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RED BANK: PARKING NEWS

rb broad st 011217Under a recommendation of the council parking committee, the left-turn lane from Broad Street into Linden Lane would be eliminated, restoring three parking spaces on the west side of Broad. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1For the first time in recent months, the clamor for and against a new parking garage in downtown Red Bank was absent at the first regular council meeting of 2017 Wednesday night.

Still, there was a smattering of parking-related news.

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS REASSERT CONTROL

yvonne-erik-yngstrom-010116Erik Yngstrom embraces his mother, Yvonne Yngstrom, after giving his oath as councilman. Below, Kathy Horgan began her fourth term on the council and was elected its president. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-horgan-010117Red Bank’s first Republican majority in a generation ended after just a year Sunday, when Democrats regained control of the borough council.

With the addition of political newcomer Erik Yngstrom to the governing body, the Democrats now share 3-3 parity with the GOP on the council. But with the support of three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna as the tiebreaker to any potential deadlock, the Democrats wasted no time in doling out key jobs to partisans.

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RED BANK: MENNA WANTS BOLD, GREEN DECK

menna-whelan-110216Mayor Pasquale Menna, left with Councilman Mike Whelan at the opening of the new cancer treatment wing at Riverview Medical Center in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Parking issues once again dominated as the Red Bank council wrapped up its 2016 meeting schedule Wednesday night.

• Mayor Pasquale Menna sketched out a vision for a environmentally and architecturally bold parking garage on the site of the borough’s White Street parking lot.

• A downtown property owner laid out a plan for erecting a prefab garage that he said would be fast and economical.

• The council extended yet again a moratorium on fees charged to developers of new businesses that win variances for parking shortfalls.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKs PARKING PLAN

mike-simpson-121416-3Architect Mike Simpson discusses a schematic he created to illustrate that a 650-car garage atop four stories of stores and apartments, with nearby green space, could easily be created in the White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1After nearly three hours of public comments Wednesday night, the Red Bank council approved a zoning change that could result in a parking garage in the heart of downtown.

Now, answers to long-deferred questions on what such a facility might look like, and who will pay for it, can begin to take shape, said business and government officials who endorsed the measure.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN MAY GROW

rb-parking-white-st-111316-2The council could solicit formal development proposals for the White Street lot if a measure on Wednesday’s agenda is passed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01The hottest of hot topics in downtown Red Bank faces a key hurdle this week when a redevelopment plan that could lead to the construction of a massive parking garage in the heart of downtown faces a key vote.

But first, the minimum number of new parking spaces to be created on the present site of the White Street municipal lot could be significantly increased.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN APPROVED

74 broad st. 092713The upper two floors of the building, which have been vacant for years, will get two apartments each. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A landmark Red Bank building’s upper two floors will be turned into spacious apartments under a plan approved by the borough zoning board Thursday night.

In a rarity in this parking-starved town, the change would reduce the demand for downtown spots, the building’s new owner told the board.

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RED BANK: LOT OWNERS CAN NOW TRY AGAIN

55 w front 062016The vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Eight months after they were rejected by the Red Bank zoning board, the owners of a vacant lot in downtown Red Bank can now try again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building on the site.

That’s the upshot of an ordinance adopted by the borough council Monday night after yet another tiebreaker vote by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: BASIE PARKING DEAL YIELDS GAIN

mike-whelan-110416Councilman Mike Whelan outside borough hall earlier this month.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It may not seem like much, stacked up against a $22.4 million budget. Still, it’s like finding money on the ground, says first-year Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan.

A deal Whelan initiated that gives the Count Basie Theatre access to the borough hall parking lot across Monmouth Street has netted the borough nearly $14,000 since it went into effect earlier this year, he says.

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RED BANK: CLINTON COATTAILS HELPED DEMS

rb voting districts 2014Hillary Clinton won every district in Red Bank but the fifth, lifting the party’s entire ticket. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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She lost at the national level, but Hillary Clinton won Red Bank, and her coattails helped Democrats pull even with Republicans on the borough council Tuesday night, election returns tallied by the Monmouth County Clerk show.

