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RED BANK: MERCHANTS BLAST FEE HIKE

Red Tank Brewing owner John Arcara speaking at Wednesday’s council session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council voted Wednesday to boost the fees charged to restaurants to maintain tables in parking spaces converted to streateries.

The action followed claims by two business owners that the hike was onerous.

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RED BANK: SAXUM CHANGES APPROVED

Architect Adrian Melji with a rendering of the revised project’s Bodman Place side looking northwest from Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicFilling in a horseshoe void, Saxum Real Estate won planning board approval Monday night for changes to a massive apartment project in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: ‘HISTORIC?’ NO ONE KNOWS WHY

The office building at 268 Broad Street was erected in 1979.

By JOHN T. WARD

Why was a modern office building that’s not in a historic district required to get Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission approval for planned remodeling work Wednesday night?

The building’s owner didn’t know, and he’s the lawyer for the borough planning board, for which the HPC is an advisory panel.

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RED BANK: HPC SPLITS OVER CENTURY HOUSE

Downtown Investors plans to demolish the house at 26 Wallace Street for parking. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMembers of Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission split Wednesday night over its next steps regarding a developer’s plan to demolish a century house for parking.

The HPC also approved remodeling plans for a building at a key downtown intersection after the owner revised plans that were rejected a month ago.

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RED BANK: HOME’S HISTORIC VALUE DISPUTED

Downtown Investors plans to demolish the house at 26 Wallace Street to create a parking lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njHistoric-value claims about a century house targeted for demolition in downtown Red Bank are “in error,” a developer’s land-use expert told the planning board Monday night.

Members of the Historic Preservation Commission were itching to differ.

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RED BANK: HPC REJECTS TWO PLANS, OKS ONE

The Dublin House Pub’s plan called for the enclosure of an existing porch and balconies. (Rendering by Michael Savarese Associates. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission nixed proposed makeovers of two downtown buildings as inappropriate Wednesday night.

A third plan, to give a corner building a “midcentury modern” look, sailed to approval.

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RED BANK: MASTER PLAN OUTREACH PLEDGED

Monday night’s planning board meeting was lightly attended. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA New York City planning firm will run a series of public sessions and set up a web portal for comments while overhauling Red Bank’s Master Plan, planning board members said Monday night.

The promised outreach effort put the proposal by BFJ Planning “heads and tails above” four other pitches for the contract, said member David Cassidy.

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RED BANK: BOARD NIXES REDEVELOPMENT BID

Saxum owns the former VNA site, viewed here from the former Raceway gas station on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSaxum Real Estate‘s request for a controversial zoning change in Red Bank hit a solid brick wall Monday night.

At a meeting that lasted just 12 minutes, the borough planning board unanimously rejected a proposal that objectors feared would lead to massive tax breaks for the developer.

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RED BANK: NEW TOOTH SIGN OK’D

The tooth-shaped sign is used as a reference by locals when giving out driving directions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In less than half the time recommended for a good brushing, Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission OK’d the replacement of a dentist’s tooth-shaped sign Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: BANK DIMS LIGHTING TO WIN OK

The bank agreed to remove the lights behind the red logo atop its ATM machine, but said the site overall was inadequately lit under state regulations. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWells Fargo dodged likely planning board rejection when it agreed to dial back an illumination plan for its Red Bank branch Monday night.

The fact that the property is under review as a possible new home for borough government also lit up the conversation.

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RED BANK: SPLASHY ‘STASH’ WINDOWS OK’D

A rendering shows the window clings that will cover one side of the vestibule of the new Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. (Image by South Shore Sign Company. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith filmmaker Kevin Smith deploying some characteristically colorful language, Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission endorsed splashy signage at the new home of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: AFTER ‘NO-HO-HO,’ CHIMNEY’S A GO

The stainless steel chimney installed at 46-48 Washington Street will be replaced with one the owner says won’t be visible from the street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It won’t be ready in time for Santa and his reindeer. But an “eyesore” metal pipe chimney on a home in Red Bank’s historic district is slated for replacement following review by the Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday night.

The case illustrated frustrations common among homeowners who live in the district about their absentee counterparts, the HPC’s chairwoman said.

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RED BANK: HOSPITAL PLAN DRAWS HPC IRE

red bank 95 east front 111920 2The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019, but the building remains vacant and intact. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njPent-up frustration over the apparent fate of a former Red Bank mansion erupted at the first pandemic-era meeting of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday night.

Commission member Kal Pipo ripped the planning board for allowing the the demolition of a Victorian mansion two doors away from Riverview Medical Center – and said Mayor Pasquale Menna “sounded like he was the lawyer for” the hospital at that hearing where that decision was made.

