Superior Court Judge Dale Ratcliff recently dismissed an appeal of the Planning & Zoning Commission's approval of a McDonald's at 579 Main Street, but one shouldn't expect to see cars filling the parking lot and lining up at the drive-thru window of a new fast food restaurant any time soon.
Attorney Kevin Gumpper filed a petition for a certification to appeal, which will be reviewed and decided upon by the appellate court — a process that Monroe Town Attorney Jack Fracassini said may take over a month.
On April 2, Judge Ratcliff had dismissed Gumpper's appeal of the P&Z's approval of Real Time Investments LLC's two applications needed for construction of a McDonald's, claiming there was a lack of notice about the hearing and an inaccurate description of the property in the Town Clerk's Office.
During the P&Z hearing, Gumpper had represented Lou Berkowitz, owner of Duchess restaurant, which has a location in Monroe. But during the court appeal, he said he is only representing Donna MacKenzie, David W. Santarsiero and Colleen M. Santarsiero, who all own abutting property on Dingley Dell Road.
After reviewing Gumpper's assertion that there was insufficient public notice for the P&Z hearing on Real Time Investments' application for 79 Main Street, Judge Ratcliff determined, "The claim is without merit."
As for the description of the property, Ratcliff wrote, "The plaintiffs further claim that the property description utilized by Real Time is inadequate because it fails to account for 'jogs' in the property line. This argument is equally unavailing."
On March 17, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved Real Time Investments' applications for a zone change on a portion of the four-acre-property from a Residential and Farming District to a Design Business 1 District, as well as a special exception permit and site plan for a McDonald's.
"The decisions of the commission are supported by substantial evidence in the record," Ratcliff wrote in his dismissal of the neighbors' appeal.
Gumpper declined to comment on the decision and would only confirm that he has filed a certification to appeal.
Fracassini, who is representing the Planning & Zoning Commission, said, "I thought Judge Ratcliff's decision was concise. I thought he had a valid basis for his rulings. It upheld the town's position in this matter."
"These people had the right to bring the appeal," he added. "They were aggrieved. The basis of the appeal was not sufficient to overturn substantial evidence supporting what the Planning & Zoning Commission did and the commission had the discretion to modify its own regulations."
Real Time Investments is being represented by Attorney Peter Gelderman, who was unavailable to comment on this story.