APP, June 22, 1980: Neptune—–Voters rejected a proposal to create a separate borough of Ocean Grove. Ocean Grove residents favored the idea, but the rest of the Township defeated the proposition.
Voters approved the question in Ocean Grove 970 to 769, with 59% of the 2,928 registered voters going to the polls. The question carried in four of the five election districts in OG losing by 20 votes in the 3rd District.
The question needed approval in both Ocean Grove and the remaining portions of the Township. it was rejected in all 19 election districts in the remainder of the Township.
The defeat means that the Ocean Grove governing body, the Camp Meeting Association, must surrender its municipal functions within 30 days in accordance with a court-ordered plan.
Editor’s Note: This referendum in Neptune Township in 1980 was held in the wake of the New Jersey Supreme Court decision to force the CMA to turn over governance of the Grove to Neptune Township. I had heard, in the past, that it was the citizenry of Neptune Township that had power over the wishes in the Grove to form a separate borough, although it’s not clear why Ocean Grove would have been forbidden to decide for itself to secede. If any of you know, please explain.
This would be a good opportunity for the Historical Society to help us out on Blogfinger. It’s the sort of subject that would be of little interest to tourists, but of great interest to residents.
Looking further back in time, here is a section of the OG Timeline which documents the actual existence of the Borough of Ocean Grove which lasted only one year 1920-1921:
- 1920. The Lessee Board is dissolved, and the Civic Betterment League is formed. Its goal is the creation of an independent Ocean Grove Borough. The CMA supports the idea, and the NJ Legislature passes an Ocean Grove Borough bill which creates an incorporated borough, apart from Neptune. Governor Edwards signs it into law, a referendum in town receives wide support, and local elections are held. The new Borough of Ocean Grove operates for one year, but they retain the CMA “blue laws”. Opponents in town want things the old way and they form the “Lessees Association” They sue in State Supreme Court.
- 1921: The NJ Court of Errors and Appeals finds the Borough bill to be unconstitutional, because the Borough has allowed religious ordinances to stand. The Borough bill might have been upheld if the “blue laws” were discarded, but the CMA and its supporters refuse. The Borough is dissolved, and governance goes back to Neptune and the CMA. This was not the first attempt to gain secular control of OG, but this one came the closest.
OSCAR PETERSON thinking of home: