Letters

Losing Its Charm

Oct 02, 2019

To the Editor:

It’s a shame that long ago, LBI wasn’t established as one community, with one set of governing bodies (education, police, fire, government, zoning, etc). It’s a shame that the Island doesn’t have more uniform zoning.

LBI is such a beautiful island that is rapidly losing its charm. The result of Superstorm Sandy is larger, boxy homes with no trees and very little shrubbery. The one area of LBI that has the largest sections of charm is Beach Haven, with its many natural cedar shake homes and trees.

What sets LBI apart from other seashore communities has been the height limit of buildings. Unfortunately, the limit continues to be challenged and exceptions made. I’m beginning to feel “closed in.” For those who want an elevator, make the living area five steps up to clear the flood plain and then add your two stories, which allows for an elevator shaft without asking for a variance.

Getting back to Beach Haven, the proposed (Morrison’s) hotel/restaurant is architecturally pleasing. It’s just way too massive! If the Island was still sparsely developed like in the days of the Baldwin Hotel, I would have another opinion. Removing one floor level would make the proposed building more charming and in keeping with the residential community. A ramp out of the elevator on the top floor could lower the height of the shaft while adding architectural interest to the ceiling below the ramp.

I applaud returning a waterfront restaurant (in short-supply) and keeping the ship store and public marina.

As far as the need for a 102-room hotel on the Island, from resent observation traveling south of the Causeway, I have not seen 100 percent “no vacancies” throughout the summer in hotels, including the busiest weeks in July and August. As far as the liquor license for the restaurant goes and needing over 100 rooms, I’d prefer to bring my own libations. If you need to make an exception, grant it for the license, not the height of the building.

If 102 rooms is the break-even point for the project, then I wonder if too much is being paid for the property or to the contractors, architects, owner. This could be an opportunity to have a “free” competition amongst the top architectural schools in New Jersey to come up with a design.

Beach Haven, please consider scaling back the project and keeping your charm.

Julie Winter

Holgate

 

 

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