By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Roger Mumford is off Red Bank’s torture rack.
After raising a stink over having to pay into the borough’s parking fund last month, the West Side developer is getting his money back most of it, at least and plans to get his Lincoln Square project back in action.
The borough council, in an acknowledgment that Mumford shouldn’t have had to pour in about $25,000 to the suspended parking fund, resolved this week to refund him about $18,000, thereby clearing the way for Mumford to follow through on his condominium plan on Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Bridge Avenue.
“He was right,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “It should never have been imposed.”
Last month, Mumford, of Little Silver, laid into the council for “torturous” red tape, and argued that he should get his money back from the parking fund, which had been suspended. He put in $25,000 to the fund, which is used to offset parking deficiencies. But Mumford cried foul: a business in his Bridge Avenue complex had about 30 employees who by resolution were not allowed to drive to the office, and he threatened to cease the rehab project if he didn’t get his money back.
“So in effect he was hit for a parking deficiency that didn’t exist,” borough Attorney Daniel O’Hern Jr. said.
The $7,00 balance of Mumford’s payment will with the borough because it was paid while the parking fund requirement was still in place.
This will put to rest Mumford’s chief complaint against the borough, and although he’s pleased with the result, he still isn’t satisfied with how the borough does business.
“On an overview basis, it’s my hope that Red Bank becomes more focused on effectively facilitating new development,” he said. “It’s an example of how bureaucracy can frustrate the responsible development that needs it.”
Mumford says with the refund he’ll be able to file a project map, obtain demolition permits and move forward with his multi-million dollar renovation project.
He plans to demolish a corner bodega and four homes on the borough’s West Side, then replace the homes with upscale condos and rebuild the bodega.
He expects the bodega at the corner of Bridge and Parker will be up by September, “and the homes will be well on their way.”
“I assure you that when it’s done the borough will be extremely pleased with an improvement that benefits the whole town,” Mumford said.