Hotel plans rejected by South Brunswick

By Sean Ruppert, Staff Writer
   MONROE — The South Brunswick Township Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected plans for a proposed hotel that would straddle the border of South Brunswick and Monroe near the New Jersey Turnpike.
   The board voted down the proposal from Hotel Investors, LLC by a vote of 4 to 2 at its Dec. 6 meeting, with one member absent.
   Attorney James Clarkin of Clarking & Vignuolo in Piscataway represented the projects planners said Hotel Investors will redesign the project and submit them to the township, hopefully within the next few months.
   Preliminary approval for a use and bulk variance on the site was given by Monroe on June 26, however, final site plan approval has not been issued.
   The plans called for the construction of a Homewood Suites by Hilton, designed for extended-stay guests. The hotel would have been created on a 2.8-acre lot that extends over the municipal border at Interchange Plaza and Abeel Road. The South Brunswick portion of the lot is 1.157 acres, with 1.715 acres on the Monroe side.
   Among the concerns expressed by zoning board members were the impact on traffic and the size of the building relative to the size of the lot.
   Hotel Investors was before the board seeking variances for minimum lot size, which is 6 acres compared to the 2.8 acres in the plan. They also needed variances for side clearance, which under township rules should be equal to the height of the building. The proposed building was to be 67.3 feet tall, with 58 feet on the sides.
   Variances for lot coverage, 73 percent proposed when rules allow for a maximum of 55 percent, and number of rooms, 116 when the minimum is 150, and pool size, 726 square-feet when 504 square-feet were present, where also needed.
   A variance requested for retail and restaurant space drew the most comments from the board members. Regulations require 4,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the building, and that these facilities be connected to the main lobby. The Hotel Investors plan included no restaurant or retail portion of the building at all.
   ”If someone staying here needs one stick of gum, it is going to put them out onto the roads of South Brunswick and Monroe,” Board Chairman Marty Hammer said, while explaining his vote against the proposal.