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Revised Long Branch Oceanfront Townhouse Proposal Heading Back To Planning Board

LONG BRANCH: A developer has presented plans for a revised oceanfront townhouse project in response to complaints from neighbors.

TDB has scaled back its proposal to build a residential development between Marine Terrace and Ocean Avenue and has made some safety and traffic improvements as well.

"I'm pleased to report we have reached an amicable resolution of this matter," TDB's attorney Anthony Monzo said at the June 23 Long Branch Council meeting.

The new plan will include 9 units, instead of the 11 originally proposed, as two easternmost units on the north and the south sides of the lots were eliminated.

"That allowed the project to be revamped slightly so that there is now a complete turnaround at the base of the development," Monzo said.

Another complaint from neighbors and some planning board members was that it would be difficult for a larger vehicle such as a firetruck to be able to turn around once it enters site.

Monzo said the north and south setbacks on the property were also increased by feet and the third and second floors deck will now have opaque glass so there is "no direct view" of condos to the north or Promenade Beach Club to the south.

Nearby properties Promenade Beach Club and the Seaview Park Condominium Association filed suit against the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2013 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.

The ZBA 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.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson's called the ZBA's decision was "contrary to law and fact" and the actions were "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable" and that the decision must be reversed. He determined that the lot cannot be zoned residential and the lot merger cannot occur.

Lawson stated that the council must adopt an amendment to its redevelopment plan for the lot to be zoned for residential use and that it must remain beachfront recreational in the meantime.

City Redevelopment Attorney Robert Beckelman said during the June 9 Long Branch Council meeting that the city's new split zone ordinance amendment would do just that. The planning board gave its approval to the ordinance last week and the council introduced the ordinance on June 23.

Once the split zone ordinance is adopted by the council, TDB will continue its hearing before the planning board with the modifications that have been made.


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