Size of Molly Pitcher addition questioned Engineer hired by opposition calls facility’s design dangerous

Staff Writer

By john burton

Size of Molly Pitcher addition questioned
Engineer hired by
opposition calls facility’s design dangerous

RED BANK — The increases in traffic, the parking requirements and the actual size of the addition being proposed for the Molly Pitcher Inn are actually more substantial than originally thought, contended an engineer representing opponents of the addition.

At last week’s Planning Board meeting, Gregory S. Blash, a consulting engineer with Leon S. Avakian Inc., Neptune, said the added traffic that the hotel addition would generate would exacerbate an already busy section of Route 35.

"This is a very heavily traveled area," Blash said. "And this is a rather dangerous design."

Blash is representing the owners and residents of the Colony House, a 64-unit apartment complex, located just north of the hotel’s property on Riverside Avenue.

The Colony House has asserted, through its attorney James E. Berube, that the proposed addition is too substantial for that property and would greatly, and negatively, affect the quality of life for residents of the apartments.

The hotel, banquet and restaurant complex, located on Riverside Avenue, has applied to the board for permission to construct an addition that would almost double its size.

The 70,200-square-foot addition would consist of two floors dedicated to banquet facilities and meeting rooms, and five floors of guest rooms.

Also proposed is a three-story parking garage, with two of the floors located below ground.

Blash said, under Berube’s questioning, the way the parking garage is proposed, the parking aisles would be one way, with no turn-around area. This, Blash insisted, would be awkward, if not dangerous, for those entering and leaving parking spaces.

Blash also said it would be difficult for vehicles arriving and departing from the facility, considering the heavy traffic flow of the area.

By his estimate, Blash said, the addition would actually be approximately 600 square feet larger than the plans show. This increase would also mean the facility would require an additional 16 parking spaces.

Martin A. McGann Jr., the attorney representing the inn, refuted Blash’s contentions.

"You’ve based certain assumptions on our numbers being wrong," McGann said.

McGann asked Blash if much of the concerns regarding the parking garage couldn’t be alleviated by the valet parking, and some of the traffic concerns be controlled by additional signs on site.

Blash did acknowledge that valet parking and signs could curtail some of the problems.

McGann also contended that the additional parking spaces, which the engineer said would be necessary if the addition were larger than proposed, are based on the assumption that has not been proven.

If the addition were larger, the added spaces would only be needed if there were more guest rooms or larger banquet space, according to McGann.

According to borough ordinance, no additional parking spaces would be needed if that added space was utility space and not for guests, McGann said.

The public hearing on this application will continue at the next Planning Board meeting for Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

Berube said he had additional witnesses to call, and some of the Colony House residents want to address the board on this matter.