RED BANK: BANK STREET SHITHOLE PERSISTS

red bank poku shithole 90 bank streetThe porch and yards surrounding 90 Bank Street are crammed with items and vehicles that the owner calls “assets.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNine months after Red Bank’s most prominent residential shithole was in a media spotlight, the situation just keeps getting worse, neighbors say.

Now, after years of litigation over summonses, the borough is going after the owners in civil court, hoping to win an order allowing the town to remove all the junk at their expense.

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RED BANK: AU REVOIR, CÉ LA VI

RED BANK CE LA VIA Singapore-based restaurant has threatened to sue Cé La Vi over its use of the name. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njLess than two weeks after it opened, a Red Bank restaurant with an Americanized French name has been threatened with a trademark infringement lawsuit.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL DROPS REVERSE APPEALS

red bank nj oceanfirst hqThe OceanFirst Bank headquarters was the subject of a reverse appeal case settled Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBombarded by criticism from the business community, the Red Bank council on Wednesday dropped a plan to pursue a new round of  “reverse appeals” against commercial properties it believed to be undertaxed.

But first, the council approved the settlement of an older reverse appeal that will boost the taxable value of a downtown building by 69 percent over three years. And battles over cases filed in 2018 continue.

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RED BANK: ‘REVERSE’ TAX APPEALS ON AGENDA

8 east front st. red bank njA law firm hired by the borough says 8 East Front Street, which sold last year for $5.68 million, is improperly assessed at just under $3 million. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesA year after authorizing a law firm to go after owners of properties believed to be undertaxed, the Red Bank council is expected to renew its “aggressive” approach this week.
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FAIR HAVEN: HOUSING PLAN DRAWS FIRE

fair haven nj fair share housing overlay A new overlay zone centered on the western business district would encourage development of low- and moderate-income housing, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFair Haven residents packed a hearing on zoning changes written to show “the right gestures” toward providing 370 new homes for low- and moderate-income earners Tuesday night.

But the planning board board’s determination to immediately vote on a complex proposal it had just unveiled irked many who sat through the three-hour session as much as the substance of the changes.

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SHREWSBURY: PANTER CLAIMS WIN v. O’REILLY

By JOHN T. WARD

shrewsbury, nj, mike panter, michael panterA Shrewsbury man claimed victory Tuesday in a yearlong legal standoff with former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly.

Former New Jersey Assemblyman Mike Panter, right, said O’Reilly dropped a $5 million defamation suit he’d filed over a Facebook post in which Panter recounted an ex-girlfriend’s allegations of sexual harassment by the combative TV host.

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RED BANK: POKU CLAIMS RACIAL PREJUDICE

An undated drone shot shows the collection of vehicles and trash in Poku’s backyard. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The owner of a Red Bank residential property packed with rusting vehicles and other junk told a TV news program on Tuesday that he’s a victim of racial prejudice.

William Poku, whose property was the subject of a report by redbankgreen earlier in the day, also denied that he’s hoarding junk.

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RED BANK: JUNK-FILLED YARD IRKS NEIGHBORS

Clutter fills the front porch at 90 Bank Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The house at 90 Bank Street in Red Bank has been vexing neighbors for years.

It’s surrounded on three sides by a massing of cars, trucks and hard-to-discern clutter. The porch, with collapsing rain gutters, appears to groan under the weight of piled boxes. And the mess continues in the street out front, where neighbors say rusting vehicles have sat for years.

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RED BANK: COURT NIXES TAX ACTION

The borough’s attempt to revoke Riverview’s tax exemption for two years amounted to a “fishing expedition” in search of justification, the court ruled.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank can’t retroactively revoke the tax-exemption for Riverview Medical Center, New Jersey’s tax court ruled last week.

In attempting to do so, the borough was improperly hoping that a “fishing expedition” in the form of legal action would turn up evidence that the hospital, owned by Hackensack Meridian Health, was being used as a for-profit facility, the court ruled. Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS ‘REVERSE’ APPEALS

Mayor Pasquale Menna shows off the 1925 and 1926 tax bills for a Red Bank property during Wednesday’s council meeting. How much were they? Read on. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The borough of Red Bank, hammered in recent years by tax appeals, is going “aggressive” at the urging of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved hiring a law firm to sue commercial property owners whose assessments appear to be low relative to the real estate market.

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LITTLE SILVER: HARASSMENT SUIT COST $290K

carolyn kossack 090612Superintendent Carolyn Kossack, seen here in 2012.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03lawsuit that accused Little Silver’s school superintendent of same-sex sexual harassment was settled for $290,000, a website focused on government settlements reported Monday.

The case, which also alleged wrongful termination, was resolved last November, but its monetary details were not previously disclosed.

