The sign above the doorway of a vacant storefront in the Firelight Plaza reads, “Coming Soon,” but one may ask, “When?” and “What’s the hold up?”
Orange Live has attended several Zoning Commission meetings during which the plans for Million Snacks have been discussed, and each time there’s ‘just one thing’ missing, a permit, a signature, or a floor plan that shows where the kitchen, dining room, counter space and restrooms will be.
During the last P&Z meeting where one of the issues was resolved and unanimously approved, the owner left with a smile on his face and the information that he needed to start building his business in Orange entailed one last thing that had been ignored, where would the handicapped cut out in the sidewalk go?
Zoning Administrator and Enforcement Officer Paul Dinice said he has had a difficult time getting responses from Scott Herman of All-American Construction, who is in charge of the building application.
The only thing Herman had to do was show the cut-out on the building plans and have the building inspector sign off on it and the project would be approved.
“I called him last week, he didn’t return my call. I called him yesterday morning — the day of the P&Z meeting — and in the afternoon, neither call was returned,” Dinice said.
The business owner, Mohammad Khan was in the audience, but left before the meeting started without a word, and the commission had no choice other than to deny the application.
With the motion to deny, the commission included that they would waive any fees to resubmit the application should the company decide to do so, according to Dinice.
“It’s an item that could really take minutes to resolve,” he said. “But they haven’t done anything to do that.”
The entire project could be back in motion if they turn in the plans showing the cut-out, signed by the building inspector and the commission would waive the fees and approve the application — it’s that simple.
Why is the cut-out necessary?
The other businesses in the Firelight Plaza are existing businesses and did not have to file a site plan application to locate there.
Million Snacks had to file a site plan application because it was a change of use from retail to restaurant, which gave the commission the authority and review capacity to take a close look at everything, according to Dinice.
He said he believes there is some miscommunication between Herman and Khan, and that Herman always waits until the last minute to do anything, even if he has 2 or 3 weeks between meetings, he’d rush to try and get things done in time.
“This is a very simple thing that could be resolved in a couple of minutes,” Dinice said.
He added that Khan has never come to his office to discuss any of the issues or to inquire about any concerns he may have.
Two Different Business Owners
Khan allegedly said that NuVita does not have a handicapped ramp and it’s not fair that his business should be made to get one.
But anyone who has been around town for a long time will remember the delays in the opening of NuVita.
The P&Z Commission is reputed to be tough, but fair, only requiring what they know is necessary for patron’s safety.
The difference between the two businesses here are many.
• NuVita is a Free Standing building — Million Snacks is part of the strip portion of the plaza.
• During the application process, Moon was a regular fixture at Town Hall talking to all the necessary officials whenever necessary and making sure he was prepared when he stepped into a P&Z meeting. — The applicant for Million Snacks does not ask questions and is not prepared.
• Anything that was asked of Moon was resolved immediately — Mr. Herman reportedly does not return phone calls nor respond to the issues put before him.
Did you ever notice the extraordinary amount of handicapped parking at NuVita? Moon said he put those in voluntarily.
He added that if he was asked to make a handicapped cut-out in his sidewalk he would do it, no problem.
“It’s a simple fix,” he said. “We could have it done in no time.”