Ownership of Sidewalk Unclear, Plans for St. James’s Gate Outdoor Cafe Remain in Limbo

by The Village Green
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Whether the owners of St. James’s Gate Publick House will be able to move ahead with plans to open an outdoor cafe is still in limbo, as the township continues to try to determine who owns the sidewalk that would house the four tables the owners hope to set up outside their restaurant.

Two weeks ago, the Maplewood Township Committee (acting as the local Alcoholic Beverage Control or ABC), narrowly approved a resolution to allow the pub to expand with an eight-seat outdoor, sidewalk cafe in front of the restaurant. The pub’s owners, American Irish Pub Concept, run by the Meade family, have long wanted to open the cafe.

Still to be resolved, however, is the question of who owns the sidewalk: the building’s landlord, Glenn Sussman, or the township. Sussman’s attorney has said the landlord is opposed to the outdoor cafe for liability reasons, while a majority of the TC have indicated they might be in favor of allowing the pub to proceed with the concept.

As of late last week, the township has not located a deed that would show the township owning the sidewalk, as the Meade family maintains, said Business Administrator Joseph Manning.

“At this point…the township [does] not have a legal document (deed) that shows the town owning the sidewalk. We do have a legal document (deed) that the owner of the building owns the sidewalk,” Manning said in an email. “The township is going to undertake a title search starting around 1900 and up to the time the township became the Township of Maplewood. The taking or selling or giving the sidewalk to the township may have occurred prior to our being incorporated as Maplewood.”

Manning said the township would be searching the engineering vault to see if they can locate any other materials relating to the ownership of the sidewalk.


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