GLASSBORO – The heralded and expensive project that created Rowan Boulevard here did not anticipate a clash of lifestyles now going on between some residents of a luxury apartment and a co-located cigar salon.
Ralph D’Ambrosio and his wife, residents of Park Place South at 117 W. High St., are pressing borough government to satisfy their complaints. They are upset over what they describe as intrusive smoke and odors from Havanos at Town Square.
So far, local officials are saying little publicly since the couple first approached the borough in June.
Returning to the July 27 council meeting, Ralph D’Ambrosio told the mayor and council he was hoping for a response to “unravel the future probability that my wife and I will have to continue either (to) vacate our balcony or use oil diffusers and fans to mask the cigar odor smell.”
Solicitor Timothy Scaffidi responded the issue was complex, after cautioning the major and council members against speaking publicly. There are different laws to consider as well as lease provisions, he said.
“I just want you to understand I am working on it,” Scaffidi said to D’Ambrosio. “I may not be as quick as some people would like me to be. I hope to have answers to all your questions by next month, for sure, and a position to provide to the governing body regarding all your questions, as well.”
Since the issue came up, the cigar store has removed its outdoor tables. Havanos has late afternoon and evening hours and markets itself as “a sanctuary for those who enjoy the cigar lifestyle.”
D’Ambrosio, who has described himself as not “anti-smoking,” said cigar odor is a problem even absent cigar smoke.
The apartment building and the cigar store, in a ground floor corner space at 101 W. High St., are sited towards the eastern end of Rowan Boulevard, adjacent to Glasstown Town Square and near the municipal complex.
The composition of co-located residential and commercial uses reflects a strategy to accommodate an enlarged Rowan University and connect it to a downtown business district.
Park Place South is one of a number of sites owned by Nexus Properties, a real estate development and management company based in Lawrenceville. D’Ambrosio has asked the borough to lobby Nexus to intervene.
Nexus Properties did not respond to a request for comment about the situation. Messages left with Havanos also were not returned.
Ironically, fresh air is a selling point Nexus has for Park Place South. The building opened at the end of 2017.
A brochure states: “The 4-story, 37 apartment building is conveniently located overlooking the recently opened Glassboro Town Square. Feel the breeze in your face as nearly half of these luxury spaces are equipped with outdoor balconies and a French door, opening out to the 6’ concrete patio.”
Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey more than 30 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.
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