A vote on plans for a pool and beach club to be built on the north end of the Asbury Park boardwalk has been postponed again after several Planning Board members had concerns about the frontage facing the boardwalk.
The board deliberated at its Jan. 25 meeting with no public comments on the agenda.
Plans for the beach club, to be built by boardwalk developer iStar, have been ongoing for about two years.
When the board met this week there was an expectation that a final vote would be taken.
However, not soon after the board convened it was obvious that several board members did not like the look of the east side of the building, which faces the boardwalk.
The club will be a two-story structure with a pool on the ground level and an open deck on the second floor with a bar area and tables for dining.
It will be located between Sixth and Seventh Avenues with the main entrance facing Ocean Avenue.
In prior board meetings the group Save Our Waterfront, or SAW, voiced concerns about the building blocking the view of North Asbury condominiums.
SAW also expressed concerns about the exclusivity of the private club as well as complaints that developer iStar has promised to build a public pool and beach club at the beachfront.
Several board members said equity and inclusivity remained a concern, but at the same time, they agreed that the plans are compliant with the Waterfront Redevelopers Agreement, which was written in 2002.
Plans have also been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and the CAFRA (Coastal Area Facilities Review Act).
Developers have made several changes to the plans over the past two years based on input from the board and public.
About 50 members of the public attended the Zoom meeting.
One major sticking point at Monday’s meeting is the developers assertion that only the Ocean Ave. side of the building is considered frontage, or facing a public area.
Deputy Chair Rick Lambert said he had problems with the fence facing the boardwalk side saying it looks like a “blank wall. He said the boardwalk side of the building should be considered public space.
“You can’t get more public than the boardwalk…the facade should be as strong as Ocean Avenue, ” he said.
Lambert also said the wall has “no relationship to the surrounding area.”
Other board members agreed that the boardwalk side facade did not “engage” the public.
Board Member Michael Manzella, suggested allowing for a shop or food vendor with an awning on the boardwalk side.
Several board members also said the boardwalk side should have an egress so beach club members do not have to exit on Ocean Avenue and walk around the building to the beach and boardwalk.
Several also expressed an interest in having a mural painted on the boardwalk side to make the structure more aesthetically pleasing. The public art committee would review and approve the mural.
Chair Barbara Krzak said a mural would tie the beach club look into the other buildings at the beachfront.
Board Member Jennifer Souder agreed with her fellow board members said she looked for a pathway to deny the application and could not find any.
Souder said she feels constrained by the WRP but said her main concerns remain, equity, access, environmental as well as design issues.