A public hearing is underway on an application that proposes the construction of a new three-story building that will replace the Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn.
The members of the Hopewell Borough Planning Board heard testimony regarding the application during their meeting on Dec. 1. No decision was reached that evening and the public hearing was carried to Jan. 5.
The applicant, Genesis Investment Properties, plans to use the same footprint of the building that houses the Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn at 15 E. Broad St. in Hopewell Borough.
“We certainly understand the significance of that building. What we want to do is restore it with a new building to a fully functional building,” said attorney Gary Forshner, who represents the applicant. “The building goes back to 1890, but it has had incredible changes over the years so the original building is not really seen at this point in time.”
The applicant is proposing to demolish the existing building and shed, a one-story addition adjacent to the borough library, rear concrete walkways and curbing, wood fence and landscape wall, according to application documents.
The first floor of the proposed building would have a restaurant with a bar, a lounge and a dining room. A kitchen, a wrap-around porch and rest rooms are also proposed.
The second floor would have two one-bedroom apartments, a dining area and a wrap-around dining porch.
The third floor is proposed to have four one-bedroom apartments.
“There are stairs that lead to apartments on the second and third floors. The apartment stairs are totally independent of the restaurant,” said architect Steve Cohen, who represents the applicant. “That entrance is at the rear of the building.”
The applicant is seeking a variance to allow for six one-bedroom apartments where a maximum of three are permitted; a variance to permit a retail store exceeding 2,000 square feet; and a variance to exceed the allowable floor area ratio where 0.60 is permitted and 0.624 is proposed.
The applicant is proposing to provide eight parking spaces at the rear of the building.
“A maximum of 12 people is expected from the six one-bedroom apartments,” said Michael Gale, vice president of Genesis Investment Properties.
Gale sale an employee shift size for normal days at the new building is expected to be no more 20 people.