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FAIR HAVEN: PLAN ELICITS VARIED CONCERNS

Part of the plan calls for a new park-maintenance shed at Fair Haven Fields, just south of the Methodist church. (Image by Google. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFair Haven residents peppered the borough council Tuesday night with questions about an ambitious plan to build a new town hall, consolidate operations and sell real estate.

The questions appeared to reflect a sense that residents were caught off guard by the scope of the project, which was first reported by redbankgreen Monday.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW TOWN HALL PLANNED

646 RIVER ROAD FAIR HAVEN NJ SUNOCOFair Haven officials hope to acquire the former Sunoco station for redevelopment as part of long-range consolidation of municipal operations. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A vacant gas station site in Fair Haven could become the home to a new borough hall and police station under a plan up for consideration Tuesday night.

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RED BANK: ZONING SHORTCUT TO GET DO-OVER

Maps showing a potential new “area in need of rehabilitation” as proposed last July, at left, and amended this week, at right. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A push to make the redevelopment of “underutilized” Red Bank properties easier returned to the spotlight Wednesday night, 10 months after it abruptly appeared and quietly vanished.

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RED BANK: BASIE PARKING DEAL YIELDS GAIN

mike-whelan-110416Councilman Mike Whelan outside borough hall earlier this month.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It may not seem like much, stacked up against a $22.4 million budget. Still, it’s like finding money on the ground, says first-year Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan.

A deal Whelan initiated that gives the Count Basie Theatre access to the borough hall parking lot across Monmouth Street has netted the borough nearly $14,000 since it went into effect earlier this year, he says.

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RED BANK: YNGSTROM BLASTED FOR COMMENTS

erik yngstrom 031716Erik Yngstrom at the March zoning board meeting at which he made the motion to reject development plans for 55 West Front Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainRed Bank Councilman Mark Taylor says Democratic council candidate Erik Yngstrom should resign from the zoning board for calling a controversial effort to bypass a board decision “fishy.”

In a press release issued Friday, Taylor accused Yngstrom of using his board position “as a platform to make several inappropriately political comments in an effort to further his own Council candidacy.”

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RED BANK: VACANT LOT SPLITS COUNCIL AGAIN

55 w front 062016The fenced-in lot at 55 West Front Street, next door to Trinity Episcopal Church, was formerly the site of a nursing home. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Advancing a plan to ease the possible redevelopment of a vacant Red Bank lot again proved controversial Wednesday night.

With both Democratic council members allied with the sole independent against the three Republicans, Mayor Pasquale Menna was again forced to cast a tie-breaker vote on the next step in an effort to rezone the downtown site.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS SIGNS, SEWER FIX

sidewalk sale 3 072712A properly displayed sandwich board sign on Broad Street. Too many others, however, impede pedestrians, a downtown building owner said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank borough council took action on a number of matters involving borough parks, sidewalks and sewers at its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

Here’s a bullet-point rundown.
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RED BANK: FOOD TRUCKS COMING?

johnny's 1 111113John Yarusi risked a summons when he parked his Johnny’s Pork Roll truck on Wallace Street in a short-lived experiment test of borough law in 2013. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is Red Bank ready to finally  open the gate for food trucks?

The possibility that the borough might allow two mobile eateries to operate here was among the topics discussed at Wednesday’s semimonthly borough council meeting. Read More »

RED BANK: PARKING PLAN ADVANCES, BARELY

rb white st lot 071916 1A divided council gave the go-ahead for a consultant to develop a concept plan for the White Street parking lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank moved another step toward a possible answer to its chronic parking woes Wednesday night, but only after Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a pair of tiebreakers that put him at odds with fellow Democrats.

Menna’s votes were necessary after the council’s two lone Democrats joined with its sole independent in raising objections to a $6,500 contract for a concept plan covering the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The debate also exposed rare friction between Menna and Red Bank RiverCenter, the semi-authonomous agency that promotes downtown business interests.

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RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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RED BANK: ZONING SHORTCUT INTRODUCED

RB Reso 16-190 Map 071316A map showing a potential new “area in need of rehabilitation” that was quietly put into play Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Over the objections of two council members and several residents that “it doesn’t smell right,” Red Bank’s governing body furthered plans for both a possible downtown parking garage and a proposed apartment building Wednesday night.

And without a word of public description or discussion beforehand, the council also started a process that could lead to designating a large swath of the town as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” which one official said would make it easier for developers to avoid variances when their plans don’t comply with the zoning law. Read More »

RED BANK: RAYRAP CONCEPT GETS THE HOOK

RayRap site 121015 2HOT-TOPIC_03An informal planning board hearing on developer Ray Rapcavage’s concept plan for 18 homes at the five corners in Red Bank was kept short Wednesday night after board attorney Mike Leckstein raised concerns about the board discussing a matter that may have to be heard by the zoning board. Rapcavage’s last proposal, calling for 22 homes on the site, was denied by the zoning board in December.

In his brief presentation, architect David Carnivale told the board the new plan calls 18 homes “meant to evoke European palaces overlooking a garden.” More details about the proposal are here (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT PLANS ADVANCE

55 w front 070616The West Front Street site where a 35-unit apartment building was rejected by the zoning board last year could end up with new zoning, a planning attorney said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Two Red Bank properties cleared a key hurdle toward possible redevelopment Wednesday night.

One is the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The other is a privately owned site that several commenters, including two board members, said shouldn’t even have been part of the discussion.

