EATONTOWN: A proposal to build a new Dunkin Donuts in the borough has gotten new life.
The developer, 95 Hope Road Associates, LLC, was looking to build a Dunkin Donuts with a drive-thru on a 3.5-acre site on the corner of Wyckoff Road and Hope Road, but was denied by the Eatontown Zoning Board of Adjustment in June. Zoning board approval was necessary because fast food restaurants are not allowed in the zone. The application was denied by a vote of 4-3 with those voting against stating that they did not like the idea of cars making left turns in and out of the site onto Hope Road.
The site was purchased by the developers 2007, and was zoned as PBO-200, which is a professional, business and office zone. In 2011, the borough council rezoned the site to PBO-88, which permits convenience stores and the owners eventually got permission to build one. However, the owners ultimately decided not to pursue the project after they found little interest from other developers in building a convenience store without a gas station due to the small size of the lot.
However, the owners were back before the council on Sept. 27 with their attorney, Ronald Shimanowitz and planner, Jim Kyle.
Kyle suggested permitting fast food as a conditional use in the PB0-88 zone by way of an ordinance change.
Borough Planner John Maczuga said that would be doable as the zoning ordinance could be changed to allow small fast food uses but not along Route 35.
Mayor Dennis Connelly said the rest of the council agreed that they were in favor of the change.
"I think this is probably the best scenario that we can get for this property," Connelly said.
Maczuga said he will draft an ordinance change that the council will vote on in the next few weeks. If the ordinance is changed, the developers will be able to seek approval to build from the Eatontown Planning Board and would no longer need a use variance.
There are three Dunkin Donuts in the borough; one on Route 35 South, another on Main Street and a third in the Monmouth Mall.