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RED BANK: LIVING SHORELINE HITS HARD STOP

WhatsGoingOnHererbpl bulkhead 061016 2The new Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, as seen from the natural shoreline at Maple Cove. Below, a June, 1906 Red Bank Register article reported on Sigmund Eisner’s plans for the property, including the installation of a bulkhead. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
eisner bulkhead June 6, 1906

This month 110 years ago, the Navesink River site that would later become the home of the Red Bank Public Library was about to get its first bulkhead.

Over the ensuing century, such hard-stop bulkheads came to be regarded as a flawed means of protecting shorelines: less effective at blunting storm ravages than natural shores, and unfriendly to marine life. So when it authorized a controversial new bulkhead two years ago, the borough council relented to public pressure and asked that the replacement incorporate whatever elements possible to make it more like a so-called living shoreline.

In the end, however, the new bulkhead, completed this month. is pretty much the same as the old one.

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LITTLE SILVER: HARRASSMENT SUIT SETTLED

carolyn kossack 090612Superintendent Carolyn Kossack, seen here in 2012.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Little Silver Board of Education has approved a proposed settlement of a lawsuit against Superintendent Carolyn Kossack alleging same-sex sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

The case involved allegations by JoAnn Riley, of Edison, who claimed she was just four months into her job as a $105,000-a-year special services supervisor when she was abruptly fired.

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RED BANK: TENNIS FANS MUSTER FOR COURTS

rb tennis 111015 2The tennis courts, overgrown with weeds since being swamped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago, got a sprucing-up from the borough last week. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the Red Bank council derailed an ambitious plan for $3.5 million worth of private development on the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park Monday night.

Still, a roomful of frustrated tennis enthusiasts packed the council chambers, many of them holding paper signs urging the council to now restore the hurricane-damaged riverfront courts to playability.

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RED BANK: MARINE PARK PROJECTS NIXED

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03All three private-sector proposals for the future of Red Bank’s hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts should be rejected, a triumverate of borough council members is expected to say in a report next week.

The recommendation to the full council is being made in spite of the fact that one pitch, by startup Jetsun Enterprises, was far and away the winner on paper. But in the court of public opinion, it was over the line, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen on Monday.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM BLASTS PARK DELAY

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after three proposals were submitted, the Red Bank council has yet to receive a recommendation on the future of the hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts, and may not get one before election day.

That has Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham — who redbankgreen has learned was chastised behind closed doors by her colleagues for saying too much about the issue — ramping up her complaints that there’s something “fishy” going on.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL GIRDS FOR POSSIBLE SUIT

rb tennis 081915 1The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month, above. Below, an architect’s depiction of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 3 041515Red Bank’s mayor and council held a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss potential litigation over the process that could lead to a makeover of the hurricane-damaged clay tennis courts in Marine Park.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen shortly beforehand that the topics to be discussed by the governing body in executive session included “possible litigation” concerning the tennis court site, though he declined to be more specific.

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AS EXPECTED, WELSH FARMS HEADS TO COURT

The owner of the store had sought a variance for an expansion and signage, but was derailed by a last-minute change in the noise ordinance.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank planning board’s rejection of a proposal to turn a Welsh Farms convenience store into a 24-hour 7-Eleven has triggered a lawsuit.

Dina Enterprises, owner of the East Front Street store, filed suit in state Superior Court in Freehold August 8, claiming the board kowtowed to public opposition and exercised “palpable abuse of its discretionary authority” in rejecting an expansion variance in May.

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GADFLIES CHALLENGE YMCA SETTLEMENT

bill-meyerThe Red Bank council took heat over the deal from lawyer Bill Meyer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s litigation with the Community YMCA is near an end, but Mayor Pasquale thinks borough officials may not be finished making trips to Superior Court in Freehold.

After a three-hour meeting that included nearly two hours of grilling by local watchdogs, the council passed a resolution approving a settlement that allows the nonprofit to sell the former borough police state at 51 Monmouth Street to its neighbor, St. James RC Church/Red Bank Catholic High School. The settlement puts to rest the second of two suits that had pitted the Y against the borough.

But comments from the public suggest Red Bank may be in for more legal work.

“I think there’s going to be a challenge to our action,” Menna told redbankgreen afterward.

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LAWSUIT TO COST BOROUGH $125,000

51-monmouthThe former police station, with the Relief Engine Company firehouse attached at right, is on both state and national registers of historic places. (Click to enlarge)

Public comment on a proposed settlement of a long-simmering dispute over the former Red Bank police station was temporarily halted Wednesday night after a resident questioned whether the issue had been properly advertised.

But not before borough officials outlined the terms of the deal with the Community YMCA that will cost borough taxpayers $125,000 over five years — and not before residents began castigating it as a no-win deal for the town.

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