RED BANK – A proposal for a 45-unit apartment building along Pearl Street between Oakland Street and Monmouth Street will continue into April after concerns were raised at a Thursday night zoning board meeting about parking, affordable housing and communicating with neighbors.
The proposed building, which was first introduced in February 2020, would neighbor Red Bank Charter School. The developer wants to raze two houses, an office building and the now vacant Ultimate Physique gym for a four-story building.
The top three floors would contain 32 two-bedroom apartments, seven one-bedroom apartments and six studios, according to Michael Simpson, the developer’s architect. The ground floor will contain a parking lot, an office and a commercial space.
A total of 70 parking spaces are proposed for the project.
The developer is 121 Monmouth St. LLC, which is owned by Michael Saleno.
Simpson said the office is intended to house Saleno’s real estate business, while the retail space will be an “incubator retail space.”
He described them as “little spaces not much different from what you have in the Victorian courtyard right next to Dublin House. The idea is to provide spaces for a number of mixes of different retail uses, none of which have been defined at this stage.
The plan will keep the Pearl St. Consignment and Custom Clothes thrift store intact.
Ed McKenna, attorney for the developer and former mayor of Red Bank, said Saleno had been trying to buy the thrift store building for years, but the property “was owned by the (owner’s) family, in trust, since I think three generations and he has a sister who lives there and he does not want to sell this building.
McKenna said Saleno also tried to buy the house which would sit between the proposed development and the Charter School, but the owner refused to sell it. He said the house was a two-family rental.
The two houses that it is proposed to demolish are currently adjacent to the house that will remain standing.
” I do not see it. I don’t see it,” board member Sean Murphy said. “You are going to demolish a house. … We are going to circle the house next to (the) parking lots. We enter, we push into a residential area.
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McKenna said the original plans had more housing units, where the new plan has parking. He said this new plan reduced the number of apartments compared to the first plan and lowered the height of the property.
However, Murphy said, “I have to be honest with you. I have trouble with parking there. Tampon, no tampon, once you take care of it, it’s there for good.
Board member Raymond Mass asked about affordable housing.
McKenna said seven units will be affordable, but he said Saleno was willing to deed restrict some of the homes he owns on Mechanic Street to meet affordable housing requirements.
“Wouldn’t it be better to give a single parent or a family with a child or two the option of having a house with a lawn, living next to a park, rather than living in an apartment next to the train station ? McKenna said.
Mass said he was ready to listen to a presentation of what the affordable housing options might be with this development.
Communication with neighbors
Two members of the charter school’s board of trustees asked during public comments if the developer would commit to fencing off its parking lot to keep balls from the charter school’s playground from flying into it, to prevent the side of the school that connects to the vacant gymnasium from being damaged by the weather and to ensure that there is no cross access between the proposed building and the school.
The developer had met with Charter School officials two years prior to discuss the proposed plan.
Simpson said he remembered the meeting and the terms offered by school officials. He said the developer is ready to fix all these issues.
Murphy said, “Looks like there hasn’t been enough conversation with the neighbors.”
He suggested the meeting be rescheduled for another date so the developer “talks to all your neighbors, get them all on the same page about what’s going on because I don’t think you’re there yet. “.
The meeting was rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.
Olivia Liu is a journalist covering transport, Red Bank and West Monmouth County. She can be contacted at [email protected]