Residents To Oppose Developer's Plans For Old Santo Marina At Zoning Board Tonight
Special meeting on application gets under way at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall
Then and now.
The 1950s postcard of the former Santo Marina site bears no resemblance to what exists today.
Boats bobbed in tidy slips. The freshly painted marina office sat on clean white sand. The docks were level. All was surrounded by the clear, blue-green water at the mouth of the Toms River.
Things have changed in half a century. Today the picture is markedly different. The battered offices, warped docks, and abandoned boats were easy targets for scavengers and vandals, until last week.
And many of the residents who live on the quiet, well-kept streets of Doyle Drive, Williams Street and Riviera Terrace think just about anything would be an improvement. Except for the application that will be heard at 6:30 p.m. tonight by the Berkeley Township Zoning Board in Town Hall.
"This whole project is one big variance," said Gary S. Bleiberg. "Nothing about this conforms to anything."
A number of area residents plan to attend the meeting to voice their opposition to developer Ray Masucci's application to build "The Cove on the Toms River at Berkeley."
"It's going to be like Coney Island," said Ann Marie Riordan, who lives on nearby Cedarcrest Street.
Masucci is asking for a number of variances to build the 19 single-family, 2.5-story homes, along with boat and Jet-Ski slips, a dockmaster's house, parking lot, boat launch, boat storage area and a store.
"He's really cramming them in," one resident said.
Residents say the quiet "family-friendly" area cannot support the noise, traffic and congestion they feel would come with the project.
David Bedford and his family have lived on Cedar Street for 11 years. If Masucci's plans are approved, a parking lot would be right next to his house.
"I feel terrible," he said. "I didn't buy a house next to a parking lot. My property values are going to drop."
Robert Parzanese, who lives at 40 Cedar St., said he hopes the zoning board does the right thing for the area, which extends into the Toms River Shores section of Bayville.
"Maybe the zoning board will see people are really concerned about what's going on," he said.
Parzanese and others spent part of the weekend distributing fliers to the Toms River Shores section, to alert residents of the plan and the upcoming zoning board meeting. The bulk of the proposed homes would back up to Cove Road.
Residents met with Township Council President James J. Byrnes on two successive Friday afternoons recently, to discuss the proposed plans and the dilapidated marina.
"We want to see this place fixed up, but in a way that's conducive to the neighborhood," Bleiberg said.
"It's a beautiful part of Bayville," said resident Patrick Filan, whose home is adjacent to the old marina office. "To waste it on these type of homes is pathetic."
Numerous variances requested
John Paul Doyle, Masucci's lawyer, sent a registered letter to nearby homeowners that spelled out the number of variances Masucci is asking for. They include:
- The site is located within the R-100 zone. A zoning permit was denied because the density of the proposed housing is not allowed in the R-100 zone.
- The dockmaster's building, which would house a store/restaurant, is not a permitted use.
- Although a marina is currently located on the site, the proposed marina includes a boat storage/display area less than the required 35 feet from the street. Masucci is also asking for a boat ramp closer than the required 20 feet from the property line, according to Doyle's letter.
- The mixed use of a marina and single-family homes may also need a use variance.
- Masucci is also seeking variances on the number of parking spaces for each home, number of boat slips, and the parking lot.
Copies of the application are available at Town Hall.