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.

RED BANK: HIGHER VNA SITE DENSITY URGED

176-riverside-ave-aerial-112918-500x303-8479691The site, at 176 Riverside Avenue, is seen as integral to the borough’s efforts to provide affordable housing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-9108919The Red Bank council took steps Wednesday to allow as many as 90 housing units per acre on a key redevelopment site.

But the proposed rezoning of the former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters site would negate a compromise recommendation made by the planning board just last week.

joe-baumann-112818-500x375-7075752Attorney Joe Baumann addressing the council Wednesday night as Councilman Mark Taylor looks on. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

At issue is a proposed ordinance that would create a new zone solely for the VNA site, at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place.

The property is owned by Saxum Real Estate of Parsippany-Troy Hills, which bought it in January for $7.4 million. The company has not yet filed a proposal for the property, and the existing 38,000-square-foot office building is vacant.

The 2.7-acre site is a key piece of the puzzle in addressing the borough’s affordable housing obligations, Joe Baumann, the borough’s special attorney for redevelopment, told the planning board November 19.

At that meeting, a vote to allow 90 units per acre at the site ended in a 4-4 tie, meaning it failed. The board later voted 6-2 to cap the site’s density at 80 units per acre. A redevelopment plan for the site written by the borough’s contract engineer, CME Associates, had recommended 70 units per acre, but with “density bonuses” for features such as bike racks and solar power that board members found overly generous.

At the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, Baumann, of the firm McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, urged the governing body to reject the planning board’s compromise recommendation and adopt the higher density.

Unlike the planning board, which by law limited its review “from a planning perspective,” the council’s purview also includes “any and all other considerations, including our ongoing obligation to improve upon the number of affordable housing units,” Baumann told the council.

Baumann, who previously said he was involved in the drafting of the 31-page redeveloopment plan, is also representing the town in litigation initiated by the nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center over the town’s affordable housing obligation.

The case is the subject of settlement negotiations, he said, and the court is pressuring the borough to show concrete steps toward a resolution.

Baumann is additionally negotiating with Saxum over affordable housing, with the aim of reaching a contract between the borough and the developer that specify the number of affordable housing units the firm will build.

“We can certainly through our negotiations on the redevelopment agreement… restrict, allow the developer to do less” than the ordinance sets as a maximum, he said. Setting the higher number of units per acre gives the borough’s negotiating team “the maximum amount of flexibility that addresses as much of the needs of the borough as possible,” he said.

Following Baumann’s recommendation, the council voted unanimously to replace the original proposed ordinance, which reflected the CME report, with one allowing for the higher density. Councilman Mike Whelan was absent; he told redbankgreen Thursday that he also would have voted in favor. A public hearing and adoption vote was scheduled for December 12.

The new version would also require the project be “qualified” a LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) Silver rating or greater, though actual certification would not be needed.

Two borough residents raised objections. Ben Forest, of Locust Avenue, urged the council not to overrule the planning board, and Dan Riordan, of Elm Place, said the CME plan has no provision for so-called “complete streets” features which encourage walking and biking.

 

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.
CORNED BEEF AND DISCO FRIES?
It’s Friday, and smart Lent-observing Leprechauns know the pot of gold at the end of Red Bank’s rainbow is actually the deliciou ...
SURFBOARD DITCHED
It’s a violation of etiquette in surfing to ditch your board.  (it could hit another surfer and hurt them). But someone appears to ha ...
ELSIE, TAKE ME WITH YOU!
Soaked by pouring rain with the temperature hovering in the low 40’s, this sign in the window of Elsie’s Subs on Monmouth Street ...
WALK THIS WAY
PARTYLINE: Before-and-afters of a sidewalk cleanup on West Street.
SOGGY NOTION
RED BANK: Breezeway sculpture captured the mood downtown as heavy rains fell Saturday morning.
HOME DELIVERY
RED BANK: After a subdivision, an instant house rises on a new Catherine Street lot.