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Zoning Change Could Allow New Eatontown Dunkin Donuts To Be Built

EATONTOWN: A zoning changed adopted by the borough council could allow a new Dunkin Donuts to be built on Route 35.

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.

They attempted to get the Eatontown Council to change the zoning of the area to to a B-1 zone, which allows fast food restaurants, in 2016, but the council agreed it was not the right move.

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.

The ordinance, which was unanimously adopted by the council during its Dec. 6 meeting states that "a fast-food restaurant shall be a conditional use in the PBO-88 development zone provided" that several criteria are met including that the minimum square footage of the principal building is 2,000 square feet and that 10 cars can be lined up at the drive through without obstructing traffic on the site. The ordinance also states a minimum parking requirement and that the site cannot be accessed by a state highway.

The developers will now likely seek approval to build the coffee shop from the Eatontown Planning Board as they will 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.


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