RED BANK: WAWA MEGASTORE PLAN YANKED

Former Red Bank mayor Ed McKenna, left, grilled Wawa engineer Mark Whitaker over the proposal at a zoning board hearing in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: This post contains comments from site ower Frank Sala, who was unavailable at the time of the original posting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Wawa’s coffee, subs and gasoline prices may have earned it a devoted following, but a controversial plan to build a supersized convenience store and filling station on Red Bank’s southern border has been withdrawn, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: TRAFFIC TALK SLOWS WAWA PLAN

The Wawa site plan, with the store at top and gas pump island shown in yellow, calls for the creation of a new center lane on Newman Springs Road allowing motorists traveling in both directions to make left turns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Like a motorist stuck in rush-hour traffic, a supersized Wawa convenience store and filling station proposed for a problematic Red Bank intersection inched forward Thursday night.

At issue as the zoning board weighs the plan: whether the project would make congestion worse or improve traffic flow near the intersection of Newman Springs Road and Broad Street.

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RED BANK: WAWA TOUTS TRAFFIC PLAN

A site plan for the proposed project shows the store at center, the fueling area as the yellow rectangle, and center lane left-turn markings on Newman Springs Road, at bottom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rather than worsening conditions for motorists, a proposed Wawa convenience store and filling station in Red Bank would come with roadway upgrades to improve traffic flow and safety near a busy intersection, witnesses told the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: SUPERSIZED WAWA ON AGENDA

The Auto Exotica site on Newman Springs Road would be redeveloped as a combination WaWa convenience store and gas station if approved by the zoning board. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A supersized convenience store and gas station proposed at one of Red Bank’s busiest intersections is scheduled to go before the borough zoning board Thursday night.

With no residential neighbors directly impacted, the board’s consideration of variances may turn on matters related to traffic impact at a crossing where motorists typically sit for three minutes or more waiting for a green light.

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RED BANK: WEST SIDE GOES DARK, BRIEFLY

rb outage 051116 2rb outage 051116 1A portion of Red Bank’s West Side, including a stretch of Shrewsbury Avenue, above, was briefly without electricity Tuesday night as a result of a burned wire at Bridge Avenue and Chestnut Street, right. First Energy/JCP&L reported about 427 customers affected in the 90-minute outage before power was restored at 10 p.m.

During the outage, volunteer firefighters responded to a report of a gas leak on a darkened block of Shrewsbury Avenue near Monmouth Street. Fire Chief Chris Soden said no evidence of a leak was detected; other neighbors reported smelling a skunk or marijuana. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK SCORES IN GAS VALVE BATTLE

An NJNG crew packs it in after being ordered by police to stop work on a nearly completed gas regulator valve replacement on Monmouth Street in October, 2012. Below, a Monmouth Street valve that was struck by a falling tree during Hurricane Sandy. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb gas valve 103112Remember the flap over the regulator valves that New Jersey Natural Gas Company moved above-ground along storefronts over the objections of Red Bank officials and merchants two years ago?

They’re unsafe, borough officials said. They’re ugly, too, said business owners and officials at RiverCenter, the downtown promotion agency. Mayor Pasquale Menna called them “monstrous carbuncles” forced upon the town by an “arrogant” utility company.

They’re also illegal, according to a state appellate panel ruing issued Tuesday.

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LITTLE SILVER: SHELL TAKES EX-EXXON SPOT

ls shell 041314The former Exxon station at Branch Avenue and Willow Drive in Little Silver, vacant for several years, is about to reopen as a Shell station. Owner Rafi Awan could not be reached for comment, but a borough employee said the station had applied for a certificate of occupancy and appeared ready to open.

The intersection once boasted four filling stations. Only a Citgo station remains. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: STATION MANAGER BUSTED FOR POT

rb shell 112113 3State Troopers with the suspect during the search of the station Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The manager of a Red Bank gas station raided by State Police Thursday night apparently had a sideline selling another kind of high test.

According to charges filed after the raid, Kamleshkumar Chaudhari, 28, was arrested and charged with possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana – how much more, authorities didn’t say – with the intent to distribute.

During the nighttime raid at the Shell station on Newman Springs Road, Chaudhauri was also found holding some $3,000 in cash, according to NJSP spokesman Sergeant Adam Grossman.

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RED BANK: TROOPERS MUM ON STATION RAID

rb shell 112113 2A State Trooper peers into boxes removed from a pump island attendant’s booth Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

State Police shut down access to the Shell station in Red Bank Thursday night, but were quiet on the nature of their investigation.

Unaccompanied by Red Bank police, about a dozen troopers descended on the station at about 9 p.m., blocking driveway access on both the Newman Springs Road and Shrewsbury Avenue sides for more than an hour.