Clinton captured all but one of the but one of Red Bank’s nine voting districts — the fifth — topping president-elect Donald Trump townwide, 2,633 to 1,510. (The figures don’t include mail-in ballots, said borough clerk Pam Borghi.)

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RED BANK: GARAGE DEBATE PREVIEWED

white-st-lot-110816A public hearing on a key measure in the push for a possible garage at the White Street lot, above, is slated for December 14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Argument over a potential parking garage for downtown Red Bank dominated the first post-election meeting of the borough council Wednesday night.

No action related to the gradually advancing proposal was on the agenda. But the brief debate may have been an early taste of what’s to come next month, when the council holds a public hearing on a key step in the process.

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RED BANK: DEMS WIN, GAIN COUNCIL PARITY

yngstrom-110816Erik Yngstrom at Democratic headquarters as the party’s local victory became clear. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Knocked from their perch a year ago, Red Bank Democrats gained parity with Republicans on the borough council Tuesday night, as incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom routed three other candidates, according to preliminary results.

The clearest loser in the race was incumbent Cindy Burnham, who ran a distant fifth three years after she broke a seven-year Democratic lock on the governing body.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE CLEARS HURDLE

rb white st 070915 3A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking now goes back to the council for possible adoption, followed by a request for proposals from builders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A concept zoning plan for a parking garage that could double the capacity of Red Bank’s White Street parking lot cleared its latest hurdle Monday night, when the borough planning board found it compliant with the town’s Master Plan.

But in returning the document to the borough council for further action, the board asked for reconsideration of some of its particulars. Among them: making sure that any stores and restaurants in the new structure not be exempt from — wait for it — parking requirements.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES AGREE, MINUS TWO

horgan-burnham-110216Incumbents Kathy Horgan, a Democrat, and Cindy Burnham, running as an independent, at Wednesday night’s event at the Pilgrim Baptist Church. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainThe Republican candidates for Red Bank council sent emissaries who watched from the sidelines at a community event Wednesday night.

First-time GOP candidates Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell disputed the circumstances under which the event, billed as a “community conversation,” came together, leaving them unable to attend, they told redbankgreen. Their expected absence had been termed an “insult” by one of the event’s organizers.

But the event itself turned out not to be as partisan as GOP chairman Mike Clancy had feared, he said afterward.

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RED BANK: RIVERVIEW UNVEILS CANCER WING

riverview-oncology-101516riverview-oncology-110216-1A new 29,000-square-foot oncology center, including the dramatic 3,700-square-foot lobby above and at right, debuted at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center Wednesday night, helped into existence by a $3 million donation by Carol Stillwell of Colts Neck. Philadelphia firm BTK Architects designed the $35 million project, which includes two new TrueBeam linear accelerators for radiotherapy and 22 beds for inpatient care.

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RED BANK: PORTER TEES UP GOP FOR ‘INSULT’

porter 071016Reverend Terrence Porter said Wednesday’s event is intended as a nonpartisan opportunity for voters to see the candidates as individuals. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainThe pastor of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church lashed out Monday at borough Republicans, who he said had “insulted” African-American voters in avoiding a candidates’ event planned for Wednesday night at the church.

Reverend Terrence Porter teed up both the current and former GOP chairmen Sean DiSomma for what Porter said was groundless politicizing of an event that was envisioned as nonpartisan from the get-go.

“I’ve never been so disappointed in my experience in Red Bank,” Porter told redbankgreen. Read More »

RED BANK: CANDIDATES TO FACE OFF AGAIN

[UPDATE: GOP Chairman Mike Clancy says Hanlon and O’Bosky Colwell did NOT agree to participate, citing prior engagements.]
 With the race entering its final week, the five candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election have agreed to square off a second time.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN INTRODUCED

rb parking 041416 1A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot now goes to the planning board for review. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Merchants, and at least one elected official, were jubilant after the Red Bank council’s latest move toward possible construction of a downtown parking deck Wednesday night.

