SOUTH TOMS RIVER – A 100-room extended stay hotel is planned for the land behind the Wawa that is under construction on Dover Road.
The hotel will join the 360 condominium units and retail that is also planned for the site.
South Toms River isn’t a tourist destination like Seaside, so residents have been concerned that the hotel would become a haven for people who need a cheap place to sleep while dealing with drugs.
For example, Toms River Police arrested 15 people on Oct. 5 as part of a 5 a.m. drug raid at the Red Carpet Inn on West Water Street in downtown Toms River.
This is exactly the kind of situation South Toms River does not want, borough business administrator Joseph Kostecki said. They will require a commitment from the redeveloper that the right kind of people will be welcome.
Since the condo complex and the hotel will be run by the same redeveloper, not a chain, it behooves them to rent rooms to the right people, he said. No one will want to live in a condo next to a hotel known for drugs. The success of one part of the complex is dependent on the success of the other parts.
“We want the right quality of people there,” he said.
The difference between a hotel and an extended stay hotel is that the extended stay caters to people who travel for business, or specific functions. For example, professionals are needed to come to the area for the decommissioning of the Oyster Creek Generating Station. Also, Central Regional School District is hosting events at their campus.
“Those are the type of guests they look for,” he said.
It is not yet known what the length of time an “extended stay” would be regulated to, or how that would be enforced.
The hotel will have a restaurant inside, which will have a liquor license. Unlike other kinds of liquor licenses that the borough would put out to bid and collect money on, this license is attached to the hotel and is overseen directly by the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
There would also be a pool and clubhouse usable by hotel guests as well as condo residents, he said.
Also in the development would be approximately 8,000 square feet of retail/commercial property.
The volunteer fire company has had a chance to look at the plans to make sure they can respond to any emergencies there, he said.
The plan, when finalized, would also have to go before the Pinelands Commission for approval.
“We’re approaching it cautiously, but it seems like there’s some support (from residents),” he said. “We honestly trust the redeveloper. They’ve accepted every request the borough asked.”