By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank officials told proponents of a community garden Wednesday that they need to satisfy the concerns of two adjoining neighbors before they can get an all-clear to farm a borough-owned lot on Marion Street.
“If you really want a community garden, I suggest you go speak to” a next-door neighbor who recently expressed concerns about home security and basement flooding, Councilwoman Kathy Horgan told lead garden advocate Cindy Burnham at the council’s bimonthly meeting.
“Maybe you can change her mind and we can get down to basics,” including the provision of water to the site, Horgan said.
“We don’t want to cram this down anyone’s throat,” said Councilwoman Juanita Lewis.
Where the garden would get water was a sticking point at the last council meeting, when public utilities director Gary Watson was asked to look into the cost of connecting to the water main under the street.
Watson tells redbankgreen he reported his recommendation back to the council, but declined to say what that recommendation was, and the details did not come up Wednesday night.
Still, town officials said the garden could go ahead, provided the concerns of the neighbors were addressed.
The owner of a second adjoining property has asked that there be a 10-foot buffer of unplanted ground along the shared property line.
Burnham said that a buffer on each side would only leave five feet for planting on a lot that she said is just 25 feet wide. Councilman Art Murphy said the lot is at least 40 feet wide.
Property records describe the lot as 50 feet wide by 120 feet deep.
Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said he would communicate with the two neighbors, but “we probably need your help to sell it” to the neighbor who is concerned about the hours at which the gardeners will gather and who will be there, he told Burnham.
The site is the location of a disused water pumping station enclosed in a shed that the town uses to store materials used in cleanups of oil and other spills, Watson said.