The owner of the Ocean Club, which operates its beachfront restaurant and venue, as well as numerous kiosks, on the southern part of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is expected to appear before the borough’s planning board more later this month to offer a solution to a toilet problem that crept up during the company’s first summer season.
The business complex on and around the Dupont Avenue pier, owned by developer Benjamin Mabie, was to provide public restrooms after approval. The bathrooms were to be used for general visitors to the promenade and the large crowds that would frequent the wide range of restaurants based in many kiosks built at the top of the promenade. The toilet situation, however, was not optimal in his first season. There was an argument between the borough and the Ocean Club over locked and paid bathrooms and then there were sometimes long lines which sometimes obstructed the boardwalk. Some negative reactions came from booth tenants who operated restaurants.
“Some of the tenants who pay rent to sell their food complain that there is a queue for the bathroom, and some people don’t like to eat next to a place where people use the bathroom,” said George Gilmore, who was hired as a consultant by Mabie.
The new proposal would convert the kiosk along the promenade that currently houses the toilets into a traditional kiosk that can be hired out to any business. Restrooms would be removed and new restrooms would be built in the Ocean Club building, but with a public exterior entrance.
“We thought that would be a better way to present it: changing traffic flow, reducing traffic jams and alleviating incidents of people being concerned about eating near the toilet,” Mabie said.
Gilmore said the bathrooms will be open to the public, signage will be put up to direct people to the location of the facilities, and an attendant will be hired to make sure they are clean. The new bathrooms would also be larger than the kiosks, with four stalls in the women’s room and two stalls and two urinals in the men’s room.
“That’s how it was originally proposed,” Mabie said, adding that the new toilets are already dug in and would be ready by summer 2022 if approved by the planning board.
Council is expected to hear the matter at its Oct. 27 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers above the borough fire station.