FAIR HAVEN: DOTS WHAT WE LIKE… AND DON’T

Fair Haven restaurant committeeResidents placed red dots on the names of restaurants they would not want to see open in town. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a prolonged battle over a Dunkin’ donut shop, Fair Haven residents took an “arts and crafts” approach to starting a new dialogue about fast food Tuesday night.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW RESTAURANT LAW TABLED

fair haven peters lucarelli 090919Mayor Ben Lucarelli, right, with Council President Jon Peters at Monday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSteam continued to rise Monday night from last month’s controversial planning board decision  to allow a Dunkin’ coffee shop to open in Fair Haven.

At issue at the council’s semimonthly meeting was a proposed ordinance that would all but ban fast-food restaurants, even as advocates acknowledged it was no more than a “stopgap” measure.

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FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ WINS BOARD APPROVAL

fair haven shopping centerThough turns would still be allowed in both directions on River Road, the shopping center’s eastern driveway will be changed to exit-only, under a condition set by the board. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMore than a year after it was proposed, a Dunkin’ coffee shop won approval to operate in Fair Haven Monday night.

The 6-2 planning board vote, shortly before 11 p.m. capped months of passionate debate over traffic safety, a fast-food law that went MIA and the shop’s potential impact on the small-town character of the borough.

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FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ TRAFFIC FIXES OFFERED

fair haven shopping centerA consultant to the planning board recommends that left turns from the shopping center’s eastern driveway, above, be prohibited. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAttempting to address concerns over traffic safety, an engineer for a hotly debated Dunkin’ coffee shop proposed in Fair Haven has offered an idea he says will safeguard pedestrians.

Another traffic engineer, this one hired by the borough planning board, has also made some suggestions, redbankgreen has learned.

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FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ RETURNS, HOT AS EVER

fair haven dan hughes 061819Shopping center principal Dan Hughes listens as objector Tracy Cole speaks. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a four-month detour over legal issues, a hearing on a plan to open a Dunkin’ coffee shop in Fair Haven resumed Tuesday night, just as hot as before.

For three hours, opponents predicted traffic and safety problems at the Acme-anchored shopping center on River Road where the shop would operate. The site’s principal owner called that scenario “ridiculous.”

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FAIR HAVEN: FAST-FOOD LAW NEEDS RE-DO

sal alfieri fred heyerBorough attorney Sal Alfieri and planning consultant Fred Heyer at Monday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA missing-in-action law that banned fast food restaurants in Fair Haven is effectively revoked and will have to be rewritten, the borough’s attorney said Monday night.

In that case, the next one needs to address “ambiguities” that enabled a proposed — and controversial — Dunkin’ coffee shop to clear the first hurdle to possible approval, officials and residents said.

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FAIR HAVEN: FAST-FOOD LAW GOES M.I.A.

fair haven bea senaFormer Councilwoman Bea Sena reads minutes from a 2002 council meeting at which she voiced concern that parts of the borough code had gone missing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFast food joints in Fair Haven? Why, there oughta be a law, say some residents, angered by a pending proposal for a Dunkin’ coffee shop.

Well, it turns out there is — or was — a borough ordinance explicitly prohibiting fast food restaurants. But it seems to have vanished from the town’s official code book, a resident told the borough council Monday night.

What that means to the most controversial planning board application in recent history, as well as others expected to soon follow, immediately became a lightning rod issue.

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FAIR HAVEN: LAWYERS GET DOWN TO DUNKIN’

fair haven planning board dunkinPlanning board attorney Douglas Kovats, right, leads a joint swearing-in of witnesses at the February 19 hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njEven Fair Haven residents hopped up about a proposed Dunkin’ shop might want to fortify themselves with extra caffeine Thursday.

That’s because a zoning board hearing on the controversial plan could prove to be a seminar in arcane land use law.

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FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ PLAN UNDER APPEAL

fair haven nj dunkin donutsThe Dunkin’ shop would occupy space alongside a new breezeway in the Acme shopping center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe spillover crowd that was treated to an hour of arcane legal arguments over a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts in Fair Haven last month may soon get a free refill.

Lawyers for two objectors have filed appeals over whether the planning board has jurisdiction to hear the coffee shop’s application, leading to a detour in the case, redbankgreen has confirmed.

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FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ GETS SPILLOVER CROWD

The shop would occupy newly renovated space formerly home to Laird’s stationery store. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFair Haven residents steamed over the possibility of a Dunkin’ Donuts opening in town had to keep a lid on it Tuesday night.

Instead, a three-hour planning board hearing that required a change of venue to accommodate a spillover crowd was dominated by occasionally hostile cross-examination of a traffic consultant by lawyers representing two objectors.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER MAKEOVER OK’D

Three renderings of the proposed monument sign that proved a sticking point for planning board members. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A makeover of Fair Haven’s dowdy Acme shopping center won borough planning board approval Tuesday night, but minus a proposed slab of signage that dominated a three-hour meeting.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER CHANGES DETAILED

Forman Street resident Bonnie Moore photographs an exhibit used in the hearing. Below, an illustration showing proposed changes to building 1, on the western end of the site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Overdue for a new look, the 1950s-vintage Fair Haven strip mall anchored by an Acme supermarket is also badly in need of a new parking scheme, its owner told the borough planning board Thursday night.

It would get both by the end of October if the board approves an extensive makeover plan in coming weeks, Dan Hughes, a principal in the company that bought it for for $5.8 million two years ago, told the board.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER TO GET MAKEOVER

fh-acme-center-122216-1Plans call for the creation of a pedestrian passageway linking the north and south parking lots through the former Laird’s Stationery space next door to the existing Post Office. The “salon & spa” sign is for illustration purposes only. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThe owner of the Fair Haven strip mall anchored by an Acme supermarket plans extensive renovations to the site, according to documents filed with the borough last week.

The plans include dividing the former Laird’s Stationery space in two to create a pedestrian breezeway linking the front and rear parking lots. But they leave unanswered questions about whether other longtime tenants might be forced out, as the owners of Laird’s contend they were.

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FAIR HAVEN: BIKE SHOP CALLING IT QUITS

bike haven 081916Bike Haven will close by the end of September, its owner says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallA second longtime retailer is leaving the Fair Haven Shopping Center.

But unlike Laird’s Stationery, which is temporarily relocating to smaller quarters in the center after getting squeezed out of its home by a steep rent increase, Bike Haven is simply calling it quits, owner Cliff Wittenberg tells redbankgreen. And a rent hike is only the final nail in the tire.

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FAIR HAVEN: LAIRD’S GETTING SQUEEZED OUT

budnicks brounley 071116Bob and Rose Budnick outside their store with longtime customer Katherine Brounley. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallTucked into the corner of a Fair Haven strip mall, marked with minimal signage, Laird’s Stationery is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But locals know it, and know it as a jam-packed emporium of not only paper goods and office supplies, but everything from backpacks to wiffle bats.

“The register never stops ringing,” owner Bob Budnick said early this week, as three customers converged at the front desk to pay for their purchases. “This store is woven into the fabric of a lot of people’s lives.”

But the register is about to stop ringing, here at least, and the business may be doomed, said Budnick and his wife.

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