While a handful of food establishments in Oradell do not utilize wait staff to service customers in spite of language in the borough's ordinance requiring waiters for any restaurant business, Sanjeet Patel's proposed Subway franchise will now need to seek a use variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Patel had brought his application to the Planning Board on Tuesday to then be told he did not conform with the definition of a restaurant.
"I am proposing a refitting of 387 Kinderkamack Road for a Subway," Patel told the board. "Subway is a destination spot for quick nutritious meals. The majority of the work would be around the front door, signage and building an enclosed garbage structure at the rear of the building."
Patel, who owns Subway franchises in Hoboken, Weehawken and at the Bergen Town Center in Paramus, was seeking a conditional use for 387 Kinderkamack Road to change Boulevard Pro into a Subway. Located between Panico Salon and Mr. Cupcakes, the Oradell shop would provide on-street parking and the option to eat-in or take-out. But it was the business model that eliminates the need for wait staff that caused the Planning Board to unanimously send the application to the Zoning Board.
"Based on the ordinance for a restaurant all food must be served by waiters at a table," Planning Board attorney Allan Bell said. If you are seeking relief from that you would need a D variance from the Zoning Board."
Oradell's Land Use ordinance defines a restaurant as "an establishment where food and drink are prepared, served, and consumed, mostly within the principle building." Additionally, the ordinance outlines that all "food shall be served by waiter(s) and consumed only at tables located on the premises."
Planning Board member Keith Redding cited the former Badlands Tacos application as precedent for sending Patel to the Zoning Board. The Mexican restaurant also did not have wait staf on site and had to seek a D variance before it opened.
Zoning Official Stephen Depken pointed out that there are businesses in town that serve food such as Michael's Bagels and Sapore Pizza that have sitting areas but do not deliver food to a patron's table.
"Red Apples has tables and to my knowledge it is self serve," Mayor Joseph Murray said. "We have several places in town that came here for approval that don't have wait service but do have tables. Michael's is one of them."
Following guidance by Bell, the Board unanimously approved sending Patel's application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a D variance. As part of his application, he will also have to send notifications again to all residents within 200 feet of the building along with publishing notices in a newspaper.
He was also urged by Bell to seek an attorney for representation before the Zoning Board.