Atlantic Highlands Communication

I know Mark Fisher because of his presence at every meeting that impacts Atlantic Highlands.


Other than that I do not know him, not socially, not from church, not from recreational activities. Nor do I know what he does for a living, but I believe he is retired...and he must have been successful at whatever he did. I know he's chairman of the borough's parking committee and I know he works hard at everything he does.


I also know he's fastidiously thorough, both in research and in all the fact finding he does before he expresses any opinions.


I also know he has a deep love and concern for Atlantic Highlands and believes, as I do, that it's only an informed population who can ensure Atlantic Highlands says the kind of town its residents want it to be.


He constantly urges residents to get involved, to listen, to ask questions, and he himself makes every effort to research and present every side of an issue to help them all out. It's for these reasons...and without his permission, I might add, simply because I did not ask him, that I include Mark's latest message to the people of Atlantic Highlands.


Read it thoroughly, look at the photos, see the dates of the meetings. And be thankful there is truly an alert watchdog who knows what's happening in this town, and wants everyone else to know it as well.

I think Mark's news sheets are going to be especially vital in the future, once the current administrator retires. Adam Hubeny, as everyone will tell you, is the best you could ever get and whoever replaces him, not matter how qualified, will never be Adam Hubeny, will never be as dedicated as Adam Hubeny, and will never know as much about the town, its people, its politics, and its growth, as Adam Hubeny.

Do yourself a favor. Become involved! Here's Mark's latest news:


Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well.

Sending this out to all of you as a reminder of what is coming at 158 First Avenue, the lot directly to the south of the Elementary School on the opposite corner of E. Lincoln and First Avenue. The new building is a mixed-use development of 18 apartments (ten 1BR, eight 2BR), a resident's gym, a resident's roof-top deck, 4,350 SF of retail space at street level and an asphalt parking lot to the east and south.

The project was approved early in 2018 with an extremely inadequate number of onsite parking (56 spaces needed, just 28 spaces (50%) provided onsite), meaning 11 of the 28 apartment tenant spaces were allowed by our Planning Board to be pushed out on to the local side streets surrounding the project; E. Lincoln, or Garfield and Washington Avenues, on either side of First Avenue, and perhaps Third Avenue. 17 additional parking spaces (per RSIS calcs) are required on local streets as well for the retail/commercial space in the building, actually how many really all depends on what the street level use eventually becomes; for example, a restaurant would require more concentrated parking than a law office or a work-out gym would.

In addition to the obvious parking issues allowed with this project, it was predicted over-and-over by the public present at the Planning Board application hearings that the siting of the building will add to the traffic vulnerabilities at this intersection; the building exterior walls are being built directly ON the property lines with very narrow sidewalks on the First Ave. frontage, making the sight-line for drivers looking to the south (toward Rt. 36) from E. Lincoln Ave. sub-optimal. Navigating this intersection was already a challenge on school mornings, this building will make it a nightmare for both drivers and pedestrians around the school.

While 158 First Ave. will be very large when completed, the architecture of the building facades along First and East Lincoln Avenues are absolutely beautiful. Thankfully, the architect designed the building to "fit in" with the older traditional buildings located in the business district, including the school building that shares this corner, and he stated so in his presentation. You will notice the use of brick and the inclusion of large, high windows...similar to and complementing those of the school.



58 First Avenue as seen looking SE (imagine standing in the Flour on First bakery parking lot)


The façade on the SOUTH side of the building, however, the wall that is most obvious to all as they drive into town on First Ave. from Rt. 36, is a windowless blank wall and is frankly, UGLY. During one of many application hearings for this project, I asked, specifically, "why can't windows be added to this wall...even fake windows...just to break-up the ugliness" of the south-facing wall of nothingness. I was told by the architect that "since the zoning allows this building to be constructed right on the property lines, windows can't be included in case "someone" wants to construct another building next door (where Mike's Convenience Store parking lot is), directly on their property line." There is a rumor that "someone" will build exactly such a building there some time in the future.

The photo and drawing below give you an idea of what this blank, 40 ft. x 60 ft. ugly wall will look like.




Looking north: I hand-drew the silhouette of the Mike's Convenience Store building in the foreground of the project elevation drawing below

to give you an idea of the scale of this MASSIVE, 2,400 SF blank wall.




The façade on the SOUTH side of the building, however, the wall that is most obvious to all as they drive into town on First Ave. from Rt. 36, is a windowless blank wall and is frankly, UGLY. During one of many application hearings for this project, I asked, specifically, "why can't windows be added to this wall...even fake windows...just to break-up the ugliness" of the south-facing wall of nothingness. I was told by the architect that "since the zoning allows this building to be constructed right on the property lines, windows can't be included in case "someone" wants to construct another building next door (where Mike's Convenience Store parking lot is), directly on their property line." There is a rumor that "someone" will build exactly such a building there some time in the future.

So be ready for it, the big ugly blank wall is coming, workers continued adding more height to it this past week (it is higher and looks completely different from the photo above). In a perfect town, this wall could ultimately be transformed into a beautiful artistic presentation greeting visitors and residents driving into town...2,400 square feet is a lot of 'canvas' that could beautify this area in so many ways.

My prediction: That will NEVER be allowed to happen. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I ask: what single entity in AH has the authority to approve the siting and content of such beautiful public artwork?

__ __ __ __ __

COMING SOON


On August 24, I sent a questionnaire to all six 2021 Borough Council candidates (for two Council positions) with a reply deadline of September 10. My questions are completely non-political in nature, and ask probing questions on 15 specific important-to-me Borough subjects. It is no coincidence that all are subjects on my Council Meeting Summary "Keep on the Radar" list. Once the candidate's replies are received, I will simply cut-and-paste their individual answers to my questions in a simple format to give you a 'one-stop' concise summary of their positions. I have also asked each candidate to list, in priority order, the importance of the 15 subjects.

The Summary of the Council Candidate's answers received by the September 10 deadline will be released on September 12 at 9am.

Thorough communications are a basic expectation for those seeking election into public office. To-date, four of the candidates immediately expressed interest in participating in answering my questionnaire, two of them have already returned their answers to me. Six days later, the last two candidates have not replied back with their intentions on whether they will participate or not.


That too is a form of communication.

- - - - -

Upcoming Meetings Planning Board - Thursday, September 2, 7 pm. By law, this meeting must be live only - The former First Presbyterian Church Apartment Project application is supposed to be continued at this meeting. Mayor & Council - Thursday, September 9, 7 pm. This meeting is both live and live-streamed, here is the link: MAYOR AND COUNCIL. You must be present to interact with the Council.

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