Three days ago we wrote a piece about how the Warrington project would receive official final approval this week for their site plan to turn that crappy building into a modern 21 room boutique hotel with an apartment in the basement and a basket full of variances to permit this special use, despite all the land use violations which we have documented. The Zoning Board official at the Mother Ship told us that the signing was just a formality, so we assume that it was done.
Isn’t it a remarkable coincidence that the place burned to the ground early this morning? The site plan approval by the ZBA essentially gave the owner of the land (?CMA) a change in zoning to remodel the building into the hotel. But now that it is effectively just an empty lot at 22 Lake Avenue, we might think that single family houses would be mandated at that location.
However, there is a good possibility that the developer actually could build his hotel as described in the plan anyhow, but using entirely new construction, a process that would be cheaper than the remodeling job he was facing prior to this morning. You would likely think that by reading the 2011 Surf Avenue Hotel piece below.
The following is from Charles Layton’s 2011 Blogfinger piece about what would happen to the Surf Avenue Hotel which burned down and was supposed to have been turned into condos. This story resembles the Manchester story
“The new owner of the Surf Avenue hotel, which burned on Friday, remains legally free to pursue his plan to build condominiums on the site, says Bernard Haney, Neptune’s land use administrator.
“That’s because the zoning variance for condos had already been granted before the fire took place, Haney said in an interview. He said the Zoning Board of Adjustment had granted the variance and the Superior Court and Appellate Division had both upheld that decision. Furthermore, he said, the deadline for an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court has expired, which means the Zoning Board’s decision is final.”
However, in the case of the Surf Avenue Hotel, the condo work had already been started. In the case of the Warrington, they only received final approval this week. But wait….what was all that hammering and siding work that had been recently done at the Warrington? Could that be construed as starting “work?” Or maybe the signing this week would allow the Warrington owner to go ahead anyhow. Is this some cockamamie conspiracy theory or is it just timely planning. After all, this is Neptune Township, home of the sweet deals.
Here is a link to that 2011 discussion: