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Yes! Summit, Westfield, and Cranford all specify restaurants as permitted uses in their downtown business districts.
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The goal of this ordinance is to reduce the barrier of entry for restaurants seeking to open in the downtown. Currently, a restaurant attempting to open within the same property as a previous restaurant must go before the Planning Board or the Zoning Board. This process becomes costly, as they generally incur legal and other professional expenses as well as delays to the opening of the business. Changing restaurants from a conditional to a principal use will reduce the burden on prospective restaurant owners seeking to open in the downtown.
Currently, a restaurant’s building in the B-4 zone must be more than 125 feet from the nearest lot line of a single family dwelling. There are five lots in the B-4 zone that abut a residential lot line. Eliminating this requirement eases the burden for restaurants seeking to open in these lots. The change to the setback requirement does not affect existing regulations for the B-3 and B-2 zones.
No, restaurants must still comply with the remainder of the zoning code and other permitting requirements. This change solely adjusts their designation from a conditional use to a principal use. For example, the parking requirements for a new restaurant occupying the space of a former non-restaurant use must meet the parking requirements for that lot; if they don’t meet those specifications a Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued, and they must go before the Planning Board.
No, the ordinance specifically states that drive-thru windows will not be permitted.