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Planning Board Approves New McDonald’s For Rutgers Plaza

An artist’s rendering of the new restaurant’s layout.

A 62-seat, 4,400-square-foot McDonald’s targeted for Rutgers Plaza on Easton Avenue was approved November 9 by the Planning Board.

The Board, holding a special meeting to hear the application, also approved several variances for the project, including ones allowing for more signs than normally approved, and for a free-standing sign facing Easton Avenue, just for McDonald’s.

The applicant, McDonald’s USA, currently has a restaurant across Easton Avenue, in the Village Plaza shopping center. Although McDonald’s has not commented on the current restaurant’s fate, it is presumed that it will be closed.

The new restaurant would take the spot once leased by Burger King. The vacant Burger King will be demolished, and the area around the pad razed to make way for McDonald’s.

The new restaurant would also feature two side-by-side drive-thru lanes, a common element of new McDonald’s restaurants.

Township zoning ordinance allows two signs on retail structures, but McDonald’s was approved to have six. The signs will be a combination of the “M” logo and the word “McDonald’s” spelled out in block letters.

Matthew Flynn, the project’s planner, said the signs “are very tasteful and simple.”

“There are multiple entrance points on this building, so the façade signs make sense,” he said.

The Board also approved McDonald’s request for a 25-foot-tall, free-standing sign, which would face out to Easton Avenue. Normally, retail centers are allowed one so-called monument sign, which Rutgers Plaza has.

Tiago Duarte, the project’s engineer, told the Board that the free-standing sign is needed because the restaurant will be set back from the highway and difficult to see.

McDonald’s will plant 11 new tress, as well as 280 shrubs and 230 perennials and grass plantings.

“The design intent (of the building) is to bring a modern and warm atmosphere,” Duarte told the Board. “We use Earth tones to blend into the surrounding area and compliment the landscaping that we are proposing.”

Duarte said the plan is to have at least the restaurant’s drive-thru section open 24 hours a day.

He said there would typically be 15 employees per shift.

Craig Peregoy, the project’s traffic engineer, said he based potential traffic numbers on the current McDonald’s in Village Plaza.

The new location, he said, “is not going to create any sort of detrimental traffic. This is a positive, I think.”

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