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Board Approves Playhouse Plan Without 'Golden Age' Theater

A plan for a classic movie theater was replaced with a playhouse for children due to an objection from Westwood Theaters.

A plan for a unique playhouse on Kinderkamack Road was appoved this week, but the application did not include the "golden age" movie theater which was originally planned.

The applicant proposed to revitalize a former law office at 312 Kinderkamack Road with a playhouse and two unspecified medical offices. The Westwood Zoning Board unanimously approved the plan during their meeting Monday night.

The application had originally two nights a week. The business is a "bucket list" item for Ray Walsh, a retired New York Giants scout who wanted to open the theater. The original plan also called for one medical office, which is permitted in the zone, and a dry cleaner.

The theater was removed from the plan after an attorney for Westwood Theaters said they were objecting to the application because of concerns over parking.

The playhouse will be similar to the New Jersey Children's Museum in Paramus but with more emphasis on dramatic play, according to Lorraine Barratta, one of the future playhouse's owners. The playhouse will feature various areas with different themes, such as a barnyard with stuffed animals and a construction site with Lego bricks, Barratta previously testified.

The playhouse will not be a daycare and children will have to be accompanied by parents, Barratta said. There will also be rooms for private parties.

Walsh told Patch he had not yet started looking for a new location, but still hoped to open the theater at some point.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Jason Feinman January 11, 2013 at 05:10 AM
The objection process should move swiftly and quickly. In fact, if the theater or any project was zoned for such and is an allowed use in the space, then issues like parking should have already been addressed.
Mike January 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Hey Mr. Walsh: I know what you forgot to do....... bring a bag of money along with your application... It seems that everyone's in Westwood's back pocket except for the citizens.... man does this smell...... Well at least the new Children's Theatre won't need parking.... Oh wait, yes they will be driving and parking.. Silly me.... BUT WAIT... Isn't parking Westwood's objection?? I'm so confused.... sometimes money does that.... We need the board to publish the details of their rationale including the parking comparitives between the two applicants. If it's too costly to do so, they can all afford to do it personally, eh? What an outrage. Mr. Walsh, you are better off not opening in this town. Perhaps it's a foreshadowing of what would come to pass had you been been approved. Find an honest place where you will be appreciated and the citizens will be the priority.
R2D2 January 11, 2013 at 05:30 PM
The problem in Westwood is that a person has 30 days to object - according to this and previous articles. So parking is addressed, the application approved by the board...and then 29 days later a high-priced lawyer parachutes in and objects. So the process begins again...the owner of Westwood Theaters can keep this going forever. A retiree with a small nest egg? Not so much.
Jim Leggate January 11, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Westwood and the zoning board did not choose one plan over the other. The property owner pulled one use off the application and put the other on after the objector came forward.
Mike January 11, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Jim..... you are sooooooo naive....... Back door politics in motion....

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