37° Overcast

RED BANK: TWO WATER BONDS ON AGENDA

rb water meter 120815 2A wireless water meter installed on a newly constructed home on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

With two clocks ticking down to the same deadline, Red Bank officials expect to introduce a pair of bond ordinances Wednesday night in hopes of avoiding restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

One would authorize $1.9 million in new debt to replace nearly every water meter in town. The other would bond $1.83 million pay for a new water well to supply the borough-owned water utility.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: POND DEAL ON COUNCIL AGENDA

schwenker's 012315Schwenker’s Pond, on River Road. The long-vacant Doremus house, below, which overlooked the pond, was demolished in late 2013. Two new homes are planned for the site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

doremus-houseAfter years of limbo, a deal that would transfer ownership of Schwenker’s Pond in Fair Haven to the borough is expected to be sealed Monday night.

On the council’s agenda is a proposed developer’s agreement that Mayor Ben Lucarelli said will add to the town’s waterfront and open-space holdings.

“I’m of the belief that you only get one chance to make a piece of property public,” Lucarelli told redbankgreen last week.

Well, in this case, two.

Read More »

ON THE GREEN: MAJOR STORM NEARS

RB SALT brine 012116 fh ice 012116 2Salt brine markings on Spring Street in Red Bank and dozens of kids on the ice at McCarter Pond in Fair Haven signaled the late arrival of true winter on the Greater Red Bank Green Thursday.

For emphasis, Mother Nature is planning a blizzard that’s expected to bring “extremely dangerous” travel conditions and possible power outages as a result of heavy wet snow, strong wind gusts and flooding, the National Weather Service forecasts. The region is expected to get about a foot of snow between Friday night and early Sunday morning, the NWS says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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.

Read More »

ON THE GREEN: FIRST SNOW OF 2016

rb snow 011716 1The Greater Green got its first coating of snow of Winter 2016 Sunday evening, as seen on the fishing pier in Red Bank’s Marine Park.

With temperatures hovering just below 30 degrees, roads and sidewalks were expected to be icy Monday morning. The day’s forecast called for abundant sunshine, but no great rise in temperature through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COURT BACKS HEIGHT CHANGE

hampton inn 040913The seven-story, 76-room hotel would be built on a one-acre riverfront property adjacent to Cooper’s Bridge, seen here from the Middletown side of the Navesink. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

A 2013 change to the building height limits in Red Bank’s waterfront development zone did not constitute “spot zoning,” even though it benefitted a planned Hampton Inn a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Instead, the appeals court upheld a Superior Court decision that found the changes “were enacted as part of a comprehensive plan to advance the general welfare of the community.”

Read More »

RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

Read More »

RED BANK: HAMPTON HOTEL PLAN REVIVED

gasiorowski 072512Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, who has sued to block to the hotel, examines a rendering at a 2012 hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Five years after it was proposed and nearly two years after it was derailed by litigation, a planned Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway is back.

But the controversial plan is still in court.

Read More »

ON THE GREEN: A FLEETING TOUCH OF ICE

rb ice 010616After a two-day dalliance with winter, seen Wednesday in the form of an icy puddle on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, the Greater Green returns to relatively warmer weather in the days ahead, according to the National Weather Service.

Over the next five days, nighttime temperatures are expected to be well above freezing, with daytime temps climbing daily until through Monday, according to the NWS forecast.

Looking beyond that, however, we can expect actual winter to hit us “with a vengeance” later this month and next, according to NJ.com (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: DOLPHIN STAY RAISES CONCERNS

Dolphin longfield Dec 2015 4A stand-up paddler got close to the dolphin in the Shrewsbury River between Sea Bright and Rumson last week. Marine experts say humans and boats should keep away from the animal.  (Photo by Scott Longfield. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Without much public notice, a lone bottlenose dolphin has been plying the Shrewsbury River for the past seven months, according to wildlife advocates who are growing concerned about its safety as temperatures drop and its food supply diminishes.

As it has in the past, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries unit regards the dolphin’s presence as a not unusual, and said the animal appears to be healthy.

But Bob Schoelkopf, founder and director of the independent Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, expressed frustration that NOAA hasn’t done anything to guide the dolphin northward through the strait that leads into Sandy Hook Bay, and that colder temperatures make such an effort more dangerous for humans.

Read More »

RED BANK: DEER… OR REINDEER?

RB deer 010216With Christmas over, were three of Santa’s reindeer hoping to reunite with Jolly St. Nick in Red Bank over the weekend? Borough resident Charlie Bierly photographed this deer trio in the intersection of Madison Avenue and no kidding — St. Nicholas Place Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Charlie Bierly. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN / RUMSON: BIKE LANES AWAIT

fh bike lane 121215Both a bicyclist and an approaching a jogger appeared shy recently about using a new bike lane on the Little Silver side of Harding Road, seen here from Tower Hill in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03To go along with their shiny new Christmas bikes, cyclists on the Greater Red Bank Green have a new riding course: 2.8 miles of freshly minted  bike lanes through Rumson and Fair Haven.

Marked with share-the-road “sharrow” icons, heavy white lines and signage, the lanes call attention to the presence of bikers in an effort to improve safety, says Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli, who advocated for them.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: OLD BUILDINGS TO BE JOINED

810 River Road elevation 120915 2Architect Matt Cronin’s design would link the two River Road buildings shown below with a new glass-filled central section. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh 810 812-14 riv rd 120815A plan to connect a pair of 150-year-old structures in Fair Haven with a window-filled central addition elicited unanimous praise from the planning board Wednesday night.

ForeFront Incorporated, a web tech firm headquartered in a stately Victorian two doors away, intends to use the conjoined buildings as expansion office space, company principal Michel Berger told the board.

With a patio, yoga space and “mom’s room,” it’s designed to attract millenial coders and developers to his company, where the average employee is 24 years old, Berger said.

Read More »

SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

Read More »

RED BANK: WELL ADVANCES; T&M MAY NOT

rb water plant 102215Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, and DPU supervisor Bob Holiday check out construction on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Working against a ticking clock, Red Bank’s engineering consultant got the go-ahead Monday night to design a new backup supply well for the borough-owned water utility at the Chestnut Street public works complex.

But the $82,500 contract was authorized amid rumblings that it may be among the last granted to T&M Associates under the Democratic majority that has controlled the borough council for a generation.

Read More »