WALL TOWNSHIP — The Wall Township Planning Board Monday night gave unanimous approval to the application for a microbrewery to be constructed on Route 71 between Second and Third avenues, in spite of opposition from some local residents.
The applicant, 71 Holdings, LLC, will construct a two-story building housing a microbrewery operation and retail sales on the 15,000 square foot property.
Jeff Baker, the applicant and operator of the brewery, told The Coast Star after the approval, “I’m really happy; it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been planning this for a long time, I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and I’m really happy and ready to move forward.”
Microbreweries are a permitted use within the zoning, according to board attorney John Jackson. However, the application drew some opposition from local residents, who expressed concerns about potential traffic problems, “rowdiness” and children’s safety, in light of the site’s proximity to Rash Field and residential neighborhoods.
“It’s not just a bunch of raving lunatics in West Belmar up in arms, this is my home,” Jessica Evans told the board during public comment. “I rented it for 12 years and then was able to buy it, I raised my daughter there, I do not want to live down the street from a brewery, and I ask you that you take that into consideration when you make your plans.”
Kathleen Ferdon, another West Belmar resident added, “Nobody wants this, you know we’ve been against this for quite some time and just really disappointed by the fact that it’s been shoved down our throats, it’s a rough fit for the neighborhood … We’re really, really not looking forward to this.”
Following comments and concerns from five residents, Chairman Braun voiced his support of the application, adding, “We’re trying to be as fair as we can about this … I like this a lot better than this being a restaurant and bar.”
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