In an unpublished decision issued on January 31st, the Appellate Division upheld a determination by the Middle Township Planning Board that the square footage inside a proposed Starbucks that was devoted to customer seating was properly excluded from the calculation of the required number of parking spaces for the site. At issue was a local ordinance requiring one parking space for each fifty square feet of gross floor area that was, "devoted to customer service," while also requiring one parking space for every four seats in the establishment. Starbucks successfully argued that requirement of one space per every four seats already addressed the parking needs for the square footage devoted to seating areas, and that to include the square footage of the seating area in determining the square footage "devoted to customer service" would be "double dipping". This interpretation was important as the plan submitted by Starbucks only included twenty-six parking spaces, much less than the required forty-one spaces that would have been required had they not been successful. However, the Appellate Division upheld the determination of the trial court, and affirmed that only eighteen spaces were required by ordinance and therefore no parking variance was necessary. (Delco, LLC v. Middle Township Planning Board, et. al.)
Peter J. Vazquez, Jr.