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North Bergen considers zoning change to prohibit vape shops and massage parlors

The ordinance would also clarify definitions of multi-family housing and massage parlors

Smoke Shop Mister is one such business already open in the township at 9100 Tonnelle Ave. Image via Google Maps.

North Bergen is contemplating a move to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to prohibit various smoke and vapor substance uses and massage parlors. The move would also update certain definitions.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners introduced the ordinance at its December 7 meeting. The ordinance will be up for a public hearing and vote at its next meeting on December 21 at 11 a.m. in the municipal chambers at Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, go to northbergen.org.

New definitions

The proposed ordinance defines multi-family housing as a building containing five or more dwelling units which are entirely separated from each other by vertical walls or horizontal floors.

According to the introduced ordinance, an electronic and or vapor substance inhalation shop is defined as businesses where customers can purchase electronic and or vapor substance inhalation products commonly known as “e-cigarettes,” “e-pipes,” “e-hookahs,” “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” and other similar devices.

A tobacco or smoke shop is similarly defined as any store, stand, booth, concession or other place that either devotes a substantial portion of its display area, 5 percent or more floor or wall space, to tobacco products, hookahs, electronic vapor devises, electronic inhalation substances or drug paraphernalia to purchasers for consumption or use, the proposed ordinance states.

According to the introduced ordinance, a massage parlor is defined as premises which are used, in whole or part, to administer acupressure, massage, bodywork or somatic therapy, or involving the act of holding, touching, positioning, mobilizing, applying friction or pressure manually and or by mechanical or vibratory apparatus to body tissues, including, but not limited to, employing the procedures of acupressure, reflexology, moving, striking, pounding, rubbing, manipulating, kneading and or tapping, or the use of oil rubs, heat lamps, salt glow, hot or cold packs, vibration, percussion, medical gymnastics, heliotherapy, external application of topical preparations, or tub, shower, or cabinet baths, but excluding the practice of medicine, physical therapy, or chiropractic by an osteopath, medical doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey.

New restrictions proposed by township

Under the proposed ordinance, electronic and or vapor substance inhalation shop and tobacco or smoke shops and massage parlors are prohibited in all zoning districts in North Bergen. Residential districts would also be amended by eliminating reference to multi-family mid-rise and high-rise buildings in the R-3 Moderate Density Residential District.

Now, the ordinance only refers to multi-family dwellings, garden apartments and townhomes, with mid-rises allowed to be three stories and high rises allowed to be seven stories. That also applies to multi-family mid-rises and high-rises in all zoning districts, and all changes will take affect 20 days after the adoption of the ordinance.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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