Zoning hearings push forward to Washington Boulevard businesses

Two businesses along Washington Boulevard can go ahead with activities now that the city Zoning Hearing Board has granted each a variance Thursday morning.

The board granted Ken Zeng, a restauranteur, a variance permitting use of an additional 14 parking spaces for a restaurant he is planning to open at 631 Washington Blvd.

In a separate matter, the board granted Peter Sides, a city music store owner, permission to reassume retail use of a building he owns at 45 Washington Blvd., where two tenants, a vacuum sales business and a photography studio, lease space, according to Gary Knarr, city zoning officer.

Zeng is expanding the former Mercaldo’s Restaurant, according to Troy A. Musser, general contractor with T.A. Musser Inc., of Jersey Shore.

The plan is to demolish the house Zeng purchased next door at 645 Washington Blvd. and to build an addition on the former restaurant. To do that, Zeng, using the business name Ken and Enterprises LLC, requested and was granted a variance for parking to use 14 additional spaces for restaurant patrons.

While the parking issues were not ones that caused much controversy, the board seemed more interested in when the restaurant expansion would be completed and when the restaurant would open. Bonita Kolb, the newest member of the board, asked Musser when the restaurant might be open. Musser smiled and said if all goes as planned he anticipated the addition to be constructed before the fall.

Zeng is owner of Ichiban restaurant in Loyalsock Township.

In another matter, the board granted a variance for Sides, who also owns Robert M. Sides Family Music Center, 201 Mulberry St., for another building he owns at Washington Boulevard.

According to Joseph Musto, board solicitor, Sides moved vacuum and photography businesses into the building that had been vacant for six months. Codes department instructed him to request a variance to reassume use of the retail building.

“The building was abandoned for six months and he was no longer under non-conforming use and needed to be granted a variance to continue that retail use,” Knarr said.