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RED BANK: APARTMENT REVIEW RESUMES

red-bank-121-monmouth-street-021722-1-500x281-7187075An elevation showing the Monmouth Street side of the proposed mixed-used project, looking eastward. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486Stalled for more than two years, hearings on a proposal for four stories of new apartments and shops on Monmouth Street resumed in Red Bank Thursday night.

Among early subjects of concern were plans to raze two homes for parking, and the impacts on adjoining properties.

red-bank-121-monmouth-street-021122-3-500x388-4069565Salerno’s project would cover a dogleg-shaped assemblage of lots alongside the Red Bank Charter School, marked with a star above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Developer Michael Salerno’s plan calls for 45 apartments on three floors above self-contained parking, with the facade at 121 Monmouth Street.

The building’s mass was reduced from five stories and 59 units based on board misgivings expressed two years ago, said Salerno’s attorney, former mayor Ed McKenna.

The project would be required to provide seven affordable units, and Salerno is willing to deed-restrict two single-family houses he owns on Mechanic Street near Eastside Park for that purpose, if the board is open to it, McKenna said.

Vice Chairman Ray Mass told McKenna it was up to the developer to make a specific proposal.

The plan also calls for about 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and office space along Monmouth Street. McKenna described the retail as small “incubator” spaces.

During the meeting, conducted remotely via, Zoom, McKenna told the board his client had tried for many years, without success, to buy the property at at the southwest corner of Monmouth and Pearl Street, the site of Pearl Street Consignment and a laundromat, with a home above.

As a result, the plan sprawls in a dogleg shape across four properties Salerno owns on Monmouth, Pearl and Oakland streets, he said.

Two existing homes on Pearl would be demolished to create a satellite parking lot for 13 vehicles, still leaving Salerno in need of a variance for 27 vehicles.

The satellite lot received attention from board member Sean Murphy, who said he wasn’t “getting into” the issue of whether the existing houses should be spared.

“I’m having a hard time putting a parking lot there,” he said. “To me that’s a hurdle. You have to get me past that.”

Architect Mike Simpson, of SOME Architects, said the reduction in the number of apartments had been achieved by removing units previously proposed for that site.

Two trustees from the Red Bank Charter School expressed concerns about property line issues: weatherproofing a wall on school property that would be exposed by the demolition of the formerĀ Big Man’s West, a nightclub owned by the late rock saxophonist Clarence Clemons, and measures to keep balls from the school playground from ending up in the project’s parking lot. McKenna said both would be addressed.

Mary Ellen Mess, of Hudson Avenue, expressed concern that tenants of an Oakland Street house between the school and the corner lot might not be aware of the hearing because their landlord is absentee.

The hearing was scheduled to resume April 21, with a lawyer for the nearby Station Place apartments expected to question Simpson.

Last August, the zoning board approved a 32-unit apartment building just across the street from the Salerno project, at 120 Monmouth. Construction has not yet started.

Earlier in the meeting, the board approved an addition to the Parker Family Health Center at 211 Shrewsbury Avenue that met no opposition, and a signage request by the Bank of America at 170 Broad Street.

A hearing on an addition to 173 Maple Avenue, at the northeast corner of Waverly Place, for use as a medical office was postponed to April 7.

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