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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: 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: 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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SEA BRIGHT ISSUES: LIBRARY, REDEVELOPMENT

sb council 011614Engineer Jackie Flor of T&M Associates discusses the impact on a parking lot paving project necessitated by the demolition of the Sea Bright Public Library. The dormant borough school building, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb school 011614Overlapping concerns about beachfront development, the future of the crumbling former school and the demolition of the public library dominated an issue-heavy meeting of the Sea Bright council Thursday morning.

Mayor Dina Long, who had opposed tearing down the library until a proposed combination library and bathing pavilion could be built, defended Saturday’s hasty demolition, but acknowledged that “perhaps it could have been handled in a different manner.”

“it was certainly no secret that that building was going to be abandoned after the last council meeting,” on December 17, she said at a crowded council workshop session. “But my concern going forward is that members of our own community felt there was a lack of transparency” about the timing of the action, which gave rise to conspiracy theories that are now “driving a wedge between” elected officials and residents, she said.

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LITTLE SILVER: WORK STARTS ON CONDOS

Six years after winning its original approvals, construction of the 39-unit Carriage Gate condo project got underway with site-clearance work at Eastview and Oceanport avenues in Little Silver this week.

Developer Patrick Kalian, of Shrewsbury-based Kalian Builders, tells redbankgreen that four acres of the 14-acre site will be cleared, with the balance deeded to the town or another entity for preservation. “It will stay heavily wooded, just as it is now,” he said.

The townhouse-style homes, including eight designated as ‘affordable,’ are expected to become available in June, 2014, Kalian said. A restriction limiting occupancy to residents 55 and older was dropped in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: STATION PLACE WORK BEGINS

After years of zoning hearings, lawsuits and aborted plans, shovels finally went into the ground last week for what’s now dubbed Station Place, 45 luxury apartments and 12 affordable units at Monmouth, West and Oakland streets in Red Bank.

Formerly to have been called Courtyards at Monmouth, the project is being built by Roger Mumford, who has replaced substandard housing on Bridge Avenue near Drs. James Parker Boulevard with new homes. Mumford tells redbankgreen he expects tenant move-ins at Station Place to begin in July, 2014. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK TELLS BUILDER: KNOCK ‘EM DOWN

bank-stRed Bank officials slapped developers of the River’s Edge project on Bank Street with an unsafe structure violation, which is being appealed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When the developers of a waterside condominium project received approvals from the Red Bank zoning board back in August, the plan was to get started on construction within six to twelve months, they sai.

Now bumping up against the six-month mark, there’s been little action at the western end of Bank Street. And that’s going to have to change, says the borough.

Code enforcement has issued unsafe structure violations for the three vacant homes on the property, pushing the developers to make some sort of progress at the site.

“They’ve become a blight on the neighborhood,” said Administrator Stanley Sickels, who doubles as the borough’s construction official. “It’s time to take [them] down.”

The developer of River’s Edge has appealed the violations. The developer’s attorney, Kevin Coakley, told redbankgreen the move was to wait out any potential litigation against the developer.

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GRANDVILLE CONVERSION GETS GREEN LIGHT

grandview-towersThe owner wants to create five new units in the 91-unit building.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Compromise sealed the deal to move forward with plans to renovate Grandville Towers from apartments to condominiums, which gained approval from the Red Bank zoning board Thursday.

After more than a year of occasional hearings, presentations and a little haggling — particularly over affordable housing requirements — the Morford Place building’s owners got the OK to convert Grandview’s 91 apartments and overhaul the first floor by adding new condos and facilities.

“This is a winner,” board member Kevin Moss said.

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