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Million Snacks Franchisee, Orange Officials Debate Firelite Plaza Space

In an interview with Patch, franchisee Mohammad Khan says legal action is on the table.

 

After  franchisee Mohammad Khan told Patch all options are on the table for how to respond -- and none of them are good.

"I have no clue right now, you know?" he said when asked what his next step would be.

Khan says no other businesses in the Firelite Shopping Plaza on Old Tavern Road are required to have a handicap-accessible ramp. And it's that ramp -- or the lack of it in his building plans -- that brought Million Snacks' plans for a location in the plaza to a grinding halt last night.

"Why would they deny this? Why would they ask for a handicap ramp when they didn't ask any other business? They've been basically playing games. if we have to take legal action, we will do it. If we have to take it to the next level, we'll take it … I think there's something else. It doesn't sound right."

Khan says he's been treated "differently" by Orange planning and zoning officials. He says he's not sure why, but he has serious suspicions.

"Very simply, maybe because they know my name is Mohammad. Maybe they don't like Mohammads."

At Firelite Plaza, independent observation confirms several neighboring businesses do not have handicap ramps, at least ramps that are immediately visible. 

"It's a very big plaza," says Khan. "Nuvita Yogurt opened up, and the barbershop opened. They did not require any of these businesses to put in a handicap ramp. Why would they ask us to do that? All i'm asking is two simple questions. Are you treating us different? And am i saying something wrong? I'm just trying to ask them. And i think we're going to have to challenge this."

 

Town Officials Respond to Khan: "This is the Strangest Thing I've Ever Seen"

Building Inspector Fred Trotta declined comment on specifics of the application, but did tell Patch, "The businesses that don't that don't have any [handicap ramps] may not need any."

Zoning Enforcement Officer Paul Dinise declined to comment on Khan's suspicion of "different" treatment due to his name. He says he suspects the delay came from miscommunication between Khan and Scott Herman of All-American Construction, the company handling the building application.

"Scott Herman has failed consistently to even come back after a night's meeting," says Dinise. "I don't work for Mr. Khan. If Herman had done some very brief footwork and a change or two on a map, everything would have been accomplished."

"This is strangest thing I've ever seen," says Dinise. "To not even get a response from them, I'm just bewildered."

Herman did not respond to calls for comment. All-American Construction, based in Bristol, specializes in "REO Repairs, Asset Management, Insurance Recovery and Repair as well as General Construction," according to its web site.

 

Update:

Planning and Zoning commission chair Walter "Beau" Clark IV says the commission offered representatives from Million Snacks and All-American Construction an opportunity to attend a pre-submission meeting to work out specifics, including the presence of a handicap ramp.

Clark agreed with Dinise that the committee did not feel Herman had been in adequate communication, saying Dinise had "bent over backwards" trying to get in touch with Herman. Clark also addressed the lack of handicap ramps at other businesses at Firelite Plaza.

"When you have a site plan, that's your opportunity to address outstanding issues. Whether our commission erred [previously] in not requiring that ramp, I can't tell you. But you're not bound by your errors at the time. This is about codes -- the state handicap code that we have to adhere to. As for the Chinese restaurant, I can't tell you. Perhaps it was shown on the plan and never built. I honestly don't know. But right now we do have a site plan, and that's the time to make the other changes current."

At present time, Herman was still not responding to calls for comment.

