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.