RED BANK: RAYRAP SEEKS ‘REHAB’ SITE LABEL

rapcavage 082714Ray Rapcavage, center above, with his wife, Suzanne, and Hudson Street resident Scott Broschart at the Five Corners site in 2014. Below, a detail of the latest proposal for the site. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Having been thwarted by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage plans to ask the Red Bank council to designate his assembled properties on the edge of downtown as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” redbankgreen has learned.

If granted, the controversial label would enable Rapcavage to avoid a return trip to the zoning board with his revised plan, though he denies that’s his intent.

Rather, it would create a more “expeditious” route to possible construction on the half-block of properties he’s assembled on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue, Rapcavage said Monday.

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RED BANK: SICKELS FACING HEAVY DEBT WOES

stanley sickels 050115Stanley Sickels at the Mayor’s Ball in May, 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s top unelected official may lose the home he’s lived in all his life.

The McLaren Street residence of borough Administrator Stanley Sickels has been listed for a Monmouth County sheriff’s sale August 29 to resolve a previously unreported foreclosure and bankruptcy, redbankgreen has learned.

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RUMSON MAN SENTENCED FOR MARKET CRIMES

A Rumson commodities trader who owned and managed a Red Bank firm was sentenced to three years in federal prison last month for market manipulation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.

Michael Coscia, owner of Panther Energy Trading, was convicted in Chicago last November in the first-ever federal prosecution for “spoofing” under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the FBI said.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP TO PUSH FOR LAW CHANGE

rapcavage tumia 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen last month with Harding Road neighbor Kenny Tumia, above. Below, a detail of Rapcavage’s plan. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Hoping to pave the way for his latest plan for a troubled site on the edge of downtown, developer Ray Rapcavage intends to ask the Red Bank council to amend the borough zoning law.

Rapcavage tells redbankgreen he’ll appear at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council session to ask for a change to allow builders to construct units with up to three bedrooms without having to seek a use variance.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA QUITS AS GOP CHAIR

taylor whelan disomma 112015Sean Di Somma, right, with successful council candidates Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma won’t be staying on as Red Bank Republican chairman after all, according to a published report.

Di Somma informed Monmouth County GOP officials by email Thursday that he won’t seek a second term, which was to have begun this month, according to the report by More Monmouth Musings, a conservative publication based in Highlands.

MMM’s Art Gallagher reports that Michael Clancy, whose failed Red Bank board of education candidacy last fall was studded with controversy over his eligibility to run as well as his positions, is hoping to succeed Di Somma.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP RETURNS WITH NEW PLAN

Rayrap Site Plan 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen below on Hudson Avenue opposite his properties, including a house destroyed by fire in May, 2012. Above, a rendering of the proposed project, with an English garden fronting on Hudson and 16 condos backing up against Clay Street. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rapcavage 061316 1Seven months after his proposal for homes at the Five Corners site in Red Bank was shot down by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage has filed completely overhauled plans with borough hall.

The new plan reduces the number of proposed homes on the site — fronting on Harding Road, Clay Street and Hudson Avenue — to 18, from 22. It includes a large English garden of winding paths out front, whereas the last plan had no open space.

And most critically for Rapcavage, the plan doesn’t need any variances, he tells redbankgreen.
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RED BANK: FIRE BURNS DOG-FILLED CONDO

RB FIRE 060116 7Flames were visible from the courtyard side of the unit, above. Below, resident Kevin Tuohy, in striped shirt, speaks with a neighbor while one of the rescued dogs sits in a crate nearby. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB FIRE 060116 2Two humans and six canines escaped without injury from a fire in a Red Bank condo Wednesday afternoon.

Police responding to the 4:08 p.m. alarm at the Hilltop Terrace condos on Spring Street escorted Kevin Tuohy, a retired Little Silver police officer, from the burning apartment after an adult female said to have been his daughter had already escaped with several dogs, authorities said.

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RUMSON: SPRINGSTEEN TOSSING KEYS TO FOYE

SPRINGSTEEN signsBruce Springsteen signs autographs outside the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank in 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: Monmouth County records show the deed to the property described in this article was transferred on March 2, when Foye paid the Springsteen trust $1.737 million.]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Bruce Springsteen is selling one of two neighboring homes in Rumson, and the buyer is a pro basketball player with New Jersey roots, redbankgreen has learned.

According to a contract filed with the Monmouth County Clerk, Springsteen has agreed to sell a Bellevue Avenue property he owns through a trust to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Randy Foye.

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LINCROFT: BURNHAM COPS TO ‘ARROGANCE’

HOT-TOPIC_01Former Brookdale Community College president Peter Burnham, who went to prison for defrauding the Lincroft institution, is out and talking about what led him there, NJ.com Tuesday.

