BELMAR, NJ — After being shuttered for nearly one year, the Belmar Inn on 12th Avenue has reopened after undergoing nearly $300,000 in renovations to remedy fire and building code violations.

The 40-room hotel at 112-114 12th Avenue opened on January 1 with most work completed — and proper permits obtained — to bring the three-story building into compliance, according to Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea. Management has also been given an extension until March to complete construction of an enclosure around the building’s interior stairwell, he said.

In addition, all rooms have been totally refurbished, as well as furnished with new furniture and carpeting, said hotel manager Dhiren Mavani, who provided the estimated cost of the renovation project.

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Meanwhile, controversial plans before the borough’s zoning board of adjustment to replace the Belmar Inn with a four-story, 24-unit condominium building have been put on hold indefinitely, according to Borough Clerk April Claudio, who also serves as board secretary.

It’s been five months since the zoning board heard testimony on the proposal by the Edelman Investment Group. At that August 23 hearing, additional changes were informally unveiled, primarily in response to the continued opposition to the plan by residents who maintain that the building is too large and too dense for the neighborhood, too close to adjacent property lines and is out of character with surrounding smaller homes.

Those revisions were to include nearly doubling the number of spaces on the ground-level parking area and lowering that area’s height by one foot so that the building’s total height of 41 feet would be about the same as the existing Belmar Inn.

At that time, attorney David Lonski on behalf of law partner William Shipers, who is leading the development effort, requested a two-month extension to submit those revised plans — a postponement that continues. Shipers, who is listed as the sole member in the investment group, could not be reached for comment.

The sale of the property by Rainbow Hospitality of Edison, wihch operates the hotel, to Edelman Investment Group is contingent on the approval the redevelopment plan. Mavani could not provide any details on the status of the proposed sales agreement.

During the last hearing, Dullea was among several borough officials who gave testimony related to the ongoing safety, fire and quality-of-life issues at the Belmar Inn, which has a transient clientele that draws frequent visits by the Belmar police, code enforcement officials and other first-responders.

Dullea, Robert Poff, director of code enforcement, Frank Cinelli, assistant code enforcement officer, said that in total they had responded to at least 150 calls in the year before the hotel was closed for code violations.

To reopen this month, a host of violations were corrected based on the initial inspection report, including having proper emergency and exit signage and fire doors, repairing improperly vented machine equipment, restoring fire protection equipment, installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in all rooms, removing unsafe heating appliances, resolving electrical issues and the improper use of extension and power cords, providing proper basement storage, and repairing holes in first-floor floors, and ceilings and walls throughout the building. Fire and sprinkler system testing and emergency plans were also brought into compliance.


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