RED BANK: HOTEL DELAY REQUEST REJECTED

red bank hampton innA rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, with the former VNA building at right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

In a move that could torpedo a hotly debated hotel at the northern entry to Red Bank, the planning board Monday night shot down a request by the would-be developer for more time to get the project in the ground.
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RED BANK: LIGHT ‘NOT FEASIBLE’ SAYS DOT

A car, at right, waits for a break in the traffic to turn onto Riverside Avenue from Bodman Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Creating a new signal-controlled intersection on a busy stretch of Red Bank highway near the Molly Pitcher Inn is “not feasible,” according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna is hoping the DOT will reconsider its oft-stated position if and when there’s a new owner of the former VNA Health Group headquarters building, located on a problematic corner, he told redbankgreen Monday.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN WINS APPROVAL

Peter Steck, a planner hired by an opponent of the proposed hotel, testified that the developer was “stuffing” the one-acre site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After nearly seven years of battles, a proposed hotel at the northernmost entrance to Red Bank won approval Monday night.

The planning board’s OK of a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge came after a last-minute concession by the developer.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ANTAGONIST RETURNS

larry-cohen-rbank-hampton-121916Rbank Capital managing partner and would-be Hampton Inn developer Larry Cohen at Monday night’s planning board hearing with an architect’s rendering of the hotel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A hotel developer’s long and contentious battle to build a 76-room Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway grew longer more contentious Monday night.

It also got a bit deja vu-y when, for the second time in the plan’s six-year history, its chief antagonist, lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, returned, claiming once again to represent a client with legal standing to challenge the plan.

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RED BANK: WILL HAMPTON INN GET THE KEYS?

hampton-inn-112116HOT-TOPIC_03Will a new hotel finally get the keys to Red Bank? After almost six years in litigation and other delays, a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn proposed on the former site of a Exxon station at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge could go to a vote Monday night.

But first, the plan must overcome the objections of at least one planning board member, who has warned that the hotel’s traffic plan is dangerously flawed to the point that “someone is going to die” if it’s allowed.

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RED BANK: SITE IDEAL FOR HOTEL, SAYS MENNA

vna-176-riverside-120716The VNA’s departure could put its headquarters building on the tax rolls. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The VNA Health Group is quitting Red Bank, leaving behind a large empty building that could wind up on the tax rolls of a borough whose officials complain often about the high number of nonprofits.

Heck, it would even make a great hotel, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ACCESS PLAN CRITICIZED

hampton-inn-112116An architect’s rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, as seen from Riverside Avenue, with the existing VNA building at right. (Rendering by Louis Silverstein. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

After years of litigation and other delays, a proposed Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway returned to the borough planning board Monday night — and quickly ran into opposition.

Board member Guy Maratta sharply criticized a plan to allow vehicles to turn left into the Route 35 site across two lanes of southbound traffic that he said averages 60 miles per hour.

“Somebody is going to die, mark my words,” Maratta told the traffic engineer for the applicant, Rbank Capital.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN RETURNS

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

Almost six years after it was first proposed, a Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway remains nothing more than an abstraction, existing solely as mountain of engineer and litigation documents.

The developer hopes to finally turn it into a seven-story reality.

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RED BANK: HOTEL PLAN RETURNS, SORT OF

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

The developer of a proposed Hampton Inn hotel that’s been mired in zoning reviews and lawsuits for five years returned to Red Bank’s planning board after an extended absence Monday night.

The purpose? An informal presentation. A “coming attractions” preview of amended plans, in the words of the board’s attorney. Read More »

RED BANK: COURT BACKS HEIGHT CHANGE

hampton inn 040913The seven-story, 76-room hotel would be built on a one-acre riverfront property adjacent to Cooper’s Bridge, seen here from the Middletown side of the Navesink. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

A 2013 change to the building height limits in Red Bank’s waterfront development zone did not constitute “spot zoning,” even though it benefitted a planned Hampton Inn a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Instead, the appeals court upheld a Superior Court decision that found the changes “were enacted as part of a comprehensive plan to advance the general welfare of the community.”

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RED BANK: HAMPTON HOTEL PLAN REVIVED

gasiorowski 072512Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, who has sued to block to the hotel, examines a rendering at a 2012 hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

Five years after it was proposed and nearly two years after it was derailed by litigation, a planned Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway is back.

