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SEA BRIGHT: SEASONAL PARKING FEES DEBUT

sb parking 052616 4sb parking 052616 2With the wraps scheduled to come off new kiosks at the start of the Memorial Day weekend Friday, Sea Bright employees got a primer on the internal workings of the machines from a vendor Thursday.

After a threatened lawsuit by local business owners was withdrawn, the borough council earlier this month set a $1-per-hour rate for parking in municipal lots. The fees are imposed summer-only, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL OK’S BASIE PARKING DEAL

rb parking 041316 2The Count Basie Theatre, seen at right above, will be allowed to charge patrons park in the Red Bank two areas of the borough hall lot, including the new section, above, with the town getting half the revenue.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It’s a scenario all too familiar to civically minded citizens and, ahem, the occasional reporter: you arrive at Red Bank’s borough hall as much as an hour ahead of a government meeting, and already the parking lot is packed with cars belonging to patrons of the Count Basie Theatre across the street. And good luck finding a space nearby.

But now, borough officials say they’ve resolved the turf war that flares up whenever the Basie has an event at the same time as a municipal meeting.

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RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: TAXPAYER BUDGET Q&A SLATED

rb boro hall 041416taxesFor the 10th year in a row, Red Bank borough government department heads are scheduled to offer presentations on their 2016 budget proposals at a public information session scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at at borough hall.

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RED BANK: STEEP PARKING FEE HIKE PROPOSED

rb parking 041416 2Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, while metered spots on the street would see a 50-percent increase. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s council laid two controversial proposals on the table Wednesday night:

• a budget that debuts with a 5.5-percent property-tax increase

• and a plan to soften the blow to taxpayers with a sharp increase in parking fees.

The backlash to the parking plan was immediate, both in the audience and on the governing body’s dais.

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RED BANK: PARK THIS WAY

rb parking 041916LicPlate1Council President Cindy Burnham, left, and downtown business owners Wendy Jones and George Lyristis gathered to watch the installation of a new parking sign at Broad Street and Wallace Street in Red Bank Tuesday morning. All three expressed hope that better signage for the underutilized East Side lots will relieve pressure in the White Street and English Plaza lots. 

Red Bank Flavour, a consortium of downtown restaurants, picked up the$1,500 tab for the sign; Burnham said she hopes to have the borough install six more.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: MORE PARKING AT BOROUGH HALL

rb parking 04136106 monmouth 080814Workers are putting the finishing touches on a parking lot expansion at Red Bank’s borough hall, which now has a dozen new parking spaces, above. The additional spots are on the site of a borough-owned house, right, that had been used for records storage and as a police gym. The house was demolished in 2o14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LONE PARKING SIGN TO GO UP

rb wallace 041416 1Below, a rendering indicates the size and height of the sign, but not the actual location; it’s to be installed on a lamppost at Broad Street and Wallace Street, above.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb parking sign 041316 3After years of clamoring by merchants and others, downtown Red Bank is about to get new signage indicating the existence and location of its underutilized East Side parking lots.

“Signage” as in a single sign.

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RED BANK: PARKING IDEA SPUTTERS

rb white meter 112415A proposal to extend meter enforcement hours appeared to get no traction Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe Red Bank council postponed the introduction of the first majority-Republican budget in a generation Wednesday.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who’s heading up the budget-writing finance committee, said she wanted more time to hear suggestions from residents and business owners on how to reduce a prospective tax increase.

But one of Schwabenbauer’s own suggestions — increasing the number of hours for which metered parking is in effect — appeared to be a non-starter.

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RED BANK: GOP DRAFT BUDGET HAS TAXES UP

schwabenbauer 010216 2Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee, says there’s been a “severe” drop in revenue from last year along with an increase in expenses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe first majority-Republican Red Bank budget in a generation is set to make its debut this week, and it comes with a likely tax hike.

While officials are hopeful they can trim the increase, the draft budget shows a 5.5-percent jump in the municipal levy, or roughly $115 a year for the owner of a residential property assessed at the average $354,497, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer tells redbankgreen.

One way to soften the impact, she said, is to extend the hours for which parking fees are collected.

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RED BANK: REJECTED PLAN GETS SECOND SHOT

55 w front 092315The project, dubbed the Element, would be built on West Front Street next door to Trinity Episcopal Church. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed 35-unit apartment building rejected by the Red Bank zoning board last week may end up getting built anyway.

The borough council on Wednesday night began a process that could lead to the construction of the Element apartments on West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park, without the developer having to appeal the zoning board’s denial of last Thursday.

And the council was acting, said Mayor Pasquale Menna, on a request made by the developer less than 24 hours after the zoning board rejection.

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RED BANK: ZONERS NIX APARTMENT PLAN

55 w front 040215 2The project, dubbed the Element, called for 35 rental units on a site previously approved for 27 condos. (Architect’s rendering. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s zoning board rejected plans for a 35-unit apartment building on a long-vacant downtown lot Thursday night.

The proposed structure — at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park — was shot down on a motion by presumptive Democratic council candidate Erik Yngstrom, who said it was too dense.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, who was in the audience, was sharply critical of the decision.

