RED BANK: BOARD NIXES REDEVELOPMENT BID

Saxum owns the former VNA site, viewed here from the former Raceway gas station on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSaxum Real Estate‘s request for a controversial zoning change in Red Bank hit a solid brick wall Monday night.

At a meeting that lasted just 12 minutes, the borough planning board unanimously rejected a proposal that objectors feared would lead to massive tax breaks for the developer.

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RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH ON PAUSE

Chief Darren McConnell at National Night Out in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicOne of two Red Bank council members who last week called the search for a new borough administrator “stalled” said he learned only this weekend that his colleagues had halted the search weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, two others on the all-Democratic council, as well as Mayor Pasquale Menna, said they’re happy with the job police Chief Darren McConnell is doing as interim administrator, and feel no pressure to replace him.

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RED BANK: REFLECTIONS ON SEPTEMBER 11

Former Red Bank fire chief Wayne Hartman tolled a bell in memory of 343 New York City fireighters who who died at the World Trade Center. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

On a swath of Riverside Gardens Park lawn emblazoned with a temporary memorial, Red Bank residents and others gathered Saturday morning to remember the 2,996 lives taken on American soil on September 11, 2001.

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RED BANK: TWO CALL EXEC SEARCH “STALLED”

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyFormer Business Administrator Ziad Shehady, right, with council members Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith a second vacancy in a key position looming, Red Bank’s search for a borough administrator has stalled without explanation, say two council members.

And the current, interim holder of the position, police Chief Darren McConnell, tells redbankgreen” that there has been no recent movement” toward a replacement.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, however, disagrees, and says the local government is operating “in stellar fashion” under McConnell.

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RED BANK: TOP TWO JOBS OPEN AS CFO QUITS

Peter O’Reilly, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, and since-departed Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in May, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAfter just two and a half years, Red Bank is back in the market for a borough chief financial officer.

With the departure of Peter O’Reilly, who submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday, the top two jobs at town hall are now vacant.

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RED BANK: BALLARD TOUTS NEW FEE LAW

Part of a recent building boom, 170 Monmouth Street is being converted from offices to residences, as seen in June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard says a newly enacted ordinance will help address the impact of “explosive development” on borough infrastructure and taxes.

But only if it doesn’t get thrown out by a judge, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN APPROVED

A view of the north side of the proposed Shrewsbury Manor at Allen Place. (Rendering by Michels & Waldron. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A plan to build 10 new apartments on the site of a Victorian house won approval from the Red Bank planning board Monday night.

The applicant also garnered praise from the board chairman for not pushing for more.

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RED BANK: ROUNTREE OK’D OVER OBJECTIONS

Cherron Rountree, bottom left, during the Redevelopment Agency’s June 22 meeting Tuesday. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s council hired a new executive director for the borough redevelopment agency Wednesday night over objections based on her inclusion in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The dispute highlighted competing interpretations of who should get the benefit of doubt in a so-called “me-too” case.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HOSE FIREWORKS

“If you can hear it, and you can see it over the trees in your backyard, it’s not permitted,” said Fire Marshal Tommy Welsh. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDays after a booming Fourth of July weekend, Red Bank officials said they’re ready to enforce a ban on unauthorized fireworks.

At their monthly workshop session Wednesday night, Mayor Pasquale Menna and council members outlined a proposed ordinance aimed at boosting enforcement of state law.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL CONTROL VOTE SCHEDULED

Henry Perez with opossums orphaned when their mother was hit by a car in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicHowls of protest are expected Wednesday night when the Red Bank council considers a proposal to scrap its in-house animal control service.

In addition to eliminating the position of animal control officer, held for the past 18 years by Henry Perez, the council would shift the work for the second half of 2021 to the Monmouth County SPCA, a change opponents say would delay responses.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL OPERATION ON THE BLOCK

Animal Control Officer Henry Perez with a bat removed from a Madison Avenue home in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicIn a move that has animal advocates alarmed, Red Bank is looking at jobbing out its animal control operation.

They say replacing the in-house service with the Monmouth County SPCA would reduce response times and service.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: TOWN HALL ON FISH KILL SOUGHT

Fish carcasses on the shoreline at Maple Cove in Red Bank Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials this week called on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to host a virtual town hall meeting to address concerns about a fish kill the agency has called the “most severe” in recent memory.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HIRE SEARCH FIRM

Borough hall remains closed due to the pandemic, so the council will meet again via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council will officially start the search for a new borough administrator when it meets this week.

Not on the agenda: a measure to authorize a charter study to review the form of government in place here since 1908.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL MAY REOPEN VNA PLAN

176 riverside red bank saxumThe former Visiting Nurse Association site on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials may soon revisit development approvals for the former Visiting Nurse Association property on Riverside Avenue, following a process kicked off Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: TOP JOB OPEN AT TIME OF STRIFE

red bank, nj, ken deroberts, pasquale mennaZiad Shehady, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna listen as consultant Ken DeRoberts, in foreground, addresses the council in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe resignation of Red Bank’s business administrator after only three years last week was the result of scheming by political enemies, Mayor Pasquale Menna contends.

Now, a prevailing atmosphere of “dysfunction” will “absolutely” make it harder to fill the town’s top unelected position, he told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: DEMS’ INFIGHTING ESCALATES

Ed Zipprich, left, with husband J.P. Nicolaides holding a Bible, recites the oath of office in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With nine weeks to go in a rare primary race for Red Bank council, a civil war within the Democratic party intensified this week. Read More »

RED BANK: SHEHADY RESIGNS TOP BORO JOB

Ziad Shehady in his borough hall office in June, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[This post has been updated since it was first published.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter only three years on the job, Ziad Shehady is resigning as Red Bank’s top unelected official, he told the borough council behind closed doors Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: DEMS CALL FOR CHARTER STUDY

Kathy Horgan with fellow Democrats and council members Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Again taking aim at their own party’s chairman, four Red Bank council members and Mayor Pasquale Menna have called for a charter study to review the borough’s form of government – and possibly, change the electoral process.

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RED BANK: STILL NO MOVEMENT ON REFORM

Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking with activist Ben Forest in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Nearly three years after they briefly moved to the fore, calls to reform Red Bank’s government and electoral process have yet to yield noticeable results.

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RED BANK: SENIOR & REC PLANS REVIEWED

A concept plan showing facilities at the southern entrance to Count Basie Fields includes an indoor basketball court. (Screenshot from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank Redevelopment Agency began sorting through concept plans for possible new senior citizen and recreation facilities Tuesday.

Added to the “fix it now” demand by advocates of a stand-alone Senior Center was a new one: leave the outdoor basketball courts at Count Basie Fields alone.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI REBUTS RACISM CHARGE

Sue Viscomi at a school board meeting in March, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree Red Bank council members were silent Wednesday in the face of accusations that one of them had smeared a resident by accusing her of using “racist” language last month.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY SLATES PUBLIC FORUMS

Ziad Shehady at borough event in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA week after announcing he was stepping down from a position that had become a “lightning rod” for criticism, Red Bank Borough Administrator Ziad Shehady said he plans to host a pair of public roundtables on a wide range of issues later this month.

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