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Haddonfield Restricts Zoning on Kings Highway

New rules will restrict certain businesses, such as massage parlors.

A new borough law restricting the types of businesses along a core section of Kings Highway in the downtown business district is getting a thumbs up from some local shop owners.

It will restrict certain service businesses, such as massage and nail parlors, piercings and even barber shops and hair salons from Washington Avenue to Haddon Avenue on Kings Highway.

"I think it's long overdue," said Marlee Lick, owner of Harrison's Gift Shop on Kings Highway East. "Who wants to trip over massage and beauty shops in the core of the downtown? The shops that are there now are going to be grandfathered in so it's not going to change what's there now."

The new rules approved last month will allow businesses currently operating in the newly restricted area to continuing operating and will allow a similar business to move into the same location if it immediately follows a business that leaves. But if the use changes after a restricted business moves out, the new rules will not allow a nonconforming use to move back in.

Ping Lu, the owner of the Therapeutic Massage Center at 144 Kings Highway East that apparently accelerated the push for new zoning rules, declined to comment about the new ordinance. She said her English was limited and only asked if a reporter wanted a massage during a visit to the shop this month.

Borough commissioners voted unanimously last month to approve the new rules after more than a year of debate with the planning board. Local officials insist the rules were not a reaction to Lu's shop that moved in May 2011. Some residents openly questioned if the massage parlor would offer sexual services instead of just massages.

Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough said then the rumors about the shop were unfounded and that it was a legitimate business. Still, officials started the process then to change zoning laws to restrict similar businesses from moving in.

“What we’re looking at is if some clarification of the land-use ordinance makes sense,” Ed Borden, a borough commissioner and planning board member, said last year. “We’re looking at what would be an appropriate mix for businesses in the Kings Highway corridor. We’re looking at if there ought to be uses in the Kings Highway corridor that should be discouraged.”

That's just fine with Sue Maslowski, the owner of the Jay West Bridal shop on Kings Highway East.

"I think it will make the storefronts in the downtown look a little bit more appealing," Maslowski said. "Who wants to see someone putting oil in their hair in a picture window?"

Bill Tourtellotte December 31, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Joe T, several of us have tried to get PATCH to change the rule, but the local people have no say whatsoever about this because they are part of a huge corporation. In a small community, civic discourse is far more civil and reasonable and even more accurate when people stand behind their comments. Our public meetings require it as well. You have to say who you are and what your address is. When we are talking about land use like this in a residential historic, as just one example of how Haddonfield is worse off , I'm sure we have people who stand to benefit financially interfering with our resident discussions pertaining to the best interests of our community's future. That to me is not a good thing.
Bill Tourtellotte December 31, 2012 at 03:55 PM
And yes "joe Taxpayer" while you have had some things to say that seem quite reasonable, in my view and the view of others I have spoken to, there is always a cloud over whatever a fake name person says when it relates to local issues. Their credibility and reputation is not on the line at all. They also could be profiting from making false or misleading comments. Who knows, if for example you work for the company who makes the artificial turf and you live elsewhere and are arguing for turf. There are many, many reasons to distrust people who argue local issues behind hidden names and yes, I and others say that their comments generally have less value and trustworthiness.
Joe Taxpayer December 31, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Reasonable comments. I applaud you and others for seeking to engage in fact based conversations even if we all don't always agree. My real wish is that Patch would cover the topics in greater detail and provide the information so that many of the comments which are based on misinformation would go away and by doing so most of us wouldn't try and fill that void. But you know those evil corporations, evil the liberal ones like HuffPost/AOL, NYT, WashPoo, are all about profits. haha
Herb Hess December 31, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Hey Joe, the Patch does a better job than The Sun at digging in to stories. The Retrospect is paid circulation and has no loyalty except for the reader. Nice thing about our local press (esp. the Patch) is the facility to extend the story through blogging and commenting.
Mike October 21, 2013 at 04:37 PM
I think the massage center on Kings Highway is the best thing that has happened to Kings Highway in a long time. They give great massages and you can't beat their hours and prices. Its a shame these hard working people were the subject of unfounded innuendos and mocking and racist comments from fellow merchants and town officials. The center seems to be doing great and the owners and worker are deservedly having the last laugh.

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