By a 6-0 vote, the governing body agreed to introduce an ordinance that could result in the adoption of a redevelopment plan for the White Street municipal lot.

What’s in the 10-page plan? Only insiders knew, but to advocates for a large-scale solution to the parking shortage downtown, that didn’t matter. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: NEW HOME FLOATS INTO VIEW

290-ocean-ave-sb-101016-1The house, at 290 Ocean Avenue, features an unusual tunnel underneath the living space. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

WhatsGoingOnHere

One of the more unusual construction projects on the Greater Red Bank Green has been catching the eyes of passersby on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright in recent months.

There, Red Bank builder Mike Villane is overseeing the creation of a house that appears to hover beside the Shrewsbury River, with a tunnel underneath.

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RED BANK: GOP PAIR SETS “ACTION PLAN”

obosky-colwell-hanlon-101816Republican council candidates Kellie O’Bosky Colwell and Brian Hanlon listen as Councilwoman Cindy Burnham speaks at Candidate’s Night on October 18. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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By JOHN T. WARD

“Tired of hearing politicians make vague promises at election time” only to ignore them afterward, the two Republican candidates for Red Bank council unveiled a “six-month action plan” Monday that calls for a freeze on department heads’ salaries and a study of the water utility.

In their plan, first-time candidates Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell pledge they won’t seek re-election if they “do not deliver on their promises.”

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RED BANK: SCAVONE FACT-CHECKS BURNHAM

burnham-101816-1Council President Cindy Burnham at the West Side Community Group’s candidate’s forum Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) 

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By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank RiverCenter went on the offensive Wednesday in response to a call by incumbent Councilwoman Cindy Burnham for its elimination.

A day after Burnham, a former Republican seeking re-election as an independent, told an audience that “we need to get rid of RiverCenter,” the autonomous entity’s executive director wrote letter that challenged her on several points, including the sum it collects from downtown property owners.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL CANDIDATES FACE OFF

obosky-colwell-hanlon-101816Republican council candidates Kellie O’Bosky-Colwell and Brian Hanlon at the West Side Community Group’s Candidate’s Night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents brought concerns about property taxes, water costs, downtown development, parks and more to a forum that featured all five contenders for two borough council seats Tuesday night.

In a wide-ranging, two-hour question-and-answer session marked by minimal friction among candidates, incumbent Cindy Burnham, a former Republican now running as an independent, touted her “no” votes on a long series of spending bills while three-term Democratic incumbent Kathy Horgan defended tax increases.

Meanwhile, a trio of first-time candidates — Brian Hanlon, Kellie O’Bosky-Colwell and Erik Yngstrom — staked out positions on the arts, parks and schools at an event that drew about 100 to the River Street Commons senior housing facility.

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RED BANK: STATION COMPLEX WINS APPROVAL

denholtz-101716-5An architectural rendering shows the Oakland Street side of the proposed project, to be built on the present site of a taxi stand. The existing San Remo restaurant and vacant former Racioppi’s building are in the foreground. (Rendering by Monteforte Architectural Studio. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03An ambitious mixed-use project with 45 apartments and its own parking garage alongside the Red Bank train station won unanimous approval by the planning board Monday night.

Board members praised the plan, by Matawan-based Denholtz Associates, as one that fulfills the vision of the “train station overlay” zone to a tee.

“It seems to me the first project to really take advantage of that designation and be creative,” said board member and borough Administrator Stanley Sickels.

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RED BANK: 5-4 BOARD VOTE ADVANCES PLAN

55-w-front-aerial-101716A Google Maps sky view of the vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03By a 5-4 vote, the Red Bank planning board advanced a proposed ordinance that would give a  a thwarted developer another shot at building on a downtown lot.

The issue, concerning a former nursing home site at 55 West Street, prompted sharp disagreement among board members that mirrored divisions at recent council meetings, with proponents arguing the measure is needed to end a long vacancy and opponents calling it an “end-around” to a zoning board decision.

“It just stinks,” planning board member and former Councilman Art Murphy said of the measure.

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