“There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I crossed that line,” 71-year-old Burnham told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Chicago last week, NJ.com reported, citing and earlier account by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA TO STAY AS GOP CHAIR

disomma 1103152Sean Di Somma on election night 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma, whose first two years as Red Bank Republican chairman have been marked by both the party’s resurgence and bitter infighting, will stay on in the post, he tells redbankgreen.

Though he said he had told party loyalists on Sunday that he would forego a second term in order to devote more time to his wife and infant daughter, Di Somma said Wednesday that calls by “internet trolls” and “local Democrats” for his resignation convinced him to stay for a second term, which begins in June, and through the November election.

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ON THE GREEN: BLIZZARD WATCH ISSUED

BROAD ST 122810Broad Street in Red Bank following a December, 2010 snowstorm. Below, a forecast map from the National Weather Service indicates a snowfall of 14 inches is “most likely” in on the Greater Red Bank Green this weekend, but could range as high as 22 inches. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

snow forecast 012116The National Weather Service issued a weekend blizzard watch Thursday morning for the region that includes the Greater Red Bank Green.

Late in the morning, crews from the Red Bank public utilities began laying salt brine on every street in town in an effort to keep the roads safe and delay the start of plowing efforts, DPU director Cliff Keen told redbankgreen.

“I think we’re ready,” said Keen, who’s overseeing his first snow challenge since replacing Gary Watson as department head last month. Most of the department’s staff was also on board for the 2010 blizzard, he notes.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAYRAP SITE?

RayRap site 121015 2The zoning board shot down a plan to build 22 townhouses and condos on a parcel bound by Clay Street, Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, throwing the future of the site into uncertainty. (Google Earth image courtesy of Ray Rapcavage. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It’s hard to avoid the use of the word “eyesore” when talking about the RayRap site at the Five Corners in Red Bank.

With a vacant lot that was once home to a gas station; the burned husk of a house destroyed by fire; and another notorious for having once been spray-painted black — windows, shingles and all — it’s easily one of the borough’s least visually gratifying parcels. The fact that it sits on a heavily traveled street bordering the downtown and a residential area only heightens the effect.

So now that the zoning board has shot down a plan to develop the site with 22 new homes, what happens? Are we stuck with an eyesore forever?

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RED BANK: ZONERS ZAP RAYRAP PLAN

bill brooks 120315 2Resident Bill Brooks studies a RayRap exhibit prior to the zoning board hearing. Below, a rendering of the proposed six-unit condo building that would front on Harding Road at Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815After a half-dozen hearings over 16 months and numerous revisions, a plan for 22 condos and townhouses on the edge of downtown Red Bank failed to win zoning board approval Thursday night.

Board members told developer Ray Rapcavage that though they appreciated his flexibility in accommodating the concerns of nearby residents, he hadn’t gone far enough.

“It’s just too dense,” said board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia, whose motion to reject the plan was backed by all but one other board member. Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: RBR WARNS OF BOOZE & DRUGS

rbr v cn 091815 3RBR quarterback Jack Navitsky on the run against Colts Neck in a home game in September. (Photo courtesy of Shore Sports Zone)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Heading into a championship football game early next month and hoping to “avert a tragedy,” Red Bank Regional officials are warning students about drug and alcohol use following several incidents of severe intoxication at home games this season.

In a “letter to parents” posted on Twitter by principal Risa Clay and on the school website late Tuesday afternoon, interim Superintendent Thomas Pagano wrote that Little Silver police, as well as school security personnel and administrators “have had to intervene and assist intoxicated students who had consumed alcohol either prior to or during football games on school grounds” this season.

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RED BANK: ATTEMPTED MURDERS ALLEGED

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03A Super Bowl party that turned violent earlier this year led to a Red Bank man’s indictment on two counts of attempted murder Tuesday.

Robert E. Boyd, 27, also faces aggravated assault charges as a result of a game party gone haywire at his East Bergen Place home.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP TRAFFIC PLAN RAPPED

rayrap 110515 1Planning consultant John Jahr addresses a question from Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan as builder Ray Rapcavage props up an exhibit Thursday night. Below, a view of the six-unit condo building fronting on Harding Road, which was to have been a greenmarket. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815For the fifth time, developer Ray Rapcavage has revised his plans for a residential development on the edge of downtown Red Bank, this time to accommodate complaints that eight homes on Hudson Avenue were too close to the street.

