The Millville Town Council at their Tuesday, March 10, meeting gave a green light to a proposed new auto repair shop and restaurant.
The council held public hearings on the businesses, which have a single ownership, slated for property across from the new Millville Boardwalk complex on Route 26. The auto repair shop would be a new location for the Atlantic Auto Body shop, which is currently located next to Lord Baltimore Elementary School.
The owners, Kevin Martin and Rob Bochanski, currently lease the building near Lord Baltimore. They sought conditional-use approvals from the Town for the new auto repair shop and the restaurant. The Millville Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended approval of the requests at its Feb. 13 meeting.
The council voted 4-0 on Tuesday to approve both conditional-use applications, with council member Peter Michel absent.
Martin and Bochanski appeared before the council representing Plitko LLC. Martin told the council that, in the current location, “Parking is horrendous. Parking has become an issue,” and that the new location will allow Atlantic Auto Body to build 10 auto bays to better serve customers — twice the number at the current location.
“It’s a dangerous location, where you are now,” agreed Council Member Sharon Brienza.
Martin, who previously owned Taco Taco in Millville, said he envisions the new restaurant as “family-oriented,” with outdoor seating and some games, such as cornhole, for patrons. Hours for the restaurant would be approximately 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, while the auto-repair shop would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Bochanski said he hopes the restaurant will be “kind of like a little oasis” for visitors, as well as locals.
The businesses will have to come before the planning commission and council again for site plan approvals. The conditional-use approvals were the first step toward final approval for the businesses. No rezoning is required, since the proposed site is already zoned C-1 (commercial).
Millville Town Engineer Andrew Lyons Jr. said he had reviewed both applications and that both met requirements for conditional-use approval. The conditional-use approval for the auto repair shop signifies that it meets town requirements as an essential and desirable part of the town. The restaurant requested conditional-use approval for outdoor seating.
Maneri said he would like to see some sort of fencing around the restaurant’s outdoor seating area, to ensure safety of patrons, especially children.
“One hundred percent agreed,” said Martin, who told the council that fencing, as well as shrubbery, is planned to separate the two businesses.
In other Millville business on Tuesday, the council reorganized, retaining Steve Maneri as mayor and Ronald Belinko as deputy mayor. Sharon Brienza was appointed treasurer and Barbara Ryer was appointed secretary. All votes were unanimous, except for deputy mayor, as Maneri voted for Peter Michel for that post.
Maneri and Belinko were sworn in for their new terms by Town Solicitor Seth Thompson. There was no election for town council this year, as no one filed to challenge the incumbents.