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RED BANK: BOROUGH SHUTS DOWN PARKS

red bank riverside gardens park 040420.jpgRiverside Gardens Park as seen last Saturday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials plan to indefinitely close borough parks starting Wednesday.

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RED BANK: ROOFTOP DINING PLAN APPROVED

red bank 3-5 broad st.The former home of the Belmonte and, before that, Red, has been vacant for more than two years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A long-vacant restaurant space in Red Bank won approval for rooftop dining Monday night, despite objections by the board’s chairman.

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RED BANK: BOARD AIRS SAXUM PLAN HURDLES

red bank saxum plan 090419 4A rendering depicts the proposed plaza at Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place that board members raised safety concerns about. (Rendering by Arterial Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Red Bank planning board members aired numerous misgivings about one of the largest development plans in borough history Monday night.

High on the list that developer Saxum Real Estate is expected to address: traffic and pedestrian safety issues. Read More »

RED BANK: HOTEL DELAY REQUEST REJECTED

red bank hampton innA rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, with the former VNA building at right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

In a move that could torpedo a hotly debated hotel at the northern entry to Red Bank, the planning board Monday night shot down a request by the would-be developer for more time to get the project in the ground.
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RED BANK: PLANNERS CAP VNA SITE DENSITY

red bank nj vna 176 riverside saxumRed Bank is negotiating a deal under which the developer would satisfy a “significant” portion of the town’s affordable housing obligation, a lawyer told the board. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe site of a vacant office building in Red Bank is a key element in meeting the borough’s affordable housing obligations, a lawyer told the planning board Monday night.

But a proposal to allow the development of up to 90 units per acre on the 2.7-acre former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters site met continued resistance, despite support from Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: BOARD RESISTS DENSITY BONUSES

red bank, nj, vna, 176 riverside, saxumThe former VNA building sits on 2.7 acres at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA recommended new overlay zone that would allow generous density bonuses won’t be on the Red Bank council’s agenda for its next meeting Wednesday night.

That’s because members of the planning board, which was tasked with reviewing the proposal, think it gives too much away to the affected site’s new owner.

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RED BANK: DOUBTS ON PRESERVATION LAW

Homes along Washington Street, in the borough’s designated historic district, would be affected by the ordinance, as would properties beyond the district’s borders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Does Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission need more teeth?

The borough’s planning board began chewing on that question Monday night, and seemed not to like the taste of it.

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN APARTMENTS OK’D

Mayor Pasquale Menna explains his vote to approve the project, a rendering of which is seen on a computer screen in the foreground. At left is board Engineer Ed Herrman. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank won unanimous planning board approval Monday night.

First, however, several critics, including two board members, took parting shots at a process that kept the controversial plan alive for a year after it was rejected by the zoning board.

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RED BANK: PLAN PANNED FOR LOOKS, PARKING

An architect’s depiction of the Element, as seen from the north side side of West Front Street. (Rendering by Rotwein + Blake. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A new round of hearings on the Element, a proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank, began Wednesday night with concerns raised about parking adequacy and aesthetics.

Mayor Pasquale Menna called the appearance of the structure “bulky and not very inviting,” while several residents challenged a traffic consultant’s claim that the project’s on-site parking was sufficient.

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RED BANK: GUT JOB, BUT NO EATERY FOR NOW

39 e front 011817Architect Jim Monteforte details proposed facade changes to 39 East Front Street, seen below, at Wednesday night’s planning board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering below by Monteforte Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

39 e front 071514A proposed makeover of a bunker-like building in downtown Red Bank won unanimous approval from the borough planning board Wednesday night.

But the board held off on allowing the building’s new owners to create a restaurant on the ground floor.

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RED BANK: BEER GARDEN, VEGAN PLANS OK’D

img_5866Birravino’s proposal for a 1,500-square-foot beer garden, as shown to the left of the existing restaurant in renderings below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Renderings by Michael James Monroe. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

birravino-plan-120516Two Red Bank restaurants won approvals for expansion plans Monday night.

• The borough planning board gave unanimous a OK to Good Karma Café, the only vegan restaurant downtown, to triple in size by leasing vacant retail space next door.  Read More »

RED BANK: 5-4 BOARD VOTE ADVANCES PLAN

55-w-front-aerial-101716A Google Maps sky view of the vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03By a 5-4 vote, the Red Bank planning board advanced a proposed ordinance that would give a  a thwarted developer another shot at building on a downtown lot.

The issue, concerning a former nursing home site at 55 West Street, prompted sharp disagreement among board members that mirrored divisions at recent council meetings, with proponents arguing the measure is needed to end a long vacancy and opponents calling it an “end-around” to a zoning board decision.

“It just stinks,” planning board member and former Councilman Art Murphy said of the measure.

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