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RED BANK: CHURCH PLAN WINS FULL BLESSING

rb church 033114Developer Bob Silver, below, hugs congregants of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, above, after gaining approval to convert the 62-year-old structure to offices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bob silver 040314The proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank into an office complex was praised to the heavens Thursday night, even by a couple of neighbors who’d previously expressed wariness about it.

Developer Bob Silver, who previously converted a Christian Scientist church in Montclair into offices, won kudos for preserving one of Broad Street’s architectural gems while yielding to concerns about traffic. His project, dubbed “Two Eleven Broad,” was also lauded for “saving the home” of a shrunken congregation, which will continue to use a portion of the building, and for touches including electric-car rechargers and bike racks.

Silver is “the best possible neighbor that the neighbors could want,” said abutting property owner William Hartigan of Hudson Avenue, whose concerns about the plan were spotlighted by redbankgreen earlier this week.

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RED BANK: CHURCH PLAN UPSETS NEIGHBORS

hartigan 1 033114William Hartigan notes the proximity of a church garage to his family’s outdoor dining area. Below, the church as seen from Broad Street; the wing at the left would get a second story. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb church 033114It’s a story as old as the concept of property rights: a couple settles into  their dream home, and then the folks next door do something on their patch of heaven to disturb the idyll.

When William and Kathryn Hartigan moved to Red Bank from Jersey City four years ago, they never imagined that the church that abuts their Hudson Avenue property would be anything other than a house of worship, quiet and unnoticed except for the bells pealing in the steeple on Sunday mornings.

But the proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist on Broad Street into an office complex has Hudson Avenue neighbors alarmed about traffic, and the Hartigans about the impact on their dream.

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RED BANK: GATE MAIN ISSUE IN CHURCH PLAN

rbpb 032014 3Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan discusses the church’s plan for fencing at Thursday night’s planning board meeting with neighbor Kevin Moss. Below, a rendering of the proposal. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

211 broad 032014The proposed conversion of a steepled Red Bank church into an office complex – with provision for a dramatically shrunken Sunday worship space – drew a full house to the planning board Thursday night.

Nearly all the concerns and objections to the plan for the First Church of Christ, Scientist house of worship on Broad Street were focused on one element: a gate on the Hudson Avenue side of the property.

Allowing for the gate, instead of sealing off access to Hudson, would surely result in more traffic on the residential street, neighbors said.

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HELMETCAM VIDEO OF HUDSON AVENUE FIRE

A volunteer Red Bank firefighter shot this video with a camera attached to his helmet during the blaze that destroyed a two-family house on Hudson Avenue in the early morning hours of May 17. All six occupants of the house escaped safely.

The firefighter approached the house through the back yard from Clay Street and found the rear of the structure fully engulfed in flame.

Warning: coarse language.

FIRE VICTIM RECOUNTS ESCAPE

A worker boards up windows of the burned-out house on Friday. Below, Ryan Howard talks to a policeman during the fire. (Photo above by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Before dawn last Thursday, Ryan Howard woke to the sounds of his dog barking and children screaming outside his bedroom window.

“Why are the kids out playing at this hour?” his wife, Nicole, asked him. It was 3:15 a.m.

Concerned, Howard peeked outside and saw flames erupting from the adjoining portion of the Red Bank duplex in which they lived, at 46-48 Hudson Avenue.

After getting his wife and two dogs outside to safety, Howard re-entered the house to get his keys so he could move their cars to give firefighters access, he told redbankgreen.

By the time he’d done so, the entire back of the house was engulfed in flames.

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RED BANK GUN INCIDENT INVESTIGATED

Red Bank’s police chief has high praise for an officer who peaceably disarmed a man who was pointing a handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets at another man early Saturday morning.

But much about the incident remains under wraps as police continue their investigation, Chief Steve McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

Charged with aggravated assault with a handgun and other criminal violations was Andrew Makuch, 25, of 16 Hudson Avenue.

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ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

A parking gate in Red Bank goes a little nutty Tuesday morning. The gate is at a 23-car parking lot at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Linden Place that’s owned by the borough but leased to Downtown Investors for use by employees of the nearby Smith Barney complex. (Click to enlarge)