By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
The Asbury Park City Council is reviewing a proposal by Sackman Enterprises for a 100-unit four-story building on Asbury Avenue after changing its policy to allow more public comment for development proposals.
Typically, the council – as the city’s redevelopment agency – would review a proposal and pass it along to the Planning Board for its recommendations without the necessity of a public hearing, explained Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn. But responding to residents’ concerns for more opportunity to weigh in on proposed projects, the council conducted a recent public hearing and required the developer to officially notify all property owners within 200 feet of the project.
The council took no action on the proposal but if it endorses the project in the future, it would be presented as an ordinance, again requiring a public hearing. Next the proposal would head to the Planning Board where it also would be subject to a public hearing, Quinn explained.
What makes this project potentially interesting is it would reserve 40 of its units for affordable housing, twice the city’s requirement, explained Andrew Karas, a lawyer with Fox Rothschild LLP, who is representing the developer.
“This is two blocks from Main Street and one block from Memorial Drive,” Karas said. “It is the gateway to Asbury Park.”
The proposal for 1012 Asbury Ave. is on the site of a present automotive use and seeks to present a more dynamic entry into the city, said Jonathan Cortell of L + M Development Partners LLC, who also represented the developer at a recent City Council meeting.
It would have four stories and the ground floor would offer 10 live/work units, said Cortell, noting the number would be flexible.
“I take this as a great opportunity to contribute to the landscape of Asbury Park,” he said.
The developer also hopes to attract those who work in the arts. A mural is proposed for the building’s exterior, possibly painted by a local artist.
“We want to create a building that is a dynamic one…that celebrates its relationship to the arts,” Cortell said.
“I think the design is very Asbury,” said Karas.
“This project is one we talked about months ago,” Mayor John B. Moor said.
“I’m shocked to say this is going to be great,” Quinn said to Carter Sackman, the developer.