Malibu-style beach houses planned for Takanassee site

Staff Writer

LONG BRANCH — Developer Isaac Chera, principal in Takanassee Beach Club LLC, and a group of professionals presented informal plans for an upscale, 13- unit development at the former beach club site during the July 16 meeting of the Long Branch Planning Board.

“We are looking for more of a contemporary, Malibu-style beach house with glass facing the beach,” architect José Ramirez said.

“It is modern glass beach houses facing the ocean. We are going to incorporate a lot of wood and glass and stone in the design of the house.”

Ramirez said the project would include five single-family homes overlooking the oceanfront and eight duplex units on the west side of the property, located just north of Lake Takanassee on the east side of Ocean Avenue.

Each of the single-family homes would be between 6,000 and 7,500 square feet, with underground parking and a pool. The fourstory homes would each have four bedrooms.

Chera acquired the Takanassee Beach Club property for just under $18 million in 2007.

In 2008, the developer received a Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop the site, which was known during the 1800s as Life Saving Station No. 5.

Under the CAFRA permit, Chera was required to restore and maintain one of the three historic buildings on-site, while securing a home for two of the buildings.

Over the next five years, Chera drew criticism from the historical preservation community for not complying with the terms of the permit and failing to maintain the buildings.

In 2012, two of the deteriorating buildings — the 1877 Captain’s House and the circa-1903 Port Huron House — were moved to a private residence on Ocean Avenue. Plans called for restoring the 1897 boathouse and incorporating it into the new development. However, it was destroyed by the Oct. 29 superstorm.

Plans call for the Lake Takanassee development to be built in the C-4 district, where waterfront, mixed-use development is permitted.

“Under that criteria, we are allowed a mix of residential use, so it is all conforming,” project engineer Dan Doughtery said.

The proposal would require variances for density since the plan calls for fewer units than the city’s ordinance permits.

According to Doughtery, zoning ordinances allow between 10 and 30 units per acre, and the 13 units proposed would sit on 4.7 acres.

“Understandably, we have a much smaller development footprint,” he said.

“We are under the 10 [units per acre]. We fall to 2.7 units per square acre.”

The proposal also would require approval of a variance for interior road setbacks and another for setbacks less than 200 feet from the ocean water.

According to Ramirez, construction of the housing units would comply with post- Sandy building codes.

After the informal hearing, the developer requested that the board schedule a meeting for presentation of a formal application this fall.