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RED BANK: HIGHER VNA SITE DENSITY URGED

red bank, nj, vna, saxum, 176 riverside aveThe site, at 176 Riverside Avenue, is seen as integral to the borough’s efforts to provide affordable housing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council took steps Wednesday to allow as many as 90 housing units per acre on a key redevelopment site.

But the proposed rezoning of the former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters site would negate a compromise recommendation made by the planning board just last week.

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RED BANK: PLANNERS CAP VNA SITE DENSITY

red bank nj vna 176 riverside saxumRed Bank is negotiating a deal under which the developer would satisfy a “significant” portion of the town’s affordable housing obligation, a lawyer told the board. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe site of a vacant office building in Red Bank is a key element in meeting the borough’s affordable housing obligations, a lawyer told the planning board Monday night.

But a proposal to allow the development of up to 90 units per acre on the 2.7-acre former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters site met continued resistance, despite support from Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: VNA, BANK ST. LOT ON AGENDA

Density giveaways at the former VNA site were an issue for planning board members last month.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: Meeting cancelled for lack of quorum. Next one scheduled for November 19.]

By JOHN T. WARD

On the agenda for Monday night’s Red Bank planning board meeting: continued discussion about whether to create an overlay zone for the former Visiting Nurse Association site, and a plan to build two new homes on Bank Street.

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RED BANK: BREWERY PLAN UP IN THE AIR

The building, formerly home to Fameabilia store, has been vacant since October, 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The fate of a microbrewery proposed for a long-vacant storefront in downtown Red Bank appeared cloudy Thursday night.

The hangup? The two floors of apartments the landlord wants to add to the one-story building.

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RED BANK: PLANNING AND ZONING AGENDAS

The planning board is scheduled to resume its hearing on a proposed new building at 96-98 West Front Street, at the corner of Maple Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s planning board may decide Monday night whether to allow a developer to replace two vacant buildings at a major downtown intersection with a new four-story structure overlooking the Navesink River.

And on Thursday, the zoning board takes up a host of changes sought by the landlord for the Sickles Market Provisions store now under construction.

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RED BANK: WAWA MEGASTORE PLAN YANKED

Former Red Bank mayor Ed McKenna, left, grilled Wawa engineer Mark Whitaker over the proposal at a zoning board hearing in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: This post contains comments from site ower Frank Sala, who was unavailable at the time of the original posting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Wawa’s coffee, subs and gasoline prices may have earned it a devoted following, but a controversial plan to build a supersized convenience store and filling station on Red Bank’s southern border has been withdrawn, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: BRITISH COTTAGE EXPANSION OK’D

The building at left will be torn down to make room for an addition to British Cottage’s main showroom, in the building at center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Architectural rendering by Matt Cronin. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The continual makeover of Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank is about to get another entry.

British Cottage, a furniture store, is planning the latest in a series of expansions over its three decades in town.

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RED BANK: TRAFFIC TALK SLOWS WAWA PLAN

The Wawa site plan, with the store at top and gas pump island shown in yellow, calls for the creation of a new center lane on Newman Springs Road allowing motorists traveling in both directions to make left turns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Like a motorist stuck in rush-hour traffic, a supersized Wawa convenience store and filling station proposed for a problematic Red Bank intersection inched forward Thursday night.

At issue as the zoning board weighs the plan: whether the project would make congestion worse or improve traffic flow near the intersection of Newman Springs Road and Broad Street.

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RED BANK: BROKEN PIPE BLAMED FOR SEWAGE

The house at 251 Drs. Parker Boulevard had human waste spilling into the side yard from a pipe through the basement wall for at least two years, a neighbor said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A routine Red Bank zoning board hearing took disturbing turn last week.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PROJECT BEGINS

A decade after a nursing home was demolished there, site work has begun on an empty lot near the heart of downtown Red Bank.

