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Zoning Board Reaffirms Sanzari Variance Approval But Sets Conditions

The Board conditions re-affirmation of variances on a limitation of maximum number of seats.

The Zoning Board reaffirmed its approval of variances sought by Sanzari's New Bridge Inn Tuesday, adding certain conditions.

In October, the Zoning Board granted variance approval to Sanzari's New Bridge Inn to expand the restaurant and knock down two residential houses to make room for a new parking lot, only to suspend it a month later citing that the restaurant "misrepresented" the total number of seats.

During its November meeting, Zoning Board attorney Scott Sproviero said that the site plan represented 130 seats when, in fact, a borough official reported that there were 200 existing seats in the restaurant. Citing significant objections to the application by the residents of Teaneck, Sproviero said the board "wants a clear record so if there's a legal challenge, the record is clear," and postponed the continuation of the hearing to Tuesday.

During Tuesday's hearing, Board Chairman Karl Schaffenberger said that Board had approved a variance for 130 seats, but it was brought to the Board's attention that the applicant had added an additional 70 seats without making accommodations for parking.

Carmine Alampi, attorney for the applicant, explained that the 70 seats were "moveable" seats used only when needed during banquets.

After discussing at length placing a limitation on the maximum number of seats that would also accommodate parking, a number that would include large banquets, an agreement was reached. In reaffirming variance approval, the Board proposed the condition that the applicant agree to a "total fixed maximum number of 260 seats" in the restaurant at any give time. The applicant agreed to this condition and said that in the situation that there is a large private party, lounge seating will be limited so that the total number of patrons does not exceed 260.

Schaffenberger and Board member Joseph Loonam voted "no" to reaffirm variance approval.

One official reported off the record that the only way that this condition can be enforced is if it is brought to the zoning official's attention.

"The only way it will be brought to the zoning official is if there is a complaint about parking, or if the fire marshal cites a code violation," they said. "And then they will be issued a fine."

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