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FAIR HAVEN: LAIRD’S GETTING SQUEEZED OUT

budnicks brounley 071116Bob and Rose Budnick outside their store with longtime customer Katherine Brounley. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallTucked into the corner of a Fair Haven strip mall, marked with minimal signage, Laird’s Stationery is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But locals know it, and know it as a jam-packed emporium of not only paper goods and office supplies, but everything from backpacks to wiffle bats.

“The register never stops ringing,” owner Bob Budnick said early this week, as three customers converged at the front desk to pay for their purchases. “This store is woven into the fabric of a lot of people’s lives.”

But the register is about to stop ringing, here at least, and the business may be doomed, said Budnick and his wife.

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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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FAIR HAVEN: BANK HEARING DELAYED AGAIN

fh bank plan 051016 1HOT-TOPIC_03For the second time since it began in May, a hearing on a proposed Investors Savings Bank branch on the former site of a Sunoco station on River Road in Fair Haven has been postponed at the applicant’s request. The matter, scheduled for Monday night, is now slated for July 28.

Meantime, the board is expected to continue its review of the town’s Master Plan, among other matters.

For redbankgreen’s prior coverage of the bank plan, click here.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

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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FAIR HAVEN: SKEPTICISM OVER BANK PLAN

fh bank plan 051016 1An architectural rendering of the bank, proposed for the former site of a Sunoco station.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh bank plan 051016 2Like a customer at a balky ATM, a regional bank will have to try again after Fair Haven’s planning board raised numerous objections to a proposed bank branch Tuesday night.

Though the matter didn’t go to a vote, all but one board member cited misgivings about Investors Savings Bank’s plan for a branch on the site of a former River Road filling station.

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RED BANK: SICKLES TO OPEN WEST SIDE STORE

anderson bldg 040616 3Sickles Market plans to lease nearly the entire first floor of the Anderson Storage building, seen here looking south on Bridge Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sickles Market, the Little Silver farm market that traces its roots back 350 years, is planning to open a second store in Red Bank’s former Anderson storage building, redbankgreen has learned.

Store owner Bob Sickles told redbankgreen on Wednesday that his company plans to lease nearly all of the 8,000-square-foot ground floor of a building that will have three upper stories of offices.

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SEA BRIGHT: SUMMER FOR SALE

SB beach 061614sb mural 072014 6This should take the chill out of a rainy March Monday: thoughts of sunny days on the sands of Sea Bright.

Full-season beach badges for the coming summer are still available at half price: $50. The discount ends Thursday. To get yours, visit borough hall, at 1167 Ocean Avenue, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: SIGN RULES IN LIMBO

rb signs 032416 2Proposed changes to the ordinance that regulates signage were rejected by the council. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

The Red Bank council yanked the plug on a new sign ordinance Wednesday night, leaving the town with a law that even local officials say is hot mess.

Amid widespread criticism, and some squabbling among majority Republicans, the governing body on Wednesday rejected proposed changes to the sign law that Councilwoman Cindy Burnham said had been in the works for three years and cost the town $18,000.

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RED BANK: HOVNANIAN ‘DELEVERAGING’ BOOKS

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based Hovnanian Enterprises‘ departure from the Minnesota market contributed to a $16.2 million net loss in its first fiscal quarter, the company reported Wednesday.

The company tied the loss to $11.7 million of land-related charges, primarily related to assets in Minnesota, which it said it is exiting. The result compares to a net loss of $14.4 million, including $2.2 million of land-related charges, in the first quarter of the previous year, the company reported.

The exit from Minnesota is part of a broader strategy of “deleveraging,” or reducing debt, by leaving select markets, CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a prepared statement.

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RED BANK: SIGN LAW FLICKERS BACK TO LIFE

rb signs 061214 2A proposed ordinance to regulate signage is still too complex, officials say. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

After more than two years of review and tweaking, a proposed change to Red Bank’s signage law is still too complicated, according to… well, nearly everyone who’s looked at it.

“Fourteen pages of regulations with three pages of tables does not help simplify what’s allowed and not allowed,” Jim Scavone, executive director of the downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter, told the borough council two weeks ago.

His comments have since been widely echoed. Planning board member Linda Cohen, who owns Eye Design on Broad Street, expressed concern that prospective business tenants would get one look at the document and decide to set up shop elsewhere.

Still, the planning board unanimously agreed Monday night that the proposed changes did not conflict with the town’s Master Plan, and kicked it back to the council with the message to “keep tweaking,” even if the amendments become law. Read More »

RED BANK: FIREHOUSE EATERY PLAN FILED

40 white st 021816 2Architect Mike Simpson’s drawings show outdoor dining areas in front of and beside the former firehouse. Below, the building’s interior in 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

40 WHITE 092314 2Already on fire with new restaurants, Red Bank’s downtown dining market could get hotter soon.

The new owners of the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse on White Street hope to convert the 105-year-old building into a restaurant, with two luxury apartments upstairs.

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RED BANK: LUNCH WITH HOLIDAY EXPRESS

holiday express 121815 2It’s more than just music when Holiday Express pulls into Lunch Break, one of 81 stops the organization will make this holiday season. The Grinch, below, is always along for the ride. (Photos by Kate Beckett, above, and Susan Ericson, below. Click to enlarge)

tim-grinch-band-rblightingWith the Turning Point restaurant providing food for 400, volunteers from Holiday Express plan to make a special stop in Red Bank Saturday.

The non-profit purveyor of music, food, gifts, financial support, and human kindness during the holiday season has scheduled a full-band visit to Lunch Break from 10 a.m. to noon.

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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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