The Role of the Doo Wop Preservation League
in Planning & Redevelopment in the Wildwoods
The Ten Point Plan for Lodging
Wildwood Crest M-1 (hotel/motel/multi-family) zone
The following plan has been submitted to the Wildwood Crest planning board and outside planning consulting firm "Heyer, Greul & Associates" for incorporation into the new Wildwood Crest Master Plan including major revisions to the borough's M-1 zone.
The primary objective of this plan is to encourage the maintenance of a viable lodging industry in Wildwood Crest while preserving the mid-century/Doo Wop character of the historic motel district.
1. An increase in building heights to allow for added floors to accommodate new or larger motel suites, game rooms, coffee shops and other amenities expected by modern travelers so long as the building continues operating as a motel or hotel as defined in Addendum A. The increase will vary from one municipality to another depending on current heights but a minimum of two additional floors or twenty foot increase are an essential part of the plan.
The building will maintain the current footprint, setback and open design loved by residents and tourists alike to provide the view corridors between buildings that are unique to the Wildwoods and sadly missing in other resorts.
2. The historic one parking place per unit should be permitted for motel rooms up to 800 square feet.
3. Eight-foot wide parking spaces and tandem on-site parking to keep automobiles off public streets as was standard for half a century in the resort to keep automobiles off public streets.
4. Four foot setbacks in the rear of motels that maintain current footprints.
5. Elimination of any "step back" requirements for fronts, sides and rears of upper floors so long as the property maintains that footprint.
6. Permit additional amenities such as gift shops, coffee shops, game rooms and meeting rooms without requiring additional parking.
7. There should be a liberalization of zoning impacting on signage to encourage both attached and freestanding signs. In addition, larger and more active signs such as the recent Commerce Bank sign on Rio Grande Avenue with movement and flashing logs should be encouraged.
8. Mid-century architecture should be adopted under the supervision of a review board of lodging operators and owners established by the municipality.
9. There should be a stated and explicit policy for liberalized incentive zoning with allowances for variances to encourage creativity, such as permitted use of off-premise parking.
10. Establish a new "Mixed Resort Use" category that qualifies for all incentives provided for lodging properties in a motel district so long as renovations and/or expansion retains the pre-conversion room count of units operating as a motel or hotel. Hotel operation is defined in Addendum A. Mixed Resort Use permits combining larger hotel-like condominium units with the motel/hotel units for sale to finance expansion and renovation while still qualifying as a motel for purposes of zoning, increased heights and other motel/hotel incentives. Municipalities may elect to place deed restrictions or other contingencies to assure continued operation of the required number of motel/hotel units per the standards of Addendum A.
If the existing building cannot accommodate the expansion and added floors for mixed resort use, there should be an alternative of demolishing the existing building to reconstruct for mixed resort use utilizing the same footprint, setbacks and mid-century design so long as the replacement building provides at least the pre-demolition hotel or motel room count as defined in Addendum A.
Addendum A- What is a Motel?
To qualify for motel/hotel incentives and liberalized zoning, a building and its operation must meet all the following qualifications:
1. They shall offer hotel/motel services to the general public;
2. They rent only transient lodging in the form of motel and hotel rooms to the general public without leases for one or more days but not exceeding 120 days;
3. They shall maintain a front desk to serve guests and the public;
4. They shall provide maid service and other room amenities including lines and towers in a manner expected from the traveling public reserving hotel and motel rooms;
5. They shall employ a manger and/or desk staff meeting the requirements of state lodging laws and state swimming pool regulations to provide those services expected at hotels and motels;
6. They shall advertise in appropriate media promoting the property to the general public as a motel or hotel offering motel-like services, and;
7. They shall pay sales and use tax, tourism tax, and tourism fees on revenue generated from the above sales and services.
Buildings that do not operate as a motel or hotel will not be eligible for hotel/motel incentives.
The proposed "Doo Wop Historic District"
aka the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District
The strip along Ocean Avenue between Cresse Ave and Farragut Rd in Wildwood Crest is home to the nation's largest concentration of original "Doo Wop" resort architecture built during the period including the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.
Dramatic and unusual angles, flat roofs, glass walls, flying saucers, spaceship lights, tiki heads, lava rock walls, zig-zag balconies, sputnik satellites, a rich pallette of vivid colors, open-air building layouts and large, captivating neon signs define this remarkably unique district of hotels and motels that were built during the era of space-age glamour and Polyneisan pop.
It is the mission of the Doo Wop Preservation League, together with the state of New Jersey, national historic preservation, and supporters from all over the country and the world to have this district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, officially establishing the "Doo Wop Historic District" as one of the most unique and exciting resort attractions in America.
Having your hotel/motel property listed on the prestigious National Register as part of a 'historic district' provides a number of incentives and solutions for maximizing your property's value and profitability that would otherwise be unavailable.
The establishment of a historic hotel/motel district in this area will allow substantial economic support to become available to property owners in the form of tax credits, grants and other incentives to encourage restoration, renovation, modernization and expansion of "Doo Wop" properties along with new construction and development that adds to the "Doo Wop" character of the area, while affording property owners complete and total freedom over their properties.
The historic district comes with NO strings attached... NO restrictions on private property (we don't know why you would, but if you really want to tear down a Doo Wop building, you still can), NO formal design reviews for renovations (paint it pink, paint it blue, paint it black, whatever catches your fancy), NO problems! This type of historic district designation (unlike the strict ordinances that exist in Cape May and other traditional historic preservation districts) provides nothing but INCENTIVES to make preservation, restoration and expansion of existing Doo Wop properties as economically feasible (and flexible!) as possible for current property owners and potential new investors, at their own discretion. The idea is to create an environment in Wildwood Crest that allows property owners as well as outside investors and entrepreneurs to preserve our wonderfully unique and valuable "Doo Wop" properties while expanding and adapting them for maximally PROFITABLE use.
The Doo Wop Preservation League wants nothing but that which gives the Wildwoods and all of its property and business owners the best chance to be as successful as possible in the long term. We feel that preserving, promoting and expanding upon the exciting "Doo Wop" character that is unique to the Wildwoods (and the Wildwood Crest motel district in particular), has been enjoyed by residents and tourists for decades, and has recently been the subject of renewed interest by up-and-coming younger generations, baby-boomer nostalgians, and some of the most prominent travel, lifestyle and architecture publications in the world, is without a doubt the best way to accomplish this goal.
The DWPL needs the support of residents, tourists, and property owners alike in accomplishing our goal of listing the Wildwood Crest hotel/motel district on the National Register of Historic Places and convincing the Wildwood Crest commission and planning board to modify its ordinances to allow and encourage historic "Doo Wop" properties to be adapated and expanded for profitable use, while encouraging new construction to be consistent with the Doo Wop character of the district.