Bob Crocco September 05, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Wouldn't the owner of the Firelite Shopping Center be responsible for installing handicap ramps or do they just collect the rent checks?
Anthony September 06, 2012 at 11:19 AM
When you change a use of a pre-existing building it must support new code such as ramps and ADA accessible bathrooms. Nothing new here. Good luck with any legal action.
JNG September 06, 2012 at 02:34 PM
The cost of repaving a parking space to transition up to the sidewalk height is peanuts compared to litigation. Besides, wouldn't it be good business to make your place more user friendly? More welcoming to people with disabilities? Their money is as good as anyone elses. Any business person who doesn't see this may have a hard time being successful in general.
Khan September 07, 2012 at 04:27 PM
We are not debating the ADA compliance.We were asked to put a greece trap before PNZ will look at the Plan.We agree it is the right thing however we also want to make people aware of the fact that We want to keep the focus on real issue and that is Why 3 other businesses opened up in the lat few months and the PNZ let them open Why are you treating this different?
Khan September 07, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Its not the cost its the principle. Why the Orange town has treated us Different.
JNG September 07, 2012 at 08:19 PM
EVERY food service related venue requires a grease trap on a site plan. Even Dunkin Donuts which microwaves or bakes and does not fry its bacon/sausage provides a grease trap because they use milk products. It appears you were treated as everyone else is. This is a business friendly community if there ever was one. You get no where casting aspersions at a community that is growing more and more diverse.
Vinnie Dee September 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Kahn, get real. "Maybe they don't like the name Mohammad" you say? If that were the case, than 1/2 of the businesses in Orange would never get approval. They're here and most welcome, as your business would be if you play by the rules. It's your 'change of use", changed the codes you have to comply with, pure and simple. Stop trying to incite wrath, by insinuating Orange does not like the name Mohammad. That's insulting, Mr. Khan.
Yooper September 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Are you equally upset with Scott Herman? Is he doing the job you are paying him for by not working with the Zoning Enforcement Officer?
Khan September 21, 2012 at 08:42 AM
All we want everyone to be treated equally and every business should be required to comply with ADA compliance not only MillionSnacks. As you can see in the past week finally at least one business has put a Handicap ramp after one year of store opening. All the credit goes to MillionSnacks. Vinnie try to listen to an average Joe too you seem like a supporter of a rich man.
Yooper September 29, 2012 at 02:31 AM
So after a few weeks another business does it voluntarily, but after how many months you and Scott Herman can't find a way to get it done?
Khan September 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Yooper FYI Its not me who is opening the business. Kennedy could be any Kennedy not President Kennedy
Khan September 29, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Another business did it one year after the opening not before approval of the plans. You need to get the facts before you say something in my opinon. I thought they teach in Kindergarden that gather information before you speak.
Yooper September 29, 2012 at 08:31 PM
So a totally different Kahn posted this using your Patch ID? "Khan 3:11 pm on Friday, September 7, 2012 We are not debating the ADA compliance.We were asked to put a greece trap before PNZ will look at the Plan.We agree it is the right thing however we also want to make people aware of the fact that We want to keep the focus on real issue and that is Why 3 other businesses opened up in the lat few months and the PNZ let them open Why are you treating this different?" And I will ask the "real Khan" again - Why didn't Scott Herman do the job you were paying him for?
Angelo September 30, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Oh Mr. Khan...you are insulting the very people of the town you want to open your business in. "Your way, Or no way", You sound like friend of Rich man." "Maybe they don't like the name Mohammad".."They treat my business different from others"...Then you say you have no problem with the ADA compliance. Yet you continue to harp on 'you're being treated differently. What's your response? To insult our intelligence. Mr. Herman has not done a thing for you, sir. Take your beef up with him. Not with the people of Orange, who might patronize your business, yet who you continue to insult by implying they treat you different because of your name. And please Mr. Khan, don't bother calling me a friend of every Rich man. You know nothing about me or anyone else. Yet, by your insults and implications that we are treating you different because you think we don't like the name Mohammad, we are getting very clear picture of how your mind works. Very sad. We are a welcoming community to everyone, look around. It sounds like you don't know our town at all. How sad for you and how sad for your proposed business.
Yooper September 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Reading comments here from all the "Khans" makes it very easy to understand why Million Snacks is still not open. The "Khans" never answer direct questions that would resolve the issues; they always make excuses and change the subject.
Khan October 01, 2012 at 12:51 AM
You have al the rights to express your opinion and I respect that however Mr. Yooper don't take it personal Always remember the truth prevails.
JNG October 01, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Its never the principle that gets you, it's the interest!

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