By Kevin Coughlin
Talk about musical chairs. The whole house is moving. Again.
A 122-year-old house at 10 DeHart St. will be relocated a couple of blocks away, to make way for a restaurant, an attorney for the restaurant developers told the Morristown Planning Board on Thursday.
This tidbit came late in a three-hour session mostly devoted to debating a sign proposed for the triangular Fox Rothschild law office, set to open next week at Market and Bank streets as a “Gateway to Morristown.”
The old house will be moved to Madison Street, near Assumption Church, said attorney Brian Fahey.
“Kit Godby’s gonna take it,” he said, referring to Morristown realtor Kathryn “Kit” Godby.
It will be the third address for the four-bay, gambrel-roofed house, hauled to its present location from Pine Street on a drizzly day in 2002.
“Pretty cool, right?” said Fahey, who represents brothers David and Billy Walsh.
They secured approval last year to expand the liquor license from the family’s Tashmoo Restaurant & Bar to the adjacent property at 10 DeHart, where the new restaurant is planned.
Details about when, and where on Madison Street, the house will be moved, and how it will be used, were not disclosed at the meeting.
The structure was a private residence from 1895 until after World War II. Later, several businesses were tenants.
Fifteen years ago, it was bought for $1 by Peter Kaphouris, owner of the London World Connection hair salon, and moved from Pine Street to make room for an expansion by the Mayo Performing Arts Center, then known as the Community Theatre.
The house has sat vacant on DeHart Street since a deli closed some time back.
HOODS AND ‘PIGSTIES’
Fahey and restaurant planner John Lyons presented revised plans on Thursday meant to quell neighbors’ concerns about noise and odors from the restaurant.
External heating and cooling machinery will be moved, and shielded, to minimize noise, and an exhaust hood will be “94 percent efficient” in filtering kitchen smells, Lyons said. Cupolas from earlier plans also are gone, to avoid exceeding building height restrictions.
Board member Dick Tighe pressed the Walshes about trash dumpsters. Earlier in the day, he ventured behind Tashmoo to find “a pig sty” — six dumpsters that “stunk.”
“I hope you’re going to do a better job” when the new place generates even more trash, Tighe said. “There are a lot of open questions with this.”
All the dumpsters will be enclosed, David Walsh said. Neighbors asked the board to require the owners to honor a trash pickup schedule that does not rouse them from sleep. Garbage trucks now come to Tashmoo as early as 4 am, they said.
When the hearing continues on March 23, 2017, Fahey will argue that proximity to three parking facilities should make up for the absence of on-site parking. Zoning regulations call for about 200 spaces at the new restaurant.
In the age of GPS navigation, are signs on buildings necessary?
The board batted around that question as Fox Rothschild attorneys sought a variance to allow the law firm’s name in big letters atop the building, on Market Street facing Maple Avenue.
“Do you think someone coming from New York would look up five stories for a sign 28 feet long?” asked Mayor Tim Dougherty, who described the triangle-shaped office as “iconic.”
That word popped up so often that board Attorney John Inglesino deadpanned: “Iconic is in the eye of the beholder.”
The sign would exceed the town’s size limits significantly, setting a precedent that worried some board members.
“Signs are advertising, and this is advertising,” said member Joe Kane.
However, the officials emphasized they are pleased to welcome the national firm to town. About 100 attorneys are scheduled to start setting up their offices over the weekend, said Fox Rothschild partner Deirdre Moore.
Attorney Michael Lavigne, representing the firm, agreed to sit with town Planner Phil Abramson to scale down the signage. The matter returns to the board on March 23.
It chewed up so much time that the board never got around to hearing more testimony about a Cambria Hotel proposed for Market Street. Board Chairman Joe Stanley scheduled a special meeting for March 16.