There will be new restrooms open on the southern portion of the Seaside Heights boardwalk next summer, available to the public, courtesy of the Ocean Club complex.
The matter has been something of a soap opera over the last year, prompting legal action between the borough council and planning board over the business, with a resolution amenable to all three sides having been reached in October. Because of the litigation between the two governmental bodies, however, the matter had to be agreed-upon by way of a settlement that requires council approval. Further complicating the situation, because the Ocean Club complex is located in proximity to the municipal border with Seaside Park, the neighboring town had a right to formally object to the new restroom plan.
Ultimately, the solution that was forged at the October planning board meeting seems to have been met with approval by all sides.
“They will provide the bathrooms at the location we agreed on,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “They will be free and will operate when we operate our public bathrooms, and they will also maintain an attendant while they are in operation.”
The Ocean Club was required to provide public restrooms as a condition of approval of its beach club and entertainment complex that is still under construction on the Dupont Avenue pier. Initially, restrooms were placed in a free-standing kiosk on the boardwalk that is also owned by the Ocean Club principals. Over the summer, 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.
The solution was to build new restrooms physically located inside the Ocean Club building, but with a public, exterior entrance. The new bathrooms will 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. Signage will direct the public to the ultimate location of the restrooms, situated on the northern end of the complex.
Vaz said Seaside Park officials had no objection to the plan and it will move forward. The council has not formally voted on its approval, but agreed to do so during a work session meeting of the governing body earlier this month.
“Everything went well – they agreed to all our terms, so we’re pleased with that,” said Vaz. “And it makes me feel good to see the cooperation we’re starting to receive. We have to [formally] approve it, but we’ve agreed.”