RED BANK: AFTER 26 YEARS, BARR ZONES OUT

donna smith barr 042815 2Zoning officer Donna Smith Barr leaves the job this week after 26 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

people-in-the-newsThe cliches compete: it’s tempting to say Donna Smith Barr has had a front-row seat on Red Bank’s two-decade-long bounceback from “Dead Bank” to today’s bustling burg. But it’s probably more accurate to say she’s been the gatekeeper.

Whether you wanted to put a deck on your house or turn a downtown store into a restaurant, Barr’s office has been the first stop at borough hall. And if she spoke or wrote the word “variance” in response, it probably wasn’t your last, as it would mean the time and expense of making one’s case before the zoning or planning board.

“I’m glad I don’t have to tell people they need variances anymore,” Barr told redbankgreen Tuesday. A single instance is one thing, “but when you do it for 26 years, that’s enough.”

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Last week we got a little trippy with Where Have I Seen This. Couldn’t help ourselves.

We noticed, while seated on a bench across Broad Street in Red Bank from Yestercades one recent evening, that the sunlight on the red brick building on the east side of the street – home to a Merrill Lynch office – is reflected in great detail in the Yestercades window, and that a painting of a woman’s head on that window appears to float over the reflection.

No, we weren’t hallucinating. Click on the original photo above right to see for yourself.

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‘FLOATING’ DOWNTOWN OFFICE WAFTS TO OK

The addition will connect two existing buildings while permitting vehicles to pass underneath. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Framed by talk about its positive effects on lunchtime restaurant business, a plan for an office bridge between two downtown buildings won easy approval from the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.

With no objectors present, the plan by property owner Downtown Investors drew a smattering of questions about window placement and parking, as well as praise by board members.

“I do want to say, another wonderful project by the Hermans,” said member Karen Waldmann, speaking of Downtown Investors principals Jay and Todd Herman.

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ADMITTED SCAMMER GETS SEVEN YEARS

hot-topic rightForty-one-year-old financial advisor Stephen Severio of Fair Haven was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday after admitting that he defrauded clients out of more than $700,000, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Many of the 34 clients Severio admitting bilking were elderly, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, which handled the case.

According to the Press, Severio’s lawyer, Mitchell Ansell:

described Severio as a gambling addict and otherwise law-abiding citizen who lost his career and family, and ultimately all the money, due to his addiction.”What fuels him is in no way an excuse for what he did,” Ansell said.

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