Monthly Archives: June 2016

Spring Lake Tap House Requests Postponement

The Spring Lake Tap House requested a postponement from the June 30 meeting of the Zoning Board of Adjustment which was to hear that business’s application for an outdoor dining expansion. Neighbors of the business who arrived at the hearing were disappointed to know that the application had been moved. The matter will be heard at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Adjustment on Thursday, July 28.

Council Discusses $400,000 Community House Expansion

At the Monday, June 28th, meeting of the Spring Lake Heights Borough Council, the governing body and citizen attendees heard a presentation by local architect Paul Damiano for a $400,000 expansion to the Community House on Ocean Road and 9th Avenue. Damiano, a former member of the Borough’s Planning Board, noted that the original plans for expansion dated to 2004 when the Borough applied to Monmouth County’s Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) program. The proposal at that time, priced at approximately $250,000, was rejected.

Three years ago, Borough administrator Jay Delaney revived the old proposal and resubmitted it to the County. After several funding cycles, the project, now valued at $300,000, was finally awarded approximately $150,000. Earlier this year, the Council approved rehiring Damiano for $12,500 to revise the original plans. The revision includes some renovation to existing space, such as new wood flooring and a reduced stage.

Expansion of the facility includes two meeting rooms so that tables can be left set up at all times. The existing kitchen would be completely overhauled and the stove replaced with a microwave. The project is now valued at $400,000.

The new bathrooms which were redone in 2011 with a grant from the Spring Lake Heights Improvement Foundation would be torn out and replaced with new, expanded bathrooms. Damiano explained this is a requirement to accommodate the expanded number of people the building would hold. Additionally, all ADA-compliant work done in 2011 would also be redone as the back entrance would be relocated.

Seeing that several members of the audience wished to speak, Mayor Tom O’Brien graciously opened a public comment session specifically for this issue, saying that community members should have the ability to provide input on a community facility.

Cathy Hahn, who chairs the Borough’s Beautification Committee, expressed concern that the stove was being removed. She noted that when she hosts the Committee’s annual Tea to raise funds for the building that she needs to keep kettles boiling and food heated.

Councilman Art Herner remarked that no one used the stove anymore, but had their events catered instead. Hahn disagreed with this statement, as did resident John Tangeman who noted that people often cook trays of food and bring them to the facility to reheat them there. Damiano remarked that he would design whatever he was instructed to but had been told to remove the stove.

Hahn noted that many improvements were sorely needed. “The floor has needed replacing for 25 years, the kitchen for at least that,” she remarked. She asked, however, why the Borough felt it necessary to go beyond needed improvements and expand the space. Councilman Herner said it was because, for once, Spring Lake Heights was going to do something right and spend money upfront instead of trying to do something as cheaply as possible. Hahn pointed out that the project grows in price every time it is discussed and asked where all the money was coming from.

Borough Administrator Jay Delaney said that in addition to the $150,000 grant from the CBDB, he had identified approximately $45,000 available in the general fund and another $200,000 in the Borough’s Open Space Fund. Environmental Commission chair Kathleen Crippen noted that the Open Space Fund was specifically a tax to buy and maintain open space included in the Borough’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory (ROSI). Currently, the Community House and adjoining park are not on the Inventory.

She noted, too, that according to the NJDEP’s Green Acres program, which oversees open space, that money could not be spent on building funds unless it was a historic building listed in the ROSI. A search of the NJDEP Historic Preservation Office’s NJ & National Registers of Historic Places showed that The Community House is not currently listed on either Register as a historic property or being located within a historic district. She suggested that the Borough Attorney follow up with the legal department at Green Acres to confirm what the Borough needed to do to legally spend the funds and not run the risk of lawsuits.

Resident Nancy Maclearie Hayduk also questioned the need for such a large expansion and said the Borough needed to be mindful of the residents who live behind the Community House. Using the architect’s model of the project she noted that the building would come out further in the back than it does now, bringing it closer to neighbors. Hayduk suggested that Councilman Herner, who chairs the Borough’s Parks and Recreation Committee, convene a committee of residents to provide input on what was really needed at the facility. Herner demurred, saying committees could go either way and could take up time. Citing Hahn’s years of commitment to the facility and her knowledge of its use, Hayduk urged Herner to rely on Hahn “as a committee of one” and involve her in any ongoing discussions about the expansion.

Mayor O’Brien asked for a motion to close the public comments when everyone who wanted to speak was finished. He thanked Damiano for his time in giving the presentation.

Any resident interested in the proposed design may visit Borough Hall and request to see the site plans. Anyone wishing to provide input should attend the next Council meeting at 8 PM on July 11, and speak during the Voice of the Public.

Spring Lake Tap House Seeks Expansion Approval from Zoning Board

In a follow-up to last month’s Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, the Spring Lake Tap House will again seek approval for expanding its use to include outdoor dining (see “Tap House Application Carried to June 30th BOA Meeting” on http://www.heightsonline.wordpress.com). The application was tabled as it was missing a stormwater management plan. Also, Board members expressed an interest in seeing a revised plan with less than the proposed 84% lot coverage to host an additional 64 seats.

Revised plans include an inground drywell and a reduction in outdoor seating to 44 seats and an 82% lot coverage.

In the May meeting, Tap House representatives argued that the outdoor dining area would be a great benefit to residents because it currently is a much sought-after accommodation. They felt there would be no impact on parking, as they indicated that no one drives anymore, but uses Uber, taxis, or bicycles. Mercer Avenue residents at that meeting complained, however, about the current difficulty in parking with bar patrons taking up both sides of the street. Late-night noise and litter were also cited as problems.

As with all municipal meetings, the Zoning Board of Adjustment is subject to the NJ State Open Public Meetings Act and all residents are encouraged to attend and speak. The meeting will be held Thursday, June 30,7:30 PM,Spring Lake Heights Borough Hall,555 Brighton Avenue.

EXPANDED ATHLETIC USE OF ALLAIRE ROAD PARK?

In June 2013, residents presented the governing body with a petition requesting the restoration of Allaire Road Park to its original state by preserving the remaining trees, replanting new trees and greenery in the Grove, and making the walking and biking paths safe.

The petition noted that in light of a discussion at the May 13th Council meeting to expand the athletic fields at Allaire Road Park, residents felt that the grounds of the elementary school would be a more suitable location for such a facility.

A Parks Committee made up of town representatives and residents was created to meet and discuss the issue. All findings were presented at a June 2, 2014 special meeting of the Borough Council. Residents were largely against expanded use, mainly due to increased traffic, noise, lighting, and the cost to the taxpayer.

Following this, the Borough Council entered into negotiations with the SLH Board of Education and ultimately struck an agreement to shift $100,000 out of the Borough’s Open Space Tax Fund over to the school to renovate the playing fields. In exchange for the $100,000, the Borough’s Recreation Program would have use of the renovated fields.

That work at the school has been completed and paid for. New trees are being planted around the Grove area. However, some parents are again coming before the Council and proposing expanded athletic use of Allaire Road Park.

Even though this issue had been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, it is being raised again. Residents wishing to speak for or against this matter are invited to attend the next meeting of the SLH Borough Council:

Monday, June 13
8:00 PM
Spring Lake Heights Borough Hall
555 Brighton Avenue