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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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RED BANK: REJECTED PLAN GETS SECOND SHOT

55 w front 092315The project, dubbed the Element, would be built on West Front Street next door to Trinity Episcopal Church. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed 35-unit apartment building rejected by the Red Bank zoning board last week may end up getting built anyway.

The borough council on Wednesday night began a process that could lead to the construction of the Element apartments on West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park, without the developer having to appeal the zoning board’s denial of last Thursday.

And the council was acting, said Mayor Pasquale Menna, on a request made by the developer less than 24 hours after the zoning board rejection.

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RED BANK: ZONERS NIX APARTMENT PLAN

55 w front 040215 2The project, dubbed the Element, called for 35 rental units on a site previously approved for 27 condos. (Architect’s rendering. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s zoning board rejected plans for a 35-unit apartment building on a long-vacant downtown lot Thursday night.

The proposed structure — at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park — was shot down on a motion by presumptive Democratic council candidate Erik Yngstrom, who said it was too dense.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, who was in the audience, was sharply critical of the decision.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN BACK ON AGENDA

55 w front 040215 1Alone at last on Thursday night’s Red Bank zoning board agenda is a proposal for a 35-unit apartment building at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. A hearing on the plan, dubbed the Element, began last April, but has since been postponed numerous times since its last public airing in September. (Architect’s rendering. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MISSION HOUSE WINS OK

st crispin's 030316Architect Ned Gaunt’s rendering of the proposed St. Crispin’s Social Ministry House on the St. Anthony of Padua campus. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a hearing packed with supporters, and without a peep of objection, Red Bank’s zoning board gave unanimous approval Thursday night to a plan by St. Anthony of Padua parish to build a new social services facility on Herbert Street.

“They’ve obviously been very beneficial to the town,” said board member Sean Murphy, citing the church and its volunteers. “Unfortunately, the need is growing, but we’re very fortunate to have them.”

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RED BANK: CHURCH PLANS NEW FACILITY

16 herbert st 030216St. Anthony of Padua parish hopes to win approval to raze this house and garage to construct a new building to provide social services. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The needs are evident in the long lines that form at St. Anthony of Padua in Red Bank: families short on cash for food, housing, clothing and other necessities.

Now served out of a multipurpose building on Herbert Street, where the food pantry and clothing distribution operations must be set up and taken down with regularity, the Roman Catholic parish hopes to erect a new dedicated social services building, and is scheduled to make its case to the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: COURT BACKS HEIGHT CHANGE

hampton inn 040913The seven-story, 76-room hotel would be built on a one-acre riverfront property adjacent to Cooper’s Bridge, seen here from the Middletown side of the Navesink. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

A 2013 change to the building height limits in Red Bank’s waterfront development zone did not constitute “spot zoning,” even though it benefitted a planned Hampton Inn a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Instead, the appeals court upheld a Superior Court decision that found the changes “were enacted as part of a comprehensive plan to advance the general welfare of the community.”

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON HOTEL PLAN REVIVED

gasiorowski 072512Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, who has sued to block to the hotel, examines a rendering at a 2012 hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Five years after it was proposed and nearly two years after it was derailed by litigation, a planned Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway is back.

But the controversial plan is still in court.

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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)

SHREWSBURY: SHADOWBROOK PLAN ON DECK

shadowbrook-estateThe opulent Shadowbrook facility, which is not visible from any public street, is surrounded by homes and accessed via a single, long driveway, below. (Photo above from the Shadowbrook website; below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

shadowbrook 092615A plan to more than double the size of the Shadowbrook catering facility in Shrewsbury has neighbors concerned about added traffic, spillover parking and noise.

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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: MINUTES IN HISTORY

rb records 021115 2rb records 021115 1Workers from the digital archiving company DRS Group roll up old plats on the floor of the planning and zoning office in Red Bank Wednesday afternoon for transfer to a scanning facility in Springfield. At right, Ricardo Peetes rides down in the elevator at borough hall with a palette load of documents.

As part of a digitization project, the minutes of planning and zoning board applications dating back to 1929 – minus a decade’s worth from the 1950s that are believed to have been destroyed in a fire – are being scanned and transferred to both digital files and microfilm, says office director Donna Smith-Barr. Once that’s complete, the borough will apply to the state for permission to destroy the hundreds of site plans, architects’ renderings and other large pieces used as evidence in hearings, she said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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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RED BANK: GREEN LIGHT FOR GOTHAM

gotham 072114A passerby checks out new signage being installed Monday for Gotham, a speakeasy-themed gastropub that won approval from the Red Bank zoning board last week with no objections voiced by onlookers.

The club, which takes over the former Hamilton Jewelers space at 19 Broad Street, is expected to open by October, and will feature regular comedy, jazz and DJ shows, partner Joseph Squillaro tells redbankgreen. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)