POINT PLEASANT BEACH – The White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa, one of the borough’s landmark hotels, wants to build more rooms, in a proposal that has drawn the opposition of neighbors.
The plan for the Ocean Avenue hotel involves demolishing two houses next door on Washington Avenue and building a three-story addition with 20 rooms on two floors and covered parking on the ground level, said the hotel’s attorney Robert C. Shea of Toms River.
A hearing before the borough Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to continue on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.
Located closer to the southern end of Ocean Avenue, the Chiaia family has owned it for nearly 30 years.
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The proposal seeks to modernize the hotel and provide aesthetic upgrades, Shea said. “They want to upgrade some of the rooms, provide a more enhanced stay for their guests with a bit larger rooms. A number of suites are included in the new room mix.”
The plan requires the board of adjustment’s approval of exceptions, or variances, to the town’s zoning rules. For instance, a hotel is not allowed in a residential zone and the proposed building height is higher than permitted, according to a report by the board’s engineer.
The proposal is being opposed by neighbors. Red Bank lawyer Ronald S. Gasiorowski, who was hired by the residents, said the project requires too many variances.
“This is a major intrusion into the zoning ordinance of Point Pleasant Beach,” Gasiorowski said. “They (the hotel owners) will be diminishing the equity of their homes and disturbing their quality of life.”
Christina Ranuro, the hotel’s owner and general manager, said any decision she makes takes into consideration her neighbors.
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“I think the people think we are some corporate hotel that has no feelings for the town. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said. “The proposal is going to improve that entire corner to a point where they don’t even realize how gorgeous it is going to be.”
It will meld and blend in, she said. “It is not going to be this cumbersome thing that I think some people are afraid of,” she said. “It is just going to be beautiful.”
David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at the Asbury Park Press for more than 20 years. He writes APP.com’s What’s Going There column and can be reached at [email protected] Join his What’s Going There page on Facebook for updates.