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ARMED ROBBERY AT MIDDLETOWN RACEWAY

This just in from the Middletown police:

On April 18, 2013 at approximately 5:40 am a black male subject, approximately 6′-0″ tall with a stocky build and a thin goatee beard, wearing black jeans, a black long sleeve shirt and a yellow baseball hat entered the Raceway Gas Station located at Highway 35 and Pine Street in Middletown.

The subject displayed a silver colored revolver handgun and demanded cash from the attendant.

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RED BANK MAY MANDATE GAS-PUMP BACKUPS

By JOE FISHER

With long lines of motorists and generator owners searching for gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy still a fresh memory, Red Bank officials are taking steps to require filling stations in the borough be equipped with a backup energy source for the next big blackout.

At Wednesday’s borough council meeting, Mayor Pat Menna recommended amending  licensing requirements to mandate that stations have a backup power source by January 1, 2016.

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LITTLE SILVER: GAS, RAILROAD TIES STOLEN

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Little Silver Police Department.

call-in-the-authoritiesNovember 1– A resident reported Terroristic Threats following a verbal dispute about juveniles trespassing on another’s property on Birch Ave. P.O. Amanda Arnold and Sgt. Martin Scherzinger investigated.

November 2– Christopher Vega, 21, of Long Branch, NJ, was arrested following a suspicious person complaint on Silverside Ave. for a Contempt of Court warrant out of the New Brunswick Municipal Court. P.O. Amanda Arnold made the arrest.

November 3– A resident from Little Silver Point Rd. reported Theft after discovering that an unknown subject siphoned gas from his vehicle during the evening hours. S.O. John McGuire investigated.

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RUMSON GAS STATION RUNS ON HAND PUMP

CBS News ran this story Monday about Richie Dodd, owner of the Rumson Exxon station. Still without electricity following Hurricane Sandy eight days ago, Dodd and his employees have been pumping gasoline from the West River Road station’s underground tanks by hand-cranked pump into canisters his customers have lined up with.

“You have to do it for the people,” Dodd says. “People have to get their generators going.”

RED BANK COPS HALT GAS VALVE WORK

An NJNG crew packs it in after being ordered by police to stop work on a nearly completed gas regulator valve replacement on Monmouth Street Friday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The dispute over natural gas valves in downtown Red Bank grew more heated Friday morning, as Mayor Pasquale Menna directed the police chief to pull cops off traffic duty at New Jersey Natural Gas worksites and to order the construction halted.

Menna and downtown business interests, already blowing a gasket over what they have termed the company’s “medieval,” “spiteful” and “arrogant” displays of power, said NJNG has visibly ramped up its efforts to move gas valves from sub-sidewalk pits to above-ground spots adjacent to storefronts. And it is doing so without obtaining necessary construction permits, they said.

Based on that failure, Menna said he consulted with borough Attorney Dan O’Hern before asking police Chief Steve McCarthy to yank officers from site work and to have cops order the workers to pack it in.

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RED BANK: GAS VALVE BATTLE EXPANDS

A gas regulator valve outside the Ebner’s rug store on East Front Street that borough officials said was the subject of a summons. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A legal and PR battle pitting Red Bank government and business interests against the region’s dominant natural gas distributor is about to move into a new arena.

Borough officials, having lost round one in court, voted Monday night to file an appeal that they hope will stop New Jersey Natural Gas from relocating gas regulator valves from sub-sidewalk boxes to storefronts downtown.

Meantime, the town has begun issuing summonses charging the utility with doing construction work without obtaining necessary permits.

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FLOWERS REPLACE FENCE AT STATION SITE

ray-rap-081211The ugly temporary fence that surrounded a former filling station site on Harding Road in Red Bank for the past four years has come down. (Click to enlarge)

A vacant lot that has blighted its Red Bank neighborhood for years has gotten a bit of sprucing-up recently.

There are still no immediate plans to build on the property, its owner tells redbankgreen, but stay-tuned, he says.

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GAS LINE DUG UP AT MIDDLETOWN FIRE SCENE

135-statesireFour people are reported to have died in a fire that destroyed the house at 135 Statesir Place. Below, a gas meter removed by a crew from New Jersey Natural Gas. (Click to enlarge)

meterFire investigators and a crew from New Jersey Natural Gas were on the scene following a fire that was reported to have killed four people in Middletown early Tuesday morning.

Scant information about the blaze had been released by authorities by mid-morning as officials sought to contact relatives of the dead, said to be four adults.

A neighbor said the fire, at 135 Statesir Place, happened at about 3a.

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