The owner the former Funtown Pier property, destroyed in the Sept. 2013 boardwalk fire, is asking Seaside Park officials for permission to expand the private beach which is now being operated on the pier property, the latest sign that it is becoming less likely the pier will ever be rebuilt.
Major Boardwalk Trust, the company run by pier owner William Major, submitted plans to rebuild the pier in 2016, but said the gargantuan cost of such a venture would not be feasible without the inclusion of thrill rides. Major sought a 300-foot height for the rides, but borough officials offered no more than 150-feet, leaving the future of the site in limbo. Since the denial, Major has operated the site of the former pier as a private beach where patrons can pay to enter and BYOB – a practice not permitted on municipally owned beaches in Seaside Park.
Major’s latest plan asks the Seaside Park Planning Board to allow an expansion of the beach club. If approved, additions would include three unenclosed, tower-style beach shower units on a ground level deck platform, measuring approximately 5 feet by 25 feet, and permission to locate a portable food trailer unit measuring approximately 8 feet by 30 feet on a gravel pad onsite. One of the showers would be handicap accessible to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Major is also seeking approval to permit the sale of snack-type “fast food” items, such as hot dogs, chips, non-alcoholic beverages, and similar items from one of the previously-approved tiki huts. As it currently stands, the huts were approved, but the sale of food and beverages onsite is not approved and require board approval as an addition to the site plan for the property.
The shower units are proposed along the westerly property line near the existing entry areas into the beach club. The portable food trailer unit is proposed adjacent to an existing pedestrian and vehicle easement along the southerly property line, which borders the municipal beach.
No variances are being sought since all of the proposals comply with zoning regulations, but the additions require board approval because they are modifications to the existing site plan that was previously approved by the board on several occasions, as new amenities were added to the site.
The meeting will be held via Zoom teleconference on July 28 at 7 p.m. The link to the conference will be posted on the planning board’s website.