UNION, NJ – Over 50 Vauxhall residents attended a second community meeting Monday night to review development plans for the old Hawks Tavern site at 2140 Springfield Avenue in the Vauxhall section of Union.
“Some of our neighbors have requested that we hold another meeting because they have some things on their mind and have questions,” said meeting organizer Bertha Little-Mathews. “The township thought it prudent to hold another meeting and the developers readily agreed to come in tonight.”
Located at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Crestview Avenue, the proposed mixed-use development includes a Spanish-themed restaurant on the ground floor and three apartments on the second. The restaurant plan has seating for 53, with occupancy for another 55 in the lounge area. There are three proposed upstairs apartments: one 1-bedroom and two 2-bedroom apartments. Site engineer Thomas Quinn of EKA Associates, said the plan calls for a parking lot with capacity for 26 parking spots, including two handicapped stalls and six stalls allocated for tenants. “The plan per ordinance would require 41 stalls. We have 26 stalls, so we’re 15 stalls short.” Quinn said the additional parking spaces will be available on both sides of Crestview Avenue and in front of the building on Springfield Road.
Residents voiced concerns about the overflow parking and traffic on Crestview Avenue and other local streets, as well as delivery truck traffic. “We have delivery trucks running up and down Springfield Road all day,” said one resident. “You can hardly move now.”
“You can hardly get down Crestview now with cars parked on both sides of the street,” said a resident. “Forget about it when there’s snow.”
Residents asked Quinn about making the egress for the property on Springfield Avenue, instead of Crestview Avenue. Quinn said Springfield Avenue is a state road and it’s “very difficult to get a new curb cut on a state highway.”
Township Committeeman Clifton People Jr. said the synchronization of the traffic lights at Springfield Avenue and Vauxhall Road might improve traffic flow. Additional options to improve traffic and parking included the leasing of parking spaces from businesses across the street from the proposed restaurant during off-hours. Hehl said he will work on a request to the Department of Transportation for the curb cut on Springfield Avenue as well as a corresponding traffic study.
“This is a community meeting,” said attorney Steve Hehl, representing the developer. “It does not take the place of the official meeting.” The Planning Board meeting is scheduled for April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Union Town Hall.