RED BANK: SIGN RULES IN LIMBO

rb signs 032416 2Proposed changes to the ordinance that regulates signage were rejected by the council. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

The Red Bank council yanked the plug on a new sign ordinance Wednesday night, leaving the town with a law that even local officials say is hot mess.

Amid widespread criticism, and some squabbling among majority Republicans, the governing body on Wednesday rejected proposed changes to the sign law that Councilwoman Cindy Burnham said had been in the works for three years and cost the town $18,000.

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RED BANK: HOVNANIAN ‘DELEVERAGING’ BOOKS

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based Hovnanian Enterprises‘ departure from the Minnesota market contributed to a $16.2 million net loss in its first fiscal quarter, the company reported Wednesday.

The company tied the loss to $11.7 million of land-related charges, primarily related to assets in Minnesota, which it said it is exiting. The result compares to a net loss of $14.4 million, including $2.2 million of land-related charges, in the first quarter of the previous year, the company reported.

The exit from Minnesota is part of a broader strategy of “deleveraging,” or reducing debt, by leaving select markets, CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a prepared statement.

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RED BANK: SIGN LAW FLICKERS BACK TO LIFE

rb signs 061214 2A proposed ordinance to regulate signage is still too complex, officials say. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

After more than two years of review and tweaking, a proposed change to Red Bank’s signage law is still too complicated, according to… well, nearly everyone who’s looked at it.

“Fourteen pages of regulations with three pages of tables does not help simplify what’s allowed and not allowed,” Jim Scavone, executive director of the downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter, told the borough council two weeks ago.

His comments have since been widely echoed. Planning board member Linda Cohen, who owns Eye Design on Broad Street, expressed concern that prospective business tenants would get one look at the document and decide to set up shop elsewhere.

Still, the planning board unanimously agreed Monday night that the proposed changes did not conflict with the town’s Master Plan, and kicked it back to the council with the message to “keep tweaking,” even if the amendments become law. Read More »

RED BANK: FIREHOUSE EATERY PLAN FILED

40 white st 021816 2Architect Mike Simpson’s drawings show outdoor dining areas in front of and beside the former firehouse. Below, the building’s interior in 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

40 WHITE 092314 2Already on fire with new restaurants, Red Bank’s downtown dining market could get hotter soon.

The new owners of the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse on White Street hope to convert the 105-year-old building into a restaurant, with two luxury apartments upstairs.

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RED BANK: LUNCH WITH HOLIDAY EXPRESS

holiday express 121815 2It’s more than just music when Holiday Express pulls into Lunch Break, one of 81 stops the organization will make this holiday season. The Grinch, below, is always along for the ride. (Photos by Kate Beckett, above, and Susan Ericson, below. Click to enlarge)

tim-grinch-band-rblightingWith the Turning Point restaurant providing food for 400, volunteers from Holiday Express plan to make a special stop in Red Bank Saturday.

The non-profit purveyor of music, food, gifts, financial support, and human kindness during the holiday season has scheduled a full-band visit to Lunch Break from 10 a.m. to noon.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAYRAP SITE?

RayRap site 121015 2The zoning board shot down a plan to build 22 townhouses and condos on a parcel bound by Clay Street, Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, throwing the future of the site into uncertainty. (Google Earth image courtesy of Ray Rapcavage. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It’s hard to avoid the use of the word “eyesore” when talking about the RayRap site at the Five Corners in Red Bank.

With a vacant lot that was once home to a gas station; the burned husk of a house destroyed by fire; and another notorious for having once been spray-painted black — windows, shingles and all — it’s easily one of the borough’s least visually gratifying parcels. The fact that it sits on a heavily traveled street bordering the downtown and a residential area only heightens the effect.

So now that the zoning board has shot down a plan to develop the site with 22 new homes, what happens? Are we stuck with an eyesore forever?

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SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

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RED BANK: BIZ INCUBATOR SEEKS IDEAS

studio red bank 103015 2Studio Red Bank team members Gordon Forsyth, Erin Largey and Rob Arace. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Got an idea for a business, but don’t know how to bring it to life?

Defined Logic, a Red Bank company that specializes in leveraging digital technology for large and medium-sized enterprises, recently launched an incubator to help Monmouth County residents test the viability of their dream businesses, even if they’re barely a gleam in the eye.

