 2019 while a business equipped with an 8-inch meter now paying $2,160 will pay $2,210 next year and $2,260 in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.