Bagel store takes NJ town to court after being fined $1K per day over covered windows

Toni Yates Image
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Bagel business fined $1K per day because of covered windows
Jarrett Seltzer believes his bagel business is being wrongfully fined after West Orange zoning officials took issue with his windows being covered up. Toni Yates has the story.

WEST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A bagel shop in New Jersey is taking its fight with the town to court after he says the town of West Orange has been fining him a thousand dollars a day for keeping his windows covered up.

Jarrett Seltzer opened his shop, Bagels By Jarrett, a few weeks before COVID shut everything down.

He immediately shifted his business to curbside, and he says business took off. It became so popular that he leased the vacant space next door, but West Orange zoning officials have issues with his windows because you can't see inside.

"We don't believe we're doing anything against the code," Seltzer said. "We want a fair playing field. In fact, there are businesses in our strip mall that have window shades that are not being harassed."

He says he's also being fined $1,500 a day.

Seltzer's business is still all curbside. There are three signs out front that say "do not enter" and instruct customers that orders are taken online, picked up outside and that there is no need to come in or call.

He showed Eyewitness News reporter Toni Yates pictures. The inside space is used completely as the kitchen, and Seltzer says the sun is brutal.

"We operate a dinner service, the sun is shining in. It is not good for our equipment, not good for the eyes, not comfortable for us," he said.

Mike Guerriero owns an ice cream shop called Guerriero Gelato and Cakes in the West Orange shopping strip. He's one of dozens of people who are showing up in court in support of Seltzer.

He said it's hard enough to do business after the pandemic.

"The last thing we need is emboldened people working in the township making it even harder on us to do business," he said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the mayor's office but has not responded at this time.

This has become a battle over interpreting exactly what the code book says is or is not allowed.

The case went to municipal court when an agreement couldn't be reached.

The next court date is October 17. Seltzer and his attorney plan to try to resolve it through the zoning office before that date arrives.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.