PARKING PERMITS MAY BE NEEDED AT COVE

maple-cove-lot1Workers had installed curbs at the Maple Cove parking area by midday Friday, and plan to repave it. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021Free parking may soon be a thing of the past at Maple Cove, Red Bank’s popular free launch for kayaks, canoes and rowing shells.

The borough, which is repaving a parking area at the site, may reinstate permit parking there, borough Administrator Stanley Sickels tells redbankgreen.

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RODS, REELS & BLUE WATER IN RED BANK

blue-water-seafoodTables are set for a possible Thursday night opening of Blue Water Seafood at 9 Broad Street. (Click to enlarge)

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On Red Bank’s Broad Street, a hustle job is in the works, while over on East Front, they’re fishing for new customers.

Blue Water Seafood Company owner Jimmy Vastardis is hauling it to get his new restaurant, at 9 Broad, open by this evening, he tells redbankgreen. But a boatload of last-minute must-dos from the borough fire inspector may mean the two-story, glass-fronted place won’t open until Friday night, Vastardis says.

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COUNCIL DIGS IN AGAINST PROPOSED GARDEN

rbpl-garden-siteAdvocates are pushing the council to allow a community garden on borough-owned property to the right of the library, above. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The green thumbs had their rakes and hoes out in force Wednesday night.

An already lengthy Red Bank council meeting carried on about 45 minutes more as elected officials and proponents of a community garden clashed on the proposed location for the first of what the group hopes will to be up to four community-tended gardens throughout town.

Advocates want the start-up site at borough-owned property adjoining the public library site. But officials say it’s the last available piece of public land on the Navesink River, and don’t want to exclude people by turning it into an area of specific interest.

And so a back-and-forth that started in March continued Wednesday, with still no place to plant a seed decided upon.

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DEVELOPER WANTS TO DROP AGE RESTRICTION

eastviewThe Little Silver planning office is reviewing a development application at Eastview Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A planned multi-unit housing plan that brought Little Silver neighbors out in objection four years ago is back in the works, with a minor tweak.

The borough planning office is reviewing the previously approved plan, called Carriage Park at Little Silver, for completeness.

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TREE LAW SPLITS FAIR HAVEN COUNCIL

tree-chopWorkers cut down a tree in front of a Third Street home in Fair Haven Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Months of discussion and a handful of proposed revisions to Fair Haven’s tree preservation ordinance still haven’t gotten the six-member council in agreement on just what to do with the contentious law.

Half want to keep it as is. The other half, in the name of preserving property rights, want it updated.

When the latest would-be updates, proposed by Councilman Bob Marchese, came up for an introduction vote Monday night, the motion passed with a tie-breaking ‘yes’ by Mayor Mike Halfacre.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll will go into effect when a final vote comes.

“I will tell you gentlemen, if this same ordinance comes before me again, on a 3-3 tie I will vote no,” Halfacre said.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 15-20, 2011

chopper1A helicopter search Thursday was part of an investigation into the whereabouts of missing Red Bank woman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Busy last week prepping for the rapture?

Whatever you missed is all here, below, waiting for you.

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HOTEL PLAN CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

hampton-inn-siteThe zoning board’s decision exempts the former filling station site from an ordinance that appeared to limit its use to residences. Planner Roy DeBoer, below, testified for the developer. (Click to enlarge)

deboer-051911A plan for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel on the Red Bank anchorage of the Cooper Bridge advanced Thursday night.

Asked solely for an interpretation of a 2009 land use law that allowed only single-family housing along once-stately Rector Place, the borough zoning board unanimously ruled that the ordinance was not intended to apply to the proposed hotel site, long home to a gas station, and had been mistakenly included by the town council.

The plan, however, still faces substantial procedural hurdles, including requests for height and density variances, as well as a glaring question: should a site that the state Department of Environmental Protection says is too contaminated for housing, schools and hospitals have a hotel on it? Read More »

DEAL ALLOWS 190 UNITS AT BAMM HOLLOW

bamm-hollow-signMiddletown reached a settlement with Bamm Hollow Country Club last week, effectively ending years of litigation. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Nearly 200 homes may be built on the property of Bamm Hollow Country Club as a result of an affordable housing lawsuit settlement between the town and the country club.