What’s Going On Here? Click ‘read more’ to find out. (Photo by John T. Ward.. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: CRAFT BREWERY, TAKEOUT PLANNED

The former Fameabilia store space will be divided in two to house a craft brewery and a take-out restaurant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[SEE CORRECTIONS BELOW]

By JOHN T. WARD

Nine years after its last tenant departed, and four years after it was approved for restaurant use, a large retail space in downtown Red Bank is slated to get two new tenants, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN APARTMENTS OK’D

Mayor Pasquale Menna explains his vote to approve the project, a rendering of which is seen on a computer screen in the foreground. At left is board Engineer Ed Herrman. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank won unanimous planning board approval Monday night.

First, however, several critics, including two board members, took parting shots at a process that kept the controversial plan alive for a year after it was rejected by the zoning board.

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RED BANK: APARTMENTS & EATERY ON DECK

Up for review at Monday night’s meeting of the Red Bank planning board: the Element, seen above, a 35-unit apartment complex proposed for a vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. The controversy-stirring plan could go to a final up-or-down vote.

Also scheduled: a proposed makeover for 26 West Front Street, right, last operated as Caliente Cantina, and not long before that, 10th Ave. Burrito Co. The plan calls for the addition of a 1,000-square-foot outdoor deck with views of the Navesink River. Here’s more info about the plan.

And here’s the full agenda for the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. (Renderings by Rotwein + Blake, above, and Cahill Studio, right. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: PLAN PANNED FOR LOOKS, PARKING

An architect’s depiction of the Element, as seen from the north side side of West Front Street. (Rendering by Rotwein + Blake. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A new round of hearings on the Element, a proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank, began Wednesday night with concerns raised about parking adequacy and aesthetics.

Mayor Pasquale Menna called the appearance of the structure “bulky and not very inviting,” while several residents challenged a traffic consultant’s claim that the project’s on-site parking was sufficient.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN RETURNS

A view of the proposed project, as seen from the opposite side of West Front Street. (Rendering by Rotwein + Blake. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several months of dormancy, one of Red Bank’s more hotly disputed land-use proposals is expected to return next week.

The owners of the vacant downtown lot at 55 West Front Street are scheduled to try once again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building that the zoning board shot down almost a year ago, triggering a series of measures that split the borough council for much of the year.

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RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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FAIR HAVEN: WHAT RESIDENTS LIKE, OR DON’T

fh river rd 042016 2A survey found general satisfaction with the older, eastern business district, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03There are too many street lights on River Road. There aren’t enough on Third Street. New and remodeled homes are too big.

So say some Fair Haven residents in a new and extensive survey of on the physical attributes of the town as it begins mapping out its future.

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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FAIR HAVEN: INPUT WANTED ON PLANNING

fh-boro-hallThe Fair Haven Planning Board is conducting a survey as it prepares to create an updated Master Plan, asking residents whether they think downtown signs are too big, how their children get to school, how they would feel about a dog park in town and more.

Resident input “is critical to help us prioritize and ensure that we’re not missing any issues important to residents and visitors,” says board member Jake Rue. The online survey is here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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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RED BANK: MINUTES IN HISTORY

rb records 021115 2rb records 021115 1Workers from the digital archiving company DRS Group roll up old plats on the floor of the planning and zoning office in Red Bank Wednesday afternoon for transfer to a scanning facility in Springfield. At right, Ricardo Peetes rides down in the elevator at borough hall with a palette load of documents.

As part of a digitization project, the minutes of planning and zoning board applications dating back to 1929 – minus a decade’s worth from the 1950s that are believed to have been destroyed in a fire – are being scanned and transferred to both digital files and microfilm, says office director Donna Smith-Barr. Once that’s complete, the borough will apply to the state for permission to destroy the hundreds of site plans, architects’ renderings and other large pieces used as evidence in hearings, she said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: JUST ANOTHER TEARDOWN?

8 navesink ave 0901148 navesinkA riverfront mansion in Rumson may put a new spin on the concept of real estate teardowns. The 12,000-square-foot house at 8 Navesink Avenue, with eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, was razed recently. The property was the subject of a live auction in July, 2013, when it failed to attract a single offer at the minimum bid of $2.6 million. Four months later, however, it sold for $5.6 million to Dennis and Marshall Lynch, according to Monmouth County records. The Lynches won planning board approval in April to build a new residence on the 1.9-acre site. (Photo above by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)