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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER RAPPED ON PARKING

RiverCenter’s founding chairman wants the agency to help finance a second garage to go along with the Globe Street facility, above, which is leased to Riverview Medical Center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A discussion of Red Bank RiverCenter‘s 2017 budget Wednesday night focused mostly on how much juice the downtown promotion agency is using to address a parking shortfall.

At the borough council’s semimonthly meeting, two past RiverCenter chairmen suggested the answer is “not enough.”

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RUMSON: UTILITIES TO GO BELOW RIVER

Natural gas and water supply lines are to be tunneled beneath the Shrewsbury River between Rumson Road in Rumson, above, and Sea Bright. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Residents of Rumson and Sea Bright may see an unusual construction project as early as next month, when two utility companies run new service lines connecting the towns 25 feet below the floor of the Shrewsbury River.

Municipal and utility officials said they expect minimal disruption to traffic during the monthlong project, when New Jersey Natural Gas and New Jersey-American Water plan to drill beneath the river from Sea Bright to Rumson and then pull about a quarter-mile of piping across the span.

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RED BANK: PARKING FORUM OPENS ‘DIALOGUE’

Red Bank “is losing its position as a walking community” in part because of a lack of parking, said Joel McFadden, a White Street jeweler who served as event moderator.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to get a “dialogue” going with residents about the need for a downtown parking garage, Red Bank merchants hosted a town hall meeting that drew dozens to the borough middle school Monday night.

There, members of the Red Bank Business Alliance served up their perspectives on what they see as a longstanding problem that’s worsened in recent years under a changeover from a retail economy to one driven by restaurants and entertainment.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN WINS APPROVAL

Peter Steck, a planner hired by an opponent of the proposed hotel, testified that the developer was “stuffing” the one-acre site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After nearly seven years of battles, a proposed hotel at the northernmost entrance to Red Bank won approval Monday night.

The planning board’s OK of a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge came after a last-minute concession by the developer.

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RED BANK: TOUTING A ‘SIMPLE’ PARKING FIX

Downtown property owner John Bowers hired an architect to show the borough what it might build without involving a private developer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Instead of trying to entice a private developer with high-profit-margin sweeteners like apartments and retail space, what if Red Bank addressed its downtown parking problem simply by building a “pure” garage itself?

That’s what landlord John Bowers wants to know, and he’s on a campaign to head off the borough’s White Street redevelopment effort before it leads both taxpayers and merchants over a cliff.

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RED BANK: PARKING FORUM SLATED

Does downtown Red Bank need a new parking garage? If so, how big should it be, what else should it include, and who should pay for it?

Questions like those will be on the table at a town-hall style meeting slated for Monday, February 6.

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RED BANK: SUIT FILED OVER GARAGE HEIGHT

Cindy Burnham, seen here at a candidate’s forum last October, during her unsuccessful council re-election campaign. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A group of Red Bank residents formed by former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham filed suit Monday to derail efforts to build a garage for at least 773 vehicles in the heart of town.

Burnham, who failed in her re-election bid as a Republican-turned-independent in November after one term, said although she supports the construction of a garage, the eight-story structure permitted under a redevelopment plan authorized by the council last week is “just too high.”

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RED BANK: PARKING PLANS SOLICITED

basie parking 012517 2Count Basie Theatre security worker Dennis O’Keefe working the entrance to the borough hall parking lot Wednesday night. A restaurant owner cited theater activity for creating parking issues last weekend. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1An effort to coax a 773-vehicle garage into the heart of Red Bank cleared another speedbump Wednesday night.

At its semimonthly meeting, the borough council authorized a request for proposals, or RFP, from developers interested in building on the 2.3-acre municipal lot on White Street.

But first, it tweaked the requirements to be more environmentally friendly.
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RED BANK: WHITE STREET PARKING ON AGENDA

rb-parking-white-st-111316-1Got a parking plan for White Street? The borough will accept proposals from qualified developers until April 26. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Park it 2017A call for ideas to remake the White Street lot into a parking garage anchors a busy Red Bank council agenda Wednesday night.