But the controversial plan is still in court.

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RED BANK WINS HOTEL HEIGHT CHALLENGE

gasiorowski 072512Attorney Ron Gasiorowski, above, has repeatedly challenged a proposed six-story Hampton Inn on the site of a former filling station, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hampton 1 031812The long-running saga of a proposed Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway took a turn this month with a win by the borough in court.

In an April 7 decision, Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully in Freehold rejected a challenge to a 2012 zoning change that raised the building-height limit at the proposed hotel site, at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper Bridge.

The decision, unless overturned on appeal, is expected to clear the way for the hotel’s developer, Rbank Capital, to return to the planning board with the most significant hurdle to the plan nullified.

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RED BANK: FAMILIAR FACES AT HAMPTON II

Engineer Rich Kenderian testifies for the hotel developer, above. Below, objector Stephen Mitchell reviewing plans. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Parking and stormwater emerged as early issues when the second round of hearings for a proposed six-storyRed Bank hotel got underway Monday night.

The 76-room Hampton Inn would be built at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper Bridge, at the northern gateway to town, on the former site of an Exxon gas station. A series of combative hearings on the plan that began in August, 2011 ended nearly a year later with a ruling the structure was too tall.

With zoning rules since amended by the borough council to accommodate the building’s height, the start of round two brought out familiar adversaries – and one new one who, if she was present, did not announce herself or her interest.

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RED BANK: CONTROVERSIAL HOTEL RETURNS

A Hampton Inn hotel is proposed for the long-vacant Exxon station site at the foot of the Cooper Bridge.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s back.

After a year of dormancy, a controversial proposal for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel at the northern gateway to Red Bank returns to the spotlight Monday night, when the borough planning board begins anew with what’s expected to be another series of hearings.

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HOTEL LAWSUIT III: THIS TIME, IT’S PERSONAL

Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski clashing with Councilman Mike DuPont last week, above, and relaxing at Zebu Forno on Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As an attorney, Ron Gasiorowski is used to verbal conflict. It’s inherent in the adversarial work of representing a client’s interests against someone who’s doing the same.

But as he prepares to file his third lawsuit against Red Bank over a proposed Hampton Inn, Gasiorowski is stewing over the reception he got when he appeared before the borough council last Wednesday.

Not the way he was treated by borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, who challenged him on procedural points at nearly every turn, but did so respectfully, Gasiorowski told redbankgreen last week. And likewise not by Mayor Pasquale Menna, who despite his resistance to Gasiorowski’s point of view, “is always a gentleman,” he said.

No, Gasiorowski said, he was put out by the the third lawyer up on the dais: Councilman Mike DuPont.

“In 40 years of practicing law, that was the most unprofessional and rudest I’ve ever been treated,” said Gasiorowski, a 71-year-old former Marine captain.

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COUNCIL RAISES HEIGHT LIMIT AT HOTEL SITE

Attorney Ron Gasiorowski, with a rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn hotel he opposes, awaits the start of Wednesday’s Red Bank council meeting. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two months after the Red Bank zoning board ruled that a proposed hotel on the site of a former Exxon station exceeded the height limit for its zone, the town’s governing body boosted the limit Wednesday night.

After a contentious hearing that was widely seen as a prelude to a third lawsuit over zoning changes affecting the site the of the proposed Hampton Inn, the borough council gave unanimous approval to a trio of ordinance amendments, one of which would allow a building 82.4 feet tall, or seven stories, in the zone.

Though characterized by council members and council Attorney Dan O’Hern as an attempt to clarify rules affecting the town’s entire waterfront development zone, the most immediate impact of the change is eliminate the most significant obstacle to the proposed hotel, eyed for the juncture of Route 35 and Rector Place at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge.

“I, too, am of the opinion that we need another hotel here, one that is affordable,” Councilman Mike DuPont said after sparring repeatedly with the attorney representing the hotel’s foremost objector.

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RED BANK MOVES TO LIMIT BUILDING HEIGHTS

Under the proposal, structures as tall as the Atrium, left and Riverside Towers on Riverside Avenue, seen above last September, would no longer be permitted. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fresh off a prolonged tangle over a proposed and ultimately rejected Hampton Inn hotel on the Navesink River, Red Bank officials are taking an editing pen to land use laws – and a chainsaw to building heights.

