Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.
In December 2016 the HPC created an uproar complaining that the Township was going to seriously change the historic guidelines which the HPC uses to protect our historic designations. A new guidelines document was made public by the Township, but it was not annotated for the changes and it seemed to favor developers who would be enabled to compromise historic structures in town.
The HPC complained to the Township Committee and were promised a new document which would clearly note all the changes. Deb Osepchuk, the chairperson of the HPC, promised that they would supply Blogfinger with a formal statement of their opinions regarding the new guidelines. But later she said that their lawyer would not allow it. Here is a link regarding that denial.
Yesterday we contacted her by email and said, in part, “Deb. I know you can’t make a formal statement, but after the initial fuss which Blogfinger helped publicize where you appealed to everyone about the dangers of meddling with the guidelines, I hope you would at least tell our readers if the issue has been resolved or what the status is.”
She responded by saying, “As of this time I have received no official notice from the the Township Committee. I do believe however, that the lines of communication are open and will remain so.”
Deb also said that the HPC would be making a presentation at the HOA meeting on January 28. She said, “We’ll be talking preservation and the importance of the guidelines.”
We also contacted a Neptune Township official who said that the new guidelines had been tabled and that no “marked up version” was yet available. We also inquired about the “lines of communication” which the HPC mentioned. We were told that “as of now, there is no public meeting scheduled for discussion of revisions to the guidelines.”
So, in conclusion, after all the fuss and worry about the guidelines, nothing has come of it. But if there are any backroom discussions, this matter is of great interest to the Ocean Grove public and should not be hidden behind a stone wall. We are familiar with lack of transparency on the part of the Neptune Township Committee, but the HPC owes it to the public to be open regarding this matter which they, themselves, said was so important.