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New Hope zoning group delays decision on River Cat Cafe

The New Hope Zoning Hearing Board on Thursday postponed a decision on whether former Borough Council President Alison Kingsley can continue to operate her River Cat Cafe at 142 S. Main St.

The restaurant has been under scrutiny since last summer, when local businessman George Fernandez complained about the location of dumpsters used for food disposal near an apartment building he owns.

But the bigger issue has been zoning officials’ contention that the property was never approved for food preparation based on a 2015 decision, merely service of coffee, tea and ready-made snacks.

Kingsley, who resigned as council president last December, has offered through her lawyer various arguments regarding the definition of food preparation, the location of the restaurant within the commercial zone, and the approval of new ovens in 2016.

A ruling by the Zoning Hearing Board had been expected at the Thursday night meeting, but the group said a decision would be announced instead at a meeting scheduled for April 11.


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Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • The zoning approval was flawed in the first place. Will New Hope zoning board shut down another business quibbling about whether the food is prepared on site or brought in? Ridiculous.
    This is a nice addition to the south end of town that provides jobs for people. We don’t need another empty storefront in this town. There are too many already.

    • I agree with JoeSchmoe. It sounds as if Rivercat has complied with or addressed all of the complaints stated by Mr. Fernandez.

      Actually, it would be worse if the paper and plastic created by “packaged foods” and disposable plates, cups, etc. were the only use allowed.

      Rivercat is a plus to the community….one of the few (only?) place where guests can sit down at a table and have a nice conversation while eating a delicious breakfast. It’s not a night club or bar. Just a great place to eat.

  • The traditional NH process of just doing what you want then along for forgiveness is not visible today. Gerenser”s is a good guidepost here while a completely different situation you can’t just ignore the rules, especially health rules. How do the health inspectors determine what to review and what do they consider good preparation. Finally fairness, I guess everyone should go this route. So the businesses that do what is required are penalized. Or just get rid of the zoning rules. Ignoring them is the same thing. Especially when the decision is local. And lastly, he’s in the absolute worst role to try this business. Let’s just say the Police Chief’s decides who will pay their parking ticket arbitrarily. How’s that sound for everybody to make it real.

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