Victoria Rose Project in Beach Haven Undergoing Revisions

Mar 13, 2019

Eliminating rooftop amenities was a major change announced for the proposed Victoria Rose project in Beach Haven during a presentation at the March 11 borough council meeting.

Late last year, partners Terry Moeller and Tom and Joan Bertussi received approval from the land use board to tear down the bank building on Bay Avenue and build a retail/residential complex. The complex would contain 20 residential units, each covering 1,200 square feet. Five apartments would be set aside for affordable housing.

The development would also include five yet-to-be-named retail businesses, covering less than 40,000 square feet. The current brick structure was built in 1963 as the headquarters for the old Beach Haven National Bank. Over the years, it became the home of several different financial institutions, with the most recent being Sovereign Bank.

Tom Bertussi said the size of the building would be increased by 50 percent to 30,550 square feet. This extra space would allow for the applicants to move the originally proposed outdoor pool and cabana from the roof top to the ground level. Two more apartments would be added to the main building, and a separate free-standing structure would also contain two dwelling units.

He said moving the pool would result in the building’s maximum height being lowered from 48.6 to 38.6 feet.

“The only things you would have on the roof would be fans and compressors,” said Bertussi.

In addition, he said the lot building coverage would be reduced from 89 percent to 67 percent.  The currently proposed parking spaces would increase from 37 to 49 spots.

“The loading zone will now be behind the building instead of the front,” Bertussi said.

He said he hopes to invite the public to a meet and greet type of meeting where people could ask questions and look over designs. He said it would be similar to one held at the New Jersey Maritime Museum early last year when the original concept was being proposed 

“We looked at these changes as something the community might like,” said Bertussi. 

Christopher Norman, an attorney who represented a group of residents opposed to the project, appealed the borough land use board’s decision in Ocean County Superior Court. During public comments at the council meeting, resident Jim Lambert, one of the plaintiffs in the matter, said the new plans did not conform to the most recent Beach Haven master plan in regard to setbacks, height and lot coverage among other criteria.

“This town has special character and charm, and this would not be consistent with what Beach Haven is all about,” he said.

Originally, the partners had hoped to have construction underway by now and have the project open in time for summer. But now the timetable has been changed to 2020.

— Eric Englund

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