Asbury Park Planning Board Addresses Building Height and Design Controversy

In a recent Asbury Park Planning Board meeting, an amount of time was devoted to a discussion about the revised redevelopment plan for a property on Memorial Drive, particularly focusing on the building’s height and architectural design. The board scrutinized the transition from a proposed four-story building with a penthouse to a five-story structure, and the implications this change would have on both the aesthetic of the cityscape and the inclusion of affordable housing units. The resolution for 138, 140, 144 Bordon Avenue was approved unanimously, while the application for 614 Cookman was carried to the next meeting to address concerns about unit orientation.

The redevelopment plan for a property on Memorial Drive came under the spotlight as it underwent a revision from a four-story building to a five-story building due to a correction in the initial proposal. The board’s conversation delved into the implications of adding an extra story and the potential for it to house additional living spaces or mechanical equipment.

One board member highlighted the importance of architectural diversity, advocating for facades that would contribute to a more visually engaging cityscape. The member’s call for variety and interesting architecture underscored a broader desire for thoughtful urban design in the community’s development projects.

The discussion about the building’s height and the design was interwoven with the issue of affordable housing. This point highlighted the ongoing challenge of balancing the need for aesthetically pleasing design with the practical considerations of housing development.

Furthermore, the board debated the intended use and definition of penthouses within the project. Questions arose regarding whether these top-floor additions would be habitable spaces or reserved for mechanical equipment, which would influence the overall height and appearance of the building. The board grappled with the language of the plan, seeking to ensure clarity and precision in its directives, specifically concerning penthouses and commercial space requirements on the ground floor.

The commercial space provision sparked additional debate. The board clarified that the inclusion of commercial spaces in the building was not optional but a mandated component of the ground floor. This led to discussions about the language within the redevelopment plan that required these spaces and how they should be factually represented in the official documents.

The meeting also touched on the role of the council in finalizing decisions about the project, with the Planning Board’s recommendations playing a key factor in the ultimate outcome. The board’s deliberations on building height restrictions and the treatment of penthouses aimed to shape the council’s directives.

The procedural aspects of the meeting included carrying the application for 614 Cookman to the April 1st meeting, providing the applicant with the opportunity to present additional testimony and notify adjacent residents. Similarly, the applications for 512 and Summerfield Avenue were carried to April 15th without the need for additional notice.

The Planning Board’s discussion on the redevelopment plan concluded with a vote to approve modifications and recommendations to be passed on to the council.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
John Moor
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