2007-08-23 / Front Page

Jersey Freeze may give way to Olive Garden

Freehold Borough Zoning Board scheduled to hear plan for restaurant
BY CLARE MARIE CELANO Staff Writer

The familiar sight of the Jersey Freeze ice cream stand and restaurant at Route 9 and Manalapan Avenue, Freehold, could soon be a memory for area residents. An application for an Olive Garden restaurant calls for Jersey Freeze to be demolished. The familiar sight of the Jersey Freeze ice cream stand and restaurant at Route 9 and Manalapan Avenue, Freehold, could soon be a memory for area residents. An application for an Olive Garden restaurant calls for Jersey Freeze to be demolished. FREEHOLD - It just may be the end of an era, one that included ice cream sundaes on hot summer nights and hot dogs after a Little League baseball game.

Customers of the Jersey Freeze ice cream stand and restaurant at Route 9 and Manalapan Avenue may have to switch their appetite from ice cream and grilled food to a plate of pasta and a side order of garlic bread.

On Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall, the Freehold Borough Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to hear an application filed by Chesapeake Companies Diversified Group LLC, of Minnesota, seeking a use variance to build an Olive Garden Italian restaurant on the property where Jersey Freeze now sits.

In order to complete the project, Jersey Freeze will have to go.

The property where Jersey Freeze sits is in Freehold Borough and Freehold Township. It is owned by Bruce Blackmore, who has run Jersey Freeze since 1980. Blackmore's father founded the business as a seasonal ice cream stand in the early 1950s. It eventually became a year-round restaurant.

Blackmore said he wanted to keep Jersey Freeze where it is and is disappointed that he is not able to do that. He said the Olive Garden representatives wanted the restaurant to be able to be seen from the highway and that means Jersey Freeze has to be demolished.

He said the Olive Garden must be built where it is proposed on the property because the liquor license for it must remain in Freehold Borough. Blackmore said he will seek a new location for Jersey Freeze.

For some people, Jersey Freeze is more than just a place to buy ice cream. It is a place that holds wonderful memories. Many people who have been customers for years now have their grandchildren in tow as they pull up to the restaurant.

Over the past few years Blackmore has negotiated with representatives of Ruby Tuesday and the Outback in an effort to bring a restaurant to the site. Those negotiations did not pan out. In furtherance of developing the site, Blackmore demolished a vacant home on the property in 2006 that had served as a real estate office for years.

Attorney William Mehr, of Freehold, will represent the applicant before the zoning board.

Mehr said the parcel of land in Freehold Borough is in a residential zone and requires a use variance in order for a restaurant to be built in that location. He said if the Zoning Board approves the use variance, the applicant will return to seek site plan approval.

The application that is scheduled to be heard on Aug. 28 states that the current use of the property is Jersey Freeze restaurant and ice cream storage building, residential house and parking.

The document also states that the applicant proposes to remove the present uses and construct a 7,762-square-foot restaurant and a 3,669-square-foot bank with a drive-up window. The application also calls for landscaping, lighting, parking areas and stormwater management.

Scheduled to testify on behalf of the applicant are a representative from Bohler Engineering, Warren, and the applicant's planner, Allison Coffin, of James W. Higgins Associates, Ocean.

Mehr said additional details about the plan will be presented at the Aug. 28 Zoning Board meeting.

Return to top