A plan to expand is facing who claim the project will increase flooding and traffic in the area and they have started a petition against it.
Robert Costa, principal and owner of Costa Engineering in Hackensack and engineer for Sanzari's expansion, appeared before the Zoning Board of Adjustment Tuesday in continuance of a hearing seeking preliminary and final site plan approval to construct a parking lot where two residential dwellings are currently located and expand the restaurant by approximately 600 square feet. Sanzari's is seeking variances that would allow the restaurant to add 66 parking spaces by .
Based on recommendations from the borough's engineer, Costa closed off the egress driveway that let traffic out onto Old River Road. He also added a six foot high blocking fence on the westerly side of the site, adjacent to a residential house.
Regarding the purchase of the two residential properties by Sanzari's, Costa said that both properties were subject to flooding, adding that if they were purchased under blue acre funding and returned to open space, the funds to buy the properties would be taxpayer money and then they would be taken off the tax roll, which would result in a negative economic impact to the community. Additionally, if the properties reverted back to open space, the towns would be required to maintain them.
Costa said that the sellers wanted to move because of the repetitive flooding to their homes; Sanzari's wanted to buy because they needed additional parking. By purchasing the properties, Costa said that the two parties each got what they wanted and the properties remain on the tax roll.
Teaneck resident Joseph LaSardo raised the concern of increased flooding and drainage problems that the knockdown of the two residential homes will cause.
"When the restaurant expanded seven years ago it caused more flooding," LaSardo said. "Increasing the amount of impervious ground affects where the water goes. Where does the water go?"
Costa informed LaSardo that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) considers that area of the Hackensack River tidal.
"No matter how you fill land there, it's controlled by tidal influences," Costa said.
He explained that the type of impervious pavement that Sanzari's is using is better than what is there now. The new pavers have beneath them a layer of stones and pebbles that create a void space that will capture the water.
"When soil gets saturated, water has nowhere to go," Costa said.
Costa added that using this type of impervious material is beneficial during small storms where the sewer systems cannot hold the water.
In addressing the issue of traffic, LaSardo questioned why the restaurant's entrance cannot be located on New Bridge Road. Costa said that because New Bridge Road is a county road, and the restaurant located on the part of a county road with a dangerous curve, he did not think that the county would approve an entrance there.
Teaneck resident Michael Goldschmidt raised safety concerns he felt the expansion would bring to the neighborhood. Stating that the road is already a cut through for cars, he added that increased traffic, coupled with the fact that people who have been drinking would potentially be driving, would negatively impact the neighborhood, raising concerns for the safety of the children who are often playing outside.
Costa suggested that Goldschmidt contact the Teaneck Township Manager to discuss installing speed tables to slow and calm the traffic down.
“I would strongly recommend these being put in there if this is a concern of the residents of the neighborhood,” Costa.
He said that if a series of speed tables are installed in that area, “Now the cut through isn’t a cut through because people don’t want to deal with (slowing down for) speed tables.”
This hearing will continue before the zoning board on Tuesday, September 11.