red bank 273 shrewsbury aveThe project would replace the existing two-story building with a three-story structure, below. (Rendering by Michael James Monroe Architect. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


A proposal for stores and apartments at a busy Red Bank intersection returned to zoning board after a yearlong pandemic interruption Thursday night.

The new plan is significantly smaller than the original.

Two stories of apartments would be built above parking, shown above. (Schematic by Engenuity Infrastructure. Click to enlarge.)

The plan, for the northeast corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, calls for 10 two-bedroom apartments on two stories to be built above parking. The first floor would also hold two shops totaling 1,400 square feet, half the area originally proposed.

Owned by American Real Estate Opportunity Fund  LLC, the project would replace a two-story, 3,600-square-foot office and retail building that attorney Robert McGowan called “dilapidated and deteriorated.” A house on Drs. Parker would also be razed.

The original proposal called for 16 apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail, but was taken back to the drawing board after one hearing in January, 2020, when neighbors and zoning board members declared it too big.

After that hearing, the applicant met with neighbors at the Celestial Lodge on Drs. Parker and incorporated some of their concerns into the new plan, McGowan said.

Engineer Jaclyn Flor, of Engenuity Infrastructure, said the revisions eliminated a vehicle access on Drs. Parker, opposite the lodge, which in the past has been the site of an annual block party.

With the approval of Monmouth County, the plan now calls for vehicles to enter and exit the parking area via a mid-building driveway on Shrewsbury Avenue, Flor said. No left turns would be allowed into or out of the site, she said.

No parking variance is required, as the plan provides 26 off-street spots, the same number required, according to the application.

Tenants would have use of a rooftop terrace that would feature ample greenery and solar panels, said architect Michael James Monroe.

During a public question period, Freddie Boynton, an activist associated with the lodge, complained that the project would drive up property taxes, forcing struggling homeowners to sell.

“You’re pushing African-Americans out of town,” he said.

Russ Crosson, who created the Coffee Corral now owned by his daughter, Courtlyn, on the southwest corner of the intersection, prefaced a question about stormwater by expressing “love” for the project. He called it “a big asset to the area and community.”

The hearing was scheduled to resume June 17.

The proposal is the second major apartments-and-shops plan for Shrewsbury Avenue to come before Red Bank officials this year. In March, the planning board began hearing a proposal by developer Roger Mumford for a four-story building with 23 apartments above retail at the southwest corner of River Street.

In other business Thursday:

• The board approved a plan to rebuild a house heavily damaged by fire at 87  Washington Street in May, 2018.

The Historic Preservation Commission, an advisory body, approved the plan in November.

• Denholtz Associates obtained a technical amendment to its plan for 10 townhouses, branded as ‘Southbank at Navesink,’ overlooking the Navesink River from Boat Club Lane.

The change will allow Denholtz to consolidate lots without conflicting with a planning board condition for projects dating back to 2003 that were never built.

• A hearing on a plan for a new house in the front yard of an existing four-family at 70 Locust Avenue was rescheduled to May 20.

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