Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

SEA BRIGHT: MAD HATTER PLAN DRAWS FIRE

The owner of the Mad Hatter, which is slated for demolition, is seeking permission to operate in a tent in the municipal beach lot this summer. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

A request by a popular Sea Bright sports bar to temporarily move to the borough beach while it rebuilds its storm-battered home is drawing complaints from owners of other business.

The Mad Hatter, which has been closed since Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, approached borough officials earlier this week with a request to operate this summer out of a 400-person tent that would be erected in the municipal parking lot at Ocean Avenue and River Street.

But operators of nearby business say allowing the move would cost them valuable parking spaces as they, too, struggle back to their feet.

Like every other business in downtown Sea Bright, the Mad Hatter, located on the beach side of Ocean Avenue, was rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Sandy, which crashed through its oceanfront tiki bar and left several feet of sand inside. The building in which it is housed, which backs up against the sea wall, is slated for demolition.

On the bar’s Facebook page, owners Scott and Amy Kelly recently reiterated a pledge to rebuild at the same location with “multiple decks and dining areas with ocean views” and a targeted reopening in the spring of 2014.

In the interim, the Kellys this week asked the borough for clearance to  erect a tent on part of the municipal parking lot, east of the library along the site of the old guardhouse – a spot currently occupied by Mount Sandy.

At a workshop meeting of the borough council Tuesday night, Mayor Dina Long said the proposal had only been brought up earlier in the day.

Several business owners in attendance, however, voiced opposition, saying  the bar would take up parking spots in a town that has had parking problems for years in normal conditions.

“Parking in Sea Bright has always been paramount to Sea Bright businesses,” said Karen Trezza, who said she spoke on behalf of other business owners as well. “We simply can’t afford to lose any parking spots. This isn’t a new issue in Sea Bright.”

Opponents also raised concerns about alcohol being served beachside on municipal property.

Councilman Marc Leckstein voiced support for the proposal, saying that he believes the council should do everything it can to help out a local business that wishes  to remain in Sea Bright. He said an approval might open doors for other businesses that wanted to take part in similar temporary projects.

“Situations like this call for extreme measures,” he said. “Some businesses can’t afford to be out for a year.”

“I would personally hate for us to even lose one business,” said Long, “and I think we’ve lost too many already.”

Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said the Mad Hatter plan calls for a tent measuring 80 by 100 feet, with a capacity of about 400 persons – 70 to 80 more than the Mad Hatter was permitted to have – to remain in place for 180 days, serving food and drinks. A separate kitchen trailer and portable restrooms would be installed, he said.

Verruni and borough Attorney Pat McNamara discussed a long list of bureaucratic hurdles the bar would have to clear, including approval by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency and compliance with Monmouth County health and safety codes, acquiring insurance coverage to protect the borough and more.

McNamara said there would not be enough time for the Mad Hatter to “jump through all these loops” before the summer season begins.

“They have a million hurdles to jump through to make this happen,” Verruni said. “Asking [the council] for a yes is only the first step.”

Verruni and Long also noted that a public hearing would be needed before the council votes on the request.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
PUDDLE BE GONE
A work crew was out this week attacking the site of the notoriously persistent puddle at the corner of Broad and Mechanic Streets. This phot ...
SMALLS FOR MAYOR?
We at redbankgreen remain neutral in political affairs and never make endorsements. But we have to say Borough Clerk Laura Reinertsen’ ...
CRASH ON LEIGHTON
The driver of this car was headed north on Leighton Avenue when they it hit an SUV pulling a work trailer headed in south in the opposing la ...
CAR VS STREET SIGN
The driver of this Mercedes hopped the curb and toppled the street sign at the corner of South Pearl and Drs. James Parker Boulevard Wednesd ...
SKETCHES OF RED BANK BY LOCAL ARTIST MICHAEL WHITE
Sketches of Red Bank scenes have been floating around on social media and we thought they deserved some spotlight. First appearing in our fe ...
POLE DOWN
Utility pole falls on English Plaza shop Forge after being struck by SUV shortly before noon. No injuries reported, though 86-year-old drive ...
YO, ADRIAN!
It’s a tough turn for our hero as Rocky Balboa is relegated to the curb for trash pickup on Locust Avenue. We’ll have to go back ...
“EL PALOMO” IS IN THE HOUSE
Jesus Rios, a mariachi singer who performs under the stage name “El Palomo” (The dove) pauses for a moment before entering a bac ...
CROC SPOTTED IN RIVER
Frighteningly hideous and green, a solitary Croc lurked ominously amid the flotsam and foam in the Navesink River alongside the Red Bank Fir ...
KISS ICON REFLECTS ON BROADWALK
A Swarovski crystal-bedazzled self-portrait painting of Paul Stanley, longtime singer and guitarist for the rock band Kiss peers out from a ...
CHISELIN’ AWAY
Marcelo Garcia Lopez works with hammer and chisel on a new feature for his flower garden on Shrewsbury Avenue: a hollow in a carved log in w ...
STORM CLEANUP CONTINUES
  Saturday’s storm sent a tree toppling on this house on Bank Street, damaging the roof. Workers Wednesday could be seen removing ...
SNAPPING IN THE BREEZE
RED BANK: Blustery winds had the flags in Riverside Gardens Park snapping Monday evening.
POWER LINE DOWN
Red Bank firefighters were on scene at Manor Drive dealing with a live power line Monday afternoon. There was no immediate report of fire. T ...
TAR BEACH SOLSTICE
Aldo Quiroz of Ocean Township came ready with his beach chair and found a shady spot to spend his lunch hour in a parking lot off Broad Stre ...
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.