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.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Non-profit Organization

Red Bank River Center

The Red Bank River Center promotes local merchants, recruits new businesses, stages vibrant downtown events, and beautifies our streetscapes.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

RED BANK: MASTER PLAN’S USE DEBATED

red-bank-affordable-housing-020623-500x344-4508871An illustration from the Master Plan section on affordable housing. (Image by BFJ Planning. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486Concluding a 14-month process, the Red Bank planning board adopted the borough’s first new Master Plan in 28 years Monday night.

The unanimous vote followed spirited debate about whether the many recommendations in the 166-page document should be prioritized for council action.

william-poku-020623-500x375-9228718William Poku, president of the NAACP of Greater Red Bank, after speaking at Monday’s meeting. Below, board Chairman Dan Mancuso. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

dan-mancuso-020623-220x165-8934812Developed under a $150,000 contract by New York City-based BFJ Planning, the document will now serve as “an idea book” for elected officials, developers and the board itself in coming years, said board Chairman Dan Mancuso.

Referring to an earlier suggestion made by board member Lou DiMento that the board should rank the report’s recommendations, with more public input, Mancuso pushed back.

“It really is just an idea book,” Mancuso said. “None of it is necessarily more important at any given time than anything else.”

“I think you have a very constrained view of what a Master Plan is,” DiMento said, addressing Mancuso.

Board attorney Michael Leckstein, however, sided with Mancuso, saying the plan “is not a shopping list.”

“If the Master Plan doesn’t drive the development of this town, what does?” asked Bruce Whitaker, of Prospect Avenue.

“Economics,” Leckstein responded.

Councilperson and board member Michael Ballard said the document contains “literally hundreds of suggestions of what the council should do.

“Things get done that we can get done within the constraints of how we raise money,” he said. “That’s where grants come in, that’s where private public partnerships come in.”

Some of the plan’s recommendations, he said, concerning affordable housing, would be taken up “at the next council meeting,” which is scheduled for Wednesday night.

Other comments:

• William Poku, the newly elected president of the NAACP of Greater Red Bank, said the plan does nothing to address the “existential problem” of African-American residents being driven out of their homes by soaring property taxes and rents.

“People of color not being able to live in Red Bank needs to be addressed,” he said. The borough, he said, has an obligation to make “an affirmative effort” under Mount Laurel doctrine to provide for affordable housing.

“The question is, are we going to do anything to stop the bleeding?” Poku asked.

BFJ principal Susan Favate said the decline in the black population “is not unique to Red Bank; it’s something we’re seeing throughout the Northeast.”

“It’s clearly a larger issue than just Red Bank and Monmouth County,” she said. The plan, she said, “talks about a lot of strategies” to counter gentrification.

• Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter, urged the board to declare parking in the district an “inherently beneficial” use of property, one of the criteria used under land use law to support requests for variances.

“We’re just looking to firm up the language on that,” he said, citing RiverCenter’s board.

Mancuso and Leckstein, however, said the change could not be made for legal reasons.

• Former board member Linda Cohen lamented that some vacant or decrepit properties “get left for years and years” without any attention by owners. Mancuso said that is an issue for the borough’s code enforcement office.

If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.