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RED BANK: STREET FAIR BUSTLES

The spring edition of the Red Bank Street Fair drew hundreds of visitors downtown on a warm and sunny afternoon Sunday. The event was a fundraiser for the Police Benevolent Association and the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WALGREEN’S GETS GREEN LIGHT

walgreen's 021914 1Walgreen’s developer Marc Steinberg greets neighborhood supporters after winning plan approval. Below, the revised site plan, at left, called for a smaller structure than the prior proposal, at right. The building was also  moved slightly from the property lines along Garfield Place and Broad Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

walgreen's 021914 2After six months of hearings and a close call with defeat, a proposed Walgreen’s store won approval from the Red Bank planning board Wednesday night.

The 6 to 2 vote came after store developer Marc Steinberg revised his  plan by shrinking the proposed building and changing its placement on the site of the former Rassas Buick auto dealership on Broad Street, at the southern gateway in the heart of town.

The vote also followed passionate pleas by neighbors, one of whom said Steinberg had “bent over backwards” to address their concerns, while others called the changes “token” measures.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S MOVES STORE

walgreen's 121613Walgreen’s developer Marc Steinberg talks with neighbors about the proposed store’s traffic flow at a December hearing. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The builder of a proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy in Red Bank has changed the location of the would-be store, moving it a dozen feet in order to avoid a variance request on one of the plan’s most controversial aspects.

The store would also shrink by about 1,100 square feet, according to revised plans filed with the borough in anticipation of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S TO REVISE PLAN

josephine menna 012314Josephine Menna, an aunt to Mayor Pasquale Menna – who recused himselfqueries Walgreen’s lawyer Marty McGann. Below, site owner Aaron Rassas confers with his team during a break. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

aaron rassas 012314The developer of the proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy in Red Bank yanked the plan from what appeared to be certain defeat Thursday night.

With a motion pending to reject the proposed 14,200-square-foot store, the lawyer for the developer Marc Steinberg asked the borough planning board for time to revise the proposal to meet concerns that the building would be too close to the streets at the longtime site of the now-closed Rassas Buick dealership.

“I think I’d feel like I was living in a prison if I had to look at that,” said board member Barbara Boas, referring to a 135-foot-long, 30-foot-high windowless wall that would run along Garfield place, just four feet from a sidewalk.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S AIRS TRAFFIC PITCH

walgreen's 121613Walgreen’s developer Marc Steinberg talks about the proposed store’s traffic flow with nearby resident Mary Todt during a break in Monday night’s planning board hearing. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Traffic would be a lot worse if a convenience store were built at the former Rassas Buick site in Red Bank instead of the Walgreen’s that’s proposed, a consultant for the pharmacy chain says.

Both are permitted uses at the former car dealership property on Broad Street, traffic engineer John Harter testified at the borough planning board Monday night.

Still, nearby residents pressed Harter on how the store could do anything but worsen traffic flow through an junction that the state Department of Transportation has given a failing grade for motorist delays.

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