Despite initial positive feedback with regard to an alternate design for a 60-unit residential complex Sackman Enterprises proposes at 545 Lake Avenue [at right], the Planning Board Monday night voted 7-2 against supporting a plan amendment needed to move alternate design forward.
The project aims to transform the existing 59-stall parking lot between the Asbury Park Festhalle & Biergarten and Moonstruck restaurants, into a one and two bedroom complex, complete with fifth-floor penthouses.
At the crux of the matter was whether or not the alternate design constituted enough of a ‘substantial change’ to require the applicant to restart the approval process or seek a height amendment to allow its penthouse uses to sit at the structure’s facade.
“A substantial change is based on a case by case basis,” board attorney Jack Serpico said in advising the board that the decision solely rest in their hands.
Board Planner Fed Heyer of Heyer Gruel & Associates said the shift in design posed an usual case.
“What is different here is the interpretation of what a penthouse is and what height is,” Heyer said. “The problem is by definition a penthouse is setback; when you pull it up to the front facade it is part of the front building. It’s clear where it doesn’t meet the ordinance.”
Heyer said while the alternate proposal did not add any square footage, it is still considered a technical major change since moving the penthouses to the building’s front facade equates to adding a full story onto the complex, triggering the need for the height amendment.
“Theoretically, once you change it, you could add an entire story,” Heyer said. “There is nothing limiting the 20 percent of rooftop [guideline].
Mayor John Moor said he deemed the alternate design as a substantial change.
“It’s like the chicken and the egg,” Moor said. “If you had never given us that picture, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about this now. Somehow that picture got into evidence and probably should never have been presented to the board to begin with.”
The project is slated to move forward with its original design [in the feature photo] at the March 27 Planning Board meeting.
The Asbury Park Sun is affiliated with the triCityNews newspaper.