Little Silver resident John Ferrin said he was "shocked" when he received a notice in the mail last week regarding a zoning change to accommodate the borough's planned construction of a concession stand and storage unit adjacent to his Prospect Avenue home.
What surprised Ferrin was not so much the building, which he had known was in the works, but the size of the accompanying parking lot and its entrance onto Prospect Avenue.
"It's just one more entrance coming onto our main street," said Ferrin of the plan to knock down the building at 466 Prospect Ave., where Viscon Builders was located, and create a 25-foot driveway leading to a 65-by-185-foot parking lot. "It's going to look terrible from the road and it's a safety issue."
Ferrin was joined by about eight other Prospect Avenue neighbors on Monday night at the Little Silver Borough Council's workshop meeting to see if an alternative plan, which eliminates the Prospect Avenue egress, could be considered. He also brought with him the names of about 65 residents who signed a petition opposing the Prospect Avenue entrance that he gathered for a few hours last Saturday afternoon walking around the downtown area.
Ferrin, who is an interior designer, reworked the existing plans to eliminate the Prospect Avenue entrance and end the parking lot a few feet behind the front of borough hall, which would create more green space and allow the lot to be camoflaged by some type of plantings.
The reworked plan makes up for lost parking spaces by converting existing parallel parking spots in front of the police department entrance into 12 head on parking spots, and squeezing a few more spaces into existing lots behind borough hall.
The mayor and council were amenable to Ferrin's concerns and indicated that while the project had already gone out to bid, following a public hearing at the council level and review by the planning board, there was still time to alter plans to incorporate Ferrin's suggestions.
A group -- including Ferrin, council members, police and the borough engineer -- would meet to determine how much of the revised plan was viable.
The rezoning of the lot, from a professional to municipal use, will be addressed at a public hearing at the council's next meeting on April 2 at 8 p.m.
You can view the original and reworked plans for the borough's project to the right of this article.