Since the 1960s, the River Edge on Main and Elizabeth Streets has been a familiar site in the downtown area. It has undergone two renovations in its over 50-year history with the borough and after Thursday night, the Golden Arches will be reincarnated for a third time following a unanimous approval by the Planning Board.
"We're proposing a total rebuild on the site, knock down the existing building," project attorney Gail Price said. "The restaurant will be reduced in size by 10 percent, the drainage will be revamped, the landscaping updated and streetscape provided."
Additionally the current one-lane drive thru will be extended to a dual lane and the refuge container will be moved closer to the back lot towards the railroad tracks and be completely enclosed. While flooding in the area can not be completely avoided during heavy rain storms and the close proximity to the Hackensack River, the impervious coverage is being reduced from 84% to 79% and combined with an expanded drainage system could help alleviate some issues.
"According to the DEP maps, the site is not in a flood plain, but that has not been the case," project civil engineer Joseph Jaworski said. "The existing location is higher in the front and lower in the back. We're going to level it and add a larger retention system for storm water drainage."
The building is also being reduced by approximately 400 square feet to allow for the extensive drainage system to be put in place along with additional landscaping and installing the borough's streetscape plans for decorative lighting and brick pavers.
"The proposed building is a little longer and narrower than the existing one," Jaworski said. "It also moves the setback of the building to 34 feet and would eliminate the existing non-conformity of a 15-foot setback. The drive-thru lane would begin as a single lane and then split into side-by-side dual lanes with two menu boards and monitors for customers to place their order. They would then rejoin into a single lane for payment and reciept of the food."
According to Jaworski, the dual drive-thru lanes would help ease the current problem of vehicles backing up onto Elizabeth Street when one customer may have a longer order than another.
"This would increase the efficiency of the operation," Jaworski said.
Vehicles entering the lot could do so from Main Street (by a right hand turn only) or Elizabeth Street and travel in a counterclockwise rotation. They could exit onto Main Street by a right hand turn only or continue around to Elizabeth Street. The current prohibition barring a left turn onto Elizabeth Street will be removed as Police Chief Tom Cariddi has signed off on it.
For the building itself, the renovations would remove the current peaked roof and replace it with a flat version. Also the sides of the building facing Main and Elizabeth Streets would also have signage stating McDonald's along with the iconic Golden Arches logo. A monument sign will be located at the intersection of Main and Elizabeth Streets and measure approximately 5'6" by 18 inches.
The project received unanimous approval by a vote of 8-0 with Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo, Councilman Edward Mignone and Planning Board member Peter Theisz absent from the meeting.