Asbury Park had a plan to become really cool. It may have worked too well

When sun worshippers, homebuyers, restaurateurs and other investors began realizing that Asbury Park had a perfectly good beach barely an hour from the Holland Tunnel, with vintage arcades and a rock 'n roll shrine to boot, city officials adopted a Waterfront Redevelopment Plan in 2002 to guide what would finally prove to be the faded tourist town's long-awaited resurgence.

But after 16 years of new restaurants, new condos and increasingly crowded streets, beaches and boardwalks, community activists, environmentalists and others say the redevelopment plan is now hopelessly out of date.

It's precisely because Asbury Park has changed so dramatically since 2002 that the city council approved a resolution last week demanding that the waterfront's designated developer, Manhattan-based iStar, halt work on a boardwalk replacement project that was included in the redevelopment plan and reconsider other components of the plan that critics say run counter to environmental concerns and the city's core value of inclusiveness.

The Nov. 8 resolution cites the public's opposition to the plan over "environmental concerns, public access, loss of public beach, loss of public space, and loss of public boardwalk," as cause to order the developer to "cease and desist" the project, and redesign the Boardwalk Improvement Plan.

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