AS EXPECTED, WELSH FARMS HEADS TO COURT

The owner of the store had sought a variance for an expansion and signage, but was derailed by a last-minute change in the noise ordinance.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank planning board’s rejection of a proposal to turn a Welsh Farms convenience store into a 24-hour 7-Eleven has triggered a lawsuit.

Dina Enterprises, owner of the East Front Street store, filed suit in state Superior Court in Freehold August 8, claiming the board kowtowed to public opposition and exercised “palpable abuse of its discretionary authority” in rejecting an expansion variance in May.

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LAWYERS SQUARE OFF OVER 24/7 7-ELEVEN

The Welsh Farms store on East Front Street, site of a planned 7-Eleven, would be banned from opening all night under a law passed Wednesday night. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In a contentious exchange that appeared to foreshadow a lawsuit to come, a lawyer for a Red Bank convenience store challenged the rationale for a new local law that banned all-night businesses Wednesday night.

Squaring off against three lawyers sitting on the council dais, store attorney Philip San Filippo said a revision to a noise ordinance passed by the governing body just moments later was overly broad in scope and designed solely to torpedo his client’s plans, now pending at the borough planning board, to convert the store to a 24-hour 7-Eleven.

The law, cast as an amendment to a noise ordinance, was “absolutely” designed with his client’s plans in mind, San Filippo told reporters afterward.

“It absolutely was not,” insisted Councilman Mike DuPont, even as he touted the hastily enacted law as a “creative” response to a problem.

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RED BANK AIMS TO BAN OVERNIGHT BUSINESS

The unacknowledged elephant in the room: the Welsh Farms on East Front Street, now seeking to convert to an all-day 7-Eleven. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Without explaining the reason for its haste, the Red Bank Council introduced an ordinance change Thursday night to ban retail businesses from remaining open between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The law, an amendment to the town’s noise ordinance, would not apply to any business that now operates at those hours, said Mayor Pasquale Menna. Nor would it affect bars and restaurants.

Not a word was said, however, about its potential impact on the East Front Street Welsh Farms convenience store, which is in the midst of planning board hearings over cosmetic changes as it prepares to convert to a 7-Eleven and remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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