By MADDY VITALE
After listening to criticism of the project from surrounding property owners, Sea Isle City’s Zoning Board postponed voting on plans to replace a bayfront duplex dating back 70 years with a new single-family home.
The board decided to carry the project into its April meeting to give the duplex owner an opportunity to work things out with adjacent property owners who object to the current plans.
Rick Green, who owns the duplex at 230 82nd Street in the Townsends Inlet section, came before the zoning board Monday night to seek approval to tear down the two-story duplex to make room for a two-story home overlooking the bay.
Green said he and his wife, Colette, bought the home in 2017.
He told the board members that the duplex is an eyesore and that he and his wife believe it is best to knock it down rather than renovate it, considering its deteriorated condition.
“The home is about 70 years old and is extremely run-down inside and out and would need many, many repairs,” Rick Green said. “This would be for my wife, daughter and hopefully someday soon, her family as a summer home.”
He added that it would be “extremely costly” to renovate.
“Truthfully, it looks like an eyesore,” he noted.
Don Wilkinson, Green’s attorney, explained that the project would need zoning variances for rear and side yard setbacks on the irregularly shaped and undersized lot.
“This is one of the few applications where I think it is actually a hardship because of the size and the irregular nature of the lot,” Wilkinson said.
He pointed out that a new home at the site would be a benefit because it would conform to building codes and improve the property.
However, the hearing was punctuated by concerns from a handful of property owners who said that it would infringe on their parking and the home might be a fire hazard because it would be close to their home.
An easement in the area of Green’s property allows for parking for homes there. Neighbors were concerned that the parking would be negatively impacted by the new construction.
Tom and Nancy O’Dowd live near the duplex.
“It is already difficult getting cars in an out. This house will be right on top of the current property,” Tom O’Dowd noted, adding that he was concerned that emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to get in and out easily.
Nancy O’Dowd said it would “infringe on our access to our property. There is no room on that lot. I just feel this whole building is a detriment.”
Homeowner Rhys Craver, who has lived near Green’s property for 21 years, said, “I’m all for knocking the house down and putting up a house that is aesthetically pleasing, but we need access.”
Zoning Board members said that there needs to be more discussion and a tour of the property before voting.
“I do have concerns about access to the property,” Zoning Board Chairman Pat Pasceri said. “People need access to the property in a safe way. I want to make sure that we don’t go ahead and approve something that could impact the three homes there using the easement.”
Zoning Board member Bill Keller said, “We have a conundrum. Maybe we should not be approving any nonconforming variances because it seems we are jamming them in the Townsends Inlet area.”
At the request of Green, the matter was continued 30 days so that he could speak with the adjoining property owners.
“We want to work with our neighbors,” Green said. “Whatever I can do to appease them, I am willing to do. I want to work toward a reasonable conclusion with our neighbors.”