In a special meeting this past Tuesday, the borough council voted 3-1 for a ban on the construction of hotels in Bradley Beach, with Mayor Larry Fox casting the only ‘no’ vote. The measure was supported by Councilmen John Weber, Al Gubitosi and Randy Bonnell.
The ban was initially approved at a borough council meeting in September. However, before the measure could be formally codified, it was found by the Land Use Board and borough attorney to be inconsistent with current borough land use law.
The ordinance is the product of two years of debate in the borough, following recommendations made in late 2021 by the Bradley Beach Community Alliance to the borough’s Land Use Board, arguing for zoning ordinances to more closely align with the Bradley Beach Master Plan. The hotel proposal was not approved by the board.
The rejected recommendation would have allowed hotels to be constructed in the borough as long as the potential hotel construction was approved by the town’s Land Use Board.
In Bradley Beach, those seeking to develop a business that is regarded as a ‘non-permitted use’ in the borough are able to receive what is called a use variance. A use variance, approved by the Land Use Board, can be approved if the potential business meets certain standards and is in accordance with the town’s Master Plan.
There are currently over 30 different types of businesses that are classified as non-permitted uses in the borough.
The ordinance approved Tuesday evening adds both motels and hotels to the list of non-permitted businesses in the borough. The result of the ordinance means that hotels and motels will now require a use variance, rather than having only to conform to zoning regulations.
After a revised version of the ordinance was passed at a council meeting on Nov. 22, the Land Use Board on Dec. 15 then voted 5-2 to declare the hotel ban measure inconsistent with the borough’s Master Plan.
In their ruling, the board also recommended that the borough council use state definitions to create a consistent term when referring to hotels, as many residents and borough officials have expressed support for allowing small, boutique style bed and breakfasts to offer short-term residency.
The hotel ban measure which was approved this previous Tuesday will now have to be reviewed to consider whether it’s consistent with borough land use law.
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