RIVERFRONT IDEA TO GET DEP SCRUTINY
Volunteers working to clear the lot of debris at low tide earlier this month.
Hoping to head off bureaucratic problems later on, Red Bank officials have tabled a measure to preserve a borough owned lot fronting on the Navesink River at the foot of Maple Avenue.
Instead of acting on the proposal immediately, they’re hoping to get the state Department of Environmental Protection to greenlight the project, which would bar development of the property except as a facility from which to launch small watercraft such as kayaks and canoes.
“We thought it best to first set up a meeting with the DEP to see what they would allow” before voting on a resolution, proposed by boaters and environmentalists, that would designate the waterfront lot as open space, borough attorney Tom Hall said at last night’s council meeting.
Borough administrator Stanley Sickels said the aim is to “meet with the DEP to be sure we have every bureau’s OK so we don’t adopt a resolution that could put us in jeopardy should we say the wrong thing.”
Councilwoman Grace Cangemi suggested that the borough, through the engineering firm T&M Associates, investigate the possibility of landing an I-Boat grant from the state Department of Transportation to improve the site.
Councilman Mike DuPont indicated he’d like to see the idea move forward as quickly as possible. “A sense of urgency is somewhat helpful here” because many people have expressed an interest in using the site, he said.
The quarter-acre lot, partly covered by an asphalt parking area, is considered the only spot in town that would give the public easy access to the river short of joining a club or marina. Cindy Burnham of Fair Haven and Matt Downs of Mechanic Street initiated the plan after borough officials considered selling the property as a way to mitigate a looming property tax increase.