RED BANK: ‘BROADWALK’ TO GO 24/7

A view down Broad Street last Friday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s ‘Broadwalk’ experiment with in-street dining on Broad Street is going 24/7 for at least the next two months.

The change, from a four-day-a-week schedule, goes into effect Thursday, following a  surprise proposal at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

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RED BANK: PLAZA DETAILS STILL IN THE WORKS

red bank monmouth street 060220Monmouth Street between Broad Street and Maple Avenue would become a pedestrian plaza all day on Sundays as part of a recovery plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDetails for turning two downtown Red Bank streets into part-time dining and shopping plazas hinge largely on pending clarity from Trenton, borough officials said Tuesday.

On a Zoom/conference call with merchants, borough officials said they need information from Governor Phil Murphy on key issues before they can finalize plans for allotting sidewalk and street space among restaurants, retailers and others.

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RED BANK: TAX SETTLEMENT POSTPONED

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council postponed action Wednesday night on a proposed tax appeal settlement that would slash the assessment on a downtown bank property by almost one-third.

But the delay, requested by Mayor Pasquale Menna, was not motivated by an objection to the terms of the deal, he said.

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RED BANK: STREET CLOSINGS FOR DINING OK’D

red bank broad street 032720Broad Street would be closed from the intersection with Front Street, above, to Wallace Street three nights a week under the plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTwo major streets in the heart of downtown Red Bank would be closed to traffic to allow mid-street dining and shopping under action taken by the borough council Wednesday night.

The economic recovery measure needed lightning-fast approval so the business district “can to be ready the second we get the call” from Trenton about expected loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano.

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RED BANK: DINING ‘PLAZAS’ ON THE TABLE

Customers dining in the sidewalk seating area of Robinson Ale House on Broad Street in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank officials have formed a committee to “creatively expand outdoor capacity for restaurants and retail sales” as the town embarks on a post-COVID-19 recovery.

One idea the committee is expected to chew over: use of public spaces for outdoor dining.

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RED BANK: STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED; SEATING AT BARS & RESTAURANTS BANNED

red bank catch 19 031520Customers gathered outside Catch 19 restaurant on Broad Street Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See clarification below]

By JOHN T. WARD

this just in redbankgreenRed Bank officials declared a “local state of emergency” Sunday night in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ordering bars, restaurants and other large facilities to cease operations at the end of the day Monday.

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RED BANK: SAXUM PLAN APPROVED

Red bank 176 Riverside saxumSaxum relocated the proposed  pedestrian plaza shown in this rendering from the Riverside Avenue side of the project to the Bodman Place side. (Rendering by MVMK Architecture. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

One of the largest development projects in Red Bank history won planning board approval Monday night.

The OK for 210 apartments at Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place requires developer Saxum Real Estate to seek state approval for a traffic light there. But the project can go ahead even if the request fails.

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RED BANK: BOARD AIRS SAXUM PLAN HURDLES

red bank saxum plan 090419 4A rendering depicts the proposed plaza at Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place that board members raised safety concerns about. (Rendering by Arterial Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Red Bank planning board members aired numerous misgivings about one of the largest development plans in borough history Monday night.

High on the list that developer Saxum Real Estate is expected to address: traffic and pedestrian safety issues. Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL TAKES AIM AT BALLOONS

red bank balloonsCampaign balloons given out at the 2014 Halloween Parade prompted complaints that the event was being politicized. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council may soon take up a proposed ban on mass balloon releases, its members agreed at their workshop meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: ‘SURPRISE’ RIFT OVER YOM KIPPUR

kate triggiano, erik yngstrom, hazim yassin, red bank njNewly sworn council members Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin flank Council President Erik Yngstrom at the council reorganization meeting in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE, October 4: Yom Kippur council meeting canceled for lack of quorum after mayor and council members who voted against having it say they won’t be there, he says on his Facebook page.]

By a split vote, the Red Bank council decided Wednesday night to stick to its schedule and hold its next meeting on Yom Kippur.

The 3-2 outcome of a vote at the council’s workshop meeting caught Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who had argued for a change, off guard.

“We’re going to have the meeting?” she asked. “So we’re keeping the meeting on Yom Kippur?”

