RED BANK — Business owners applauded the extension of the borough’s parking moratorium, with some calling for an even greater extension.
“The important thing is we have to tell people that Red Bank is still open for business,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna as the Borough Council moved to extend the moratorium for another 90 days.
The moratorium, which has been in effect in the borough since 2010, will continue to excuse business owners from paying a fee for having an insufficient number of parking spaces.
According to RiverCenter Executive Director James Scavone, when a business opens in Red Bank, the borough decides how much parking it needs to provide. Businesses lacking sufficient spaces would be required to pay a fee. Under the policy, the fee is waived.
The move was applauded by Scavone, executive director of Red Bank River- Center, during public comments.
“While we very much appreciate the 90-day extension, I would just like to say that I hope you all realize the wonderful impact the moratorium has had on the downtown. I would say if there was one thing we had to single out that really helped the revitalization of Red Bank and really helped moved us forward, I would say it really has been the moratorium,” he said.
RiverCenter is a nonprofit established in 1991 to promote and recruit businesses in the borough as well as hold events.
“We are the envy of so many municipalities in New Jersey because of what we have been able to do,” Scavone continued.
Scavone also asked to council to reconsider the time frame.
“We don’t have huge developers like other municipalities have, we just have a group of property owners, so it’s things like the moratorium that really give us our advantage or our edge,” he said.
Scavone thanked Councilman Michael DuPont, who called for a one-year extension of the moratorium.
“It’s been hugely positive for the town. It’s allowed development to really come into Red Bank. … When a small business is opening, most often they are very strapped for cash, there’s very little room for fees. They are usually investing their lives into this business,” said Scavone.
“By putting a moratorium on these parking fees, which can be exorbitant, it really has allowed smaller business to develop in Red Bank,” he said, stating that fees could run as high as $100,000.
According to Scavone, after the 2008 financial crash, the moratorium helped provide relief for struggling business owners as well as bring businesses into downtown.
“Following the economic crisis, in 2011 and 2012 we really saw a resurgence in the revitalization of downtown. It’s really been policies like the moratorium that has let that happen,” he said.
Extending the policy will fall to the new council, which will see two new faces on the dais.
The new members of the council will be Michael Whelan and Mark Taylor, who replace three-term councilman DuPont and Sharon Lee, who was appointed earlier this year to fill a vacant council seat.
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