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RED BANK: POLS PULL U-TURN ON PARKING

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot, outlined in red above, will be rescinded in an effort to end a lawsuit and address concerns about building size, borough officials said. (Image by Google Maps. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s search for a downtown parking solution took a U-turn Wednesday night, when the borough council put in motion a plan to derail a pending lawsuit by former councilwoman Cindy Burnham that members say has impeded progress.

In what was also described as a “compromise” between Republicans and Democrats over proposed building sizes , the council agreed to scrap a contentious nine-month-old redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot.

At the same time, it knocked out, without much explanation, three of the five developers vying to build a parking deck, and more, on the 2.3-acre site.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE HEARING SLATED

The council will hold a public forum on proposals for the White Street parking site later this month, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost six months after they were submitted and three months after they were the subject of hasty presentations, five proposed plans for the redevelopment of Red Bank’s main downtown parking lot will finally get a public hearing, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: INKY PROBES SEGREGATION CLAIMS

The Red Bank Charter School on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is the Red bank school district segregated? And if so, is the Red Bank Charter School at fault?

An article published Thursday on philly.com, the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer, probes that question, and whether others among New Jersey’s 88 charter schools are also segregated.

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RED BANK: GARAGE BACKERS AIM AT LOGJAM

Roger Mumford, seen here in 2015, has offered a new plan for the White Street parking lot site that garage backers hope will dissolve political opposition to development. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of the five would-be builders of a downtown parking garage has told Red Bank officials he’s willing to build a 773-space parking garage on White Street in exchange for the right to erect 100 homes next door.

Garage advocates touted the informal proposal Wednesday night in the hopes of busting through a political logjam, one they believe has been erected by the three Democrats on the six-member borough council.

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RED BANK: MARCHERS UNITE AGAINST HATRED

Hundreds gathered at borough hall for a rally before a march and vigil, including Mx Rowan, below, who wore a yarmulke with the Hebrew alphabet. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Answering the racist and anti-Semitic shouts heard last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, about 400 Red Bank-area residents gathered Wednesday night to affirm their belief in love over hate.

“We’re all standing here together united in our humanity,” said Hazim Yassin, of the American Muslim Action Network, at a vigil in  Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Park on Shrewsbury Avenue that followed a one-mile march from borough hall. Read More »

RED BANK: NO MOVEMENT ON PARKING

The 2.3-acre White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Nearly two months after five builders presented concept plans for a parking solution on White Street, Red Bank officials have yet to schedule a promised public comment session on the proposals.

That appeared to contribute to frustration voiced during the public comment portion of the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER TAKES STANCE ON LOT

 RiverCenter took no position on the relative merits of five developers’ concept plans for the White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s 500 or nothing, says Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency says in an “open letter” to elected officials that it “cannot and will not” support a plan for a parking garage on White Street that doesn’t yield a net gain of 500 parking spaces on the 2.3-acre site — and none of the five plans submitted by would-be developers currently meets that target, it claims.

Mike Whelan, the councilmember who leads the parking committee, called the organization’s statement a “flip-flop” and a “disservice” to the downtown.

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RED BANK: SECOND-METER ISSUE RETURNS

 Action has been delayed on water meters that would allow Red Bankers to avoid sewerage charges for watering lawns and washing cars, according to the borough administrator. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Where are the water meters that would let Red Bank homeowners irrigate their lawns without incurring sewer charges?

The secondary meters were a hot topic leading up to the borough council’s approval 18 months ago of $3.7 million in bonds to install new primary meters in every home and business, and to cover other upgrades to the municipal water utility.

Since then, though, there’s been little said about the meters — until last week, when the issue sputtered back to life.

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RED BANK: NO CONSENSUS AT PARKING FORUM

Architect Mike Simpson led the business group’s forum at the Red Bank Middle School Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Only 17 or so Red Bank residents turned out on a rainy night for a forum on downtown parking Thursday.

And to the chagrin of the merchant group that sponsored it, few of them seemed to agree that the need for a new parking garage, let alone massive new development to go along with it, has been proven.

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RED BANK: TWO PARKING FORUMS PLANNED

Two public forums are in the works on the question of what to do about parking in downtown Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Residents, merchants and visitors could get two chances to weigh in on downtown Red Bank’s parking crisis — or whether one even exists — at two public events in coming weeks.

Both events were characterized at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting as next-steps responses to five plans presented by would-be developers of the borough-owned parking lot on White Street.

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RED BANK: DEMS BACK ‘PURE’ GARAGE

Councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich, flanked by fellow Democrats Erik Yngstrom and Kathy Horgan in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The three Democrats on the Red Bank council — and a candidate to join them there — endorsed a downtown parking solution that calls for a new White Street garage without additional development Tuesday.

