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Justin Simini in Auditorium Square Park. He likes to dress "snazzy."  Paul Goldfinger photo

Justin Simini in Auditorium Square Park. He likes to dress “snazzy.” Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click on photo to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Believe it or not, but Justin Simini dresses like this most of the time.  He loves the clothes of the ’20’s and ’30’s, and this style of dress is supposed to be reminiscent of Gene Kelly, the song and dance man who appeared in so many great musicals including Justin’s favorite “On the Town.”  Justin is on the town here because his sister Brittany is getting married tomorrow to Jordan Whilden.

Justin lives in Bernardsville, but he is originally from Ocean Township.  He works as an investigator. Maybe he’s undercover today. We pressed him on why he is dressed like Gene Kelly,  but he insists that it’s just a question of “looking good.”  He really does look like a member of the cast in “Singing in the Rain” but, unfortunately, he can’t dance.

This afternoon we found him in the park, just a hop,skip and a jump from the  Tabernacle where the wedding will occur. Undoubtedly he will be wearing something more up-to-date tomorrow.  Let’s hope that the weather will be nice so that Justin won’t have to be singing in the rain.

GENE KELLY  from the film “Singing in the Rain.”

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Thursday, Sept 19.  Preparations are being made for a big wedding tomorrow.

Friday, Sept 19. Preparations are being made for a big Saturday wedding.  Paul Goldfinger photo.  Sept. 19, 2014. ©

Congratulations to the Whilden family on the wedding tomorrow of  Jordan Whilden and Brittany Simini.  The ceremony will be in the Tabernacle, and the reception will be in big white tents spread out near the Auditorium.  Word is that there will be over 300 guests.

BYRON STRIPLING  with a song for the bride and groom:

This is the Aurora which went from a hotel to a single family residence. That was in keeping with the future of Ocean Grove. Blogfinger file photo.

This is the Aurora which went from a hotel to a single family residence. That was in keeping with the future of Ocean Grove as has been the understanding in town.  Blogfinger file photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

If Mary’s 9,000  square foot  2 1/2 story “Victorian”  facility is built on those two merged lots on one of the Grove’s most important historic streets, then that place will join an exclusive club consisting of two properties. The other one is the gray “Victorian” building on Ocean Avenue which some call a “Greek Temple” while others call it “The Bank.”  Mary’s Place will get its own nickname eventually.

When people walk by Mary’s Place, they won’t admire its beauty; instead they will ask, “Who was responsible for allowing this out-of-place building to be constructed in this quaint, historic, residential town? ”   They will ask why two fine Victorian single family houses were not placed there instead, like we now have on the Pathway.   And they will see the parking problems and congestion  due to the 10 clients staying there, the  staff who will be needed to maintain the place,  the visitors, and the rest of the support team who teach yoga, etc.   Then there will be the deliveries, laundry trucks, garbage pickups, etc.

This quickly arranged project will become an endless fountain of frustration and cynicism  for citizens who are made to jump through hoops and experience long delays to get permission for projects at their homes in town. Historians will wonder what happened to the idea that the future of Ocean Grove will be more single family houses.  And for those who worry about the consistent and fair enforcement of ordinances and statutes, they will wonder how this project got shoehorned into the state definitions for community residences and shelters.

It is clear from the Blogfinger readers’ comments and our poll  that many Grovers want an independent look at this Mary’s Place zoning decision. The rush to break ground in October  means that any opposition must occur now.  The only way to stop it is for a lawyer who represents the citizens to take it to court and request an order to “show cause.”  The goal would be a temporary restraint to halt any work  (order to cease and desist) while a judge reviews the statutes and decides if the zoning officer read the statute too broadly in allowing this project and to decide if proper procedures were utilized.   The judge can  then have time to arrange a hearing to evaluate the facts.  This way the citizens will get an impartial evaluation of the situation.

Who will take the lead on this legal effort?  It could be the Township Committee, representing the citizens, and asking the Township attorney to go to court and get the cease and desist order.  The Committee can do this because they were not involved in the zoning decision.

The other possibilities include the OG Home Owners Association hiring a lawyer on behalf of the homeowners in town , or an individual or group of citizens can band together and represent the rest of us.  They could, if needed, do a fund raiser for legal fees.  Where are the Main Avenue neighbors on this controversy?

This project, if allowed to go forward, threatens the town of Ocean Grove, because it indicates that our town values are open to compromise and are not trustworthy.  This translates into potential effects on  town pride, real estate values, and future similar projects that will point to this precedent as reason for their own projects to be approved.

