SEA BRIGHT CIRCLES DONOVAN’S LOT

Squeezed for parking, the Borough of Sea Bright tonight will mull the question of whether to try to buy Donovan’s Reef.

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The beach bar’s owners are said to be asking $4.5 million for the oceanfront property, which is across East Center Street from borough hall.

While some members of the borough council are cool to the idea of dropping that much money, Council President William Keeler favors it, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

“I personally want this. I think it’s a good decision if we can make the acquisition,” he tells the Press.

Back in April, the council authorized a $2,500 expense to cover an appraisal on Donovan’s, which is owned by Christopher Bowler of Oceanport and siblings under the name L.B.P. Corp. of Sea Bright. We don’t know what that figure came in at, but the place is on the Monmounth County books assessed at just $1.1 million.

At the time, the driving issue, so to speak, was parking: where to put residents’ cars during a storm, and where attendees of council meetings would park if Donovan’s 82-space parking lot were no longer available.

From the story:

Both Keeler and Kalaka-Adams said the parking lot was needed as spillover parking for those who visit the municipal building as well as emergency spaces for residents when local streets flood.

Keeler said it is uncertain whether Sea Bright could continue to provide municipal services in the existing [borough] building if Donovan’s Reef was sold to a developer and the town lost access to the club’s parking lot.

The mayor said it would cost more to build a new borough hall somewhere else than to buy the beach club.

The meeting is at 7p at borough hall.

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