Shopper’s Village application returns before planning board

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Atlantic Pier Co., Inc. has come before the borough planning board seeking new bulk and use variances for their Bay Head Shopper’s Village application, which would redevelop an approximately 31,000-square-foot property located along Bridge and Lake avenues, east of Scow Ditch, with at least four retail buildings, a two family residential structure and more. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

BAY HEAD — Atlantic Pier Co., Inc. recently came before the borough planning board seeking new bulk and use variances as part of their Bay Head Shopper’s Village application.

“As the board is aware, the applicant is here this evening seeking amended, preliminary and final major site plan approval, use variance approval, d[6] height variance, and several bulk variances to modify the previously approved project located at the intersection of Bridge and Lake avenues and identified as Block 25, Lot 5.1, on the boroughs tax maps,” the applicant’s attorney Donna Jennings, of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, told the board during its Dec. 9 meeting.

“The applicant now proposes to construct five retail buildings, above ground floor parking, with two new apartments on the upper level, one one bedroom and one two bedroom. The two existing commercial structures with apartments above on Bridge Avenue and the two family structure on Lake Avenue will remain.”

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Plans were originally approved in June 2015 to redevelop the approximately 31,000-square-foot property located along Bridge and Lake avenues, east of Scow Ditch. In 2015, the board granted the applicant preliminary and final major site plan approval, use variances and several bulk variances to demolish the existing commercial structures and two second-floor apartments and to construct seven new retail buildings and a two-family residential structure with related site improvements.

Several years later, in January 2018, the board granted the applicant an amended approval to maintain the two existing commercial structures, the old Mark, Fore & Strike and the old Young Innocents buildings, on Bridge Avenue, and to construct four new retail buildings instead of seven, and the previously approved two-family residential structure along Lake Avenue. In addition, in May 2018, the board granted Playa Bowls a use variance, and a parking variance, to operate a restaurant in one of the two existing commercial structures on Bridge Avenue.

The new plan for Shopper’s Village is not the first project Atlantic Pier has brought to the municipality. When coming before the board years ago with plans to revitalize the downtown business district, plans included turning the site of the former Lorraine Theater, to the left of Scow Ditch, into what is now Charlie’s of Bay Head. Atlantic Pier then purchased the property to the east of Scow Ditch, what they hope will soon become Shopper’s Village.

According to planners, the site layout was designed to create a raised, pedestrian-friendly retail area. The site will feature a dock that will go out into Twilight Lake for public access for fishing or other activities, more than two dozen parking spaces, and more for residents to enjoy.

“In addition to amended site plan approval, the applicant also seeks a use variance to exceed the maximum height of a principal structure where 32.5 feet is permitted and 36.5 feet is proposed. A second use variance is required to permit the construction of the two new apartments [as] Ordinance Section 147-6k prohibits the erection of an apartment, two-family dwelling, multiple-family dwelling in any zone,” Ms. Jennings said.

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