Up for discussion for the the first time is a request for proposals, or RFP, to transform the 2.3-acre municipal parking lot on White Street into a facility that nearly triples the current capacity of 273 vehicles while adding, possibly, housing and retail space.

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RED BANK: BLUE LINE HONORS LAW ENFORCERS

RB blue line 011317 4rb blue line 011317 3A crew from Alert Traffic Lines painted a vivid blue line along Broad Street in downtown Red Bank Friday in support of local law enforcement. The borough-based company, owned by John and Michael Garofalo, paid for the project, which the borough council authorized by resolution in December.

The line was laid between existing double yellow lines in spite of objections voiced elsewhere by the federal Department of Transportation that they’re unsafe because the pavement between the yellow lines is not visible. Councilman and Police Commissioner Mike Whelan told redbankgreen in a statement that he and Chief Darren McConnell disagree with the DOT. 

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RED BANK: HOTEL ANTAGONIST RETURNS

larry-cohen-rbank-hampton-121916Rbank Capital managing partner and would-be Hampton Inn developer Larry Cohen at Monday night’s planning board hearing with an architect’s rendering of the hotel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A hotel developer’s long and contentious battle to build a 76-room Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway grew longer more contentious Monday night.

It also got a bit deja vu-y when, for the second time in the plan’s six-year history, its chief antagonist, lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, returned, claiming once again to represent a client with legal standing to challenge the plan.

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RED BANK: WILL HAMPTON INN GET THE KEYS?

hampton-inn-112116HOT-TOPIC_03Will a new hotel finally get the keys to Red Bank? After almost six years in litigation and other delays, a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn proposed on the former site of a Exxon station at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge could go to a vote Monday night.

But first, the plan must overcome the objections of at least one planning board member, who has warned that the hotel’s traffic plan is dangerously flawed to the point that “someone is going to die” if it’s allowed.

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NAVESINK: BACTERIAL HOTSPOTS IDENTIFIED

rally-navesink-113016Zach Lees of Clean Ocean Action talks about tracking bacteria along storm sewers upland from Red Bank’s Marine Park Wednesday night.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Aided by a trio of specially trained sniffing dogs, environmental detectives have zoomed in on particular locations in three towns that may be at least partly responsible for a recent spike in bacteria levels in the Navesink River, they reported Wednesday night.

At the final Rally for the Navesink event of 2016 organized after a ban on shellfish harvesting from 566 acres of the river last February, a coalition of groups identified specific sites where leaking sanitary sewer lines or septic systems in Red Bank, Fair Haven and Middletown may be contributing bacteria from human waste.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ACCESS PLAN CRITICIZED

hampton-inn-112116An architect’s rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, as seen from Riverside Avenue, with the existing VNA building at right. (Rendering by Louis Silverstein. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

After years of litigation and other delays, a proposed Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway returned to the borough planning board Monday night — and quickly ran into opposition.

Board member Guy Maratta sharply criticized a plan to allow vehicles to turn left into the Route 35 site across two lanes of southbound traffic that he said averages 60 miles per hour.

“Somebody is going to die, mark my words,” Maratta told the traffic engineer for the applicant, Rbank Capital.

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RED BANK: RIVER CONTAMINATION UPDATE SET

rb mbc 092214HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after the series began in response to a sharp increase in fecal coliform contamination, a final Rally for the Navesink event of 2016 has been scheduled. 

Organized by Clean Ocean Action and a handful of environmental advocacy groups, the periodic rallies began in June, attracting sizable audiences and offering both science-heavy updates on water quality and practical tips on keeping pollutants out of the waterway.

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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

Election_2016_Plain

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: 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

Election_2016_Plain

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: 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: 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: 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)

Election_2016_Plain

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) 

Election_2016_Plain

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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