They say there’s still time to fix the planet. But is there enough time to fix Red Bank? The town administration continues to squabble and bury its head in the sand while our community hurts. Okay, they’re making a big effort on its new “Master Plan“, but let’s face it, it is in reality, a “Business Master Plan“. The “consultants” from the Big City have yet to usefully engage the community and the borough puts everything on hiatus while it waits for the outcome of this and the other great illusion, the Charter Commission.
Meanwhile, speculators continue to crowbar their exploitation agenda. They don’t need no master plan, they already have one! Surreptitiously sweep up blocks of properties, engage banal and compliant architects, stretch zoning and planning to the limits, concede minor demands, get go-head, let properties run to ruin, come back a year or two later with even more preposterous, ugly and inappropriate plans and get them accepted because it’s better than the blighted areas which they have created in the first place.
There is a pressing need for a course of action to take our community into the unknown. Climate change, fossil fuel dependency, infrastructure resilience, societal needs, equity, and population movements all figure in the near future of this town, so when are we going to start preparing for it? The town can’t even complete a minor pedestrianisation project without exposing and damaging its fragile sub-street infrastructure and imposing months of disruption on the community and local business.
It seems that these are the pressing issues the authors of the new master plan are failing to address, but there is still time for the community to consider and implement a Climate Action Plan. Dozens of communities across the US have already made the first steps and there are hundreds of examples from countries, cities and communities around the world to serve as a guide.
A CAP will address climate and other contingencies, equity, innovation, pollution, infrastructure, building standards, planning/zoning benefitting the community, health and well-being, and prepare the town for what is to come, because something is going to happen, and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be nice.