Under an amendment floated for adoption at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, new buildings in the town’s waterfront development zone would be limited to 75 feet above mean sea level. Currently, structures in the zone are allowed to be as tall as 140 feet.

The changes could clear the way for Rbank Capital LLC, owner of  former filling station property at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge, to return with a slightly modified hotel plan, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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BATTLE OVER HOTEL HEIGHT DRAGS ON

A planned six-story hotel at the longtime site of an Exxon station is the subject of a hearings at both the planning and zoning boards.   (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An opponent of a planned hotel at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge made his fullest case yet Thursday night that the building violates Red Bank’s height limits.

But after two slow-moving, trial-like hearings before the town zoning board, the lawyer for the hotel has barely begun to put on his defense, and no resolution of the dispute is likely for at least another month.

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MYSTERY HAMPTON INN PLAN OPPONENT ID’D

Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, left, said the owners of a Tinton Falls hotel have been paying his fees for representing Hampton Inn opponent Stephen Mitchell, right. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After months of secrecy, the lawyer for the most vocal opponent of a proposed Hampton Inn in Red Bank has identified the moneybags paying for his services.

They’re the operators of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Hope Road in Tinton Falls.

Attorney Ron Gasiorowski ended his cat-and-mouse game over Stephen Mitchell’s backing Thursday night, when he told the borough zoning board that brothers Carey and Doran Tejfal of Tinton Falls Realty Lodging were picking up the tab for his services.

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HOTEL FOES FOCUS ON RIVER VIEWS

gasiorowski-3Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski grills Roy DeBoer, a planner for the developer of the proposed Hampton Inn. Below, a sketch shows the east side of the hotel. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hampton-elevOpponents of a proposed proposed 72-room hotel in Red Bank seized on a claim Monday night that the seven-story structure would offer improved, albeit “filtered” views of the Navesink River for passersby.

They also began whittling away at arguments made in favor of a dozen variances or waivers needed for the Hampton Inn to be built on the site of a disused gas station on Route 35, at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge.

The  challenges highlighted what foes consider numerous shortcomings of the plan, which is beset by questions about size, traffic, parking and environmental contamination issues – not to mention a pending lawsuit over whether the borough planning board ought to be considering the proposal.

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QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT HOTEL LAWSUIT

hampton-inn-siteA borough resident has filed suit to stop a six-story, 72-room hotel from being built on Route 35 at the Cooper Bridge. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Is someone lurking in the shadows of the legal challenge to the proposed Red Bank Hampton Inn?

Marty McGann, the lawyer for the hotel’s developer, Rbank Capital LLC, effectively raised the question Monday night, when he asked whether borough resident Stephen Mitchell, who has filed a state Superior Court lawsuit to derail planning board hearings on the proposal, had ties to another hotel or the lodging industry.

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HAMPTON INN HEARING POSTPONED AGAIN

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic rightThe Red Bank Planning Board put off testimony on a proposed six-story, 72-room hotel at the foot of Cooper Bridge for the third consecutive time Monday night.

But the not before the developer’s attorney raised a question about whether the plan’s foremost objector might have an ulterior motive for opposing the plan.

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LAWSUIT DELAYS HAMPTON INN DECISION

hot-topic rightA possible vote on whether to allow the construction of a six-story hotel on the Red Bank anchorage of the Cooper Bridge was postponed Wednesday night after a borough resident filed a lawsuit challenging the plan.

After 40 minutes behind closed doors, the town’s planning board voted to postpone a scheduled hearing on the proposal for a 72-room Hampton Inn until September 19 so that its members could “digest” the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Freehold Tuesday.

Meantime, Ron Gasiorowski, a lawyer representing Prospect Avenue resident Stephen Mitchell, hopes to persuade the court that the matter belongs before the zoning board, not the planning board.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 15-20, 2011

chopper1A helicopter search Thursday was part of an investigation into the whereabouts of missing Red Bank woman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Busy last week prepping for the rapture?

Whatever you missed is all here, below, waiting for you.

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