The announcement set the course for a possible head-on collision with the governing body’s three Republicans, who have championed an approach that welcomed the possibility of hundreds of new housing units as well as a parking deck.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLANS GET FIRST AIRING

A standing-room crowd stuck around after the hourlong council meeting for nearly two hours of parking presentations. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At an event with no equal in recent memory, and possibly in the 109-year history of the borough, five would-be developers trotted out plans to remake a large swath of downtown Red Bank Wednesday night.

Mixing elements of beauty pageant and planning board meeting, the special session of the borough parking committee drew a standing-room crowd to hear would-be builders tout their visions for massive parking and housing projects, some with retail thrown in as well.

The event was notable also for who was not there.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLANS MOVE TO THE FORE

Advocates for a White Street garage have brought proposals farther than any in a dozen years, but still face big tests. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It starts to get real this week, when more than a decade’s worth of talk about Red Bank parking moves into a new stage.

Proposals by five would-be developers of a public garage, and possibly much more, on the site of the borough-owned White Street parking lot are scheduled to get their first public airing Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: DEMS GOAD GOP OVER GARAGE

The 273-space White Street was at capacity at midday Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council’s Democrats goaded two of their Republican counterparts Thursday to take sides on pending development proposals for the White Street parking lot.

GOP council members Linda Schwabenbauer and Mark Taylor “are the only two members of the governing body who have not provided the public with their position on the matter in the eight weeks since” five proposals for the site were received, Democrats Ed Zipprich, Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom said in a statement.

“We do not answer to Ed Zipprich,” Schwabenbauer said in response.

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RED BANK: WILL ‘PURE’ GARAGE GET A SHOT?

John Bowers’ plan calls for the borough to build a garage without housing or stores on the White Street lot.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As Red Bank officials, taxpayers and merchants sort through last week’s data dump of ambitious development proposals for the White Street parking lot, John Bowers may hold the wild card.

That’s because the downtown landlord’s proposal is the simplest, cheapest and quickest — and with the sudden shift by three council Democrats, it may also be the most politically palatable. But will it get equal time?

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RED BANK: ZONING SHORTCUT TO GET DO-OVER

Maps showing a potential new “area in need of rehabilitation” as proposed last July, at left, and amended this week, at right. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A push to make the redevelopment of “underutilized” Red Bank properties easier returned to the spotlight Wednesday night, 10 months after it abruptly appeared and quietly vanished.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

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RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL SET FOR MAY 5

 Mayor Pasquale Menna is pictured at right, greeting Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson during the 2016 edition of the Mayor’s Charity Ball. The third annual event is scheduled for the evening of May 5 at the Oyster Point.

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee

For the third year, Mayor Pasquale Menna will be hosting the annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for Friday, May 5 at The Oyster Point Hotel.

The event, which will be emceed by former Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr., will honor businesses, public agencies and individuals that include the Reverend Terrence Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church (Humanitarian Award), Super Foodtown (Industry Award), the Red Bank Police Department (Historical Legacy Award), and Roger Mumford (Urban Development Award).

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RED BANK: PRESSED, ATTORNEY APOLOGIZES

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s borough attorney apologized Wednesday night for a bizarre episode last month in which he redirected a video camera belonging to former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham.

Attorney Greg Cannon offered the mea culpa after being pressed for it by Locust Avenue resident Ben Forest.
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RED BANK: ATTORNEY MAKES ISSUE OF CAMERA

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham blasted borough Attorney Greg Cannon after he redirected a video camera she was using to record the governing body’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

Mid-meeting, while others on the dais were speaking about unrelated matters, Cannon walked from his seat beside Mayor Pasquale Menna to the front row of the audience and re-aimed Burnham’s tripod-mounted camera before returning to his seat.

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RED BANK: WHELAN RUNNING FOR ASSEMBLY

Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan and Ocean Township Deputy Mayor Robert Accera Sr. will anchor a ticket headed by state Senator Jen Beck. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After just 14 months on the Red Bank borough council, Mike Whelan is taking aim at Trenton.

The 25-year-old Republican plans to mount a bid to recapture an 11th-District Assembly seat for his party from first-term incumbents Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling, he told attendees at the GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Freehold Friday.

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RED BANK: LONGTIME MUNICIPAL JUDGE DIES

himelman 030316 5Judge William Himelman swearing in a defendant last year.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

people-in-the-newsRed Bank municipal court Judge William Himelman died Thursday, according to Mayor Pasquale Menna. He was 85 years old.

The circumstances and place of his death were not immediately available.

Believed to have been New Jersey’s longest-serving local court jurist in modern times, if not state history, Himelman presided on the borough bench for 38 years. Long past the age at which others in his position retired, he doled out justice to everyone from cellphone-gabbing motorists and drunk drivers to a pair of men who squared off while naked.

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