RED BANK: BROWNSTONES PROJECT APPROVED

Mumford’s plan calls for the demolition of six existing structures, including the blocklong factory building at 9 Catherine Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford won plaudits Thursday night from neighbors — along with zoning board approval — for a 22-unit townhouse project on a West Side industrial tract.

A rendering of the Brownstones at Red Bank project, as seen looking northwest from River Street. (Click to enlarge)

Mumford’s Brownstones of Red Bank project comprises half a block’s worth of properties between Catherine and River streets east of Bridge Avenue, along Cedar Street near the Conrail tracks. The 1.4-acre assemblage of six lots includes old millworks and the former Danelectro guitar factory.

Once cleared, the site would be transformed into three buildings of nine, six and seven attached homes, all served by a single driveway on River Street and interior roadway, plans show. The smallest of the three structures would sit at the center of the property. All but two of the units — those designated as income-restricted affordable housing — would have their own two-car garages, eliminating the need for individual curb cuts along the perimeter of the site, engineer Brian Decina told the board.

“You won’t see any garages as you drive by,” he said. That will allow for street parking where little now exists, though the project is more than able to meet the number of spots required under borough ordinance and does not rely on them, Decina said.

Fourteen of the units would have three-bedrooms, and all but one of the remaining units would have two. All but the affordable units would be for sale, with those two offered for rent, Mumford said. He estimated the prices at “the four-hundreds to the low five-hundreds.”

Mumford and a team of professionals testified that the project would improve existing setbacks and add street landscaping where there’s little greenery.

Mumford’s planner, Gordon Gemma, testified that proposal furthered the goal of the borough’s 1995 Master Plan, which explicitly identified the light industrial zone as one in which redevelopment into housing was encouraged, he said.

Three neighbors — Jen Hussey, Sira Williams and Sue Viscomi —spoke during the public portion of the meeting, all with some measure of praise for the plan. Viscomi, who recently bought a house on Cedar Street, commended Mumford for other projects he’s done nearby to improve the neighborhood, and said the townhouses would make the site “more inviting.”

The board’s approval was unanimous. Chairwoman Lauren Nicosia called the plan “beautiful.”

Mumford also is restoring the National Historic Register T. Thomas Fortune house and adding 31 apartments to the Drs. James Parker Boulevard property; completing the 12-unit affordable housing project called Oakland Square at the corner of Oakland and West streets which he reports has attracted 700 applications; and simultaneously vying for the right to redevelop what’s easily the hottest patch of asphalt in town — the borough-owned White Street parking lot.

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