Ocean Zoning Board Approves House of Worship and Residential Variances Amidst Debates on Traffic, Safety, and Environmental Concerns

In a recent meeting, the Ocean Zoning Board approved several requests, including the construction of a house of worship by the First French Speaking Baptist Church and residential improvements for individual homeowners. The meeting, which included discussion on variances and safety considerations, also saw residents express concerns over potential flooding, traffic, and the environmental impact of proposed developments.

The board granted the First French Speaking Baptist Church approval to construct a new house of worship on a triangular property, necessitating several variances due to the unique shape of the land. Following the detailed debate, the board approved the request, subject to the variances and a design waiver for the proposed tree.

Resident concerns also took center stage as Victor Russano and Michelle voiced apprehensions about flooding and traffic associated with the church’s development. The church’s representatives, including attorney Amanda M. Curley and a traffic engineer, provided reassurances about the stormwater management system and traffic flow measures to mitigate these issues. The board also discussed the possibility of public access to the church’s planned electric vehicle (EV) spots and addressed residents’ queries about the building’s height and parking requirements.

Homeowners Timothy Apper and Robert and Maryanne Bedford’s applications for construction of a front portico and a screened front porch, respectively, were also on the agenda. After deliberations on the impact on neighboring properties, the board approved Apper’s request and Bedford’s proposal, contingent on the submission of revised plans and charts.

The meeting further delved into the technical aspects of site development, with the board member Gino Dellomo and Mayor John P. Napolitani, Sr. contributing to discussions on landscaping plans, tree preservation, and the positioning of a small maintenance garage. The board emphasized the need for additional trees instead of monetary contributions to the tree fund and discussed excavation depths for stormwater management.

Paul Anderson, a licensed professional engineer and planner, presented on behalf of an applicant regarding the relocation of a lighting pole to avoid a setback variance. Anderson outlined the plans for stormwater management and proposed adjustments to comply with lighting setback requirements. The board and the applicant’s attorney agreed to continue the case to April 18th, 2024, allowing time for the submission of revised plans and further discussions.

In particular, the placement of trash areas and retention basins prompted debates over safety and the impact on neighboring properties. Taana Torsa and Katie Buck raised issues regarding the relocation of a garbage area and the use of security cameras, respectively, which the board agreed to consider with expert input.

The board’s discussions also involved the profile of Asbury Avenue, the site triangle compliance, and the parking lot’s proximity to property lines. The need for a traffic study to support a different parking ratio based on the church’s operational information was also a topic of debate.

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.

Mayor:
John P. Napolitani, Sr.
Zoning Board Officials:
Shawanda Beale, John Fuller, Lisa Littman, Gino Dellomo, Richard Van Wagner, Jason Chmura, Victor Ashkenazi, Gitta Kaplan, Anthony DeGennaro, Anthony Pugielli, Mark Leneski, Claire Vilanova (Secretary to Zoning Board of Adjustment)

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