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FAIR HAVEN: WHAT RESIDENTS LIKE, OR DON’T

fh river rd 042016 2A survey found general satisfaction with the older, eastern business district, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03There are too many street lights on River Road. There aren’t enough on Third Street. New and remodeled homes are too big.

So say some Fair Haven residents in a new and extensive survey of on the physical attributes of the town as it begins mapping out its future.

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FAIR HAVEN: INPUT WANTED ON PLANNING

fh-boro-hallThe Fair Haven Planning Board is conducting a survey as it prepares to create an updated Master Plan, asking residents whether they think downtown signs are too big, how their children get to school, how they would feel about a dog park in town and more.

Resident input “is critical to help us prioritize and ensure that we’re not missing any issues important to residents and visitors,” says board member Jake Rue. The online survey is here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: AFTER 26 YEARS, BARR ZONES OUT

donna smith barr 042815 2Zoning officer Donna Smith Barr leaves the job this week after 26 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

people-in-the-newsThe cliches compete: it’s tempting to say Donna Smith Barr has had a front-row seat on Red Bank’s two-decade-long bounceback from “Dead Bank” to today’s bustling burg. But it’s probably more accurate to say she’s been the gatekeeper.

Whether you wanted to put a deck on your house or turn a downtown store into a restaurant, Barr’s office has been the first stop at borough hall. And if she spoke or wrote the word “variance” in response, it probably wasn’t your last, as it would mean the time and expense of making one’s case before the zoning or planning board.

“I’m glad I don’t have to tell people they need variances anymore,” Barr told redbankgreen Tuesday. A single instance is one thing, “but when you do it for 26 years, that’s enough.”

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RED BANK: BURNHAM WINS ZONING CASE

cindy burnham 121814Cindy Burnham with her attorney, Ron Gasiorowski, at Thursday night’s zoning board hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The fix wasn’t in – not this time at least.

Cindy Burnham, the lone Republican on the Red Bank council who often lambastes the Democratic majority for what she contends are back-room  development deals, went before the zoning board Thursday night seeking an OK for a new garage and back porch for her home at 71 Wallace Street.

She came loaded for bear.

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RUMSON: EDGEWOOD HOME PLAN NIXED

 rumson pb 070714A proposal to subdivide the property at 9 Edgewood Place, below, drew nearly two dozen opponents Monday night.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

9 edgewood 070714After three long hearings packed with opponents, a proposal to combine and re-subdivide three Rumson lots for two new homes met unanimous rejection by the planing board Monday night.

At three-quarters of an acre each, the two new building lots, fronting on Edgewood Road, would be nearly identical in area to properties a block away, in the same zone, on Circle Drive.

But citing what several called the unique character of the neighborhood, opponents said the new lots would appear squeezed in on Edgewood, where the homes are so far apart that, one woman testified, children won’t go door-to-door on Halloween because it makes for inefficient trick-or-treating.

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RED BANK: PATRIZIA’S, CARLO’S WIN OKS

patrizia's 120213 4A rendering of the proposed Patrizia’s, which would occupy the onetime Merhant’s Trust Company at 28 Broad Street, seen at center below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

primas 070512A restaurant that will add 198 seats to downtown Red Bank’s fast-growing dining landscape sailed through to unanimous planning board approval Monday night.

The review took less than 15 minutes.

By contrast, a hearing on whether to allow the newly opened Carlo’s Bake Shop, of Cake Boss fame, to have two tables with eight chairs went on for 90 minutes, mainly because of objections over the impact on a parking lot out back.

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WALGREEN’S MOVES; NEIGHBORS NOT SO MUCH

walgreen's 2 102113Borough engineer Christine Ballard, left, of T&M Associates, answers neighbors’ questions about the Walgreen’s proposal during a break in Monday night’s hearing. Below, a plan shows the flow of delivery trucks in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

walgreen's 1 102113A Walgreen’s pharmacy proposed for Red Bank got moved a few feet since it was first pitched to the borough planning board, company representatives said Monday night.

It also got a bit of an architectural makeover to make a long, windowless wall less forbidding. Both changes were intended to address concerns of nearby residents.

But questions from both neighbors and board members persisted about why the store, at 14,200 square feet, has to be so large. And the answer that kept coming back was: it’s smaller than the “typical” Walgreen’s.

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RED BANK: ANOTHER DRUGSTORE WANTS IN

The proposed Red Bank Family Pharmacy and two retail stores would fill the space formerly occupied by Jade Garden restaurant and Kramer Photography. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Walgreen’s isn’t the only drugstore sensing opportunity in Red Bank’s pulse.

A Middlesex County pharmacist hopes to open a drugstore on Broad Street, almost directly opposite the vacant former longtime home of the Professional Pharmacy, which closed up shop in December after 61 years in town.

Kamesh Patel’s application to open what he’s calling the Red Bank Family Pharmacy landed at the borough planning office Monday, less than two weeks after the giant Walgreen’s chain filed to build a 14,000-square-foot drugstore at the former Rassas Buick location, also on Broad Street.

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FAIR HAVEN TREE LAW MAY BE TRANSPLANTED

After months of arguing that Fair Haven’s tree ordinance is unconstitutional and needs to be put through a chipper, borough Councilman Bob Marchese is now proposing that it be dug up, balled and relocated.

That, he said, would at least begin to address the law’s most problematic elements, as demonstrated by a recent brouhaha over a 100-foot tulip poplar.

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YMCA SUES BOROUGH OVER PLAN DENIAL

ymca1The Community YMCA says the zoning board rejection was capricious. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As expected, the Community YMCA has filed a lawsuit against Red Bank’s zoning board for its decision to not allow the Y to nearly double the size of its Maple Avenue facility, putting the nonprofit at odds with the town on two legal fronts.

The suit, filed on May 18 in state Superior Court in Freehold, says that the board’s resolution denying the Y’s expansion plan “lacks a factual basis for its negative findings and provides nothing more that conclusions unsupported by fact or applicable land use law, ” and therefore makes the board’s decision unreasonable.

The Y is seeking to reverse the zoning board’s decision and win approval of the variance applications and site plan. It is also asking for compensation for the cost of the suit and whatever other relief the court deems just.

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