Ship Bottom Land Use Green-Lights Outdoor Dining at Bageleddi’s New Location

Apr 25, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Following nearly two hours of professional and public testimony, the Ship Bottom Land Use Board unanimously approved an application by the owners of Bageleddi’s for an outdoor dining area and parking variance at the bagel shop’s new location between 18th and 19th streets in the borough.

The decision came after owners Tony and Donna Edwards, who purchased the landmark bagel shop in 2009 when it was at its original location at the corner of 17th Street and the Boulevard, agreed to modify their application. In doing so, they reduced the number of outdoor seats from 44 to 32, making room for a four-spot parking area along the north side of the building. The parking spots will be on a 90-degree angle to allow customers to back up in the lot and then pull out onto Pennsylvania Avenue, a narrow lane behind the bagel shop that runs parallel to Long Beach Boulevard from 18th to 20th streets.

They also agreed to move the trash corral closer to Pennsylvania Avenue so it didn’t negatively impact neighbors to the north side of the property, while also agreeing to shut down the outdoor dining area by 8 p.m. and all lights, except for security lights, by 10 p.m. A bicycle rack will also be included in the front of the courtyard. Additionally, the Edwardses agreed to no delivery vehicles on Pennsylvania Avenue and no deliveries before 7 a.m.

“This is how I explained it to someone after the meeting,” Frank Cooper, chairman of the board, said earlier this week: “I guess it went all right because no one was happy.”

With a significant amount of public comment focused on parking for the bagel shop, the fact that Cedar Garden, a retail florist shop that operated in the same location for more than four decades, had no parking associated with its business seemed to be lost. Customers parked in front of the business on Long Beach Boulevard, along the side streets, or in one of the four spots located along Pennsylvania Avenue. The Edwardses were granted a change of use status for their food-related business. Cedar Garden was considered a retail business. Under the change of use, they were not required to seek a variance for parking. That only came into play because they decided to develop the vacant lot, formerly the outdoor garden center for Cedar Garden, as a courtyard for customers to enjoy their breakfast or lunch.

“The summer is hectic and crowded. Quite often my driveway is blocked,” said Daniel Gentile, who owns a home on Pennsylvania Avenue. “Bageleddi’s is a mainstay on Long Beach Island; everyone loves it. My kids love it. I love it. I’m never going to stop going there, but it’s always crowded. The foot and bike traffic might increase, but the auto traffic isn’t going away and the people aren’t going to park across the street. There is going to be a logjam.”

Owner Tony Edwards sees things a little differently, noting there is 200 feet of parking spaces along the Boulevard, a county road. That accounts for 11 untapped, albeit unofficial, parking spaces.

“People are not going to be parking on Pennsylvania Avenue. Some people don’t even know that road exists,” he said, adding he and his wife want to create something special for Ship Bottom. “It’s our turn to give back.”

At its former location, Bageleddi’s had no parking spots associated with it, Robert Butkus, a borough councilman and member of the land use board, said. The parking spots on the south side of the building, which most people incorrectly associated with the business, are actually an extension of the parking spots in the rest of the road cutout that runs from Sunsations to the old bagel shop location.

“A majority of our customers are grab and go,” Donna Edwards testified April 18, noting the busiest time at their old location, was from roughly 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Due to contractual restrictions put in play by their landlord, they were unable to remain open past 5 p.m., something they may seek to do now that they own their own building. “There is a possibility to expand our business.”

One of the toughest parts about being a member of the land use board is striking the balance between business and residential friendly, members of the board said earlier this week.

“If something looks dangerous, we’re going to ask for changes,” Cooper said.

Bageleddi’s is looking to open May 5 at its new location.

— Gina G. Scala

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