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.

NEIGHBORS OPPOSING RED BANK WALGREEN’S

Melissa Grieves, seated at right, addresses neighbors concerned about the planned redevelopment of the former Rassas car lot, below, into a mega-drugstore.  (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A proposed Walgreen’s drugstore on Broad Street in Red Bank would be a bitter pill, say nearby homeowners, who’ve begun to organize for a fight.

About 30 residents of the quiet neighborhood between Pinckney Road and Rumson Place gathered in a Little Silver backyard over coffee Saturday morning to strategize a response to the proposed mega-pharmacy, at the site of the recently-closed Rassas auto dealership.

“I was stunned and extremely concerned,” organizer Melissa Grieves of Salem Place said in an email to redbankgreen. “As a neighborhood, we are concerned about not only our property values, but also the potential for additional car traffic through our quiet streets, as well as lighting and noise concerns, amongst other issues.”

As redbankgreen reported earlier this month, the plan on file at the Red Bank planning department calls for a 14,000 square foot, two-story pharmacy with a drive-thru window on the now-vacant property. The one-acre lot sits opposite the confluence of Broad Street and Maple Avenue, and is just feet from the North Jersey Coast Line Tracks and the eastern terminus of Newman Springs Road.

The proposed plan calls for vehicle access from Broad Street in both directions, via Garfield Place.

“This is about getting everyone on the same page,” said Craig Orlando, Grieves’ husband. “We have to organize and make a united front.”

Orlando, a construction manager, is a new appointee to the Little Silver planning board.

Little Silver mayor Bob Neff, who was present, offered four points: There’s strength in numbers. Check out the plan directly and get to know the details. Show up and testify at the meeting. Hire an attorney.

What does it mean that the people who would be most affected by this project don’t live in the town where it will decided?

“How much they [Red Bank planning officials] would consider a neighboring municipality is new to me,” said Neff. “I will discuss the issue with the council about what role the council should play.”

Other immediate steps, the group agreed, include a letter to property owner Aaron Rassas appealing to him not to sell to the applicant, Mark Developers; letters to the editor of local papers; and outreach to the folks who want to put a pharmacy in a vacant building near the corner of Harding Road and Broad Street, as well as to the Foodtown on he opposite side of Broad Street; and the creation of a subcommittee to look into traffic mitigation if the plan does go through.

Grieves, who handed out flyers to the 150 houses nearest Rassas’ and organized the meeting, has also launched a petition on Change.org calling for planning board denial, saying the plan “would exacerbate what is already a traffic nightmare.”

“Red Bank calls itself ‘Hip City.’ How hip is it to have a national chain sitting at your southern gateway?” Grieves asked.

Mike Simpson, an architect and past chairman of Red Bank RiverCenter, said Red Bank officials should dust off their own 1994 Master Plan before acting on the Walgreen’s request.

That document, “literally called a ‘Vision Plan,’ called for looking at a much more radical resolution to the traffic and uses at this intersection,” Simpson said.

“Here’s a crazy idea, maybe they could actually go back, read and utilize their own Master Plan that they paid for, rather than continue to retread the old broken adage that some use/ratable is better than no use/ratable,” he said. “Maybe they could even look at actually writing an ordinance that reflects that plan, since that was called key to strategic revitalization.”

No hearing date has yet been scheduled, borough officials said Monday.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
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.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
WAYWARD SLIM JIM
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...