Committee not keen on ‘drive-up’ restaurants

  • UPPER FREEHOLD — The majority of the Township Committee agreed that allowing restaurants with drive-up windows in the highway development zone was not a good idea, but a final decision won’t come until Jan. 6, when the last business details of 2004 are ironed out.
  • An ordinance to amend certain provisions of the principal and permitted uses on land and buildings in the highway development zone would have allowed for hotels and motels, vehicle repair shops and restaurants with drive-up windows. The township’s highway development zone is located along Route 537 and by the Route I-195 interchanges near Allentown.

    Committeeman Sal Diecidue asked Township Attorney Granville Magee if under current zoning, a business such as McDonald’s could come in without a use variance. If the ordinance were amended to allow drive-up restaurants, then such fast-food restaurants would be permitted. Magee agreed that was the case. Committeeman William Miscoski said the Planning Board had held hearings, looked at the highway development areas and fully researched the subject. Diecidue said he would like to postpone the vote.

    “I’d rather not see something slip in at this time,” he said.

    “[Route] 537 is business [zoned], and that’s the place to have businesses,” Miscoski replied.

    Committeeman Stephen Alexander said that with the exception of drive-up restaurants, he could live with the rest of the amendments. He added that the Horse Park of New Jersey was looking for a hotel in the area to support its exhibitors and spectators.

    Deputy Mayor David Horsnall said that he had no problem, either, with any of the other amendments and that he didn’t mind restaurants as long as they weren’t ones with drive-up windows.

    Resident Al Trenton said, “Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, with their neon signs and lighting — to me, that is changing the country atmosphere of Upper Freehold. It will increase the traffic and worse.”

    Trenton also said that he thought a bed-and-breakfast would be a better consideration than a hotel and that fast-food establishments would create problems in terms of noise and trash. He noted that the township does not have a police department, saying, “You’ll be calling the state police and Allentown police with the problems of a hangout for young adults.” In addition, he suggested that any businesses near Allentown should have exteriors in keeping with the historical nature of the borough.

    Miscoski said it had been a year and a half since the Planning Board made the recommendation for the amendments.

    “I don’t see a problem with going to Dunkin’ Donuts and getting a cup of coffee,” he said.

    When committee members voted on whether to revise the amendments to eliminate restaurants with drive-up windows, all but Miscoski supported the change.