RED BANK: PARKING PLAN MAY GROW

rb-parking-white-st-111316-2The council could solicit formal development proposals for the White Street lot if a measure on Wednesday’s agenda is passed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01The hottest of hot topics in downtown Red Bank faces a key hurdle this week when a redevelopment plan that could lead to the construction of a massive parking garage in the heart of downtown faces a key vote.

But first, the minimum number of new parking spaces to be created on the present site of the White Street municipal lot could be significantly increased.

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RED BANK: LOT OWNERS CAN NOW TRY AGAIN

55 w front 062016The vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Eight months after they were rejected by the Red Bank zoning board, the owners of a vacant lot in downtown Red Bank can now try again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building on the site.

That’s the upshot of an ordinance adopted by the borough council Monday night after yet another tiebreaker vote by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: GARAGE DEBATE PREVIEWED

white-st-lot-110816A public hearing on a key measure in the push for a possible garage at the White Street lot, above, is slated for December 14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Argument over a potential parking garage for downtown Red Bank dominated the first post-election meeting of the borough council Wednesday night.

No action related to the gradually advancing proposal was on the agenda. But the brief debate may have been an early taste of what’s to come next month, when the council holds a public hearing on a key step in the process.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE CLEARS HURDLE

rb white st 070915 3A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking now goes back to the council for possible adoption, followed by a request for proposals from builders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A concept zoning plan for a parking garage that could double the capacity of Red Bank’s White Street parking lot cleared its latest hurdle Monday night, when the borough planning board found it compliant with the town’s Master Plan.

But in returning the document to the borough council for further action, the board asked for reconsideration of some of its particulars. Among them: making sure that any stores and restaurants in the new structure not be exempt from — wait for it — parking requirements.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN INTRODUCED

rb parking 041416 1A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot now goes to the planning board for review. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Merchants, and at least one elected official, were jubilant after the Red Bank council’s latest move toward possible construction of a downtown parking deck Wednesday night.

By a 6-0 vote, the governing body agreed to introduce an ordinance that could result in the adoption of a redevelopment plan for the White Street municipal lot.

What’s in the 10-page plan? Only insiders knew, but to advocates for a large-scale solution to the parking shortage downtown, that didn’t matter. 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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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: 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: 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 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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