CRANFORD – Dipali Patel’s application for 517 Centennial Avenue was approved at last week’s Planning Board meeting.
517 Centennial Avenue is .43 acres of commercial real estate, which features an abandoned building and parking lot. Patel, who owns 15 Massage Envy and European Wax Center locations, plans to build a two-story office building and new parking lot. The application calls for the first floor of the building to serve as her headquarters, and the second floor to be rented out to a wealth management company.
Patel’s attorney referred to the project as “creating a more neighborhood friendly building.” Though the plan called for vast improvements, multiple concerns were raised such as added traffic at rush hour, lights on the property reflecting onto surrounding homes, and privacy of nearby homes being intruded.
On the concern of added traffic at rush hour, Patel and her attorney mentioned how the building will only feature four or five people maximum per day. Patel and her sister will have the only offices on the first floor, and the second floor will feature no more than three people daily. Patel did mention that the building will host monthly meetings with the managers of her locations, but the meetings will be held between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and therefore not impact rush hour.
A nearby neighbor brought up the concern of the new lights being proposed. 517 Centennial Avenue plans to add 16-foot lights around the property to improve nighttime safety, but the neighbor asked if the reflection of the lights would hit his home. Patel’s attorney explained that the lights will be pointed towards the office building, and there should be no impact.
Mayor Thomas Hannen spoke about neighbors’ privacy, and raised the concern of workers on the second floor being able to look into the nearby homes and windows. Patel’s attorney explained how they plan to build a brand new 10-foot fence, but Hannen responded that would not prevent the proposed problem. Hannen suggested adding a “green screen” with some planted trees or high bushes, to which Patel’s attorney said they would have no problem with doing so, and want everybody to be happy and comfortable.