By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
When the developers of a waterside condominium project received approvals from the Red Bank zoning board back in August, the plan was to get started on construction within six to twelve months, they sai.
Now bumping up against the six-month mark, there’s been little action at the western end of Bank Street. And that’s going to have to change, says the borough.
Code enforcement has issued unsafe structure violations for the three vacant homes on the property, pushing the developers to make some sort of progress at the site.
“They’ve become a blight on the neighborhood,” said Administrator Stanley Sickels, who doubles as the borough’s construction official. “It’s time to take [them] down.”
The developer of River’s Edge has appealed the violations. The developer’s attorney, Kevin Coakley, told redbankgreen the move was to wait out any potential litigation against the developer.
After a formal resolution of approval is published, there’s a 45-day window for anybody to file suit against the developer, Coakley said. River’s Edge won its resolution of approval September 16, but because the resolution was published in December, that period is not yet over, he said.
“We didn’t want to start knocking buildings down if somebody was going to file litigation,” Coakley said. “The intent to demolish the buildings, that will be one of the first concrete things done.”
Two of the the three vacant homes face one another on opposite sides of Bank Street, and the third is on Drs. James Parker Boulevard and abuts one of the Bank Street lots.
Coakley anticipates demolition to get started in February or March, thereby avoiding a $2,000-a-day fine associated with the structure violations.
When construction on the 15-unit condos gets underway is another question.
Although the developer has its necessary approvals from the borough, there are conditions attached, like sewer easements and final plan reviews, that must be met before shovels can hit the dirt.
“There’s so much paperwork involved in getting all the approvals,” Coakley said. “We’re working on all these documents. Maybe within 90 days we’ll have all those pieces of paper done. Then the project would be buildable.”
But will it be built then? Depends on the real estate market, Coakley said.
“We hope the market will be at least tepidly warm for us to be able to build,” he said. “The owners want to move the project forward and is continuing to make efforts to do that.”