Red Bank’s council approved an ordinance on first reading Wednesday night that should allow the borough Planning Board to move ahead with a hearing on a proposed Hampton Inn and Suites facing a lawsuit from a resident who said developers failed to follow procedure in the application process.
Stephen Mitchell sued to halt a decision on the six-story hotel proposed for the site of an out-of-business gas station on the corner of Rector Place and Route 35 along the Navesink River. According to Mitchell’s suit, developers tried to circumvent an ordinance that only allows single-family homes to be built on Rector by filing for an interpretation instead of seeking Zoning Board approval.
Though many of Mitchell’s objections to the hotel have more to do with smart growth versus sprawl and environmental impact of the 76-room property on a contaminated waterfront property that’s just a squish larger than an acre, the borough’s ordinance seemed to support his objection.
Until now, that is.
The ordinance introduced Wednesday amends the planning and development ordinance associated with the property, essentially defining which properties should be included within the Rector Place Residential Zone and which ones should not. Essentially, the former gas station site belongs to the latter.
“The ordinance included Hampton Inn, which we felt shouldn’t belong,” Mayor Pat Menna said because of the site’s location on the busy Route 35 intersection. “This grants the Planning Board the opportunity to hear the case.”
Mitchell was just as succinct in his opposition, saying he still believes the property should be included in the original ordinance.
A public hearing on the issue will be held at the council’s Nov. 22 meeting.