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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS SIGNS, SEWER FIX

sidewalk sale 3 072712A properly displayed sandwich board sign on Broad Street. Too many others, however, impede pedestrians, a downtown building owner said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank borough council took action on a number of matters involving borough parks, sidewalks and sewers at its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

Here’s a bullet-point rundown.

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RED BANK: FOOD TRUCKS COMING?

johnny's 1 111113John Yarusi risked a summons when he parked his Johnny’s Pork Roll truck on Wallace Street in a short-lived experiment test of borough law in 2013. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is Red Bank ready to finally  open the gate for food trucks?

The possibility that the borough might allow two mobile eateries to operate here was among the topics discussed at Wednesday’s semimonthly borough council meeting. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: POST-SANDY REBUILD DEBATED

sb boro hall 082316Crammed in beside desks in a gym repurposed as offices since Hurricane Sandy, dozens of residents attended the meeting. Below, the proposed police, fire and first aid building would include borough offices on the second floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering by Settembrino Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Municipal EMS BuildingWith millions of federal dollars possibly at stake, Sea Bright voters debated Tuesday whether to take on the financial burden of rebuilding all of the town’s public facilities wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

With a pivotal referendum scheduled for September 27, dozens of residents crowded into a gym that’s been co-opted for borough offices since the 2012 storm, largely in agreement that new facilities are needed, but split on costs.

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SEA BRIGHT: TOWN HALL ON REFERENDUM

sb parking 081916 3BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Library + Beach PavilionSea Bright residents are scheduled to gather for a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss a referendum on whether to bond for new public facilities to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012.

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RED BANK: SHADE TO BE MADE IN PARKS

basie shade 081116 3Lunchtime at Count Basie Fields, where a bit of shade is hard to find. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It was pretty much roasting at Red Bank’s Count Basie Fields last Thursday morning as a dozen or so day campers huddled under a pop-up tent. On site supervisor Rose Sestito’s cellphone, the Weather Channel app registered a “feels like” reading of 100 degrees.

It was even hotter out on the rubberized artificial turf where the kids had just been playing, said a sweat-soaked counselor, cooling his heels inside the snack bar while a bunch of his colleagues crowed beneath the shade of rare tree on the sprawling facility’s grounds.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN ADVANCES, BARELY

rb white st lot 071916 1A divided council gave the go-ahead for a consultant to develop a concept plan for the White Street parking lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank moved another step toward a possible answer to its chronic parking woes Wednesday night, but only after Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a pair of tiebreakers that put him at odds with fellow Democrats.

Menna’s votes were necessary after the council’s two lone Democrats joined with its sole independent in raising objections to a $6,500 contract for a concept plan covering the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The debate also exposed rare friction between Menna and Red Bank RiverCenter, the semi-authonomous agency that promotes downtown business interests.

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SANDY HOOK: ENTRY FEE HIKE PROPOSED

sandy hook 3 052613The per-car fee would jump to $20, from $15, under the proposed hike. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Beachgoers may have to pay 33 percent more to enter the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook next summer.

A proposed fee increase would boost the daily vehicle rate to $20, from the present $15, and the seasonal rate to $100, from $75.

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RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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RED BANK: THE PARK AWAKENS

rb movies park 071916 6rb snack bar 071916A combination of cool weather, a family-friendly film, virtual Pokémon characters popping up on cellphones all over the place, a newly opened ice cream stand and of course that gorgeous sunset drew hundreds to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park for a movies-in-the-park screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Tuesday night. 

Parks and Rec Director Charlie Hoffmann said the crowd may have been the largest ever for the weekly summer series presented by Shore Flicks.

Up next in the series: “Zootopia,” followed on August 2 by “Jaws,” in connection with this summer’s 100th anniversary of the Monmouth County shark attacks that inspired the film. The rest of the schedule is here, and Hoffmann reminds attendees that canned food goods are accepted for donation to to Lunch Break and other local charities. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

rb pokemon 071916 3

RED BANK: ZONING SHORTCUT INTRODUCED

RB Reso 16-190 Map 071316A map showing a potential new “area in need of rehabilitation” that was quietly put into play Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Over the objections of two council members and several residents that “it doesn’t smell right,” Red Bank’s governing body furthered plans for both a possible downtown parking garage and a proposed apartment building Wednesday night.

