SEA BRIGHT: NEW HOME FLOATS INTO VIEW

290-ocean-ave-sb-101016-1The house, at 290 Ocean Avenue, features an unusual tunnel underneath the living space. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

WhatsGoingOnHere

One of the more unusual construction projects on the Greater Red Bank Green has been catching the eyes of passersby on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright in recent months.

There, Red Bank builder Mike Villane is overseeing the creation of a house that appears to hover beside the Shrewsbury River, with a tunnel underneath.

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RED BANK: REAL ESTATE IN SPOTLIGHT

NYT RE 071316Looking to buy or rent a home in Red Bank? Borough life gets the spotlight in a New York Times real estate feature published online Wednesday. Three married couples who bought homes in recent years talk about the draw of the town, and the story offers an overview of what’s available, with prices ($1,500 to $3,400 a month to rent, and a recent average sale price of $337,165). (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BUILDER PRESERVES OLD HOME

219 e bergen 042716The newly restored structure at 219 East Bergen Place is believed to date back to 1874, says its new owner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

WhatsGoingOnHereAn investment by a business owner has secured a future for another one of Red Bank’s older homes.

Mike Villane, owner of Lead Dog Custom Homes, recently completed a gut-job renovation of 219 East Bergen Place, where his young business is now headquartered.

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RED BANK: ZONERS QUESTION HOUSING PLAN

55 w front 040215 1An architect’s rendering, above, shows the elevated patio of the proposed Element apartments, with parking underneath. Below, a view of the property, which includes a strip alongside the old Liberty Hose firehouse on White Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 080315Questions about parking adequacy and affordable housing continued to dominate as the Red Bank zoning board resumed hearings on a 35-unit apartment building proposed for West Front Street Thursday night.

Dubbed the Element, the project would be built on an irregularly shaped, three-quarter-acre vacant lot facing Riverside Gardens Park at one end and White Street, alongside the former Liberty Hose firehouse, on the other.

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RED BANK: PRESERVATION EFFORTS LAUDED

65 wallace 091515The home of Paul and Nancy Cagno, at the corner of Wallace and Mount streets, above, and the circa 1903 mansion that’s now the office of Smallwood Wealth Management, at 199 Broad Street, below, were among the four structures cited. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

199 broad 091515Three Broad Street buildings and a home in the historic district won kudos from the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission at a ceremony Tuesday night.

Kicking off what members hope to become an annual series, the commission honored property owners in four categories for “adding to the value of Red Bank by adding to the character” of the town, in the words of Chairwoman Michaela Ferrigine.

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RUMSON: BLITHEWALD RAZED

76 buena vista 081815rumson fire 042015 2Five months after a devastating fire, the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald was demolished Monday.

The 132-year-old home, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea when it burned down in April. Investigators ruled the cause of the blaze accidental. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: NO VOTE ON WEST FRONT UNITS

55 w front 040215 2After three hours of testimony and few questions from zoning board members, a hearing on a proposed 35-unit apartment complex fronting on West Front Street in Red Bank ended without reaching a vote Thursday night.

The hearing on the project, located opposite Riverside Gardens Park and called the Element, is scheduled to resume June 18. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: APARTMENT PROPOSAL ON AGENDA

55 w front 040215 1A zoning board hearing on a proposed 35-unit apartment complex fronting on West Front Street opposite Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank is scheduled to resume after a two-month interval Thursday night.

Testimony on traffic flow and parking is expected, with a possible vote on the plan, called 55 West Front. The board meets at borough hall at 6:30 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RUMSON: BLITHEWALD GARDEN IN PHOTOS

rumson blithewald 1 rumson blithewald 3The April 20 fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald, which was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase in the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser, occurred the same morning that landscapers had put the finishing touches on a yard design called the Secret Garden.

Red Bank-based Siciliano Landscape, which oversaw the project with a landscaper from Marlboro, has posted a gallery of before-and-after photos of the garden, along with a link for those wishing to donate to the VNA. The now-canceled home tour was to be the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. (Photos courtesy of Siciliano Landscape. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: FIRE RULED AN ACCIDENT

rumson fire 042015 3Monday’s fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald appears to have been accidental, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

Spokesman Charlie Webster told redbankgreen on Thursday that investigators believe the fire began in a wall between a guest room and an en-suite bathroom on the second floor. But they were unable to determine if a live electrical circuit or equipment was the cause, he said.

At the time of the fire, Blithewald, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser fundraiser, which was to have begun Saturday but has now been cancelled. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: FIREFIGHTER’S VIEW OF BLAZE

Here’s a Sea Bright firefighter’s view, courtesy of a helmet-mounted camera, of Monday’s fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald.

A message on the Sea Bright Fire Rescue Facebook page says this about the footage:

“We feel that releasing this film will not only give the public insight on what we do but will allow our brothers and sisters of the service an opportunity to better both themselves and ourselves in the future. The members made multiple attempts to try and gain control of the fire with an interior attack but were subsequently driven back. Please excuse some of the language as the guys were in the heat of the moment.”

 

RUMSON: ‘TOUGH SPOTS’ MADE FIRE DAUNTING

RUMSON FIRE 042115 2Blithewald as seen Tuesday morning. An area of the roof between two dormers showed heavy damaged, as seen below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RUMSON FIRE 042115 1The fire that caused extensive to a 132-year-old Rumson mansion Monday proved a challenge to volunteer firefighters, some of whom were on the scene nearly seven hours, Chief Kevin McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

“It’s a big, older house, so there’s lots of tough spots to get into,” said McCarthy. “It took a while to get it all mopped up.”

There was no official word on a possible cause of the blaze. McCarthy referred questions to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, where a spokesman said information was not immediately available Tuesday morning.

