SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At its Tuesday-night meeting, the zoning board gave an initial go-ahead to McDonald’s USA, LLC to open a 68-seat restaurant and drive-thru on Durham Avenue
The board granted the fast-food chain a use variance that allows it to operate in a zone normally reserved for offices. The property sits at the corner of Bushwick Avenue, across the street from a Quick Chek convenience store near Route 287.
According to McDonald’s engineer Keith Cahill, the 4,050 square-foot building will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and feature the company’s new upscale, café-like look. It will also be one of the first restaurants in New Jersey that will have a double lane where two customers can place drive-thru orders simultaneously before merging into one lane to pay and get their food.
The restaurant will create 35 to 40 new jobs, and according to McDonald’s attorney Bob Smith of Piscataway, will benefit the community by increasing youth employment.
Board members were anxious to grant the approval after hearing that the fast-food giant would relocate Bushwick Avenue to align it with Helen Street at its own cost. Right now, the intersection is offset, which requires three separate cycles for the light that controls the intersection. McDonald’s traffic engineer explained that the change would make the intersection more efficient and improve traffic flow.
“Fixing that intersection will be a huge benefit for the town,” said board Chairman Gino Leonardis after the meeting. “It will help reduce the time people wait and cut down on traffic.”
The board voted unanimously to allow the restaurant after an over two-hour hearing. McDonald’s will still be required to return for site plan approval, where the board will look at the company’s plans for landscaping, lighting, signs, parking, and drainage. Preliminary plans show over 600 new plantings on the site.
McDonald's has 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries. It employs over 1.8 million people.