By John Burton
RED BANK – It’s an extended reprieve for proposed developers looking to build without being able to provide the required parking.
The borough council agreed Wednesday night with Mayor Pasquale Menna’s request to continue the moratorium on the parking deficiency contribution until the end of the year.
That moratorium, Menna said, “has brought a lot of businesses into Red Bank.”
The suspension of the contribution for new businesses has been in effect for about two years, technically expiring in March. As mayor, Menna said he was able to enact a 30-day continuation; but anything longer would need the approval of the council. The council unanimously voted to continue moratorium.
The contribution was levied on borough business development plans that would not be able to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces, based upon borough calculations for the individual types of businesses. That money often required developers to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the fund in lieu of finding available parking. The money was placed in a designated account and used to maintain municipal parking areas, acquiring additional property for parking and for possible long-range solutions for the borough’s chronic parking shortfall, primarily in the downtown business district.
“It was a successful plan,” Menna maintained, noting that when the council initiated the moratorium, the vacancy rate in the downtown commercial district hovered around 20 percent, as the district attempted to rebound from the protracted economic slowdown.
Now, he said, it is less than 5 percent.
“Businesses, by and large, say it has helped,” he added.