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White Castle Set to Slide onto Route 36

Fast-food chain eyes vacant land between Main Street and Wilson Avenue in Port Monmouth for eat-in and drive-through location; would join McDonalds as second fast-food eatery on Route 36.

Middletown residents and visitors might eventually be able to add White Castle to the menu of hamburger havens that some say clog up the township's asphalt arteries, especially Route 35.

However, unlike some of its long-established competitors, the Columbus, Ohio-based chain wants to construct an eat-in, take-out and drive-thru spot on Route 36 in the Port Monmouth section of the township — an area now starved of fast-food eateries.

Known for its signature Original Slider, White Castle still needs to complete its preliminary and final site plan application before it can expect to treated royally or even heard by the Middletown Township Planning Board, according to Township Planner Jason Greenspan.

"Some of the technical details are not as complete as they should be," Greenspan said of the plans filed in August. "We must make sure that they have at least the basics."

Specifically, township engineers are seeking more details about the company's stormwater management plan for the site on one-and-a-half acres fronting Route 36 and just east of Port Monmouth's Main Street, Greenspan said.

"Once it's complete, it can be scheduled for a [planning board] hearing," Greenspan said.

White Castle's plans on file with the township call for a 1,952-square-foot building with interior seating for about 36 patrons to be constructed on five existing lots in the B-3 business zone.  The company has also applied for also a minor subdivision of one of the lots that it wants to use.

Parking for 23 vehicles to the building's west and rear and a single drive-through lane able to stack up to nine vehicles are also shown on the plans.

The drive-thru plans call for a menu board covered by a canopy and one pick-up window. An area for deliveries would also be placed in the back of the building.

A covered shed holding dumpsters and recycling bins would be located behind the building and in the rear of the parking lot, the plans show. One 10-foot-high identifying sign would be situated along the highway.

As proposed, customers would enter the site using one single point of entry and exit from Route 36. Plans call for that entrance and exit, divided by a triangular island, to be placed just a few feet south of the building itself. 

The parking lot's west side would face the winding, eastbound turn-off lane leading vehicles from Main Street northbound to Route 36. The plans do not indicate access from Main Street or from the turnoff lane.

The Port Monmouth Elementary School is located several yards away to the west of the proposed site at the corner of the highway and Main Street. A two-story dwelling and an existing Rite Aid are now east of the proposed site.

An existing White Castle in Eatontown sells its small, square-shaped beef, chicken or fish sliders on Route 35 northbound in a heavily-traveled spot across from Monmouth Mall. Like the one proposed for Port Monmouth, that location features indoor seating, take-out, and drive-thru service.

If constructed, White Castle's main competitor along the stretch of Route 36 that runs through the township would be a McDonald's in the Leonardo section.

At that end of the highway, a Burger King, physically situated in Atlantic Highlands, vies for motorists' hamburger cravings with McDonalds. Further north on Route 36, a McDonald's and Burger King operate in Union Beach and Hazlet respectively.

Meanwhile, back on Route 35, a Sonic has been approved by the township's zoning board of adjustment for Route 35 and Harmony Road. Upon opening, Sonic will join McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Five Guys Burgers and Fries in that township highway's menu of fast-food offerings.

Mark Allen January 31, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Isn't there a shopping center parking lot or larger lot to put this on. Heck, if you put in the wetlands it just may improve the smell of the surrounding area. Not definitely, only maybe. Check out any other WC location to see how much pollution, odor and late night disturbance they generate. That clean white facade is ONLY a facade. Those in support only see this from the highway and don't have to live with it every day (and night) Please consider all this before your appetite for rat burgers persuades you to allow variances where there really shouldn't be any.
MrsD February 02, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Does anyone have any updates from last night's planning board meeting? I was unable to attend, but did send many emails voicing my objection. I'm at a loss as to how any resident could possibly agree with this proposal. Can WC even prove there is a demand for it in the area? People must consider the repurcussions: the type of patrons the chain will attract, how it will affect the quality of life in the area; not to mention all these will result in further reductions in home values! I never thought I'd become a 'NIMBY"... but really,.. this is not the appropriate location for WC.
Shannon Ecklof March 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Just look at all the accidents that happen in that area, between Main St. and Wilson Ave.
Andrew M. January 14, 2013 at 01:25 PM
What ever happened? I assume White Castle was denied the proposed space.
gl April 05, 2013 at 11:49 PM
OMG how can we stop this

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