A property that has been vacant since it was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy may be the next bar and restaurant to open in the borough, but the town’s new law placing restrictions on bars on the north end of the boardwalk could make the proposal a controversial one.
Fresh Cut Fries LLC is proposing a restaurant and bar with a rooftop section at 1219 Boardwalk, next door to what has become known as the “Jersey Shore” house from its portrayal on the MTV series bearing the same name. The issue the company will almost assuredly face, however, is that as of two weeks ago, new establishments with liquor licenses are restricted to 15 bar seats, must close by midnight, are not allowed to host entertainment, must be restaurant-oriented, and cannot have rooftop sections. They are also limited to an area of 5,000 square feet of floor space. The ordinance was praised by residents but opposed by many holders of liquor licenses and commercial properties in the area that were not being utilized.
According to a filing with the borough’s planning board, the establishment will sell food and beverages from its interior venue and featuring a restaurant offering roof top “al fresco” dining and serving alcoholic beverages. In a reference to the new zoning ordinance, the attorney representing Fresh Cut Fries, Stephen P. Sinisi, argues that the previous boardwalk zoning laws – which allow bars without the restrictions – apply since the application was submitted Jan. 23.
The borough’s planning board will consider additional variances beyond the zoning issue – namely, a rear yard setback for a deck and any other design waivers the board will require.
Sinisi, at the March 4 borough council meeting during which the new zoning ordinance passed unanimously (with two abstentions), said his client was considering opening a bar and restaurant in the section of boardwalk affected by the changes.
“We went out at considerable expense and hired a planning consulting firm,” said Sinisi.
Renderings of the proposed establishment were passed around the council chambers publicly during the meeting. The name listed for the bar was called the “Jackrabbit” in the illustrations.
The planning board notice, which was published this week, set a date for a hearing on the matter to be held March 25, though it is unlikely that town hall will be open for public meetings by then due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Shorebeat will report on whether the date for the hearing changes in the future.