Officials say the deal was the best option for the town. Neighbors say it will crush the area’s quality of life.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 8-14, 2011

dinerA painter finishes off a welcome sign in the window of Broadway Diner. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A roundup of articles appearing last week here on redbankgreen is below.

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DISBAND ZONING BOARD, COUNCILMAN SAYS

b-lucarelliBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven Councilman Ben Lucarelli (right) has been in the construction and real estate business more than 20 years, and in that time has appeared before countless zoning board all over the state.

None has treated applicants as badly as Fair Haven’s, he said.

So after attending last week’s zoning meeting, and being completely appalled by its members’ actions, Lucarelli has made a bold proposal: disband the board and fold its duties into the planning board’s authority.

“I was appalled at the arrogant, condescending, mean-spirited nature of the zoning board,” he said. “This was just a very bad example of how the residents of Fair Haven are being treated.”

And nobody on the council, which at least once before tried to disband the nine-member board, disagreed.

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BAIT SHOP LANDS OK; HOTEL PLAN TABLED

pride-bait-tackleThe former Harper’s Copy Center on East Front Street won approval for conversion to a bait and tackle shop. (Click to enlarge)

Neighbors raised a stink about the prospect of rancid fish waste, but a proposal for a bait and tackle shop sailed through the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.

In other board business, a plan for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel at the foot of the Cooper Bridge was tabled for two weeks, and a dentist won approval for an extensive remodeling of a home on Maple Avenue provided he install a sidewalk along one side of his property.

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MORE HEARINGS EXPECTED ON AVAYA PLAN

avayaThe Avaya property hearing saw more than 200 people in attendance, but no decision was made by the planning board. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

More than 200 people, some wearing t-shirts with a red slash through the number 342,  turned out for Wednesday’s planning board meeting on a proposal to build 342 housing units at a disused Avaya office complex, the Asbury Park Press reports.

It was the first of many expected meetings that will take place over the course of months, Township Planner Jason Greenspan told the newspaper.

The proposal to build 342 units on the 68-acre property on Middletown-Lincroft Road has residents concerned about its impact on the sewer system. Rick Brodsky, attorney for developer Four Ponds Associates, said his client “will certainly pay its fair share” should a new pump station for the system should one be needed.

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CONTROVERSIAL AVAYA HEARING TONIGHT

avaya1Residents and Middletown officials are strongly opposed to a 342-unit housing plan at the former Avaya property in Lincroft. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s planning board will meet Wednesday to hear a proposal that’s got neighbors up in arms and township officials grinding their teeth.

The proposed project, submitted by Four Ponds Associates, calls for the demolition of a large office building vacated by telecom giant Avaya and the construction of 342 residential units on 68  acres on Middletown-Lincroft Road.

For locals, the prospect of adding hundreds of homes to the tract is an unwelcome one, as traffic and safety top the concerns, not to mention a serious disruption to the Lincroft section’s quality of life, they say.

For township officials, the proposal represents “archaic and ridiculous” affordable housing laws imposed by the state. But until changes are made in Trenton, they’re handcuffed, they say.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

pink-linePink striping down River Road in Fair Haven in celebration of Pink Week, which continues this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You’ll notice the redbankgreen masthead’s looking a more on the red side than green these days. That’s because last week kicked off Pink Week, Riverview Medical Center and Red Bank RiverCenter’s annual push for breast cancer awareness, detection and treatment.

We’re not here just for supportive graphics, but on this Monday morning to keep you abreast (couldn’t help it) of what that’s all about, and other news from the end of April. Click on.

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MULCH ADO ABOUT MAPLE COVE, AGAIN

11A request for mulch at Maple Cove digressed into a clash between Cindy Burnham and council members Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Cindy Burnham and other volunteers, part of the ad hoc Friends of Maple Cove group, ended a yearlong spat with the Borough of Red Bank and secured a deal to designate a one-acre patch at the foot of the Navesink River on Maple Avenue as a natural area with waterfront access, the understanding was that Burnham and company would maintain the parcel.

So says the town council.

Burnham maintains a different recollection.

“The only reason the Friends of Maple Cove came out to do anything was because you guys wouldn’t,” Burnham told the council Tuesday, following a request that the borough donate a half-truckload of mulch to the site.

The request triggered a kerfuffle between Burnham and the governing body over who should take care of the property, a question that never was answered.

