FAIR HAVEN: INVESTORS BANK PLAN STALLS

investors-bank-091316The Investors Bank proposed for River Road would be identical to this branch in Woodbridge, the developer said. (Photo by M&M Realty Partners. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed drive-thru bank on the site of a former filling station in Fair Haven ran out of gas Tuesday night.

The Investors Bank project encountered continuing objections to a traffic-flow plan that would put two driveways — for an entry and an exit — on River Road, which planning board members said raised child-safety concerns.

Also an issue: the brand-specific look of the one-story building, which called for a shallow glass atrium dome that one resident likened to a “blister.”

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FAIR HAVEN: BANK HEARING DELAYED AGAIN

fh bank plan 051016 1HOT-TOPIC_03For the second time since it began in May, a hearing on a proposed Investors Savings Bank branch on the former site of a Sunoco station on River Road in Fair Haven has been postponed at the applicant’s request. The matter, scheduled for Monday night, is now slated for July 28.

Meantime, the board is expected to continue its review of the town’s Master Plan, among other matters.

For redbankgreen’s prior coverage of the bank plan, click here.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

FAIR HAVEN: SKEPTICISM OVER BANK PLAN

fh bank plan 051016 1An architectural rendering of the bank, proposed for the former site of a Sunoco station.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh bank plan 051016 2Like a customer at a balky ATM, a regional bank will have to try again after Fair Haven’s planning board raised numerous objections to a proposed bank branch Tuesday night.

Though the matter didn’t go to a vote, all but one board member cited misgivings about Investors Savings Bank’s plan for a branch on the site of a former River Road filling station.

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RED BANK: AFTER 83 YEARS, RASSAS TO CLOSE

Aaron Rassas outside his Red Bank auto dealership. Below, the original location, at 21 Mechanic Street, in 1934. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Born in the Great Depression, and illuminated in recent decades by a bold ribbon of neon signage at a gateway to Red Bank, Rassas Pontiac both rode and symbolized the ever-rising fortunes of postwar America.

Round-shouldered sedans and coupes once crammed its showroom. Then muscle cars. Minivans. SUVs.

But now, the auto giants are in retrenchment. A few years back, General Motors scrapped the Pontiac line, leaving Rassas to switch over to Buick. Few car dealers can survive selling Buicks alone, said business owner Aaron Rassas: his is one of only two such shops in all of New Jersey, and 30 nationwide. But he failed in his efforts to land a second brand, as GM tries to right-size markets it considers overfranchised.

With that, and the approach of his 70th birthday, Rassas has decided to shut off the engine.

On April 26, after 83 years of selling new and used cars in Red Bank, Rassas Buick will go out of business.

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FIRE DAMAGES AUTO SHOWROOM

The Sunday morning blaze charred the facade and filled a showroom with smoke. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A fire that appeared to start in mulch caused limited damaged to a Red Bank auto dealership Sunday morning.

Volunteer firefighters, responding to an alarm at Red Bank Nissan, on East Newman Springs Road, arrived shortly after 10 a.m. to find a portion of the western wall ablaze beneath metal siding panels, they said.

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FAIR HAVEN SUNOCO CLOSES

The River Road station will be boarded up until Sunoco can find another tenant, says the departing gasoline dealer. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 20 years, Rich Bercaw has pulled down the bay doors for the last time at his Sunoco gasoline and service station on River Road in Fair Haven.

Unable to keep up with steep rent and what he described as steadily dropping demand for both fuel and repairs, Bercaw pink-slipped five employees and shut off the lights last Thursday, he tells redbankgreen.

“Sunoco will come in and board it up until they find someone to rent it,” he said, as he loaded equipment into a pickup truck Tuesday. And with a deeply discounted first-year’s rent, “eventually, they’ll get someone,” he said.

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