RED BANK, NJ: Mayor Pat Menna opened the online council meeting with all councilpersons in attendance except for Hazim Yassin.

Resolution to fund engineering firm CME Associates to provide a preliminary report to see if “certain properties within the Borough adjacent to Route 35 and Riverside Avenue meet the criteria to be designated as an “area in need of redevelopment.”  The property is the former Visiting Nurses Association located at the foot of Coopers Bridge on Rt. 35.

In December 2019, Saxum Real Estate won approval to demolish the former VNA building and construct a new five-story mixed use structure with 210 residential apartments including 9,000 sf of commercial space. 

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Saxum requested the study and is paying the estimated $19,500 cost through their escrow account.

Councilman Michael Ballard questioned, “Why are we doing this?  The Planning Board approved this.  This area has already been determined to be in need of an area in need of rehabilitation.  How does this help our residents?  What is the purpose of this?”

Mayor Pat Menna responded, “Let’s wait for the report, and maybe we’ll be provided with other information.  It certainly does not include any other properties. It’s been requested that we do it, and we’ll entertain a review if it makes sense. 

We talked about this in executive session, and you were given an advisory opinion by our redevelopment attorney.  We’re not going to get into that discussion which is all the more reason I’ve always wanted the executive minutes to be recorded,” said Menna.

“In a nutshell, this is to help the town meet its affordable housing obligation,” said borough attorney Greg Cannon.

Asked by Councilman Ed Zipprich to clarify the difference between an area in need of rehabilitation versus an area in need of redevelopment, Cannon said, “The rehabilitation area has lower criteria, so there’s fewer government powers to interfere with the real estate market. This area has been determined to meet the need of rehabilitation.

This (resolution) is a study funded by the developer to determine whether this is an area in need of redevelopment.  There are higher and more stringent criteria in the (redevelopment) statue.”

The resolution was approved with only Ballard voting “No.”

To listen to this discussion, click HERE, and scroll to time 37:32.

The best news of the night was the unanimous vote to confirm former Red Bank High School Athletic Director Louis ‘Del’ Dal Pra as the new Director of Recreation. To read a previous TAPinto Red Bank article on Dal Pra, click HERE.

The Annual Tax Report was submitted by the Tax Collector.

To read the entire agenda, click HERE.

To watch the video of the meeting, courtesy of Suzanne Viscomi, click HERE.

The next Workshop meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 28.

Council Meeting Public Comment Protocols

 To read the resolution on the Public Comment Protocols, click HERE.

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