By JOHN T. WARD
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Charlie McCague wasn’t looking for a fight or a hassle from anybody. Even standing well over six-feet tall, he comes across as a benevolent guy, his soft Irish brogue offsetting his intimidating stature.
But a hassle of sorts what he got after he bought a long-vacant Victorian at 28 LeRoy Place in Red Bank last year and presented plans to convert it into office space, McCague admits, hesitantly. Some neighbors griped about the idea, and the planning board, which had to approved the change in use, wasn’t uniformly in favor of it, either.
The argument was that the home should stay strictly residential and maintain its historical qualities. A conversion, opponents said, would promote “creeping commercialism” into the area, which is partially zoned for residential and professional office use. Councilwoman Sharon Lee called it “an assault on our historic homes.”
Still, McCague narrowly won approval to make the conversion, and now that work has just wrapped up, the only sign of creeping commercialism appears to be in the back, where a handicapped parking sign is staked in the ground.
A fire damaged at least one apartment in downtown Red Bank late Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters from the borough’s volunteer firefighting squad responded to the alarm at 19 Leroy Place about 4:45p and appeared to have extinguished it by 5:15.