JACKSON – Members of the Jackson Planning Board have approved an application that proposed the construction of a diner on Route 537 (Monmouth Road), near the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park.
The applicant, Lirama, LLC, JB’s Diner, sought preliminary and final major site plan approval during the board’s Feb. 22 meeting. The building will have a 6,500-square-foot dining area and a 5,400-square-foot basement, according to the application.
The diner will have a private well and a septic system.
Attorney Dennis Galvin represented the applicant and said the plan is for “JB’s Diner in Jackson. It is not the Jackson Diner. There is no relationship to any diner in town.”
He said the site for JB’s Diner is just beyond the Great Adventure employee entrance.
“A virgin wooded area is going to be developed as it is supposed to be developed,” Galvin said.
The applicant sought several variances, including one for proximity to a residential zone.
“The odds are that the property to our east will be developed commercially as soon as they can find a reasonable person to come in and use that property,” Galvin said.
He said he spoke with the owners of the property and they did not express any objection to the plan for the diner.
A parking variance was also requested. Galvin said the parking requirement described in a municipal ordinance was for the total size of the building. He said there would be sufficient parking for the dining area. The applicant proposed 130 parking spaces.
Rakesh Darji, a professional engineer and planner, testified on behalf of the applicant. He said the property is in a Highway Commercial zone.
“The basement space is going to be used for a small office … in-house baked goods, cold storage and space for equipment and supplies. There will be no seating, no other preparation, down there,” Darji said.
Access to JB’s Diner will be from Route 537.
“The site fronts on Route 537 between Millstone Township and Jackson, and this portion of the road is under Monmouth County’s jurisdiction,” Darji said.
He testified that the applicant’s representatives met with representatives of the county to come up with acceptable access to the site.
The site design will accommodate passenger vehicles, tractor-trailer deliveries and garbage trucks for the collection of trash and recyclable materials.
Owner-applicant Cupertino Herrera owns a diner on Route 33 in Howell. He said the diner in Jackson will operate in a similar fashion. He said the diner in Jackson would have about 25 employees during peak hours of operation.
Herrera said he had been looking for property in Jackson for some time.
Board member Joe Riccardi asked if the storage space at the Howell diner is similar to what was being proposed at the Jackson location.
Herrera said the storage space is similar and said it works fine in Howell.
Riccardi asked about seating at the Howell location, as a point of reference.
Herrera said the Howell diner seats 200 guests.
“200, so you are used to this volume, you know what you are talking about. You have done this before, this is a business you know,” Riccardi said to Herrera.
The proposed hours of operation for JB’s Diner are 6 a.m. to midnight.
Resident Raymond Hendrickson said he is on the lot immediately to the right of the applicant’s property and said he did not speak with anyone connected to the application. He also expressed concern about light pollution and people turning around on his property.
Galvin clarified he was not speaking about Hendrickson earlier in the meeting, but the lot owner west of the diner property. The attorney said he made a directional mistake and apologized.
“As far as the fencing, what would you like there?” Galvin asked Hendrickson.
Hendrickson said he would like a 6-foot-tall fence and said he did not have a preference for the type of material the applicant would use.
Following the conclusion of testimony and public comment, a motion was made to approve the JB’s Diner application.
Voting “yes” on the motion were board Chairman Robert Hudak, Vice Chairman Leonard Haring Jr., Jackson Business Administrator Terence Wall, Michele Campbell, Township Councilman Martin Flemming, Manuela Brito, Jeffrey Riker, Andrew Jozwicki and Riccardi.