And without a word of public description or discussion beforehand, the council also started a process that could lead to designating a large swath of the town as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” which one official said would make it easier for developers to avoid variances when their plans don’t comply with the zoning law. Read More »

SHREWSBURY: SURF’S UP AT COUNTY LIBRARY

rb paddle day 091414 2Navesink River Rowing and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association will be among the organizations speaking about recreational activities on our local waters, during a “Sun, Sea and Surf Expo” at the Eastern Branch Library on July 21.

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Surf’s up at the library this month, as the Monmouth County Library‘s Eastern Branch features a Sun, Sea and Surf Expo on Thursday, July 21. Beginning at 4 p.m., the library on Broad Street/ Route 35 will offer film screenings, guest speakers, informational displays and other programs on the many recreational options available on our local shores and waters — from surfing to rowing, canoeing and more.

The  July 21 event will be preceded by two free screenings of “Chasing Mavericks,” a 2012 feature film (starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elizabeth Shue) about the surfers who seek out and conquer the biggest waves on the planet. The movie shows in the library’s Meeting Room at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, with an encore 2 p.m. showing on Monday, July 18.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP CONCEPT GETS THE HOOK

RayRap site 121015 2HOT-TOPIC_03An informal planning board hearing on developer Ray Rapcavage’s concept plan for 18 homes at the five corners in Red Bank was kept short Wednesday night after board attorney Mike Leckstein raised concerns about the board discussing a matter that may have to be heard by the zoning board. Rapcavage’s last proposal, calling for 22 homes on the site, was denied by the zoning board in December.

In his brief presentation, architect David Carnivale told the board the new plan calls 18 homes “meant to evoke European palaces overlooking a garden.” More details about the proposal are here (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT PLANS ADVANCE

55 w front 070616The West Front Street site where a 35-unit apartment building was rejected by the zoning board last year could end up with new zoning, a planning attorney said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Two Red Bank properties cleared a key hurdle toward possible redevelopment Wednesday night.

One is the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The other is a privately owned site that several commenters, including two board members, said shouldn’t even have been part of the discussion.

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RED BANK: JAZZ IN JULY AND BEYOND

Warren VacheTrumpeter Warren Vaché sounds the keynote for a new series of Summer Jazz Cafe events at Two River Theater this weekend. Keith Marks, below parks it at Riverside Gardens for the first in A slate of free outdoor jazz concerts Thursday night.  

Keith MarksAlthough it keeps a year-round beat that includes December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, the spring series of Talkin’ Jazz lectures and the ongoing sessions of the Jazz Arts Academy, summertime means the livin’ is also busy for the Jazz Arts Project, the nonprofit arts organization based here in Red Bank, the borough that gave the world Count Basie (to say nothing of the late and legendary Johnny Jazz).

It’s a flurry of activity that really hits home in this first full week of July, as Jazz Arts and artistic director Joe “Mooche” Muccioli introduce a new schedule for a seasonal signifier — the celebrated Summer Jazz Café at Two River Theater — along with the return of a relatively recent warm-weather diversion: the free series of Jazz in the Park concerts at Riverside Gardens Park.

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RED BANK: THREE MAJOR PROJECTS ON AGENDA

rb parking 051116 2The council directed the planning board to evaluate the borough-owned White Street lot for its “suitability” for a parking garage — and to do the same for a private lot where the zoning board turned down a 35-unit apartment building. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three projects with the potential to dramatically alter downtown Red Bank for generations are slated for review by the borough planning board Wednesday night.

On the agenda:

• a legal interpretation that could lead to the construction of a new parking facility on White Street

• a do-over of sorts for a rejected 35-unit apartment building on West Front Street

• and yet another plan for housing on a disused “five corners” property on the edge of downtown.

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