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Amidst Objections, Funtown Beach Expansion Plan Hits Snag in Seaside Park

Funtown Beach, April 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Funtown Beach, April 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A plan to add a slew of attractions to Funtown Beach, the private-operated ocean beach where the Funtown Pier amusement park was once located, hit a snag Tuesday night over legal technicalities.

The Seaside Park planning board chose not to proceed with the proposal by William Major, the owner of Funtown Beach, to make his improvements. The board found that the applicant did not properly send notices to some neighboring property owners, including the borough of Seaside Heights. When presenting a case before a land use board in New Jersey, all neighboring property owners within 200 feet must be sent a legal notice at least 10 days before the hearing takes place. In the case of Funtown Beach, which borders Seaside Heights, the municipal government of the neighboring town must also be notified (though there was no sign that Seaside Heights would have an interest in opposing the application).

“We’re obviously disappointed but we respect your decision,” said Melanie Szuba Appleby, attorney for Funtown Beach. “This is obviously something that is time-sensitive for this particular applicant.”

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John A. Giunco, another attorney, was representing another business owner who is an objector to the application. Giunco, after the meeting, said he did not want to identify his client publicly until he needed to do so before the board.

Board President Michael Giuliano recognized the time-sensitive nature of the application and scheduled a special meeting May 21 to hear the application. By then, legal notices will have been sent out.

Funtown Pier, consumed by fire, Sept. 12, 2013. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Funtown Pier, consumed by fire, Sept. 12, 2013. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Major is seeking to expand the scope of the private beach that sits across from the Sawmill Cafe. The beach is operated by Major’s company and BYOB is allowed. The application seeks to amend the conditions of a prior board approval in order to add an on-site area for food trucks and to create an area for portable pole-mounted grills that will cover a 120-by-62-foot plot. Major is also asking for more cabanas, approximately 15 feet in height or less, a relocatable 25-by-50-foot Tiki Hut and a 3,600 square-foot playground area at the site.

The May 21 meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the second-floor meeting room of the borough police station on Route 35.

Funtown Pier was severely damaged in Superstorm Sandy and completely destroyed in the Sept. 2013 boardwalk fire.

Major decided against rebuilding Funtown Pier after Seaside Park officials would not allow him to build rides that reach 300-feet tall. The borough limited ride heights to 150-feet. Funtown Pier’s attorneys at the time said a rebuilt pier would not be a viable business without modern thrill rides.

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