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RED BANK: ZONERS ZAP RAYRAP PLAN

bill brooks 120315 2Resident Bill Brooks studies a RayRap exhibit prior to the zoning board hearing. Below, a rendering of the proposed six-unit condo building that would front on Harding Road at Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815After a half-dozen hearings over 16 months and numerous revisions, a plan for 22 condos and townhouses on the edge of downtown Red Bank failed to win zoning board approval Thursday night.

Board members told developer Ray Rapcavage that though they appreciated his flexibility in accommodating the concerns of nearby residents, he hadn’t gone far enough.

“It’s just too dense,” said board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia, whose motion to reject the plan was backed by all but one other board member. Read More »

RUMSON MAN LANDS RHODES SCHOLARSHIP

By JOHN T. WARD

Evan Soltas 112315 2A 22-year-old Rumson resident was among 32 Americans chosen Saturday for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England.

A senior economics major at Princeton— and former redbankgreen summer intern — Evan Soltas (seen at right) said he plans to use the two-year opportunity, worth $100,000, to refine his pursuit of economic truths and falsehoods underlying government policies.

“I’m still in shock, like, 48 hours later,” he told redbankgreen on Monday. “I’m totally thrilled, but in the moment, there was something of a panic attack. You don’t really believe it.”

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RED BANK: RAYRAP TRAFFIC PLAN RAPPED

rayrap 110515 1Planning consultant John Jahr addresses a question from Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan as builder Ray Rapcavage props up an exhibit Thursday night. Below, a view of the six-unit condo building fronting on Harding Road, which was to have been a greenmarket. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815For the fifth time, developer Ray Rapcavage has revised his plans for a residential development on the edge of downtown Red Bank, this time to accommodate complaints that eight homes on Hudson Avenue were too close to the street.

But nearby residents voiced concerns at a zoning board hearing Thursday night that the 22-unit project would worsen traffic and parking on an already busy and narrow street.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP PLAN ON ZONING AGENDA

rayrap clay 011515rayrap 090315 2Developer Ray Rapcavage is scheduled to return to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his proposal to build 22 homes on a block bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street. Hearings on the original plan began in August, 2014, with a nine-month interim during which the proposal was revised.

Another project, the proposed 35-unit Element, opposite Riverside Gardens Park at 55 West Front Street, was also to have been heard, but has been rescheduled for December 10, according to a revised board agenda(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

LITTLE SILVER: VOTERS SAY ‘BOTTOMS UP’

ls booze 110115 2Referendum proponent Matt Kelly had suggested booze be allowed in the vicinity of the train station.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Little Silver is ready to wet its whistle.

Voters said “cheers” in Tuesday’s election to a referendum that would end the borough’s dry spell dating back at least to Prohibition, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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LITTLE SILVER: BOOZE Q ON THE BALLOT

ls booze 110115 1The town hasn’t allowed alcoholic drinks to be sold by the glass at least since Prohibition. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Is Little Silver ready for a stiff drink?

For the second time in 39 years, voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to allow the creation of the town’s first-ever on-premise-consumption liquor license.

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RED BANK: GIVE OR TAKE, IT’S ALL FREE

242 Spring st. rbGet a taste of the gift economy on Spring Street in Red Bank Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

free market logoGot stuff lying around the house or workplace that you’d like to give a new home?

Or are you in the market for stuff, and don’t mind if it’s used?

The folks behind a venture called Treasure Circle will hold an event in Red Bank on Saturday that may be of interest.

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RED BANK: ZONERS QUESTION HOUSING PLAN

55 w front 040215 1An architect’s rendering, above, shows the elevated patio of the proposed Element apartments, with parking underneath. Below, a view of the property, which includes a strip alongside the old Liberty Hose firehouse on White Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 080315Questions about parking adequacy and affordable housing continued to dominate as the Red Bank zoning board resumed hearings on a 35-unit apartment building proposed for West Front Street Thursday night.

Dubbed the Element, the project would be built on an irregularly shaped, three-quarter-acre vacant lot facing Riverside Gardens Park at one end and White Street, alongside the former Liberty Hose firehouse, on the other.

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RED BANK: HOV LOSSES EXTENDED

hovanian hq 071715Hovnanian Enterprise’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises posted a net loss of $7.7 million in its third fiscal quarter, the company reported Wednesday.

In the current fiscal year, which began November 1, the company has posted net losses of $41.6 million, compared to a loss of $15.3 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2014, Hov reported.

