Bay Head Shopper’s Village plan amended

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The Shopper’s Village project application by applicant Atlantic Pier Co. will continue to be reviewed by the borough planning board at a special meeting on Monday, April 12. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

BAY HEAD — Atlantic Pier Co., Inc. has introduced amendments to its Bay Head Shopper’s Village application, including a reduction in the height of its proposed building and the elimination of a retail unit.

Atlantic Pier came before the borough planning board in a special meeting on March 29 to seek amended preliminary and final major site plan approval, use variance approval, a variance to construct a three story structure, and two new bulk variances to construct four retail units, a ground floor parking area and one apartment located on the uppermost level of the building.

The applicant will return before the planning board on Monday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m., where professionals are expected to continue to be cross examined by attorney Donna Erem, of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, who is representing objectors Lisa Baney and Lou Goetting.

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“The applicant has filed revised plans dated March 17, 2021. The applicant believes that these revisions address some of the concerns that were raised by both the board and the public at large,” attorney Donna Jennings, representing Atlantic Pier, told the board at the beginning of a four hour meeting consisting of testimony from the project’s engineer, architect and planner about the changes made to the application.

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, which they hope will soon become Shopper’s Village.

“The height of the building has been reduced [to 32.5 feet above the Base Flood Elevation] to meet the maximum height,” Ms. Jennings said. “It does still require a variance for the number of stories … as there are three stories proposed. 

“We did eliminate one retail unit as well as one of the apartments [proposed to be a three bedroom unit] so we have also eliminated the parking variance. There are 23 parking spaces required and there are 24 onsite.”

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. The property is located within the B-1 General Business Zone District.

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, which has since been constructed. 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 commercial structures with apartments on the upper floor located on Bridge Avenue and the two-story residential building located on Lake Avenue remain in current plans and no changes are proposed to the approved plan for those buildings.

“At the conclusion of the last public hearing, we took copious notes as to what the neighbors and what other board members had indicated to us as improvements that we could make to the plan. In response to many of the comments we think we made some pretty substantial changes to both the architecture and site plan to improve things,” project engineer James Kennedy said.

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