Monday, October 17, 2016


Developers of the new retail/housing building at Burnett and Springfield avenues, also know as the Daibes project, say they are having trouble leasing out retail spaces and recently asked the Township to lift some restrictions on specific businesses.

But the Township Committee nixed the idea, agreeing earlier this month to deny a request to change the zoning of the area, known as Redevelopment Zone 1, to allow nail salons or hairdressing shops.

"This has been a troubled project for a very long time," Mayor Vic Deluca said at the Oct. 4 TC meeting. "There's been some problem in some folks who wanted to open up businesses there, particularly hair salons. It is a prohibited use. The question is whether or not we are at all open to having a conversation, essentially an appeal."

He said the developers, known now as Daibes LLC, built the structure with six apartment units and seven retail spaces. But each retail spot is less than 700 square feet, apparently limiting the options. 

The developers asked the Township to change the redevelopment designation to remove prohibition on hair and nail salons. 

"The reason we put it in there is we did not want to perpetuate hair and nail salons," the mayor said. "Some say it is a restraint of trade."

But Deluca and the rest of the TC denied the request, saying that the project could be altered to have fewer retail spots with more room for other kinds of businesses.

"Before we change the redevelopment area to make it easier for someone who built retail spaces that are essentially unrentable, we can ask him to see what physical change he could make to the building to bring it down to three spaces that are still viable," said TC member Nancy Adams. 

Committee member India Larrier agreed, adding, "He really had no idea what he was doing right from the start ... I'm not willing to re-think the restrictions."

The project, which dates back to 2013, had been stopped several times and, at one point, lost its redevelopment agreement with the township for delays and problems. It actually changed ownership at one point and the building was finished. But the TC made clear no lifting of restrictions would be allowed.

"I think we should just tell him we are not making any changes," the mayor said.

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