Recommended Project Modifications Prepared for the Asbury Park Planning Board

Bradley Cove Recommended Modifications & Rationale

The Citizens for Oceanfront Preservation, the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation the American Littoral Society, Clean Ocean Actions and many of the citizens of Asbury Park stand in opposition to this project due to its low income generating capacity, negative impact on the community, and encroachment on sensitive environmental areas. We are in favor of the creation of an oceanfront park.  However, in the spirit of compromise and cooperation we submit the following recommendations to the Planning Board.

RECOMMENDED MODIFICATIONS & RATIONALE

To be in compliance with Coastal Zone Management Rules  (7:7E-8.12 Scenic Resources and Design) and community concerns we recommend:

A. The proposed development should provide an open view corridor perpendicular to the water’s edge in the amount of 30 percent of the frontage along the waterfront where the open view currently exists (100%). Rough estimations based on the plans on file with the City of Asbury Park suggest only 15 % open view corridor.

Rationale

– According to the Coastal Zone Management Rules  (7:7E-8.12 Scenic Resources and Design) development in the CAFRA zone must:

(1) Provide an open view corridor perpendicular to the water’s edge in the amount of 30 percent of     the frontage along the waterfront where an open view currently exists.

– It is also worth noting that the Bradley Cove Townhouse development is not consistent with the spirit of the Asbury Park Waterfront Redevelopment Plan.   It was made abundantly clear in the many meetings at town hall and the Berkeley Carteret Hotel that the Asbury Park waterfront should be made accessible and friendly to all members of the entire community, in particular, West Side residents.

– It should also be noted that according to the CAFRA permit (pp. 4), the redevelopment plan does not definitively propose the development of townhouses but rather  “… the plan contemplates the construction of townhouses along the eastern border of the Asbury Towers.”

B. Respect the set-back requirement by locating one of the open view corridors adjacent to the large dune that is currently next to the boardwalk’s blacktop access point.

Rationale

– According to the Coastal Zone Management Rules  (7:7E-8.12 Scenic Resources and Design) development in the CAFRA zone must:

(2) Be separated from either the beach, dune, boardwalk, or waterfront, whichever is
further inland, by a distance of equal to two times the height of the structure. (set-back     requirement [Map #1])

To maintain public open space, respect Green Acres, reduce conflict between the use of public and private space, and to be in compliance with Coastal Zone Management Rules (7:7E-3.18 Coastal high hazard areas) we recommend:

C. No construction in the V zone (Coastal High Hazard Zone, Green Acres, Public Property). This modification would include decks/balconies and their support structure that would extend into the V-zone.

Rationale

– According to the Coastal Zone Management Rules (7:7E-3.18 Coastal high hazard areas):

(a) Coastal High Hazard areas are flood prone area subject to high velocity water (V zone) and     delineated on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps prepared by FEMA…

(b) Residential development, including hotels and motels, is prohibited in coastal high hazard     areas….

– The coastal high hazard area (V-zone) boundary in Asbury Park runs along the easterly border of Ocean Ave (Flood Insurance Rate Map Map # 3402850001C)

– The CAFRA permit states “The preliminary analysis generated for this project contained a request for additional information relative to the placement of townhouses in the North Shore development zone.  The permittee supplied an engineering plan representing the townhouses as being just out of the High Hazard Zone and the homes are therefore in compliance with this rule.”

– Although at the time the CAFRA permit was issued the project was in compliance (outside of the V-zone), the current plans indicate, and Robert Curley has stated, that the plan as proposed today will be in the V-zone.

D. The town homes facing both east and west should have the feel of having front doors.

Rationale

– Front doors are public, perceived backyards are not. There is precedent in Asbury Park for homes built on waterfronts to have “front doors” on both sides. Many of the homes built on Deal Lake are designed as such. Most notably, the street directly west of the Asbury Park High School. Any design that hinders that feeling should be changed. Second floor decks create the illusion of a backyard, first and second floor porches do not. Porches invite neighbors to approach, decks insist on privacy.

E. A clear public right of way needs to be adjacent to the structure and clear on both sides of the structure.

Rationale

– The current design of the townhouses of the Bradley Cove development suggests building to the property line and abutting green acres property designated as public open space and listed on the City of Asbury Park ROSI.

-In addition, the design calls for having decks off the second floor of the townhouses on the easterly side of the townhouses that will cover the green acres property. Although the petitioners have testified that this area will be open to the public, with lower patio areas available to anyone wishing to put a lawn chair or beach towel on it, this is a complete conflict of public and private space. While the area may legally be public, it will be perceived as private.

– Another design element that adds to the feeling of private rather than public space is the construction of dunes directly east of the area. Having dunes constructed will not allow the public to walk freely on the area so the dunes will act as a buffer between the town homes and the beachfront.

– These two elements together are designed to keep people from accessing what is now open public space. In addition, what was historically recreational beachfront will now become an area that people are not allowed to walk, lay down beach towels, and access the beach.

