NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Board of Adjustment Monday approved an application that will allow two new businesses to move into a Central Avenue building that has been vacant for seven years.
Building owner Tulfra Realty LLC purchased the former industrial building last July, said director Darren-erik Diaz. The building became an attractive purchase, he said, after the borough changed the zoning in the section of the borough to potentially attract new businesses to the many partially filled or vacant buildings along Central Avenue.
Diaz said the building has been reconfigured to allow up to eight tenants. Tulfra redeveloped the adjacent building which now is home to several businesses including a gymnastics school.
The new businesses are Wrist Ship Supply, and the New Jersey Film School. Wrist Ship Supply plans to move its operations from Metuchen once renovations are complete.
The film school is owned by New Providence resident Chris Messineo. He said the school plans to move from the Martinsville section of Bridgewater. The school offers a range of film related classes to adults and children from 10 years old. The classes are held starting at 5:30 p.m. and until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Classes are limited to 10 students.
Wrist Regional Manager Dalibor Miocevic said the company provides provisions for cargo ships, including food, parts, mechanical equipment and all goods that are needed while at sea. The orders come to Wrist before a cargo ship has docked, and his company places orders with suppliers who ship the goods to his location, Miocevic said.
The application came before the zoning board because Wrist needed a variance for freezers and refrigerators for food storage, because the storage of perishable items is not permitted in the light industrial zone.
Miocevic said the company was looking for a larger space than the 14,000 square foot building it occupied in Metuchen, but within 30 miles of the Port of Newark. He said the Metuchen site saw about 80 trucks a week, but with the larger facility, that number could drop because the company will have more space to store dry goods.
Perishables, mostly fruit and vegetables, would arrive daily and be shipped out the same day, he said.
Neighbor Barbara Babcock wondered why Wrist didn’t try to locate the facility at the former A&P grocery store just down the road.
She along with neighbors objected to the potential for more light and noise pollution, the storage of oxygen and acetylene tanks outside the building, and potential increase in truck traffic.
“This is a disgrace,” she said.
Board member William Hoefling said, “We have concerns about the impact of your application on the neighbors. We want industry in town. But the quality life is important to the community.”
The board placed several restrictions on the approval focused in the concerns of the neighbors regarding light pollution, idling trucks, additional plant buffers between the site and their homes, early morning operations, garbage pick-up, the placement of the compressors for the refrigerators and freezers, and pedestrian safety.
The board will take a final vote on the application on Aug. 20.
In other business, the board approved the construction of a 100-foot temporary monopole at 1778 Springfield Avenue. The pole will allow cellular phone companies to provide service for the next two years while the nearby high-voltage line is replaced. The cell phone companies have antennas on the power line towers that must be moved during the construction.