Shrewsbury officials are cold to the idea of Red Bank limiting adult-oriented businesses on Newman Springs Road, their shared border. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


A move by Red Bank to limit sex-oriented businesses to its southern border has Shrewsbury officials hot under the collar.

At their bimonthly meeting earlier this week, members of the Shrewsbury council teed up a pending change in Red Bank’s land use law that would restrict adult entertainment establishments – should any ever pop up – to Newman Springs Road, the common boundary between the two towns.

“I truly think we need to take a hard look at that,” said Councilman Anthony Pellegrino, because it would “push adult entertainment things out of downtown to put it to the outskirts of town, which adversely affects us, because it’s right along our border.”

The zone, which already exists, permits the establishment of sexually explicit and nude dancing, as well as the sale of books, videos and other merchandise, though no such businesses yet exist and no applications to create any are pending, Red Bank officials said.

At a meeting the same night of the Red Bank planning board, Shrewsbury planning and zoning board chairwoman Elizabeth Waterbury voiced her concerns to the council about the zone, bordering a stretch in her town that includes  nearby residences.

But alternate planning board member Michael Anderson, sitting in for Mayor Pasquale Menna, who arrived shortly afterward, said Red Bank had to create the zone somewhere for sex shops, and that Newman Springs Road was the best place for it.

“You can’t have a blanket restriction on these businesses,” Anderson said. “It’s a state mandate that we need to put them somewhere, and almost all the surrounding buildings are commercial.”

Board member Barbara Boas also noted that the zone isn’t new, and that the proposed amendment was drafted mainly to “define things according to the law.”

Still, Waterbury had concerns about the zone.

“You are on one side, but you have to understand you have neighbors on the other side too.” she said. “I understand that section of town already allows clubs with dancers, but we fear this could take things to a different level.”
Board members countered, however, that Shrewsbury’s own state-mandated “adult-orientated” section, located mainly around an industrial park off Sycamore Avenue, also had residences nearby, and that creating a space with no residential buildings in the vicinity would be practically impossible due to the layout of the town.
Board members also said they found it unlikely that the new ordinance would encourage any new adult businesses to be built, and that the law would be more of a formality.
Shrewsbury representatives are expected to turn out for Wednesday night’s meeting of the Red Bank council, where the amendment could come up for final adoption. Here’s the text: RB 2012-21

redbankgreen reporter Rebecca Desfosse contributed to this article.