– On the easterly and westerly borders, there should be clear public right of ways, either walkways, streets or boardwalks that have an inviting feel for the public. The successful marriage between public and private space exists in many cities. For example, imagine the gracefulness a New York brownstone meeting the sidewalk or the inviting feel of the sidewalks in Ocean Grove.

To be in compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Rules (7:7E-3.16. Dunes) and ensure Asbury Partners can deliver on its promise to restore the boardwalk and dunes we recommend:

F. That the submitted plans are modified to replace current boardwalk (in lieu of the 10-foot meandering boardwalk) and enhance current dune system (in lieu of destruction and reconstruction)

Rationale

– Our immense historical Boardwalk, which brings tourists to the waterfront, boosts our property values, and increases the health and well being of our community members will now be narrowed to accommodate a handful of homes. The boardwalk is used by neighboring towns, tourists, our residents and most notably, by Asbury Park’s seniors. A meandering boardwalk may qualify as ADA accessible but may not be welcoming to those with walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, etc.

– The loss of the boardwalk north of Seventh Avenue and creation of a meandering boardwalk also caters to privacy rather than public open space. Although the idea of constructing dunes and a meandering boardwalk is appealing, in this instance it is being used to privatize the northern tip of waterfront. The City of Asbury Park would stand to loose a considerable amount of beach space currently used by sunbathers, walkers, etc.

– The project proposes to fund a much-needed new boardwalk contingent on the right to build townhouses. While the town would undoubtedly benefit from the creation of a new boardwalk, this project proposes a design that is systematically flawed. Current plans do not allow for division of the private townhouses and public boardwalk presumably rendering both to be “off limits.”   Other avenues of funding the replacement of the current boardwalk are available. Citizens for Oceanfront Preservation have brought various parties together to discuss funding the boardwalk as a public park with Senator Kean, Freeholder McMorrow, Congressman Pallone, and the Trust for Public Land. The aforementioned entities have expressed enthusiasm for garnering funding from a combination of public, Green Acre Program and private foundations.

– Regarding the enhancement of existing dunes versus the reconstruction of new dunes, it is ecologically preferable to use the existing dunes that are presently vegetated in order to support and accelerate the development of native plant communities in the new dunes.

G. That the developer submit final design plans for the boardwalk work north of 7th Avenue and associated dunes, including plantings for the parking lot, dune, and meandering walkways to the DEP for review and approval.

Rationale

– According to the Coastal Zone Management Rules (7:7E-3.16. Dunes) a dune is defined as:

(a) Formation of sand immediately adjacent to beaches that are stabilized by retaining structures, and/or snow fences, planted vegetation, and other measures are considered to be dunes regardless of the degree of modification of the dune by wind or wave action or disturbance by development.

(b) Development is prohibited on dunes…

– The “North Shore Dunes, Oceanfront Asbury” plan, dated December 2003 clearly states there are existing dunes located at the northern portion of the beach close to Deal Lake.

– The CAFRA permits states in Administrative Conditions #2 and Conclusion #11 that “prior to the initiation of construction on Block 222 and/or boardwalk work north of 7th Ave., the permittee shall submit final design plans, including plantings for the parking lot, dune, and meandering walkways to the Program for review and approval.”

To be in compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Rules, Subchapter 3C, we recommend:

H. The developer conducts an Endangered or Threatened Wildlife Habitat Impact Assessment and an Endangered or Threatened Wildlife Species Habitat Evaluation. Our preliminary analysis suggest this will result in at least a timing restriction on construction that ensures no building during the breeding/nesting season of State Endangered Least Tern (see map #1).

Rationale

– According to the Coastal Zone Management Subchapter 3C. Standards for Conducting and Reporting the results of an endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species habitat impact assessment and/or endangered or threatened wildlife species habitat evaluation:

7:7E-3C.1 Purpose and Scope
(a) This subchapter sets forth the standards for conducting an Endangered or Threatened Wildlife or     Plant Species Habitat Impact Assessment and for conducting an Endangered or Threatened Wildlife     Species Habitat Evaluation. One or both must be employed by an applicant seeking to demonstrate     compliance with or inapplicability of N.J.A.C. 7:7E-3.38 when the site contains or abuts areas     mapped as endangered or threatened wildlife species habitat on the Landscape Maps (Map     #1).      This subchapter also sets forth the standards for reporting the results of an Endangered or     Threatened Wildlife or Plant Species Habitat Impact Assessment and an Endangered or Threatened     Wildlife Species Habitat Evaluation.

Other Concerns include:

1.Tidelands Claim – has it been requested?

2. Storm Drain /Detention Basin Calculations are incomplete on the Final Major Subdivision Application on file with the City of Asbury Park (as of 1/15/09).

3. Soil Erosions and Sedimentation Control Plans are incomplete on the Final Major Subdivision Application on file with the City of Asbury Park (as of 1/15/09).

4. Floodways/Flood Hazard Area/Flood Zones had not been determined (as of 1/15/09).

5. The surfing community has concerns regarding the preservation of the surfing beach.

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