By Liz SheehanSEA BRIGHT – Tommy Bonfiglio, the owner of Tommy’s Tavern + Tap on Ocean Avenue, wants to give his customers an outdoor space overlooking the Shrewsbury River to play bocci and cornhole games until 10 p.m. while waiting for tables in his popular restaurant.But some of the restaurant’s neighbors, citing memories of the noise from the site when it was used for the games in the summer of 2015 when the business first opened, are not playing along.Bonfiglio appeared before the borough’s Unified Planning Board on Oct. 27 to formally seek permission to offer the games. Also included in the application is a proposal to use the second floor of the building (which was the town’s post office until Super Storm Sandy damaged it) as a space for private parties; expand parking by using 26 spaces at the former Sunoco station next to the restaurant on land Bonfiglio has purchased; and add an addition onto the building for a stairwell to the second floor, where office space, a restroom and storage space would be located.In the meeting, the restaurateur said people waiting for tables crowded the front of the restaurant. If he could create an outdoor fenced-in space in the rear that stayed open until 10 p.m., Bonfiglio estimated that about 79 people could be accommodated. Measures would be taken to reduce noise, Bonfiglio said.Several residents of the Nautilus, a condominium building adjacent to the restaurant, attended the meeting but were not permitted to question Bonfiglio about the application, because the condominium’s attorney was present and asking questions.Janice Patterson, resident of neighboring Nautilus condominium in Sea Bright, objects to Tommy’s Tavern + Tap’s proposal to allow bocci and cornhole games in the rear of the restaurant until 10 p.m., due to noise concerns.After the meeting one of the Nautilus residents, Janice Patterson, said that the outdoor space at the restaurant was “15 feet from our backyard.”She said when the bocci court and cornhole games were in use in 2015, the noise was very loud.Attorney Ron Gasiorowski of Red Bank is representing Hank Gelhaus, a resident who lives on the other side of the Shrewsbury River, in Rumson. He said his client objects to Bonfiglio’s proposed use of the backyard of the restaurant.“All the noise carries across the water,” Gasiorowski said Tuesday.Asked about the parking site that Bonfiglio now owns just north of the restaurant where the Sunoco station had been located, which has recently been cited by the Monmouth County Department of Engineering as an essential part of its plan to move the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge to the south of its present location beginning in 2020, Bonfiglio’s attorney Martin McGann said, “We had a meeting, and told them our plans.”According to McGann, county officials told him they could not stop him from proceeding. “It’s our property,” McGann said.Since state regulations do not permit left turns in or out of Old Rumson Road, just south of the Dunkin’ Donuts location, the county needs the property to give access to the Nautilus, Dunkin’ Donuts and Oar Fitness.The hearing on the application will continue on Dec. 6, at 7:30 pm.
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