The latest proposal by PRC called for additions at 141 West Front Street to top out at six stories, as shown at left. The original nine-story plan is shown at right. (Renderings by William Feinberg. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
After two years and multiple rounds of scaling back, the air space above Pazzo MMX restaurant in downtown Red Bank won’t be filled with new apartments after all.
After three hours of testimony Thursday night, the borough zoning board rejected a request for height and density variances that would have allowed PRC Group to create 58 residential units above the single-story restaurant, at 141 West Front Street.
Board Chairwoman Lauren Nicosia was joined by members Ray Mass, Eileen Hogan and Christine Irwin in voting no. Anne Torre, Rich Angowski and Sean Murphy voted yes.
The property abuts a four-story office building, known as Red Bank Corporate Plaza, at the corner of West Front and Pearl streets, that’s also owned by PRC.
The proposed addition would have raised the Pazzo building, and an adjoining four-story parking deck, to a total of six stories.
That was down from an original proposal, filed in November, 2019, calling for 150 dwelling units and nine stories.
The building would top out at 78 feet in height, after a series of revisions from the originally proposed 122 feet. But the zone only permits 40 feet.
Over months of pandemic-interrupted hearings and plan revisions in response to misgivings voiced by board members, PRC’s latest proposal was “certainly in character” with nearby buildings exceeding 65 feet in height, its planner, Jeramie Lang, told the board.
Despite some lingering qualms, Murphy praised elements of the plan, including the removal of a parking deck driveway from West Front Street to the Wall Street side of the project. He and other members expressed appreciation that the developer tried repeatedly to accommodate their concerns.
But Nicosia was not sold. After PRC attorney and senior vice president Peter Wersinger detailed what he called “a whole bundle-full of salutary benefits” from the project, Nicosia quipped, “you don’t live here.”
She objected that the affordable units would have been smaller than market-rate units, and said the project, at 22 units per acre in a zone that allows 16 per acre, was “still too dense.”
Hogan agreed. The building, she said, was “beautiful,” but “I just keep struggling with the height and the density.”
The Zoom session came to a swift end after the vote, with no immediate comment by Wersinger.
If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.