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Two Tables for Eight at Carlo's Bakery

The bakery can now have two tables with four chairs each.


The Cake Boss can have two tables and people can eat at them, too — with conditions attached.

That's what the Red Bank Planning Board unanimously ruled at Monday night's meeting. Carlo's Bakery, new since last Monday on Broad Street, wants to set up two tables, with four chairs each, in the bake shop so that customers can have a place to sit and sip a cup of coffee and/or nibble on a bakery confection while waiting for an order.

Now it can be done, contingent upon conditions that Carlo's will: make corrections on the front sidewalk slope compliant with the ADA (American Disabilities Act) to be approved by RiverCenter and the borough engineer; be granted a landscape waiver as a pre-existing use; and implement trash pick-up a minimum of six days a week and/or increase dumpster capacities if required with a minimum of their existing two, two-yard dumpsters.

It was as easy as that. Not entirely.

The technical trouble is that with the addition of the tables, the status of what the shop is operating as changes from that of a retail store to a primary food establishment, since the tables give people a place to eat inside.

Changing that use branded in what is an outdated — that officials said was archaic, made no sense and needs to — means that the owners would have to provide more parking and address some other issues. None of that stands to reason, especially in the case of Carlo's, Mayor Pat Menna said.

For instance, he offered, "If I'm going to go buy a box of cannoli … I could walk there or drive there. I get there. It doesn't cause any concern in terms of a parking requirement. While I'm waiting to buy my box of cannoli, I want to have a cup of espresso and munch on a cannoli to taste it to see whether or not I want 11 more …  I sit there and it causes a parking review. That doesn't make any sense, because I'm not sitting there to have lunch or have dinner. I'm going there to buy, and while I'm waiting there, I'm having a cup of coffee. It makes no sense. That's why we're changing the ordinance."

But two area business owners thought the bakery already had a prospective parking issue that had been sparked from the point of construction surrounding Carlo's and felt the two tables would only fuel it.

Their objections, they alleged, were based on the notion that since the bake shop had a sort of celebrity status, the addition of two tables and contingent additional parking would squash their patronage.

But, parking is and has always been a downtown-wide issue, officials said, and the addition of two tables in one park-purchase-and-leave establishment, a permitted use in the zone, wouldn't alter that.

Elizabeth Waterbury, a municipal engineer and professional planner who owns buildings within close proximity to Carlo's, mounted her own exhibit-laden objection, based on the conjecture that Carlo's customers' needs have, through the construction period, and will continue to outweigh those of the people visiting her offices, making parking too limited and inconvenient for them.

But the tables are "a permitted use," said Carlo's attorney DeVito said. "We're not asking for a use variance, obviously, because we're not going before the board of adjustment. We're only asking for two tables, four chairs at each table. I don't believe that this kind of crazy parking terrible problem is one that doesn't already exist."

With the approval, officials asked about the hours of operation. The shop opens seven days a week at 7 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

"Could you close at 10?" Mayor Menna, who has been thrilled with the addition of Carlo's to the downtown,  joked. "People need something to do in downtown Red Bank except eat and drink. So, pastries would be nice. We've been encouraging retailers, including retail food operations to stay open late, because that's when people shop. That's when people have time. To open at 9 a.m. and expect the Macy's parade in your store in store is something of the past."


Kathy Hall December 04, 2013 at 09:07 AM
Yet another article about Red Bank's alleged "parking problem." Has anyone walked through the parking lots and seen all the empty spaces reserved for brokerage houses? Maybe that is the situation that should be revisited.
Rob December 08, 2013 at 05:50 PM
The mayor would love for all the stores on broad street to stay open longer so the undercover cop cars working all the main roads out of town can issue more traffic tickets. Red Bank equals police state

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