Board OKs Expansion Of Overcrowded Restaurant Parking Lot
The lot of this Franklin Turnpike restaurant will add 43 spaces if the county is on board
If you’ve driven down Franklin Turnpike on a Friday or Saturday night, odds are you’ve crossed paths with cars trying to get into or out of the parking lot to Roxanne’s Restaurant. Weekends and other busy times at the Italian eatery often see cars lined up on Franklin Turnpike, valet parking in the lot, and people parking across the street and walking over to the restaurant.
According to Peter Kirch, a land surveyor from Peter C. Kirch and Associates in Ramsey, and Thomas Ashbahian, an architect and planner, who both spoke on behalf of Roxanne’s at a Mahwah planning board meeting last month, the restaurant is looking to add more parking spaces so it can avoid the “dangerous overcrowding” that happens now.
“The [owner] feels he needs every parking spot he can get,” Kirch told the board April 23 at a public hearing about the possibility of expanding Roxanne’s parking lot. “Right now, you have a situation where people are waiting for spots, lining up down Franklin Turnpike, or parking in the A&P parking lot across the street and walking over to Roxanne’s. We want to avoid those scenarios.”
The board approved a plan for the restaurant to expand its parking facilities from 42 to 90 spaces, using a plot of land next to Roxanne’s that the restaurant owner recently purchased. Ashbahian described the land as a “long, thin” plot that would allow for the parking lot to extend backwards, and wrap around the restaurant.
“Cars would be able to go around the entire building, so you’d have two ways to get in and out, no more dead end at the rear of the lot,” he said.
The expanded lot would also likely mean an end to valet parking on the weekends. The owner “would probably get rid of it. It’s too expensive,” Kirch said.
According to parking laws in the township, restaurants need one parking space for every 2.5 seats in the establishment. Roxanne’s has 120 seats, but the new parking lot would allow for up to 225. Representatives at the hearing said the plan to expand the lot doesn’t mean the restaurant plans to get bigger or add more seating. “This should actually create an excess of parking,” Kirch told the board.
Board members expressed concern that the extra parking without plans to add more seating could lead to more patrons waiting for seats at busy times.
Though Mahwah’s planning board approved the plan, construction on the new lot cannot begin until the county OKs it as well. According to Kirch and Ashbahian, the township has jurisdiction over the back of the property, but the county needs to approve any plans that will affect access onto Franklin Turnpike, a county-owned roadway.