As he did after the second-quarter results were released in June, president and CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a statement that the company was “disappointed” with the results. But better days lie ahead, he said.

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RED BANK: NO DECISION ON RAYRAP PLAN

rayrap 090315 1A house at the corner of Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, above, is one of five that would be demolished if  the plan is approved. Below, neighbors examined exhibits during a break in Thursday’s hearing. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap 090315 3After a nine-month pause, Ray Rapcavage returned to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his plan to create 22 homes on the eastern edge of the downtown.

Given the passage of time, plan revisions and the fact that three members weren’t on the board when hearings began 13 months ago, the Rumson-based builder agreed to start his presentation anew. But after some two hours of testimony, the hearing adjourned again without a decision. And it won’t resume for at least six more weeks.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP HEARING TO RESUME

rb rapcavage 081614rayrap hudson 011515More than a year after it began and nine months after the last session on the topic, the Red Bank zoning board’s hearing of Ray Rapcavage‘s plan to transform most of a block on the edge of downtown into 22 condos and townhouses is scheduled to resume Thursday night.

As reported by redbankgreen, Rapcavage recently revised the proposal — previously dubbed ‘Renaissance Village’ and now called ‘Le Belle Vue Village’ — by dropping a plan for a market on Harding Road.

The hearing — which comes after just two sessions, held in August, 2014 and January, 2015 — is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.

A hearing on plans to build 37 apartments at 55 West Front Street has been postponed to September 17, according to the meeting agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COUNCIL TAKES UP BUSINESS BIZ

rb doc shoppe 081915Doc Shoppe, and only Doc Shoppe, is permitted to have a table on the sidewalk out front under a trial run approved by the council. Meanwhile, a sign ordinance was sent back for more revisions. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb signs 061214 3Efforts by Red Bank businesses to draw in more customers were the subject of two measures discussed by the borough council last week.

One concerned retail and restaurant signage, which was the subject of an enforcement crackdown that generated considerable blowback a year ago.

The other is a trial run, using one store, to gauge the impact of allowing merchants to display wares in front of their stores.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP DROPS MARKET FROM PLAN

rb rayrap 072915Above is architect David Carnivale’s rendering of the six-unit condo building on Harding Road that would replace the previously planned market. Below, architect Cathy Zuckerman’s rendering of the condos proposed for Clay Street and Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap hudson 011515Builder Ray Rapcavage has dropped his plan for a greenmarket as part of of a proposal to redevelop a block on the edge of downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.

In yet another in a series of revisions, plans filed with the borough show that instead of a 4,300-square-foot organic fruit and vegetable market fronting on Harding Road, Rapcavage now plans to erect six condos.

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LITTLE SILVER: OFFICE BUILDING PLANNED

ls smith site 070615A warehouse-style office building is planned for the vacant lot on Willow Drive near Branch Avenue. Below, council members examining developer Ray Smith’s plans Monday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LS council 070615After years of contamination, bankruptcy and idleness, one of Little Silver’s most troubled properties may finally be getting a makeover. But first, the owner wants a zone change.

A plan for a “warehouse-style” office structure to be built on Willow Drive by commercial real estate broker and developer Ray Smith got a warm reception from the borough council during the workshop portion of its meeting Monday night.

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RED BANK: ANOTHER RESTAURANT APPROVED

18 broad 061315At 18 Broad Street, now concealed by scaffolding, the Art Deco foyer seen below will be replaced by one more reminiscent of the building’s 19th-century origins, the architect said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

18 broad 040615Accelerating downtown Red Bank’s flight from retail to food, the zoning board approved the conversion of a longtime shoe store to a restaurant Thursday night.

Dominating the two-hour hearing were two issues: whether the new owner of 18 Broad Street should be permitted to have three apartments upstairs, rather than the two allowed under the zoning ordinance, and whether the Art Deco foyer should be saved or replaced.

Barely mentioned: the impact of the 76-seat restaurant on parking.

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RED BANK: HOVNANIAN POSTS $19.6M LOSS

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian Enterprise’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Hovnanian Enterprises posted a net loss of $19.6 million in its second fiscal quarter, more than doubling the $7.9 million loss in the comparable 2014 period, the Red Bank-based homebuilder reported Tuesday.

In the current fiscal year, which began November 1, the company has racked up net losses of $33.9 million, compared to a loss of $32.4 million in the first half of fiscal 2014, Hov reported.

President and CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a statement that the company was “disappointed” with the results.

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