RED BANK: PATRIZIA’S, CARLO’S WIN OKS

patrizia's 120213 4A rendering of the proposed Patrizia’s, which would occupy the onetime Merhant’s Trust Company at 28 Broad Street, seen at center below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

primas 070512A restaurant that will add 198 seats to downtown Red Bank’s fast-growing dining landscape sailed through to unanimous planning board approval Monday night.

The review took less than 15 minutes.

By contrast, a hearing on whether to allow the newly opened Carlo’s Bake Shop, of Cake Boss fame, to have two tables with eight chairs went on for 90 minutes, mainly because of objections over the impact on a parking lot out back.

As previously reported by redbankgreen, Patrizia’s Pizza and Pasta would take up residence at 28 Broad Street, the longtime home of Carroll’s Stationers and, before that, the Merchants Trust Company bank. Primas Home Café vacated the space, which features a vaulted ceiling and expansive mezzanine, almost two years ago.

The planning board devoted little time to discussion of parking. Patrizia’s representatives said the business fell short of borough requirements for parking by 47 spaces. In the past, that deficiency would have triggered payments of hundreds of dollars per space into a borough parking fund, but a moratorium on the fee that has been repeatedly extended to spur downtown development means that Patrizia’s won’t have to pay anything.

Exactly one week after it opened, to much hoopla, Carlo’s Bake Shop was before the board seeking two tables for the convenience of cannoli lovers and fans of the shop’s TV-star owner, Buddy Valastro.

The tables, though, meant the business would require approval for a change of use, from retail bakery to a primary food use, or on-premises dining. That, in turn, triggered the nominal obligation to provide parking.

No members of the board appeared hung up on the issue, but Elizabeth Waterbury, a licensed planner who owns commercial property nearby on Monmouth Street, mounted an extended objection to the change.

“We’re already having Carlo’s customers fighting with us over the spaces” behind the bakery, at the eastern end of Gold Street, she said.

“You’re making a great argument for a parking garage,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna

“If you put it behind my office, that would be wonderful,” Waterbury replied.

In other planning board business Monday night, the controversial Walgreen’s application for a 14,200-square-foot store at the former Rassas Buick car lot on Broad Street continued with testimony by a regional manager about product deliveries, hours of operation and sound levels at a prescription drive-through. The hearing was scheduled to continue on December 16.

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