Testimony Continues on Boardwalk Beach Club

By MATT ENGEL

After three hours the Asbury Park Planning Board meeting was adjourned but the issues regarding iStar’s proposed private beach club were far from settled.

At the beginning of the meeting, Chairwoman Barbara Krzak had warned that a vote on the matter was unlikely to happen that night. However, by the time the meeting was required to end at 10 p.m., questions by the public to iStar civil engineer Sean Delany, the first witness called by petitioners of the beach club, still had not finished.

Delany, a member of Bowman Consulting in Freehold, gave length testimony about many different aspects of the project, including lighting plans, water standards, and elevation requirements. He claimed that the project is meeting all zoning requirements and is consistent with what other pavilions along Ocean Avenue are doing.

According to Delany, people inside of the beach club would access the beach through three access points: The main entrance into Ocean Avenue sidewalk and two exits in the North and South sides of the buildings, with no main access from the beach club facility into the proposed boardwalk. Emergency services would be able to access the beach club the same as any other patron, by going through one of the three doors available.

“We have designed the northern access point as a concrete walk that would be able to support any emergency vehicle that needed it,” Delany told iStar attorney Jennifer Phillips Smith during his testimony.

Delany was also cross examined by Stuart Lieberman, an attorney hired by Save Asbury’s Waterfront (SAW), a group opposed to the private beach club. Lieberman asked Delany what was being done about a number of concerns the group SAW had, including possible issues with wind control. While Delany did attempt to provide answers to several of Lieberman’s questions, he said he could not answer anything regarding structuring because that was outside his area of expertise.

“I am here only as the site civil engineer for the improvements around the building,” Delany said.

SAW has given several reasons why they are opposed to the private beach club. Among them are  a lack of parking, concerns about environmental effects on the area and claims that the high prices of the beach club would lead to economic segregation against lower-income residents

“We want iStar to immediately stop its ongoing construction that is based on outdated plans approved in 2004,” SAW wrote in an online petition addressed to Asbury Park Mayor John Moor. “Asbury Park has undergone tremendous change in 15 years and iStar’s current development initiatives on the North End no longer suit our City. Instead of developing one of the largest remaining coastal open spaces in Monmouth County, we want iStar to use its innovation and vast resources to develop an appropriate, forward-looking plan for Asbury’s Waterfront.”

The next board meeting regarding the beach club will be held on Aug. 12, with the continuation of questions from the public to Delany. Additional witnesses will not be cross-examined until Sept. 9, as Lieberman was not available to attend the Aug. 12 meeting.

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