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COURTYARDS PROJECT WINS FINAL OK

courtyards-at-monmouthThe development, fronting on Monmouth, West and Oakland streets, calls for a dozen units for low- and moderate-income buyers. (Click to enlarge)

With a last-minute concession to neighbors, a plan to build 57 residences on a vacant lot near the Red Bank train station won final approval Thursday night.

It’s the third such plan for the property, after two earlier ones ran aground. But a lawyer for the property owner, Amboy Bank, pledged that this one, called Courtyards at Monmouth like its immediate predecessor, will actually get built.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

mittA catcher’s mitt at Rumson Little League’s opening day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Break-ins were the breaking news that dominated locally last week, topped by word of an arrest of an suspect in a string of high-end residential burglaries that included pop star Bon Jovi among the victims.

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BON JOVI FINDS NEW KITCHEN SPACE IN RB

soul-kitchenPlans for Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen will keep the bay doors for now. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen has found itself a new home in Red Bank. It just needs a thumbs-up from the borough to fire up the grill.

The mega-star and super-philanthropic Middletown resident’s non-profit, the JBJ Soul Foundation, has filed plans with the borough’s planning and zoning office to move into a former auto repair shop on Monmouth Street, just west of the train tracks.

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FAIR HAVEN MAY TRIM TREE LAW

fh-treesHance Road in Fair Haven. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Councilman Bob Marchese’s got his axe ready, and it looks like changes to Fair Haven’s tree ordinance are imminent.

Marchese is proposing tweaks to the borough’s tree law, which he says infringes upon property owners’ rights.

“I believe our tree ordinance is subject to a constitutional attack, quite honestly,” he said. “I want to get this moving.”

It got moving Monday night, and the revised ordinance is expected to be introduced for a vote next month.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

sb-beach-plowPlowing the sand mounds in Sea Bright. Can summer be far behind? (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Welcome back to another week at redbankgreen. Here’s a glance back at the stories that filled our cyberpages last week.

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T&M TOPS CONTRACTOR DONOR LIST

money-full-columnMiddletown-based civil engineering firm T&M Associates was the state’s biggest contributor to political campaigns among businesses that contract with local and state government in New Jersey, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that for the fifth straight year, T&M — which holds contracts with both Middletown and Red Bank — topped the list of donor/contractor firms disclosing contributions under so-called ‘pay-to-play’ laws.

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SEA BRIGHT: X MARKS THE WRONG SPOT

murphy-plansCouncilman Read Murphy goes over revised beachfront development plans, assuring residents that the library is not going to be razed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Sea Bright borough council, in a rush job to dot its i’s and cross its t’s on a major beachfront development plan, apparently forgot to look out for the x’s.

It was an “oversight,” an “honest mistake,” council members said, as they took a minor scolding from residents who thought the borough library was going to get bulldozed.

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BAIT SHOP SEEKS TO REEL IN APPROVAL

111-efrontThe former Harper’s Copy Center on East Front Street would become a bait and tackle shop if Red Bank zoners approve. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Looking to sink a hook into a property on the East Side of Red Bank, a Fair Haven man will go before the zoning board Thursday seeking approval to open a bait and tackle shop.

The application, for a “certficate of continuation of non-conforming use” in a zone that prohibits retailing, was submitted earlier this week by Max Berry, of Fair Haven.

Berry, who could not be reached for comment, intends to open Pride Bait and Tackle at the former site of Harper’s Copy Center, which relocated its services to Rumson earlier this year.

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BIKE & WALK PLAN GETS A SHEPHERD

willis-rossanoJenny Rossano, seen here in 2009 with Safe Routes Red Bank co-founder Jim Willis, will help coordinate the integration of a recent bike and pedestrian study with the town’s master plan. (Click to enlarge)

It’s probably a stretch to call her the borough’s bike czar. But Red Bank is about to get an official advocate for safe walking and biking.

Jenny Rossano of Worthley Street is expected to be named as a volunteer liaison to the borough planning and zoning boards to help spot potential conflicts with a recent study of pedestrian and bicyclist safety by Urban Engineers, a Philadelphia planning firm.

“I don’t want to be a czar of anything,” Rossano says with a laugh. “I just don’t want all this work that Urban Engineers did to be pushed under the carpet.”

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