Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna tells today’s Asbury Park Press that senior-citizen tenants of Grandville Towers won’t be forced to move if the building’s owner succeeds in its effort to convert the building to condos.
“Anyone who applies for it will receive protected senior citizen status, they would not be forced to move,” Menna tells Press reporter Larry Higgs, adding that owner/developer PRC Group of West Long Branch told officials if the conversion is approved, they would follow borough rent leveling board guidelines.
The plan calls for renovation of the existing 91 rental units, building five additional units on the ground floor and construction of a new 2,523-square-foot clubhouse and pool, according to the application.
The board has been hearing the application since June, which includes arguments whether a variance from density requirements should be granted.
The question about protecting renters came up on a similar application to convert the Colony House to condos, which the board denied because of a lack of parking on the property. In that application, borough officials and an attorney for the borough rent leveling board expressed concerns about senior citizens and disabled tenants, which are considered protected under state law from being evicted.
“The issue with Colony House was different, the allegation was people were being pushed out of their leases and leases were not renewed,” Menna said, who also is a planning and zoning attorney. “The borough was not given the same cooperation (as with PRC).”
Under the law, senior citizens and other protected tenants can continue to rent their apartments and borough rent control standards would continue to apply, which allow increases in line with the cost of living index, he said.
Other issues the board and applicant have to deal with on the application known as Grandview at Navesink include whether to grant variances from zoning standards for density and height and several technical variances to create 58 one-bedroom and 38 two-bedroom units.
The PRC application is not listed on the agenda for Thursday night’s bimonthly zoning board meeting.