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Blogfinger file photo.  July, 2014

Blogfinger file photo. July, 2014

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

We wrote about this subject in July  (see link below)  in response to an inquiry about zoning for Mary’s Place. At that time, no applications had come in to George Waterman, the Neptune Township Assistant Land Use Administrator. He is in charge of zoning determinations.

Mary’s Place plans new facility in Ocean Grove

On August 5, the applications came in, and by August 12, the “approved zoning” stamp was issued by Mr. Waterman including permission to merge two lots into one. The plans by Shore Point Architects were then approved by HPC, and construction will begin in early October.

Mary’s Place is a facility without a category. The memo from the Township refers to it as a “Community Shelter”, but it has characteristics of a spa, a quasi-medical facility, a community residence,  or “a place for women to heal.”

As reported by Blogfinger in July, the zoning on that beach block is single family residential, B and B’s and historic hotels. But, as we reported, the State statutes supersede the Neptune zoning regulations. The state says that “Community residences, shelters, and adult family care homes are permitted uses in residential districts. (state statute #40:55D-66.1).”

Under that heading comes this definition: “Community residences for the developmentally disabled, community shelters for victims of domestic violence, community residences for the terminally ill, community residences for persons with head injuries, and adult family care homes for elderly persons and physically disabled adults shall be a permitted use in all residential districts of a municipality, and the requirements therefore shall be the same as for single family dwelling units located within such districts. “

We asked Mr. Waterman to explain which of the above definitions would Mary’s Place satisfy in order to get zoning approval.

He pointed to  “community residences and shelters” as the main use categories  and then singled out the “terminally ill” part as matching what is done at Mary’s Place. It should be noted that Mary’s Place accepts female clients who have all degrees of cancer.  No medical treatments are conducted there at this time, although Mary’s Place officials speak of creating a place where western and eastern medicine will “compliment” each other.*    Another high official at Neptune Township said that Mary’s Place was approved because it is a sort of “halfway house” as exist for “battered women.”

 

*NJ.com. September 13, 2014

Inside Out—-It’s Autumn

Ocean Grove tent awaits final dismantling. September, 2014.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove tent awaits final dismantling. September, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge

JOHN WILLIAMS  with Pachelbel’s Canon in D.  Wouldn’t it be great if Pachelbel himself were having an ice cream at Days when he hears an orchestra playing  this piece inside one of the tents?   It might be a little tight for the string section, and we can substitute a euphonium for the stand up bass. But otherwise it would be fine if the conductor could just be on a pedestal by the Stokes statue.  And everybody could sit on beach chairs outside and enjoy the tent concert.

"Correspondence" given to me on Sept 15, 2014 by Mr. George Waterman at his office. The handwritten words are my notes.  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

“Correspondence” given to me on Sept 15, 2014 by Mr. George Waterman at his office. The handwritten words are my notes. Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Click on the image to read it better.

Picasso the Sculptor

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ALLISON ADAMS TUCKER with “Volver” from her album Come With Me

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1.  A citizen reporter sent us this link from the APP about Wesley Lake:

Drainage issues at Wesley Lake

 

2.   New Jersey News Commons “Local Beat” posts links to the most important local stories in the State.  Today they linked to the Blogfinger coverage of Mary’s Place   and the Broadway flood story.

 

3.  Blogfinger 101:

Reminder:  You can comment on any post by clicking the “comments” button at the lower right corner of any article.  OR  you can just sent an email to Blogfinger@verizon.net, and we will post your comment for you in the comment section. Either method is perfectly fine.  Your actual name will be revealed only if you use your actual name.  Otherwise a fake name is fine.  If you choose  “anonymous, ” then I will enjoy choosing a name for you.  —PG, Editor @BF.

Note a new feature:  Paul’s Untweets will appear at at the bottom of the sidebar on the right.    You can untweet back  with a sentence or two by sending an email to Blogfinger @verizon.net and tell me which untweet you are addressing. Your untweet may or may not be posted, or I may get back to you personally.    Un-thanks,   Paul @Bloginger  (Look Ma, no hashtag)

Check out our new poll at the top of the page. Are you skeptical of the Mary’s Place project?    Note that our polls are not scientific and just give an idea of opinion trends. One time, a group from OG mobilized its large email list and asked people to vote a certain way in one of our polls.  I can tell if that is happening, and if it were to occur, the poll would be shut down and declared invalid due to the stacking of the deck.

4. Yesterday, Sept. 18, we had visitors from 13 countries, including 14 from Great Britain who found the time to visit despite the Scotland referendum.

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