FANWOOD — The borough council on Monday grappled with the question of how much a local government should be involved in determining what types of businesses should operate in town.
Andy Song, the owner of a South Avenue nail salon, spoke on behalf of several other nail salon owners at the council’s agenda meeting to express his concerns about another salon opening, saying that Fanwood will have “too many nail salons” and hurt his business, which is already down since the pandemic. Mr. Song called it “a very serious matter,” and urged the local government to take some type of action to prevent a fifth nail salon next to Ginger Sushi from operating. Council President Anthony Carter believed the zoning board would have to approve any change to the use of the property, which formerly housed a dental lab, but it was not immediately clear if his thinking was accurate.
Mayor Colleen Mahr said she understood and sympathized with Mr. Song’s concerns, but recalled a similar council discussion in 2010 or 2011 when a proposal was floated to limit the number of nail salons to five; anything beyond that would have required a specific permit to operate. The mayor recalled “the backlash by the public to the government limiting the types of business uses” in town and the idea was dropped. She did promise to ask borough zoning officials to ensure that the new nail salon’s permits were in order.
In other business, new bids are being sought for the construction of the new library after the governing body last month rejected the initial round of bids due to them all being above what the council had budgeted, Borough Engineer Antonios Panagopoulos said, telling officials that the new bid specifications include a few changes to reduce the estimated cost of the project. In a related move, the council gave its approval to a bond ordinance that will add $3.7 million to the earlier-approved $3.5-million bond that will help fund the new library’s construction. The additional funding will give borough officials more flexibility in assessing the new round of bids.
Annual parking rates at the train station — $350 for residents and $650 for non-residents — will remain the same next year, Mayor Mahr said. Borough Attorney Russell Huegel said an ordinance amending the property maintenance code, which he said will streamline enforcement, will be ready for introduction at the council’s next meeting on Monday, October 17. The council on Monday approved a contract not to exceed $37,500 for Najarian Associates for environmental and engineering services for the redevelopment of a recycling center.