Red Bank Planning Board approves building with 210 apartments and retail space


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Members of the Red Bank Planning Board have approved a developer’s proposal to construct a 210-unit apartment building at the corner of Bodman Place and Riverside Avenue in Red Bank.

The property was included in a redevelopment plan that was adopted by the Borough Council on Dec. 12, 2018. The construction of 210 rental apartments, with 32 apartments set aside as affordable housing, will help satisfy pending affordable housing litigation, according to municipal officials.

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All six three-bedroom apartments in the building will be designated as affordable housing, according to representatives of the applicant.

Following his “yes” vote on a motion to approve the application, Mayor Pasquale Menna, who sits on the board, said, “I believe in affordable housing and this (project) is the largest, single most positive improvement by the borough in terms of providing affordable housing for those of our residents who cannot afford … living on the river.”

Testimony on behalf of the applicant, 176 Riverside, LLC, concluded at the Planning Board’s meeting at Borough Hall on Dec. 2.

176 Riverside was seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to demolish the vacant Visiting Nurse Association building and a separate two-story structure. A new five-story mixed use building will be constructed on the 2.44-acre property.

In final testimony regarding the application, landscape architect David Lustberg said the the outdoor plaza – a seating area – has been relocated at the request of residents who live near the site.

Previously,  the 1,000-square-foot plaza was proposed near what residents described as a busy intersection at the corner of Route 35 and Riverside Avenue. They explained that vehicles traveling through the intersection would present a safety concern for people at the outdoor plaza.

Lustberg said the applicant agreed to move the outdoor plaza to a location on Bodman Place, away from the intersection of Route 35 and Riverside Avenue.

Borough Engineer Edward Herrman called the relocation of the plaza “positive for the application.”

“In the place where the plaza was formerly (proposed), we have expanded the size of the (proposed) rain garden,” Lustberg said, adding that a rain garden will now be twice its initial size.

During a previous meeting, residents and borough officials called a potential left turn by vehicles from Bodman Place to Riverside Avenue a dangerous movement.

When turning left, motorists must cross several lanes of traffic. This vehicular movement occurs next to the property to be developed.

To address that issue, the applicant agreed to pay 80% of the cost to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Bodman Place and Riverside Avenue. Testimony presented at the meeting indicated the New Jersey Department of Transportation would have to approve a signalized light.

Following testimony, board members directed questions to the applicant’s representatives.

Menna asked where construction vehicles would park during construction, if the new building will be farther from Riverside Avenue than the existing VNA building, and if the sidewalks along Bodman Place would be replaced.

“We would coordinate with the borough engineer, the Office of Emergency Management and the police department to come up with an acceptable construction staging plan,” said attorney Chad Warnken, who represents the applicant.

Warnken said the applicant plans to replace the sidewalks on Bodman Place and Riverside Avenue. The apartment building will be farther from the road than the existing VNA building.

Warnken said the project may take two years to complete.

Although public comment on Dec. 2 was limited to the matter of relocating the outdoor plaza, a resident came forward to express his frustration with the proposed development.

Without stating his name, the resident said, “I am out of order, but as a long-term resident of this borough, I never heard about the redevelopment zone. I didn’t have any idea about this (project), I would have contributed some ideas and thoughts. I feel forgotten and I feel cheated as many other residents do.”

During previous meetings at which the application was presented, residents expressed  apprehension regarding possible additional congestion on adjacent streets, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, the use of on-street parking, and deliveries to the apartment building.

A motion was made to approve the 176 Riverside, LLC, application and on a roll call vote, Menna, Thomas Welsh, Daniel Mancuso and Borough Councilman Michael Ballard, who sits on the board, voted “yes.” Barbara Boas and Frederick Stone also voted “yes,” but said they were doing so with reservations. Louis DiMento voted “no” and Juanita Lewis abstained. The application was approved.

The building will include 210 apartments, 9,000 square feet of co-work space, retail food space and 326 parking spaces in a proposed attached parking garage, according to previous testimony. Two artificial turf dog runs will be placed on the roof of the building.

According to project renderings, there will be a third floor courtyard with a pool, outdoor grills, a lounge area, table games, bar tables and seating, a dining area, landscaping and raised planters with seating.

The 176 Riverside LLC development will include the affordable housing, which is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals whose income meets certain guidelines.

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