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RED BANK: THREE MAJOR PROJECTS ON AGENDA

rb parking 051116 2The council directed the planning board to evaluate the borough-owned White Street lot for its “suitability” for a parking garage — and to do the same for a private lot where the zoning board turned down a 35-unit apartment building. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three projects with the potential to dramatically alter downtown Red Bank for generations are slated for review by the borough planning board Wednesday night.

On the agenda:

• a legal interpretation that could lead to the construction of a new parking facility on White Street

• a do-over of sorts for a rejected 35-unit apartment building on West Front Street

• and yet another plan for housing on a disused “five corners” property on the edge of downtown.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OK’S BASIE PARKING DEAL

rb parking 041316 2The Count Basie Theatre, seen at right above, will be allowed to charge patrons park in the Red Bank two areas of the borough hall lot, including the new section, above, with the town getting half the revenue.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It’s a scenario all too familiar to civically minded citizens and, ahem, the occasional reporter: you arrive at Red Bank’s borough hall as much as an hour ahead of a government meeting, and already the parking lot is packed with cars belonging to patrons of the Count Basie Theatre across the street. And good luck finding a space nearby.

But now, borough officials say they’ve resolved the turf war that flares up whenever the Basie has an event at the same time as a municipal meeting.

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RED BANK: PARK THIS WAY

rb parking 041916LicPlate1Council President Cindy Burnham, left, and downtown business owners Wendy Jones and George Lyristis gathered to watch the installation of a new parking sign at Broad Street and Wallace Street in Red Bank Tuesday morning. All three expressed hope that better signage for the underutilized East Side lots will relieve pressure in the White Street and English Plaza lots. 

Red Bank Flavour, a consortium of downtown restaurants, picked up the$1,500 tab for the sign; Burnham said she hopes to have the borough install six more.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: MORE PARKING AT BOROUGH HALL

rb parking 04136106 monmouth 080814Workers are putting the finishing touches on a parking lot expansion at Red Bank’s borough hall, which now has a dozen new parking spaces, above. The additional spots are on the site of a borough-owned house, right, that had been used for records storage and as a police gym. The house was demolished in 2o14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LONE PARKING SIGN TO GO UP

rb wallace 041416 1Below, a rendering indicates the size and height of the sign, but not the actual location; it’s to be installed on a lamppost at Broad Street and Wallace Street, above.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb parking sign 041316 3After years of clamoring by merchants and others, downtown Red Bank is about to get new signage indicating the existence and location of its underutilized East Side parking lots.

“Signage” as in a single sign.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS STEP ON PARKING

rb white st 070915 3The planning board was directed to evaluate the borough-owned White Street lot for its “suitability” for a parking garage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
LicPlate1

After months of silence on the issue, a possible parking garage in downtown Red Bank finally got its wheels on what could be a long up-ramp to reality Wednesday night.

Despite misgivings voiced by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham that doing so might attract “an overload of engineers,” the borough council unanimously agreed to have the the planning board determine whether the municipal lot on White Street “satisfies the criteria for designation as a noncondemnation redevelopment area.”

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER GOES IN ON PARKING

rb white st 070915 2Officials say they need to find out what’s underneath the asphalt of the White Street lot before deciding on how to use the property.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1In the first step toward a possible construction of a new parking facility on White Street, Red Bank RiverCenter has agreed to share in the costs of soil testing, redbankgreen has learned.

The borough government and the autonomous downtown promotion agency are close to a formal agreement under which the two would split the estimated $80,000 cost of the work, RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone said Friday.

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RED BANK: MENNA TOUTS PARKING “SOLUTION”

white st 072413The borough-owned White Street lot, which may offer relief to downtown parking woes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Taking heat from a restaurateur, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said Wednesday night that the long-awaited “next step” toward a possible parking garage downtown is coming within the next two weeks.

Menna’s pledge also came as the town council, on a 4-2 vote, agreed to extend by six months a moratorium on fees imposed almost exclusively on new restaurants that need parking variances to open.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS NEW HIRE

e mcdermott 042215 2In a budget presentation, library director Elizabeth McDermott said the institution had recovered from events that “devastated” it in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

At Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the borough council, Red Bank officials authorized a new hire, passed a passel of bond ordinances and got an update on the public library’s finances a year after a mass resignation of board members.

Those agenda items and more get the bullet-point treatment below…

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RED BANK: LOT FIXES, BUT NO GARAGE… YET

white-st-lot-102011The White Street lot, home to this weekend’s International Flavor Festival, has long been eyed as a solution to the downtown’s parking woes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank officials plan to spend $300,000 in coming months on parking improvements at borough hall and two downtown lots.

But merchants and visitors who’ve been waiting for the movement toward a possible parking garage on White Street will have to wait a bit more.

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LITTLE SILVER: REALLY LICHEN THIS BENCH…

ls bench 092114It looks like it might have spent the last few years tucked away deep in a sunless corner of the woods. But this lichen-covered bench is right on Prospect Avenue in front of Little Silver Borough Hall. Does anyone ever sit on it? Would you? (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COMING SOON

rb boro hall 062414Theatergoers and others who just want to pull up a seat opposite the Count Basie Theatre will soon have an outdoor option outside Red Bank borough hall, where RiverCenter and the Basie are installing 40 feet of benches framed by new landscaping. The project cost about $14,000 before the cost of the benches, which are being donated by the theater, said RiverCenter director Jim Scavone. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)