Domino’s will house two new residences after the planning board approved an application to add a second level to the building.
COURTESY PLANNING DEPARTMENT

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

The planning board has allowed for an expansion to the Domino’s Pizza building, in the Pine Street area, which will include the construction of a storage unit and two second-story apartments. 

More than a year ago, owner Mohammad Khokar had begun construction to the back of the building at 59 Glenridge Ave. on a 165-square-foot storage room before he was flagged by the town construction department for failure to get approval and a permit. The building does not have a basement and the owner said more storage space is needed.

The owner then presented an application in May 2018 for the storage addition and for a second-story addition that will include two one-bedroom apartments measuring 530 square feet and 685 square feet.

The current one-story building was built in 1959, replacing an eight-unit apartment building, and has been deemed an “Intrusion” by the Historic Preservation Commission. The classification is given to buildings that date from after the area was designated a historic district, and do not contribute to the cohesiveness of the historic district streetscapes. 

A rendering of the building after renovations.
PLANNING DEPARTMENT

The property is bordered by a three-story mixed-use building containing a convenience store to the west and a three-story multi-family building to the east. South of the property is the four-story Pine Ridge senior living community building.

Six variances are required for setbacks, no off-street loading area, impervious coverage, size of parking places and the number of parking spaces. 

Attorney Robert Gaccione argued that most of the variances were actually nonconformities to today’s planning codes. The conditions such as coverage and setbacks have existed since 1959 when the current building was constructed. 

Board members were concerned with parking, and the variance for five parking spaces where 13 are required. Two spaces would be set aside for the apartment dwellers. One would be deemed a handicap space.

There is a driveway along the east side of the building providing access to parking lot in the back of the building, which currently contains five parking spaces. 

Khokar, who has owned the business and the building for six years, said he employs between four and 10 employees split between deliverers and in-house employees, with the most scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings. His business, open 10:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. on weekends and until midnight on weekdays, is 80 percent delivery and 20 percent pickup. In-house employees who drive to work park in the parking lot, while the drivers and pick-up customers utilize the five 15-minute parking street spaces out front. He said most of his in-house employees walk or are driven to work.

The apartments will be accessible by an entrance and enclosed stairs to the right of the Domino’s. The facade will be brick to match the neighboring buildings.

The Historic Preservation Commission supports the application, “as the proposed modifications to the façade are consistent with the characteristics of the district and mitigate the intrusive features of the existing structure.”