By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s semimonthly council meeting Wednesday was a quiet affair, no major surprises or deviations from the agenda.
Here’s an overview.
• A proposed amendment to the property maintenance ordinance that appeared to ban grass, weeds and “other vegetative growth” in excess of 10 inches tall got some attention.
McLaren Street resident Alan Hill told the council that the amendment was “incredibly strangely written,” and asked for clarification about enforcement. Few trees, which qualify as vegetation, are under 10 inches tall, he said. Nor are some of the flowers he cultivates to attract bees and birds, he said.
“Nothing about enforcement is changing” except as it pertains to “when a property is out of control and there are rodents running out of the grass,” said borough Attorney Greg Cannon. Code enforcers “won’t be looking for your wildflowers,” he said.
“It is not as though having your grass over 10 inches is suddenly illegal,” Cannon said. “There have to be other [violations] going on on the property.”
• A ban on mass balloon releases passed by a unanimous council vote.
The measure didn’t get a single comment from the audience when it was introduced earlier this month; ditto for Wednesday’s adoption vote.
• Without comment, the council terminated the commercial lease on the Riverside Gardens Park concession stand.
As previously reported by redbankgreen, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said the town plans to use the facility for borough purposes, but no further information was offered.
• Library Director Eleni Glykis came out to stump for urged residents to complete a survey about the institution and its services.
The results of the study will be used in developing a five-year strategic plan for the library, she said. The survey takes about 11 minutes to complete and is confidential.
• Councilman Michael Ballard praised police Captain Mike Clay, who is retiring after 33 years with the department.
“Captain Clay has been a real treasure to the borough of Red for many, many years,” said Ballard. “We may never see a police officer with the same compassion for Red Bank as Michael Clay.”
Clay, who is married to former Red Bank Regional High principal (and now Tinton Falls council member) Risa Clay, was not present.
• Freddie Boynton asked the council to take action against specific Shrewsbury Avenue landlords for failing to keep their properties clean.
• Adel Habib of Oceanport, who’s been driving a Yellow Cab for 18 years, asked for an increase in fares, which are set by ordinance.
He said he can earn as little as $30 for a 10-hour shift.
• Prior to the session, Menna held his second ‘Mayor’s Focus Meeting,’ part of a monthly series he initiated in January.
Among the topics discussed in the one-to-one chats at the desk in his fourth-floor office: the development of an app to call out historic locations in town; property maintenance concerns; and status of the senior citizens’ center, which has been closed for 15 months as a result of damage from a leak.
(That last issue also came up at the regular meeting; Menna directed Shehady to deliver an update report at the council’s workshop meeting, scheduled for March 4.)
Menna’s open-door sessions, he said, will continue on a monthly basis at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of the first regular council meeting of each month.