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RUMSON: FIRE RIPS SHOWCASE MANSION

rumson fire 042015 2rumson fire 042015 1Fire caused extensive damage Monday afternoon to a Rumson home slated as the showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser.

No one was injured in the four-alarm blaze at 76 Buena Vista Avenue, an 1880s-era mansion known as Blithewald. As of 3:30 p.m., three hours after the fire was reported, smoke could still be seen rising through the roof, which had gaping holes in it. There was no immediate official word on a possible cause.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said a heartbroken VNA volunteer who asked not to be named, standing outside the Blithewald gate.

The fire is the second tragedy in recent years to strike the VNA event. In 2013, a van shuttling tour participants hit a dumptruck in Rumson, causing at least one serious injury. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CLARITY ASKED ON W. FRONT PLAN

55 w front 040215 2A photo montage, above, showing the West Front Street elevation of the proposed building. Below, a rendering of a deck atop the garage, also visible at right in the image above. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 040215 1The quest for approval of a proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank was slowed Thursday night by another  document already in the developer’s pocket: an eight-year-old plan for 27 condos at the same site.

Members of the zoning board and neighbors of the proposed 55 West Front Street project, located opposite Riverside Gardens Park, were frequently flummoxed by how variances the developer is now seeking differed from those obtained in 2007.

“I wasn’t here when the original plan was approved, and I don’t know who on this board was,” a clearly frustrated board member Sean Murphy told the applicant’s lawyer, Peter Falvo.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN ON AGENDA

55 w front 010715 At 55 West Front Street, a developer is seeking approval for 35 rental units on a vacant lot previously approved for 27 condos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 010715 2After a nearly eight-year interim, new plans for a prominent Red Bank parcel are scheduled to go before the borough zoning board Thursday night.

The proposal, for a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park on West Front Street, replaces a plan approved in 2007 for 27 condos to replace a since-demolished Meridian nursing home.

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RED BANK: HOMEBUILDERS EYE WEST FRONT

76-78 w front 010715Under concept plans filed by KHov, a building at Maple Avenue and West Front Street, center above, would be replaced by eight townhouses. Less than a block away, a developer is seeking approval for 35 rental units, shown below, on a vacant lot already approved for 27 condos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 010715 2More multi-unit homebuilders have their eyes on Red Bank. West Front Street, in particular.

Two proposals that would add 43 new residences to the stretch of West Front between Maple Avenue and English Plaza have been filed with the borough planning board.

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SEA BRIGHT: SANDY FLEECE GETS MAN 5 YEARS

HOT-TOPIC_02A Matawan contractor was sentenced to five years in state prison for taking deposits for Hurricane Sandy related work he never started or completed in Sea Bright, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in an announcement Saturday.

John Martocci, 59, was sentenced Friday on two counts of third degree theft by deception by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John Tassini.

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RED BANK: PEPPERS, PICKLED AND PACKED

marc dostie 100316Stuffing 50 or so pickled cherry peppers with proscuitto and provolone goes faster with an assist from helpful neighbor Marc Dostie. Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumWe’ve had our crop of cherry peppers from the backyard garden pickling in the refrigerator for a couple weeks now, and decided that it was high time we stuffed them with something to make them even more delicious.

Prosciutto-and-provolone-stuffed cherry peppers sounded like a good idea.

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RUMSON: MEET YOU UPSTAIRS

rumson dormer 07011420 ave of two 071614 2In one of the more unusual post-Sandy renovation jobs, the Rumson home of David and Trish Docherty has the lower floors finally re-meeting the dormers, which were been suspended in above the Avenue of Two Rivers lot for several months.

“I don’t want to be around if there’s another hurricane,” a neighbor told redbankgreen during the interim. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

WEEKEND NEWS: TWO FIRES, HIT & RUN

mtown fire map 021714Two residential fires less than 24 hours apart kept Middletown volunteer firefighters busy over the weekend. (Click to enlarge)

A pair of house fires in Middletown and a hit-and-run accident of a pedestrian in Sea Bright occurred over the weekend, according to news reports.

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RED BANK: FESTIVE LIGHTS WINNERS NAMED

rb cohen lights 010714A dozen Red Bank kids led by children’s advocate David Prown chose the winners of this season’s festive lighting contest, sponsored by the borough Parks & Rec department and announced at Wednesday night’s council meeting. First prize went to the Cohen family of 32 South Street, above. Prizes included gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, including Prown’s Home Improvement, Boondocks Fishery, Teak and Foodtown. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

TINTON FALLS: HOUSE FIRE ON REEDS ROAD

Firefighters were on the scene of a blaze at 85 Reeds Road in Tinton Falls early Thursday afternoon. No injuries were immediately reported. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: SANDY SHIFTS TAX BURDEN INLAND

Homes like these on 1st Street could see their taxes rise as a result of falling home values closer to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.  (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Owners of Rumson properties spared damage by Hurricane Sandy will likely see increased  tax bills next year, according to Mayor John Ekdahl.

With a borough-wide property reassessment underway, the mayor said a drop in the value of storm-damaged homes close to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers will require increased taxes on undamaged properties to pay for municipal services.

“Waterfront homes typically get a higher assessment,’’ Ekdahl said. “But this time it’s going to be different.  Homes that were flooded will pay less, and some homes out of the flood zone could expect to see higher taxes.’’

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FAIR HAVEN FACING REASSESSMENT

A townwide reassessment will be the first in 10 years. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven residents can expect a visit later this year from an examiner who will help determine the value of their home and land for property tax bills.

“Field work and analysis will take place this year,” said borough Tax Assessor Steve Walters. “It calls for an interior-exterior inspection of all properties,’’ as well as an analysis of recent home sales, he said.

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