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Zoning Board Bans Green Tables

The color-infatuated Red Bank Zoning Board calls for a yogurt shop to eliminate its lime green tables in order to gain site plan approval.

The Red Bank Zoning Board has a thing about color.

When developers for the West Side Lofts came before the zoning board last year, the issue that raised the most debate and caused the most consternation for its members had little to do with the project itself, a nearly-block large housing and commercial development located on the west side. Potential parking problems and traffic woes didn't measure up to this issue, nor did the fact that the building would require other long-standing buildings and businesses to be torn down.

What bothered the board enough that it demanded a change in order to grant its approval was the . The board wanted more industrial brick throwback and less Miami sound machine. .

On Thursday the color cops were back at it. Their focus this time a small frozen yogurt shop located somewhere alongside a and a in the City Centre Plaza shopping center on West Front Street. Though maintaining the neighborhood aesthetic was apparently the reason for demanding the West Side Lofts to change colors, this instance didn't come with much of an excuse other than "we don't like those colors."

You see, Yo Mon Yogurt has a Jamaican theme. Along with the frozen yogurt comes reggae music, a beach aesthetic, and, as graphic designer Jeff Cahill said, colors, colors everywhere. For the Red Bank Zoning Board the issue here is "everywhere."

Looking for site plan approval specifically to install awnings at its north and south entrances, the board instead took issue with an artistic rendering that showed benches and tables outside. No, the issue wasn't the benches and tables themselves - those were approved at a prior meeting - but the color. Red benches and small lime green cocktail tables are no good, the board concluded.

When Yo Mon first came before the board in October, the outdoor benches were an issue. The store owner fought with the board over the right, not to have benches outside, but to have colored benches outside. The owners first wanted blue benches but later opted for red benches since the specific blue color used on the bench clashed with the blue of the proposed awning - think of one of those mismatching top and bottom denim disasters the fashion unfortunate sometimes sport.

Red, in keeping with the brand's red, white, and blue logo, was the obvious choice for the bench color swap.

The switch, however, wasn't so simple. The applicant had to produce color swatches, which were then written into evidence, and the zoning board even took a short break to determine if it had actually permitted colored benches or not the first time around. After determining that they kinda, sorta had by making an administrative ruling to that effect, they instead turned their focus to the tiny 18-inch line green tables that would sit next to the red benches.

A complaint about the tables' color, oddly enough, was first brought up by board member Karen Waldman, herself wearing a lime green shirt. Despite hearing that the applicant had already purchased the furniture, the board, led by Chairwoman Lauren Nicosia, pushed for a change to the table color.

"I like red," she said.

The applicant balked at the notion. Cahill, a professional in the field of design, said the green was chosen because it matches the green of the tables inside. The coordinating colors from outside to inside helps create better flow and atmosphere, let alone keeps offending contrast to a minimum.

The board, however, was not dissuaded. When asked if the applicant would consider changing the color to something less offensive, the reply was a steadfast "no," and that they'd rather not have tables outside than change the color from lime green to something else.

Whether it was a bluff or not, Nicosia called it, eliminating the outdoor tables from the site plan altogether, effectively banning lime green tables. 

Despite the color conundrum, Yo Mon appears to have been given the (lime) green light to start planning for an opening date. A resolution of site plan approval, with the lime green tables extricated from the design, was written pending input from Red Bank RiverCenter. Should RiverCenter OK the site plan then the board will likely vote to approve the Yo Mon plan at its next meeting on May 17.

From then, Yo Mon will be free to schedule its opening, just without outdoor tables.

Mike May 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Way to be business friendly NJ. Its no wonder we are in such a mess.
Shannon K. Winning May 04, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I'm amazed that this actually happened in reality. This is why I don't need to read fiction.
Andres Simonson May 04, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Very sadly, I am rolling on the floor laughing at this article. Echoing Shannon above, I had to check my browser address bar - thought for a second I accidentally navigated to The Onion. "I like red" - you mean, as in the color of the tape you're dispensing? Bureaucracy at its ugliest shade.
Col. Korn May 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
My Dear Comrades, Zo......Ze co-lour NazIs ARE AT IT AGAIN? What kind of Mind Control, Commie Big Brother BullCrap is this? I say Fire every Livin Zoning Board Member and If the Mayor dosnt help you Fire Him too! Your. Obt. Svt. Col. Korn, Chief O' Mayhem in the Great WW-2 (And the Cold War) Now Chief O' Security, Sanitation and the Complaint Dept. OXOjamm Studios.
oneofthesedays May 04, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Thank you, snobby Red Bank planning board, for essentially deciding that I (and the rest of the yogurt-eating community) cannot eat my frozen yogurt outside this summer. I personally could care less about what color the tables are as long as they afford me the opportunity to eat outside. Do you really think that people care that much about color and appearance? Have you lost your minds? And oh - By the way - Why in the world does Rivercenter have a stake in the approval phase? Last I knew they were a private coalition of business owners in town, and NOT a government entity. What gives??
Marjorie Smith May 05, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Problems arise when zoning board members believe their personal desires should trump professional design. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs...
rbresident May 05, 2012 at 04:51 PM
River center is the biggest joke in this town. They are the main reason red bank is going down and fast.
redbankredtape May 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
rbresident, Why do you think RiverCenter is the "main reason red bank is going down and fast"? What do you know about RiverCenter? Have you attended any of the meetings? Have you spoken with the Executive Director about your concerns?
Sean May 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
If you're interested in the seeing the Green Tables in question as well as other elements of Yo Mon's design head over to our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cahill-Studio/187138704660613
Lisa Fowler May 07, 2012 at 08:10 PM
This is very silly and petty. What is wrong with bright green? My living room is bright green. Not everyone enjoys everything plain and simple.
andrea May 07, 2012 at 08:16 PM
you have got to be kidding me! what kind of sensorship is that. I thought we were free to the pursuit of happiness..if green tables are what make them happy why on earth would that not be ok????????????
Sal June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM
It is all about "CONTROL". Give people today any power at all today and they will always find a way to abuse that power so they can gain the feeling that the have "power and control" over something/anything___because that is usually lacking within their own personal family lives where they have no control over their own personal lives.

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