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TALK OF TOWNHOUSES IN HISTORIC DISTRICT

washington-stAn architect has drawn up plans for townouses for a vacant lot in Red Bank’s historic district, but nothing has been filed with the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A vacant lot in Red Bank’s historic district could become the site of townhouse-style condos if informal plans now in the works gel.

Brendan McHugh, a Manasquan-based architect, has drawn up plans for a four-unit project at the corner of East Front and Washington streets, and recently made an informal pitch about his plans to the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission.

McHugh, who couldn’t be reached for comment, hasn’t filed any plans at borough hall.

But he doesn’t own the property, and it’s unclear what relationship he has, if any, to the owner.

Tax records show the property is owned by Bank Side Associates of Toms River, which bought the site for $485,000 in 2005 and promptly demolished a house there.

“At this point it’s on hold,” HPC member George Bowden said of McHugh’s plan. “He explained that the fella he’s dealing with is still not the owner. He’s negotiating with the owner to finalize it. Until this becomes a reality with a sale, it’s all conversation.”

Bowden, along with with commission architect Mark Fitzsimmons and council liaison Ed Zipprich, met with McHugh.

Bowden said he was encouraged that McHugh came to the commission sooner rather than later. Because the property is within Red Bank’s historic district, it must meet certain guidelines to blend with the rest of the neighborhood.

Zipprich thinks the initial plans do.

“At least the town homes will fit in well with the historic district,” he said.

If plans are filed, Bowden says the commission will play a role in guiding the potential development.

“Once it’s clear that this thing is moving forward, we’ll have a good look-see at what our recommendations would be,” he said.

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