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SANDY HOOK: TRUCK EATS TO REPLACE STANDS

imageJB Wood Fired Pizza at Sandy Hook in June, 2015. Below, the concession stand at lot B is among three to be torn down and replaced by food trucks.  (Photo above by Jim Willis, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

sandy hook concession 090114Never restored after Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, three of the six concession stands at Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook will be demolished and replaced with food trucks and vending machines, according to a report by NJ.com.

Park superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian told the news site that stands at areas B, C and E will be demolished, with utility hookups installed at areas C and E for the mobile food trucks and vending machines.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS STEP ON PARKING

rb white st 070915 3The planning board was directed to evaluate the borough-owned White Street lot for its “suitability” for a parking garage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
LicPlate1

After months of silence on the issue, a possible parking garage in downtown Red Bank finally got its wheels on what could be a long up-ramp to reality Wednesday night.

Despite misgivings voiced by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham that doing so might attract “an overload of engineers,” the borough council unanimously agreed to have the the planning board determine whether the municipal lot on White Street “satisfies the criteria for designation as a noncondemnation redevelopment area.”

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SHREWSBURY: SHADOWBROOK PLAN ON DECK

shadowbrook-estateThe opulent Shadowbrook facility, which is not visible from any public street, is surrounded by homes and accessed via a single, long driveway, below. (Photo above from the Shadowbrook website; below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

shadowbrook 092615A plan to more than double the size of the Shadowbrook catering facility in Shrewsbury has neighbors concerned about added traffic, spillover parking and noise.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER GOES IN ON PARKING

rb white st 070915 2Officials say they need to find out what’s underneath the asphalt of the White Street lot before deciding on how to use the property.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1In the first step toward a possible construction of a new parking facility on White Street, Red Bank RiverCenter has agreed to share in the costs of soil testing, redbankgreen has learned.

The borough government and the autonomous downtown promotion agency are close to a formal agreement under which the two would split the estimated $80,000 cost of the work, RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone said Friday.

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RED BANK: STREETSCAPE PROJECTS PLANNED

rb schiff lot 081315The fence and sign bordering the onetime Steinbach’s department store parking lot on Broad Street, above, will be transformed into a landscaped seating area, shown in an aerial concept drawing below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

133 broad 081215Two Red Bank parking lots are in for some dolling-up.

RiverCenter, the downtown promotion agency, plans to spruce up the former Steinbach’s parking lot on Broad Street with landscaping and benches, and to replace two stone pillars at the north entrance to the English Plaza lot, officials said in a presentation to the borough council Wednesday night.

And RiverCenter is working on a streetscape plan for a portion of White Street, including the southern entrance to English Plaza, said executive director Jim Scavone.

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LITTLE SILVER: OLD HOUSE TO BE RAZED


benevedis 070915 3
The borough-owned Benevedis house, at the entrance to Sickles Park, was badly damaged when a radiator burst during February’s cold snap, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Standing as it does next door to a farmhouse that traces its origins to the early 1700s, the so-called Benevedis house in Little Silver might strike passersby as a relic of American agricultural history, too.

Well, it is 112 years old, according to Monmouth County records. Otherwise, though, the borough-owned house at 221 Rumson Road appears to have no historic value, local officials say. It’s also now badly damaged as a result of a leak from a radiator that burst over the winter.

So in keeping with a plan contemplated when the town bought the property nine years ago, the house is coming down to make way for parking, with the reluctant endorsement of a preservationist.

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RED BANK: MENNA TOUTS PARKING “SOLUTION”

white st 072413The borough-owned White Street lot, which may offer relief to downtown parking woes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Taking heat from a restaurateur, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said Wednesday night that the long-awaited “next step” toward a possible parking garage downtown is coming within the next two weeks.

Menna’s pledge also came as the town council, on a 4-2 vote, agreed to extend by six months a moratorium on fees imposed almost exclusively on new restaurants that need parking variances to open.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP-UP

rbcs 061015Seventh-graders from the Red Bank Charter School presented a report on “serving a healthy town,” and Mayor Pasquale Menna, below, returned to the dais after heart surgery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 061015Here’s some of what went on at the semimonthly meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night:

• Mayor Pasqule Menna presided over his first meeting following a month away following open-heart surgery. He thanked Council President Art Murphy for filling in for him at various events, and for “chauffering me around – ‘Driving Mr. Daisy,’ I suppose,” he said.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN GETS HOSED AGAIN

Bellhaven Wetland Map 1Critics contend the Bellhaven sprayground has little popular support.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It wasn’t on the agenda, but a proposed water playground on Red Bank’s West Side spewed back to the fore Wednesday night.

At issue: whether to keep spending money on prep work for the controversial four-year-old project, which has been temporarily derailed by the discovery of heating oil in the soil.

Counting at least three prospective “no” votes on the six-member council, Republican Cindy Burnham asked: “Why do we continue to use taxpayer money to pay [engineering consultant] T&M Associates for soil testing and permits?”

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS NEW HIRE

e mcdermott 042215 2In a budget presentation, library director Elizabeth McDermott said the institution had recovered from events that “devastated” it in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

At Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the borough council, Red Bank officials authorized a new hire, passed a passel of bond ordinances and got an update on the public library’s finances a year after a mass resignation of board members.

Those agenda items and more get the bullet-point treatment below…

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