By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
For 80 years, a quaint seashore cottage occupied the lot at 126 90th Street in Sea Isle City’s Townsends Inlet section. The house was so tiny that it had only 672 square feet of space, about double the size of a typical hotel room.
Although the home was definitely lacking in size, the property boasts a desirable location in the beach block of 90th Street.
The owners of the property, husband and wife Mark and Kate Kline, demolished the cottage last year with the intention of building a new single-family house.
On Monday night, the Sea Isle Zoning Board gave its approval for the proposed three-story home.
“We love Townsends Inlet for its serenity, its quietness,” Mark Kline told the Zoning Board members during their meeting, which was conducted by teleconference amid the pandemic.
The board voted 7-0 to grant six variances that the Klines requested for the new home. The variances include allowing them to build on an undersized lot and to have smaller side yard and rear yard setbacks than what are normally required by the city’s zoning laws.
The one-story cottage at 126 90th Street, dating to 1940, was a throwback to an era when tiny homes often were built on small lots in Townsends Inlet. In recent years, the trend has been to demolish the quaint homes to make way for construction of much larger, modern houses.
“It seems to be a classic Townsends Inlet property,” Zoning Board Chairman Patrick Pasceri said of the lot at 126 90th Street.
Pasceri pointed out that the board’s approval of variances for the Klines’ proposed home was consistent with the variances it has granted for other new houses built on undersized lots in Townsends Inlet.
While charming in its heyday, the cottage at 126 90th Street had become deteriorated. The Klines bought it last August for $528,000, online real estate records show.
Mark Kline told the Zoning Board that the cottage was in such poor shape that it had become uninhabitable, so the decision was made to demolish it to create room for a new single-family home.
He noted that he and his wife plan to make the house their retirement home at the shore.
“We will not be renting this property. It will be purely for family use,” he said.
During the public comment portion of the Zoning Board meeting, one of the neighbors, Kathy Siravo, of 134 90th Street, spoke in support of the Klines’ plans for a new home.
“This property has been dilapidated for many years. It was time for something to happen there,” Siravo said of the transition from an old cottage to a modern home.