The owner of Paula’s Family Restaurant doesn’t think the township’s scrutiny of the diner is warranted, especially since he said he is working hard to fix up the business.
Ali Dadyan, owner of the center that’s home to Paula’s and Pearle Vision, told Cinnaminson Patch Tuesday he is more than willing to fix up some of the things the township says he’s in violation of, but a few—like the signage—are already in compliance.
“The sign on the building was just deteriorating and it fell, so we threw it out,” Dadyan said. “We put a banner up that says we’re still open.”
Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti, who serves as the director of economic development, said the tarp sign that’s up now is not approved signage and is in violation of the site plan.
But the original site plan hasn’t been found yet; Minniti said the township is working to “get to the bottom of where it is.”
Until that is done, Minniti said, township committee approved Monday night to move forward with property maintenance violations while site plan approvals are researched.
One of those violations is the lack of Dumpster enclosures.
“I know it should be covered and we are going to do that,” Dadyan said.
It was also brought up Monday there are landscaping and asphalt issues at the site.
“The landscaping is fine,” Dadyan said. “We have fixed a lot of this. The parking lot looks great. The plants look great, [they are] always groomed and trimmed. And who has more interest to have nice asphalt than I do? I run a legitimately great business.”
And Dadyan said he’d even put in sidewalks if the township required them.
However, sidewalks and other items would be required if ownership changed hands; that hasn’t happened. Dadyan still owns Paula’s and has hired new management at the restaurant. But he is paying to remodel the place, he said.
“When it’s all said and done, I may or may not sell it to them (the current managers) or anybody else. It’s still our place. The business is still under our name,” Dadyan said.
Dadyan said he’s submitted some permit approvals already to begin remodeling of the bathrooms inside.
Minniti said this issue is now coming to township committee because Dadyan originally submitted paperwork to change owners.
“When it was explained the new owner had to update the site, suddenly, the new owners were managers and not owners,” Minniti said. “That’s curious and I’m somewhat skeptical. So when that happens, we will fall back on regular code maintenance enforcement.”
Minniti said the enforcement didn’t happen before because Dadyan was given credit since the lot had been for sale for about a year.
“If a site is in status of being sold or changing hands, we will give the business latitude to make that happen and deal with improvement afterward,” Minniti said.
Some issues are “black and white,” Minniti said, but others have to be checked out with site plans.
“It’s a public safety, health and welfare issue,” he said.
Dadyan said he would do what needs to be done.
“I’m not fighting with anyone,” he said. “We’re not confrontational with anybody.”