OceanFirst Bank will replace its branch near the intersection of Chambers Bridge Road and Brick Boulevard with a new bank building and adjacent retail sites to be built in two phases.
The township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved an application by the fast-growing regional bank to replace its building, which carries the address of 724 Brick Boulevard. OceanFirst’s representatives began presenting their application to the board last month, but returned after board members and professionals requested more details about the company’s plans to build the complex in phases.
Brian P. Murphy, the engineer leading the project, previously told board members the existing bank will remain open during the construction of the new bank branch. Then, the old building will be demolished and the retail portion will be constructed in a second phase. On Monday night, he elaborated in a new round of testimony, adding that it will take between eight and nine months to build the new bank branch. Demolition of the old branch and construction of the additional retail building will then take another six to seven months. During that time, the entrance and egress to the existing bank – and then the new bank building – may be restricted at some points to Brick Boulevard alone. Ultimately, however, customers will be able to access the bank from Chambers Bridge Road as well.
Murphy also said OceanFirst would commit to providing an easement which would allow traffic to access the site by way of the neighboring shopping plaza which contains Best Buy and West Marina, though the owner of that property would have to agree to the connection.
“We would provide it on our side, but there’s no easement on the other side – they’d have to provide that down the road,” said Murphy.
Township Planner Tara Paxton encouraged board members to require the cross-easement access to be part of the project’s ultimate approval.
“The county and state highways are already overburdened,” said Paxton. “And any future easement will be subject to site plan approval.”
Board members also ensured that a proposal for certain types of businesses, such as restaurants, must come back to the board for a hearing.
“I never want to have happen here, what happened in the Lowe’s parking lot with Chick-fil-A,” said board member Eileen Della Volle, referring to daily traffic tie-ups that wrap around the pad site in which the fast food restaurant is located.
Indeed, such an addition would require board approval, Paxton confirmed.
“We think this is a great location for retail or restaurant,” said John Jackson, the attorney representing the bank. “OceanFirst is an institution in Ocean County, more than 100 years old. They have a history of building excellent facilities and this will be another example of that.”
OceanFirst representatives said there are still some non-local permits to be obtained before construction can begin.
New Branch Details (As Previously Reported)
Murphy said the bank will feature what are known as “ITM” machines instead of a traditional drive-through lane. The ITMs will bring customers face-to-face with a remote teller and can also act as any standard ATM machine can.
“There are no more tubes,” said Murphy. “You drive up to the unit, someone is on the TV monitor in front of you, and each of those lanes also work as an ATM.”