The Red Bank Commissioners voted for the second and final reading Tuesday night, to participate in the Volkswagen buy back program. This was one of the options offered to the city because of issues with emissions. The Red Bank Police Department has a fleet of Volkswagen diesel Passats, which are the cars that are affected. With the money from the buy back, plus $46,452, the city can buy seven new Ford Interceptor SUV police vehicles. This will provide the department with a new fleet of cars replacing some of the Volkswagens that are more than four years old.
An ordinance was approved to accept the 2017 Office of Criminal Justice "Justice Assistance Grant" in the amount of $15,000. The money will be used to purchase radios for the police department. City Manager Randall Smith said the grant is 100 percent from federal funds with no matching required from the city.
An agreement between the city of Red Bank and Eastman Construction Company in the amount of $19,000 for demolition services was postponed until a later date. There are two houses on Banks and one on Alden Avenue that have been condemned. The city gave property owners 60 days to comply with bringing the buildings up to code. It has not yet been done. After 60 days, the city can have the houses demolished and put a lien on the property for the cost. Mayor John Roberts noted that the period of 60 days has not passed yet and made a motion to move the vote to approve the contract with Eastman until the Jan. 17 commission meeting.
Taylor Howell, the Red Bank representative to the WWTA, gave the commissioners a year end update on issues in the city. He said that Red Bank had received a grant to do some of the needed repairs in south Red Bank off Lyndon Avenue. There has been one incident of overflowing of Stringers Branch, but the problems have now been resolved. Concerning on-going work, the commissioners were given a list of repairs that have been completed and those that will be coming up.
A public hearing was held for a zoning request from David Sanders, the owner of property at 106 and 107 Passons Road. When the city created a new zoning map several years ago, those two lots were down-zoned from C-1 commercial to R-1 single-family residential, a representative from the planning commission told the board. He said it was done because the property encroached on a residential area. Currently, commercial businesses can continue to operate on the two lots as long as a business actively remains at the location. If commercial use is ceased for 100 days, the property would revert to R-1 zoning. The legal non-conforming status stays with the property in case it is sold, unless the commercial use is ever discontinued.
Mr. Sanders said that a machine shop is located at 106 Passons Road and a body shop is at 107. A resident on Passons Road, asked if anyone lived in these houses. The owner admitted that a man has lived in a house on 106 Passons for six or seven years and that the machine shop is actually behind the house. He also said that the tenant has some night watchman duties. He told the commissioners that he thinks if he tried to sell the house, that the R-1 status would negatively affect the sale.
Mayor Roberts made a motion and the commissioners agreed to postpone a vote on rezoning the property until the meeting on Jan. 3 in order to have more time to consider and discuss the matter.