The owner of the Ocean Club, which operates its oceanfront restaurant and venue, plus numerous kiosks, on the southern portion of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is expected to come before the borough’s planning board later this month to propose a solution to a restroom issue that crept up over the business’s first summer season.
The complex of businesses on and around the Dupont Avenue Pier, owned by developer Benjamin Mabie, was required to provide public bathrooms upon approval. The bathrooms were to be used for general boardwalk visitors and the large crowds that would be frequenting the wide array of restaurants based in numerous kiosks built atop the boardwalk. The restroom situation, however, was less than optimal its first season. There was a row between the borough and the Ocean Club over the bathrooms being locked and subject to a fee, then there were occasional long lines at times that clogged up the boardwalk. Some backlash came from tenants of the kiosks who were operating restaurants.
“We’ve had some of the tenants who are paying rent to sell their food complain about the fact that there is a line for the bathroom, and some people dislike eating food next to a location where people are using the bathroom facilities,” said George Gilmore, who has been hired as a consultant by Mabie.
The new proposal would turn the kiosk along the boardwalk that currently houses restrooms back into a traditional kiosk that can be leased to any business. The restrooms would be removed, and new restrooms would be built in the Ocean Club building, but with a public, exterior entrance.
“We figured this would be a better way to present it: change the traffic flow, ease the congestion, and ease the incidents of people concerned about eating near a restroom,” said Mabie.
Gilmore said the bathrooms will be open to the public, signage will be installed to direct people to the location of the facilities and an attendant would be hired to ensure they are clean. The new bathrooms would also be expanded in comparison to the kiosks, featuring four stalls in the women’s room and two stalls and two urinals in the men’s room.
“This is how it was originally proposed,” said Mabie, adding that the new restrooms are already carved out and would be ready by the summer of 2022 if approved by the planning board.
The board is expected to hear the matter at its Oct. 27 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers above the borough’s firehouse.