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RED BANK: PARKING SYSTEM TO GET MAKEOVER

red bank tom calu meterInterim parking director Tom Calu with a smart meter at Wednesday’s presentation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s entire inventory of parking meters and kiosks is slated for replacement, borough officials said Wednesday, as they debuted a ‘smart’ meter scheduled for rollout curbside early next year.

Meantime, the search for a parking director, the foremost recommendation of a parking study released in January, has been “disappointing,” the official leading the search told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: PLAZA FOCUS OF SAXUM HEARING

176 riverside red bank saxumA rendering depicts the Bodman Place side of the proposed apartment project. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

The fate of one of the largest development plans in Red Bank history remained unresolved Monday night.

At the fourth planning board hearing on the 210-unit apartment complex proposed for the site of the former VNA headquarters, attention centered largely on the wisdom of putting a public plaza on busy Riverside Avenue.

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RED BANK: POOP & MORE DELAY SAXUM VOTE

red bank saxum plan 090419 4A rendering displayed at the planning board depicts a public plaza on the Riverside Avenue side of the proposed apartment project. (Rendering by Arterial. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Unanswered questions held up a planning board vote on one of the largest development plans in Red Bank history Wednesday night.

Among them: where will the poop deposited on the rooftop dog runs go?

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RED BANK: SAXUM CONFRONTS TRAFFIC ISSUE

red bank 176 riverside 080519 3.jpgA rendering shows the Riverside Avenue facade of the proposed apartment project. (Rendering by MVMK Architecture. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Like many motorists, a traffic engineer for one of the largest development plans in Red Bank history found himself confronting an intersection likened to “Russian roulette” Monday night. Read More »

RED BANK: RED ROCK, SECRET STASH WIN OKS

red bank red rock Red Rock Tap + Grill will be permitted to enclose some of its rooftop seasonally and make other site changes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Rock Tap + Grill can convert some of its rooftop space to year-round dining under a decision by Red Bank’s planning board Monday night.

Also, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash can keep its splashy, ordinance-breaking window treatment, the board ruled.

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RED BANK: POWER SWITCH IN THE WORKS

Sample JCP&L bill aggregationBilling for service would continue to come from JCP&L even for those customers who participate in the aggregation plan. (Image by Concord. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In an effort to head off shocks to residents about anticipated changes to their electricity bills, Red Bank official kicked off a public outreach effort Thursday.

Driving the effort: the borough’s planned entry into the “energy aggregation” marketplace, where the local government serves as a bundler of customers to obtain better rates than those offered by Jersey Central Power & Light.

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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: ELECTRICITY DEAL IN THE WORKS

red bank jcp&lJCP&L’s power distribution facility adjoining Mohawk Pond in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank officials are considering passage of a law that would automatically turn Jersey Central Power & Light customers in the borough into customers of another electricity provider unless they opt out.

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RED BANK: SILENCE BY ALL ON HARASSMENT

ziad shehady, stephen hechtBusiness Administrator Ziad Shehady, left, chatting with borough resident Stephen Hecht last May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s elected officials closed the books Wednesday night on a harassment complaint filed against borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

But the public may never know the details of the case, or the recommendations that followed an investigation.

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RED BANK: PARKING REVENUE STILL ON TABLE

pasquale menna, michael ballard, red bank njCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, and Mayor Pasquale Menna on election night 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s mayor and council say they’re “hopeful and optimistic” about implementing the recommendations of a bombshell parking study delivered this month.

The assertion was made Tuesday in an unusual press release that appeared to walk back comments made by Mayor Pasquale Menna and Councilman Michael Ballard to redbankgreen last week, when they termed a key recommendation in the report potentially “catastrophic” and a “terrible hit” for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: ‘WEANING’ FROM METERS UNLIKELY

Using meters to fund town operations leaves the parking utility “without adequate financial resources” for maintenance and upgrades, the report found. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesOne of the key recommendations of a bombshell study of Red Bank parking appears unlikely to be adopted by borough officials anytime soon, redbankgreen has learned.

At issue: the council’s annual siphoning of the surplus generated by parking meters and kiosks in order to slow property tax increases. Ending the practice, says Mayor Pasquale Menna, would be “catastrophic” for taxpayers.

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