Y EXPANSION STALLED BY FACADE DESIGN

ymca_tree2The YMCA took down some trees along its Maple Avenue frontage last month.

There’s still no decision over an expansion plan by the Community YMCA that includes a facade that some by the Red Bank zoning board members consider too futuristic-looking for the area.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that

Board member Rosemary Minear’s position that the design is out of place was backed by Board attorney Marc Leckstein and engineer Christine Ballard. Leckstein and Ballard questioned whether the architecture conforms to an ordinance requiring facades in the that area to have a residential appearance, similar to other buildings on that part of the street.

The proposal, the Press reports, calls for 40,000 square feet of additions in the form of  “a family-friendly pool and indoor-outdoor sprinkler park; a six-lane lap pool; a modern gymnasium with spectator space and a new indoor track; facilities for a fitness and wellness center; classrooms; a new lobby; and a seniors-only area.”

The plan has encountered concerns over traffic and parking, but the real sticking point has been whether two-story glass facade will stick out like a sore thumb. The facade does not face Maple Avenue, Jeromie Lange, a planner for the YMCA testified.

Leckstein pressed Lange for his opinion as a planner if the proposed architecture makes the building more conforming to the appearance that the ordinance requires.

“The architecture neither detracts nor adds, it carries on what’s already there,” Lange said…

The YMCA gained the spoken backing of a Shade Tree Commission representative for part of its landscaping plan which would place more mature trees from another area of the site, and shrubs in front of the facade to soften the appearance.

The hearing on the application will be continued at the Dec. 3 meeting when the architect is expected to conclude his testimony, the Press reports.