RED BANK: MAPLE COVE SAVED… FOR NOW?

rb rosi cove library 021214The placement of the proposed border between the library parking lot and adjoining riverfront property was a subject of debate, but all of Maple Cove will remain on the open space inventory. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The battle to save the cove is over, apparently.

The Red Bank borough council officially abandoned a plan to remove Maple Cove and a nearby riverfront property from the town’s roster of open spaces Wednesday night.

The unanimous move appears to close the book on a controversial issue that helped vault activist Cindy Burnham onto the governing body in the last election.

Not that it can’t be undone, says Burnham, the lone Republican on the six-member council.

“The concept is exactly what we were asking for, which was to keep everything on the ROSI [Recreation and Open Space Inventory] except the library parking lot,” Burnham told redbankgreen shortly before the council voted on a resolution.

That measure preserved Maple Cove and an adjoining parking lot on the list. Town officials, alerted by the state Department of Environmental Protection that revenue from the lot would have to be dedicated to preservation, had moved to instead remove the parcel from the list, claiming it had been added to the ROSI in error.

The prospect of a delisting alarmed preservationists. Led by Burnham, they packed a public comment session on December 30, warning the property might be sold off for development, resulting in the loss of the town’s only free, easy-access to the Navesink River.

The resolution, proposed by Mayor Pasquale Menna, also safeguards the riverfront portion of a parcel that now includes the library parking lot on West Front Street. The library property itself was not part of the dispute.

Under the new plan, the lot will be subdivided, with a property line drawn at the foot of steps leading down toward the river from the parking lot.

Borough resident and American Littoral Society officer Kathleen Gasienica objected to the placement of the line.

Councilman Mike DuPont said the compromise means that revenue generated from by the Maple Avenue parking lot “would be specifically dedicated to the maintenance of our parks.” The deal also, he said, “lays to rest any concern that this property would be sold. That is solidified in this resolution.”

Burnham, however, remained skeptical.

“A resolution can be changed at any time,” she said.

“And it could be 85 degrees in two hours,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna, “which I also don’t think is going to happen.”

The plan still needs approval by the DEP.

Here’s the resolution: RB Resolution 14-45

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