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Proposed LB Beachfront North Condos Face Neighbors’ Questions

LONG BRANCH: An application to build a group of condominium units in the Beachfront North redevelopment zone of the city is nearing its completion.

The Long Branch Planning Board heard the application during its July 15 meeting and listened to final testimony from developer TDB, which is looking to build the units in a lot between Marine Terrace and Ocean Avenue.

TDB was approved by the Long Branch Council as a redeveloper for the site last year and the application was last heard by the board on Dec. 17, 2013.

The plan includes 11, 3-story, townhouse-style units with 28 onsite parking spaces. The only access to the site is through an entrance/exit on Marine Terrace, which has become a point of contention for neighbors.

“A fire truck would have to back up the wrong direction (when leaving the site), there’s no way they can back up without taking out a telephone pole or hitting a car,” Marine Terrace resident Mitchell Storch said.

TDB’s planner Vince Orlando said a delivery or fire truck would be able to maneuver in and out of the site, based on a recent study he performed and the city’s standards.

One of the objectors to the plan, Promenade Beach Club, hired its own attorney to represent it at the meeting. James Kennedy, an engineer hired by Promenade, said he thinks that if a turnaround was included on the site, it would make it easier for large vehicles to get out of the site.

“In my professional opinion, a turnaround makes a lot of sense,” Kennedy said. “You have to look at safety, you have to look at practicality.”

Promenade filed suit against the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment in December stating that it does not have the authority to change the zoning of sites within the city’s redevelopment zones, and that the planning board cannot grant site plan approval for a use not permitted in the zones. Long Branch Planning Board allowed two lots to be merged into one to create for the landlocked lot, Lot 7, which was initially designated as a beachfront recreational zone, to be merged with the second lot, Lot 4, to create a residential lot.

A Monmouth County Superior Court judge has not yet rendered a decision on the lawsuit. His decision could put the application on hold if he rules in favor of Promenade.

Issues with storm water management on the site were expressed by the board in December and TDB said it addressed them by creating a revised plan that includes funneling the water into underground storage tanks that will drain offsite. Orlando said the new storm water management plan meets several federal guidelines.

Kennedy said he disagreed with the plan after doing his own independent review and that it will not adequately reduce the storm water runoff on the site.

“I don’t believe it meets the standards in its current design,” Kennedy said. “There’s not a lot of room for error.”

The board did not take action on Tuesday night, and moved the application to its Aug. 19 meeting.

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