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Owner of Dunkin’ Donuts Chain Sues Montgomery Twp Zoning Board

By Anna Reinalda | May 5, 2022

Montgomery 206 Realty, LLC, filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery Township Zoning Board of Adjustment over the board’s refusal to grant Dunkin’ the permission to build a drive-thru restaurant at the intersection of routes 206 and 518 in Skillman.

Dunkin’ wants to put a drive-thru restaurant on an undersized-lot at the corner of routes 206 and 518.

Bernardsville resident Anton Nader, who owns a fleet of Dunkin’ restaurants across New Jersey, has been trying to build the drive thru at this location for nearly a decade, and continues to hit stalemates with the Zoning Board. Now, it seems, he’s lost his temper. According to the court complaint filed by Nader’s attorney Jefferey Lehrer, “the single most significant issue [with the plan is] related to the left turn movement out of the facility onto County Route 518.” The subject of traffic complications remains the biggest issue of concern, shared by both zoning board members and local residents alike.

At the November 23, 2021 virtual meeting, 14 Montgomery Township residents from adjacent neighborhoods called in to request that the drive-thru not be built. The residents had a petition with more than 100 signatures. Meeting attendees cited concerns over the safety of their children, damage to residential roads, and additional traffic to what is already Montgomery’s most congested intersection.

During that same meeting, zoning board members also learned that certain municipal emergency vehicles would not be able to enter a full parking lot with the layout of Dunkin’s parking plan, making it a hazard in emergency situations. In addition to these concerns, the crux of the matter is that zoning for this type of business requires a lot size of at least one acre, and Nader’s lot is only half an acre.

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Former Zoning Board Chairman Steven DeRochi said at the November 23 meeting: “The problem that’s plagued this application from the very beginning is there’s just too much stuff on it.” In an attempt to force a Dunkin’ to fit on the small property, Nader’s representatives have returned to the zoning board many times with altered plans. “Numerous revisions were made to the amended application,” Lehrer wrote in his complaint. It is unclear how much money was invested in writing and rewriting these plans.

Currently an abandoned gas station, nothing has been done with the property for a decade. Community members have accused Nader of holding Montgomeryans hostage, keeping the lot an eye-sore until he gets his way. The NJ DOT has also offered concerns of traffic backing up on a state highway by vehicles waiting in line for the drive-thru.


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