CHUBBY’S PLAN MEETS LITTLE RESISTANCE
Architect Tony Busch Jr. discusses the proposed design for a building to replace Chubby’s, shown superimposed at left on a photo of West Front Street buildings. (Click to enlarge)
Had their business been treated as a brand-new one, the owners of the restaurant and sports bar proposed for the present site of Chubby’s Waterside Café on West Front Street might be looking at a $325,000 bill from Red Bank for insufficient parking.
As things stand, though, the final tab will probably come in closer to $30,000, Borough Engineer Rich Kosenski told redbankgreen last night.
His comment followed a generally favorable reception by the Zoning Board for a plan to demolish Chubby’s a rock club best known these days for weekend all-ages shows and replace it with a four-story mix of restaurant, sports bar and banquet facility topped by two rental apartments. The eatery would be run by the principals in the Bistro at Red Bank and called The Bank.
The board took no vote on the matter, though. The next hearing on the request was scheduled for Jan 17.
Land-use professionals hired by the project owners argued that the new business is essentially a continuation of the existing use, on the exact same footprint as the existing stucture, and thus should not be treated as a new use in a new building for the purpose of determining parking the deficit.
“There’s an existing operation at this site,” said planner Christine Cofone. “The use planned is exactly what the zone plan envisions. The parking, in my opinion, will be no different than any other restaurant in the borough.
“I think that parking demand can be met by the existing parking spaces” on the streets and in borough lots, she said. “In my opinion, you don’t come to downtown Red Bank to eat and leave because you can’t find a parking spot.”
Kosenski said the parking obligation will be based on the increase in the maximum occupancy of the site from the present level, as determined by the borough fire marshal. This week, that office calculated the plan would allow for up to 427 people in the building at a time; at present, the max is 371, said project attorney Rick Brodsky.
Six parking spaces are proposed for a garage at the north end of the building four for tenants and two for the business. Board members asked the owners to come back with more information on where employees and patrons might park their cars.
A borough ordinance sets a $2,500-per-space fee for projects that fail to meet their parking obligation. But the Planning Board this week charged Buona Sera Ristorante for the equivalent of just 28 spaces when the restaurant itself claimed it had a 39-car deficit as a result of a proposed expansion.
The proposed building would have the appearance of several distinct structures to keep the long Boat Club Way side from creating a long, warehouse-wall type appearance, said architect Tony Busch Jr., who with his father owns the adjoining home of Work Out World next door.
The review included a fair amount of discussion of garbage. The plan calls for an enclosed loading dock and trash storage facility that will be accessed by trucks at about the mid-point of the building along the Boat Club Way side.
“It’ll be closed in, so nobody sees it, nobody smells it,” Busch told the board. Because of the narrow configuration of the property, “the garbage was a tough issue,” he said.
No members of the public came forth to ask any questions about or raise objections to the plan.
The board did not hold a hearing on the South Beach project proposed for Monmouth Street. Board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia said notices that the matter would be heard had been sent out in error. No date was set for a hearing.
The board also held off until Jan. 17 a possible vote on a plan by Two River Theater founder Robert Rechnitz and family members to convert a single-family house at 81 Shrewsbury Avenue into temporary, free lodging for Equity actors during their runs on the theater’s stage.