THE CITY OF PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA: “Hymn to the Fallen” from the soundtrack of Saving Private Ryan.
By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger (Note: Schmutz * rhymes with foots. It is Yiddish for dirt–(from the Blogfinger University Department of Useful Synonyms.)
A Grover citizen reporter nicknamed “Deep Float” notified us recently that there was an awful mess at the North End. He complained that much of the schmutz was due to the Dunes food complex located in the White Whale Building. He sent photos and noted that the problem stemmed from a dumpster that had been allowed to overflow. He said that the dumpster had been at the location since after Labor Day.
Float said, “I called code enforcement two times and nothing. I went to see John new president of C.M. two times and nothing. I have photos from August with boxes and eatery refuge that has been flying around all summer due to a lack of cooperation between Gannon and C.M.”
There are those who complained about the same mess at the last OGHOA meeting. Today we visited the site, and maybe someone complained, because the area looked cleaner now, although it is generally ugly due to crummy fencing and decrepitude strewn around in a haphazard way. All the stores appear to be closed now.
We also heard from a Grover who walks his dog daily by Wesley Lake. He reported that the Lake was “awful” with debris, worse than usual, and that was verified today by us. Most likely all that rain drove filthy street water into the sewers and then into the Wesley retention/detention basin—- ie a giant water hole which receives all sorts of toxins, chemicals, bacteria, animal feces and dirt from the streets of Asbury Park–and less so from Ocean Grove.
Who is fighting to protect Ocean Grove from this sort of pollution?
SHEP FIELDS AND HIS RIPPLING RHYTHM WITH GENE MERLINO: “Lovely to Look At.”
Posted in Blogfinger Presents, Ocean Grove controversies, Ocean Grove environmental concerns, Ocean Grove North End Redevelopment Plan | Tagged Dirty mess in Ocean Grove, Wesley Detention/Retention basin, Wesley Lake pollution | Leave a Comment »
THE BAND PERRY (2015 Grammy nominee)
Scene: Neptune Township Mother Ship. I am at the counter occupied partly by the Assistant Land Use Administrator–George Waterman. On the counter are some educational fliers. One of them seemed interesting: “Solutions to Stormwater Pollution.”
It said, “Stormwater pollution is one of New Jersey’s greatest threats to clean and plentiful water, and that’s why we’re all doing something about it.”
It also said, “Pollution on streets, parking lots and lawns is washed by rain into storm drains, then directly to our drinking water supplies and the ocean and lakes our children play in. Fertilizer, oil, pesticides, detergents, pet waste, grass clipping: You name it and it ends up in our water.”
PG: (thinking) “It says, ‘Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Protect Our Water,’ so what about Wesley Lake?”
GW (walking over to the counter where I am perusing his flier) “What have you got there?”
PG (handing it to him) “George—What is Neptune Township doing about dirty street water runoff?”
GW (smiling; he removes all copies of the flier and jokingly begins to walk away) “I think we should dispose of these.”
PG: (With a name like Waterman they could give him that job……)
RUSS CARLYLE with BLUE BARRON “Garden in the Rain.”
That two-story building, #58-60 Main Avenue, has shops on the ground floor and 5 rental apartments on the second floor.
The owner, Sackman Enterprises, of NYC and Asbury Park, wants to add a third floor. They want to renovate the apartments and turn them into five (5) two-bedroom condominiums with one of the bedrooms on the third floor for each unit.
The third floor may be added according to the HD-B-1 historic mixed use zoning. The lot is double, 3,600 square feet (60′ x 60′). The maximum building height is 35 feet. Blogfinger got to review the site plan today at the Municipal Building. Luckily they gave us more than five minutes to study it.
The lawyers for the owner requested that their application be heard by the Planning Board, but there is reason to believe that the correct place would be the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). That is what the Planning/Zoning office thought in the first place and that is how they initially marked the paper work—–The application and plan have “ZBA” written on them.
But later that department decided to send it to the Planning Board as requested by the applicant’s attorneys. We do not know the dynamics of that decision, but we suspect legerdemain.
The reason that the ZBA would be a proper destination is that the building is non-conforming, and the third floor addition is non-conforming. Only the ZBA can grant the proper variances for the addition and for its use as condominiums.
And part of the problem for approving this project is density. It will increase congestion and parking problems in a part of town where those issues already exist. The Planning Board might not be interested in those aspects, but the ZBA may be.
In addition, an RSIS parking waiver should be proffered if the applicant wants to increase density without offering off-street parking. Of course Neptune Township will likely ignore this Land Use law as they have done for years in approving condominium projects sans parking, all over town.
It seems that the owners want to finesse this project by having it sail through the calm waters of the Planning Board on Wednesday, December 14, 7 pm, in the Municipal Building.
If you are cynical about the way that projects get approved in this town, and if you are resigned to having the citizens of Ocean Grove lose these battles due to the lack of opposition, at least you can be informed. Come to that meeting. You can stand up and ask a question or not, but you may find it interesting to hear the discussion which may actually become heated and thus great fun.
