By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.
March 6, 2017. We had a conversation this morning with Kristie Armour, Secretary to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). We thank her for sharing her knowledge about the situation at the Warrington.
As we expected, the final sign-off for the #22 Lake Avenue (Warrington) site plan occurred last week, receiving the blessings of the ZBA Engineer, Chairman, and Secretary.
The process had been going on since 2013 when a conditional use variance was granted to turn the old boarding house into a 20 room boutique hotel with an apartment in the basement. The applicant was Jack Ancona, while the land owner is, according to Ms. Armour, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.
The Warrington had been a hotel on a 3,000 square foot lot. It came under a permitted zoning designation for an old hotel. Later the original use was abandoned, and the State of NJ created a rooming/boarding house zoning designation. Subsequently it got into trouble for its care of unfortunate tenants. and eventually it was closed for any use and was, by definition, a derelict building when it burned down 3 days ago. Contrary to other press reports (APP), it was not scheduled for demolition when it was destroyed.
The approved site plan just finalized last week was to rehabilitate the old building into a new hotel. Now that the site is an empty lot, that site plan is no longer applicable; it does not authorize a new, from scratch, construction hotel.
That might become possible later, but the developer would have to go back to the ZBA for new use and bulk variances.
However, such approval is not guaranteed. For one thing, the zoning at that location requires that a new hotel be on a 10,000 square foot lot. Even if the developer could acquire the sites of the two lost cottages adjacent, it might not be large enough.
Also the Planning Board might have to get involved to look at the permitted use situation for a new hotel, before any variances are considered by the ZBA. Maybe the Township would consider turning those properties into single-family zoning with fire safety in mind.
After all, they have already approved four undersized lots on the adjacent Park View Hotel site where the houses would be crammed together, creating fire safety concerns along with questions about air, space and light.
And, there are still questions about building a hotel on a land-locked lot, with the attendant concerns that we have raised before about access from Seaview Avenue, parking, encroachment onto CMA property, easements, and other land use issues previously discussed on Blogfinger (just search in the box above under “Warrington.”)
And what is the role of the Camp Meeting Association–the presumed land owner–as all this plays out?
YO-YO MA “Silk Road” from his album Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.