STAVOLA GETS GREEN LIGHT ON PARKING LOT

stavola-p-lotThe paved patch of land at the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street will get a fringe of greenery. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s Planning Board gave formal approval Wednesday night to the owners of property on the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street to do what they’re already doing: use the site as a parking lot.

After a tiff last month, when the president of site owner Stavola Leasing balked at the board’s requests to spruce up the property, the owners yielded to the board’s wishes in order to get the approval.

That means in exchange for the company must put up a sign and line the perimeter of the property with bushes, of which there are already 68 of on order, said lawyer Marty McGann, representing Stavola. Clothing donation bins, a major eyesore to the board, have already been removed from the site.

“He gave it some thought and decided to do it,” McGann said.

“He” is Stavola President Gary Vialonga, who, after hearing the board’s requests to install a sign denoting the property as a private lot and install more plant life, lost his cool and threatened to pull the parking lot application and leave the space as-is until the company decides to move forward with its original, approved plan to build a four-story, mixed use structure with apartments. That project is on hold due to the economy and isn’t expected to get off the ground for another two to four years, McGann said.

Meanwhile, Red Bank Catholic has been making use of the lot during the day. Now that the space is approved for parking, the only thing left to do is wait for the snow and ice to clear and it will be striped for 52 spots. Then in the spring the bushes will be planted.

McGann said even though the company is not looking to get heavily in Red Bank’s parking scene, it will seek out potential contracts for local businesses to use the lot at night, the same way RBC does dayside.

“My client is not in the business of running a parking lot. There is not going to be a person in a booth and we’re not going to compete with borough parking,” McGann said, stressing that its use as a parking lot is only temporary.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said given the wrangling that’s gone on the last few weeks regarding the property, he, like the board, is satisfied — pleased, even — with Stavola’s latest proposal.

“This is not a permanent solution to what was approved. It’s a temporary stop-gap measure to the problem,” he said. “The applicant has done a tremendous job in hearing some of the concerns.”