A townhome project proposed at the foot of the Beaver Dam Bridge in Brick Township is being formally opposed by a number of neighbors, who have hired an attorney to object to the application being brought to replace a current marina facility.
The townhomes are proposed for 728 Princeton Avenue, the current Starck’s Landing Marina, located on a lot directly east of the bridge on Beaver Dam Creek. The zoning for the site allows for single-family homes only, but the developer is seeking the multi-unit townhomes to be split between two buildings.
John Jackson, the attorney representing the developer in the case, had originally proposed a single “quadplex” building. But the state Department of Environmental Protection has new requirements that mandate the buildings be separated, albeit minimally by a two-inch divider in between each building, which would house two units each.
“We understood that there might be something with the two buildings,” said Michele R. Donato, the Lavallette attorney representing a host of neighbors on Princeton Avenue and nearby Bay Avenue. In addition to her clients, about 30 people came to a Board of Adjustment meeting this week to express concern over the proposal.
The townhome units would replace an aging single-family home that backs up to Beaver Dam Creek. It is currently used as a single-family residential home, a small marina, a boat house and a boat rental facility for small crab boats. The townhome complex, had it been proposed as a single mansion-style home, would comport with the current zoning laws in the categories of setbacks, lot coverage, height and over factors. But because the use of the buildings – multi-family units – are not allowed, the entire project is considered non-compliant, said Board Attorney Ronald Cucchiaro.
“Now we’re discovering that there are two buildings and that generates another variance in your ordinances,” Donato told board members.
Indeed, Township Planner Tara Paxton confirmed that Brick’s zoning ordinance does not allow two principal structures on one lot. But responding to demands from Donato that Jackson effectively start his case over and send out new notices over the two-inch divider, Jackson said he would proceed with the application as originally proposed (as one building) in order to move the case forward. Presumably, the plans will be formally changed for future hearings.
Jeffrey Carr, the project planner, said the townhomes will be aesthetically pleasing with landscaping and private trash pickup with bins hidden from view. The units would be waterfront residences with access to a T-dock on Beaver Dam Creek. The plot would offer 10-by-20 foot parking spaces and 10-by-20 foot islands as dividers.
Donato stuck to issues of jurisdiction and notification during her appearance at a hearing Wednesday night. A group of agitated clients sat behind her, occasionally shouting out to the board president, who admonished them against breaking decorum.
“I don’t know if they’re necessarily concerned with our application, or if they just don’t want other ones like it,” said Jackson.
Carr, during his presentation, said the neighborhood is mixed between commercial and residential properties, plus a utility pumping station across the street.
“We think it’s a beautiful building and a good use for that property,” said Jackson. “It gives more people the opportunity to have more people living on the water than just having these palatial single-family homes. It’s just better designed.”
After the board’s self-imposed meeting end deadline of 10 p.m., Board Chairman Harvey Langer said the hearing would continue April 25 at 7 p.m. at the township municipal complex. No further public notices are required, the board attorney ruled.