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RED BANK: BOARD ATTORNEY LECKSTEIN DIES AT 81

Michael Leckstein at a planning board meeting in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Longtime Red Bank planning board Attorney Michael Leckstein died Saturday at age 81.

The Little Silver resident died of natural causes at his home, according to his obituary.

Leckstein, right, with business owner Dean Ross at Democratic headquarters in Red Bank on election night in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

A specialist in land-use law, Leckstein served as planning board attorney in Little Silver for 50 years, and was succeeded in the position by his son and law partner, Marc Leckstein, in January.

In Red Bank, Leckstein became planning board attorney in 1999 and was reappointed every year since.

Former Mayor Pasquale Menna, a lawyer whose career path intersected with Leckstein’s often over the years, said Leckstein “always gave a legal decision, not a political decision,” and was direct in his delivery.

“He was a Paterson boy,” Menna said. “He grew up knowing you have to show your cards.”

In helping maintain focus during board meetings, Leckstein would occasionally rein in applicants who, in his view, were wasting time with irrelevant testimony – as when the lawyer for a cannabis shop tried to revive a controversial traffic plan in December.

“Please, the board does not want it,” Leckstein told the attorney. “I think it’s so clear that nobody wants it.”

“I had the pleasure of serving alongside Mike on the planning board for 25 years,” Chairman Dan Mancuso said in an email. “His legal mind was incredibly sharp, and his knowledge of land use was unmatched. Beyond that, Mike was a good friend and colleague. I loved seeing him drive around town with his sons in their MGs. He will be deeply missed.”

Leckstein collected vintage MGs, and in 1990, led the “Circuit of Britain,” in which 89 owners shipped their roadsters to England “so that they could tour the country where they were built,” according to the obituary.

A funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. at Mount Sinai Cemetery Chapel in Morganville. Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Funeral Chapels in Ocean Township is managing arrangements.

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