Proposed Hotel on Beach Haven Council Docket Oct. 15

Also Restaurant on Former Morrison’s Site
By Eric Englund | Oct 09, 2019

Beach Haven — Expecting a very large crowd for its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., the Beach Haven Borough Council will be conducting business at Surflight Theatre, located at 201 Engleside Ave.

The agenda will feature a presentation from Christopher Vernon, developer of a proposed restaurant and 102-room hotel at the vacant site of Morrison’s Restaurant.

Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis said that while Vernon has appeared before the council on previous occasions, those presentations were more of a conceptual nature.

“But this time, he’s going to talk about more specifics, like traffic control and other issues,” she said.

Vernon has proposed a three-story structure, with a height limit of 44 feet to the top of the hotel roof, with an elevator tower not to exceed a maximum height of 45 feet, 9 inches. He had said the three-story design would enable the site to maintain the Ship’s Store building on the site, plus add gardens and other amenities. He said the hotel would provide a guest shuttle for the beach and activities in the area, and would also have guest parking on the ground level. On the north bulkhead, he is planning to add a wharf bar and public access for fishing, crabbing and sunset watching.

Borough Manager/Clerk Sherry Mason said council could also vote on a developer’s agreement with Vernon, which she said would give the borough better control over what is built on that site. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the agreement was not yet on the agenda.

The agreement is an outgrowth of the council designating the marine commercial district, which includes Morrison’s, as a site for redevelopment in June 2018.

James Maley, an attorney who specializes in redevelopment law and serves as a consultant to the borough, said that to qualify for redevelopment status, the district had to meet one or more statutory conditions or requirements. One of them was “areas with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals or welfare of the community.

“Because of this, any party interested in developing a property would first discuss plans with the council, which would then forward it to the land use board for recommendations,” said Mason.

“If an agreement is approved, the project will go before the land use board.”

— Eric Englund

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