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Taco Bell application on hold in Manalapan

MANALAPAN – March 18 was not the night when the future of a proposed Taco Bell restaurant was decided by the members of the Manalapan Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Instead, zoning board administrators posted a message on Manalapan’s municipal website informing members of the public the March 18 meeting had been cancelled.

A notice stated that the Taco Bell applicant, Yum & Chill TB Holdings, LLC, “will re-notice the public with an amendment to the application to be heard at a later date.”

Yum & Chill TB Holdings is proposing to demolish a Shell gas and service station at the corner of Route 9 south and Taylors Mills Road and to construct a Taco Bell.

The applicant is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval with bulk variances and use variance relief to permit the demolition of the Shell station and the construction of a 2,578-square-foot Taco Bell. The gas station has operated at the corner for 50 years.

The Taco Bell is proposed to have dine-in and drive-up service. The 0.8-acre property is  owned by PMG New Jersey, LLC, and is in Manalapan’s Office Park 3 (OP-3) zone.

The construction of a fast food restaurant and a drive-up window is not permitted in the OP-3 zone and that is why the applicant is before the zoning board.

The Taco Bell application has been the subject of several lengthy zoning board meetings. Residents and board members have expressed concern about various aspects of the proposal.

The most recent public hearing took place on Jan. 21. At that time a representative of the applicant testified the plan had been amended to prohibit left turns into the Taco Bell site from Taylors Mills Road at all times.

Motorists heading west on Taylors Mills Road who want to reach the Taco Bell would have to turn left onto Route 9 south and enter the restaurant property from the highway under the amended plan.

According to the applicant’s plan, left turns onto Taylors Mills Road would not be permitted from the only Taco Bell driveway that is proposed on Taylors Mills Road. That access point would only permit a right in, right out movement.

The matter of how a motorist who wants to travel west on Taylors Mills Road would make that movement upon leaving the Taco Bell site has been discussed, but not resolved, during the previous public hearings regarding the application.

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