The PB chair is Sharon Davis—–please be kind to our man Jack.
Link to the BF article on this subject 12/3/16. There is a photo of the building:
FRANK SINATRA AND COUNT BASIE:
Posted in Blogfinger Presents, Ocean Grove controversies, Ocean Grove feature article, Ocean Grove land use issues, Ocean Grove lifestyle | Tagged #58-60 Main Avenue, Neptune planning board | Leave a Comment »
By Jack Bredin, researcher @Blogfinger
In the recent Bloginger post about #58-60 Main Avenue (The Pizza Building,) it was suggested that if someone opposed the proposed variances that they should attend the public hearing on Dec. 14 at the Planning Board where this matter would be heard. You could voice your opinion during the public portion, but you will only get 5 minutes.
About 10 years ago, I attended a Board of Adjustment meeting to oppose a variance. My experience speaks to the obstacles that sometimes are placed in the path of well-meaning citizens trying to voice their objections to public policy changes. The details of that experience are included in order to appreciate the sort of issues that affect our lives at the various Boards in Neptune Township.
I was there to object to an application requesting a use variance to subdivide a conforming 30’ x 60’ lot into two (2) narrow 15’x60’ illegal, non-conforming, under-sized lots within 200’ of my house.
The applicant’s professional planner did not introduce any testimony to support granting a use variance.
He just made a “conclusionary statement” that if the variance were approved, it would advance the intent and purpose of the Master Plan and the Zoning Ordinance,” in his professional opinion.
His professional opinion was nonsense.
The intent of the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance is to reduce rather than increase non-conformity, and land can only be subdivided into conforming lots. The minimum lot size in Ocean Grove is 30’x 60’ and not 15’x60.’
However, the planner’s arbitrary opinion went unchallenged by members of the Zoning Board and the Board’s attorney, planner, and their engineer. The file for the application contained no report from the Board’s planner or engineer. There were no objections from the Camp Meeting Association or the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association.
After the conclusion of the applicant’s presentation, and without questions or objections from the Board or their Professionals, the only evidence on the record was in support of an approval of the subdivision by the applicant’s planner as noted above.
The meeting was then open to the public. I was the only member of the public to speak and I would be allowed only five minutes at the microphone.
Pursuant to the N.J. State Rules of Hearing Procedure, I had equal standing with the applicant’s professional planner to present an opposing case with no time limit.
My first question for the planner was: “What use variance are you asking for: D-1, 2,3,4, or 5?
He didn’t know what variance they were asking for.
When the planner turned toward the applicants attorney for help, I took the opportunity to question the Board’s attorney, “What use variance is the Board considering?” He had no answer and turned toward the Zoning Board’s planner. There was a long moment of silence that was broken when the Land Use Administrator loudly announced. “YOUR TIME IS UP!!”
I was only one minute into my presentation. I had asked only one question and got no answer. And so I said, “What?”
She answered, “Sit down! Your time is up!”
I said, “Are you kidding me?”
The Chairwoman said, “We do have a 5 minute limit here.”
I then asked, “Is there another public portion on the meeting agenda where I can address the Board?
The Land Use Administrator answered for the Chairwoman by saying, “No! You just want to further your case, and we won’t let you. NOW! SIT DOWN !”
While all of this was going on, the Mayor and a member of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Assoc. were calling out from the back of the meeting room, “Sit down! Your time is up!”
The Planning and Zoning Board’s 5 minute rule is inconsistent with the Municipal Land Use Law. I reported this to the Township Committee, and they didn’t care.
The 5 minute rule is still in place.
Editor’s Note: There is a history of stifling dissent at Neptune meetings. Old timers describe how discussion on a controversial agenda item would be cancelled for some phony procedural reason when a large number of Grovers would show up. They would reschedule when they knew the public would not come out, such as during a bad storm.
This story is similar to a more recent one (2015) in which we described how Jack was not permitted to finish his 5 minute comment during a Township Committee meeting. Here is a link:
By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger
HARRY NILSSON from the movie “Midnight Cowboy.”
EMAILING BLOGFINGER POSTS: For those of you who haven’t noticed, you can send any BF post to others by clicking on the email icon at the bottom of each article.
Some of you have said that you don’t like to comment on BF because of the questions asked in the process. Well, you can skip that process by just sending your comment in an email to me at Blogfinger@verizon.net. Your email address will not show up, and you can tell me your pseudonym if you want one. And I will not post your real name if you tell me not to. ——Paul on the poop deck of the USS BLOGFINGER.
BF Song of the week: “The Sea Song”” From the Broadway show: By the Beautiful Sea.
LIVE NATIVITY on Saturday at 5 pm–Great Auditorium. The official name seems to be: Christmas Pageant.
This song is from 1952, and Bobby Vinton and Mel Carter had hits with it; so did Connie Francis.