BRICK-A 78-foot tall, five-story banquet hall is being proposed along the waterfront in Brick Township at the end of Mantoloking Road. The project is still awaiting approvals from the township and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under the state’s Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA).
The site lies on the southern side of Mantoloking Road on the approach across the Mantoloking Bridge and will occupy nearly 25 acres. The building itself will be 45,000 square feet.
Even if the township and NJ DEP approved the mammoth structure, a battle between nearby neighbors and residents is expected because of the already heavy weekend traffic along the length of Mantoloking Road during summer months.
Last week, the township board of adjustment voted that the hall will not need a land-use variance, testifying the building falls under the use of a restaurant which is allowed at the site.
“I think of a banquet facility and a restaurant as interchangeable,” said Tara Paxton, township planning director.
Once approved, the developer hopes to be complete the project within two years.
Opponents of the project cited traffic concerns and acres of new impervious hard surfaces that would cause water runoff into the Barnegat Bay. Neighboring Mantoloking which was devastated during Superstorm Sandy opposes the project. Mantoloking township Attorney Jean Cipriani cited light pollution, noise pollution and increased boat traffic in the area as concerns of the borough. The borough has hired renowned land use attorney R.S. Gasiorowski who often represents communities and neighbors opposing projects they feel may have a negative impact on their quality of life.
Another hearing on the application will be held on August 21st. At the last meeting, the meeting room was packed with objectors, including lawyers for six lawyers representing detractors, including the Mantoloking Bay Yacht Club and the non-profit group Save Barnegat Bay.