COUNCIL RAISES HEIGHT LIMIT AT HOTEL SITE

Attorney Ron Gasiorowski, with a rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn hotel he opposes, awaits the start of Wednesday’s Red Bank council meeting. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two months after the Red Bank zoning board ruled that a proposed hotel on the site of a former Exxon station exceeded the height limit for its zone, the town’s governing body boosted the limit Wednesday night.

After a contentious hearing that was widely seen as a prelude to a third lawsuit over zoning changes affecting the site the of the proposed Hampton Inn, the borough council gave unanimous approval to a trio of ordinance amendments, one of which would allow a building 82.4 feet tall, or seven stories, in the zone.

Though characterized by council members and council Attorney Dan O’Hern as an attempt to clarify rules affecting the town’s entire waterfront development zone, the most immediate impact of the change is eliminate the most significant obstacle to the proposed hotel, eyed for the juncture of Route 35 and Rector Place at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge.

“I, too, am of the opinion that we need another hotel here, one that is affordable,” Councilman Mike DuPont said after sparring repeatedly with the attorney representing the hotel’s foremost objector.

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RED BANK MOVES TO LIMIT BUILDING HEIGHTS

Under the proposal, structures as tall as the Atrium, left and Riverside Towers on Riverside Avenue, seen above last September, would no longer be permitted. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fresh off a prolonged tangle over a proposed and ultimately rejected Hampton Inn hotel on the Navesink River, Red Bank officials are taking an editing pen to land use laws – and a chainsaw to building heights.

Under an amendment floated for adoption at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, new buildings in the town’s waterfront development zone would be limited to 75 feet above mean sea level. Currently, structures in the zone are allowed to be as tall as 140 feet.

The changes could clear the way for Rbank Capital LLC, owner of  former filling station property at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge, to return with a slightly modified hotel plan, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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