But nearby residents voiced concerns at a zoning board hearing Thursday night that the 22-unit project would worsen traffic and parking on an already busy and narrow street.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP PLAN ON ZONING AGENDA

rayrap clay 011515rayrap 090315 2Developer Ray Rapcavage is scheduled to return to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his proposal to build 22 homes on a block bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street. Hearings on the original plan began in August, 2014, with a nine-month interim during which the proposal was revised.

Another project, the proposed 35-unit Element, opposite Riverside Gardens Park at 55 West Front Street, was also to have been heard, but has been rescheduled for December 10, according to a revised board agenda(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: NO DECISION ON RAYRAP PLAN

rayrap 090315 1A house at the corner of Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, above, is one of five that would be demolished if  the plan is approved. Below, neighbors examined exhibits during a break in Thursday’s hearing. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap 090315 3After a nine-month pause, Ray Rapcavage returned to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his plan to create 22 homes on the eastern edge of the downtown.

Given the passage of time, plan revisions and the fact that three members weren’t on the board when hearings began 13 months ago, the Rumson-based builder agreed to start his presentation anew. But after some two hours of testimony, the hearing adjourned again without a decision. And it won’t resume for at least six more weeks.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP HEARING TO RESUME

rb rapcavage 081614rayrap hudson 011515More than a year after it began and nine months after the last session on the topic, the Red Bank zoning board’s hearing of Ray Rapcavage‘s plan to transform most of a block on the edge of downtown into 22 condos and townhouses is scheduled to resume Thursday night.

As reported by redbankgreen, Rapcavage recently revised the proposal — previously dubbed ‘Renaissance Village’ and now called ‘Le Belle Vue Village’ — by dropping a plan for a market on Harding Road.

The hearing — which comes after just two sessions, held in August, 2014 and January, 2015 — is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.

A hearing on plans to build 37 apartments at 55 West Front Street has been postponed to September 17, according to the meeting agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: BLITHEWALD RAZED

76 buena vista 081815rumson fire 042015 2Five months after a devastating fire, the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald was demolished Monday.

The 132-year-old home, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea when it burned down in April. Investigators ruled the cause of the blaze accidental. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RAYRAP DROPS MARKET FROM PLAN

rb rayrap 072915Above is architect David Carnivale’s rendering of the six-unit condo building on Harding Road that would replace the previously planned market. Below, architect Cathy Zuckerman’s rendering of the condos proposed for Clay Street and Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap hudson 011515Builder Ray Rapcavage has dropped his plan for a greenmarket as part of of a proposal to redevelop a block on the edge of downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.

In yet another in a series of revisions, plans filed with the borough show that instead of a 4,300-square-foot organic fruit and vegetable market fronting on Harding Road, Rapcavage now plans to erect six condos.

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LITTLE SILVER: OFFICE BUILDING PLANNED

ls smith site 070615A warehouse-style office building is planned for the vacant lot on Willow Drive near Branch Avenue. Below, council members examining developer Ray Smith’s plans Monday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LS council 070615After years of contamination, bankruptcy and idleness, one of Little Silver’s most troubled properties may finally be getting a makeover. But first, the owner wants a zone change.

A plan for a “warehouse-style” office structure to be built on Willow Drive by commercial real estate broker and developer Ray Smith got a warm reception from the borough council during the workshop portion of its meeting Monday night.

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BON JOVI TO HOST CLINTON, BUT WHERE?

Bon Jovi house2Bon Jovi’s Middletown home, above, as seen in 2008. Below, Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, with Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna and former mayor Ed McKenna in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

bon-jovi-mayorsPop star Bon Jovi is planning to host a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a report by NJ.com.

The report doesn’t give the location of the event, but notes that the pop star and his wife, Dorothea, live in Monmouth County.

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FAIR HAVEN: FITNESS, FASHION AND FLOWERS

lisa tave 052915Lisa Tave shows off the gym bag she created, which gave rise to her new shop of the same name: Physhion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s quaint downtown saw the debuts of a pair of fresh retail faces last month:

Physhion, a boutique specializing in workout wear that doubles as all-day clothing.

• The Pink Peony, a flowers-and-gifts shop that also offers party-planning services.

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RED BANK: KAYAKER’S DEATH INSPIRES ALERT

maple cove sign 050615david civileA new water-safety sign was installed Wednesday at Red Bank’s Maple Cove, a popular Navesink River put-in spot for kayakers and canoeists.

With the help of Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, the sign was donated by the parents of David Civile, right, a 26-year-old Tinton Falls man who disappeared while kayaking in the Shrewsbury River off Little Silver in November, 2010. His remains were found two years later.

Signs donated by the David P. Civile Foundation for Boating Safety Awareness have also been installed in Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson and elsewhere in Monmouth County.

Read  more about the foundation’s efforts here. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)