Architect Lance Blake with a rendering of the Southbank project’s river-facing side. Below, a view from Union Street shows the slope of Boat Club Court alongside the proposed building site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Questions about a hillside sidewalk may force revisions to a plan for luxury townhouses overlooking the Navesink River from Red Bank.
The planned Southbank townhomes, seen looking northeast from Boat Club Court. (Rendering by Rotwein+Blake; photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
After a lengthy hearing before the borough zoning board Thursday night, representatives of Denholtz Associates said they would revisit the issue of whether and how to create a sidewalk on Boat Club Court.
The company’s engineer, Jim Kennedy, had testified that the slope of the hill alongside the proposed building site for the proposed 10-unit Southbank development was too steep to create a sidewalk that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“You’re telling me you want to build 10 homes facing the river, and your residents aren’t going to go walking down to the river?” asked board member Sean Murphy. “There’s going to be nobody walking down there?”
“I don’t see it being done without stairs,” possibly requiring a “switchback” path, Kennedy replied.
“I’d like to see it even it means putting steps in,” said Murphy.
The project would be sited on a gravel parking lot between West Front Street and Union Street, overlooking the roofs of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club and the Monmouth Boat Club.
Plans call for five one-story units topped by five two-story units, with 26 parking spots for tenants underneath the structure and eight more exposed, according to plans. Here are the floor plans: Denholtz.Southbank. Architec. 16&22 W. Front St. Z13066
Variances are needed for the absence of commercial uses on the first floor and for floor-area ratio, among others.
Kennedy detailed the builder’s proposal to replace the stone riprap on the slopes alongside and in front of the homes with greenery anchored by a Geoweb system that’s both pervious and stabilizing.
Discussion also focused on the narrow roadway between the building site and the backs of buildings fronting on West Front Street. The nameless road is owned by the borough and dead-ends at the side of a building.
At issue was how to accommodate residents of a West Front Street condo building and businesses who hold lease rights to a total of eight parking spots on the site.
After much discussion, condo owner Anthony Barbero suggested that Denholtz give the condo owners three spaces in the proposed underground garage, which has six more stalls than required by ordinance, and leave eight exposed spots at the eastern end of the roadway, five for the leaseholders and three for public use.
Company principal Steve Denholtz called it a “good idea” and said it would be incorporated into revisions.
The hearing was scheduled to resume April 18.
Denholtz, a multistate office and residential development firm that recently moved its headquarters from Matawan to Chestnut Street, is also building a massive office-residential-commercial project called the Rail alongside the Red Bank train station.