Archive for the ‘Derelict buildings in Ocean Grove’ Category

Whitfield Hotel.  Blogfinger file photo c. 2013.  ©

Whitfield Hotel. Blogfinger file photo c. 2013. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger

It was in the summer of 2013 that a hearing was held by the HPC to decide about demolishing a wreck of an unsavory 130 year old hotel in Ocean Grove. The Whitfield  sits on 4 lots at the intersections of Surf, Beach and Bath Avenues.    Testimony about the Whitfield Hotel, a 54 room residential facility, revealed that all criteria for demolition were met. In addition, experts testified that the property had no historic significance. After that hearing, Code Enforcement issued a demolition permit.   We wrote a detailed article about the history of the Whitfield and about that hearing (see link below). 


The neighbors were ecstatic to hear that the hotel would be torn down, hopefully to make way for four single family homes. Many called it a “seedy flea bag.” It was said to be a place where people who had criminal records lived.  Social agencies often sent offenders of various types to stay there for short periods, but sometimes those characters were sent back again and again.  The police were often called to the location.

The HPC hearing dealt with the demolition application, but it was not going to get involved with the fate of the tenants.  Some Blogfinger readers expressed concern about that. There are 37 comments there, and they make very interesting reading.  Here are two:

Doubting Thomas said,  “It is sad because of what it represents. Every derelict building represents the lives of people, and we should view tear-downs (as with the Sampler) from that perspective.

“And speaking of that perspective, where was the Home Owners Association special committee on derelict housing? Why weren’t they there offering an opinion? What exactly do they do besides not showing up for a demolition hearing?”

Wisher said,  “Most, I love the move-ahead, clear, and most-certainly Germanic tone of this post. It is as though no humans lived in the structure, and it is an abstract real estate construct. Maybe that is appropriate for New Jersey – dead communities. Spring Lake – dead, Deal – dead. Ocean Grove?”

After the Code Enforcement awarded the demolition permit, the tenants received assistance to find comparable affordable housing.  NJ law requires that tenants be given 18 months eviction notice, and that was done in March 2014.

So the demolition of the Whitfield cannot be implemented until at least September, 2015;  however the end is in sight.  After that, the owner will be able to develop the property, but condominiums will not be permitted.  Evidently only single family homes will be allowed to replace the Whitfield Hotel.

When that happens, the neighbors ought to have a block party, because their home values and quality of life should go up.

We hate to see authentic historic buildings torn down, but sometimes it is necessary, and Ocean Grove has lost many such buildings over the years due to fire and/or neglect. The idea is to solve the problem of derelict and deteriorating historic houses in town.  It is an uphill battle, but one that requires a team approach by those who care in Ocean Grove.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III  (from Boardwalk Empire)

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80 Main 2010. Blogfinger derelict photo

80 Main 2010. Blogfinger derelict photo

We showed a broken down house in the Bahamas   (scroll down) which provoked a comment from I.M. Radar who said, “Definitely a candidate for the DBC  (Derelict Building Committee.) And what is the Homeowners Association doing about its well-established list of documented disasters in OG?”

Then Ken responded,  “This was discussed in great detail at last night’s Township Committee meeting.

“An OG resident aggressively questioned the Township Attorney about the lack of action by the Township on the multiple violations “some since 2011″ outstanding against 80 MAIN AVE, which every visitor sees coming into the Business District. ( I found a 2001 violation letter written by a code enforcement official for the wooden stairs built on the west side without permit or HPC approval; the stairs are still there). His answer was inadequate and subject to verification.

“She then asked why the Committee had not submitted for CLG (Certified Local Government) designation which would enable requesting grant money for the problem of the “50 and more houses” she counted as derelict. A Committeeman’s response was, (to be polite), “unreal”; blaming a lack of information of “what designates a building as historic?” and “lack of a required windshield survey”…; you had to be there listening. [Audio tapes to the Committee Meetings are available].

“Not a Public Comment segment Neptune can be proud to have on the record.”


Editor’s Note:  So there you have it ladies and germs.   If any of you want to jump into this derelict mayhem, just click on the comments below.  Radar asks a relevant question considering that the aforementioned derelict committee hasn’t posted a thing since last summer regarding the situation.  So what the hey?   —PG




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Whitfield Hotel at Surf and Beach

Whitfield Hotel at Surf and Beach

By Paul Goldfinger

The owner of the Whitfield Hotel  wants to fully demolish the building.  A special meeting of HPC is scheduled for August 27 at 7:00 p.m. The owner will be represented by an attorney and by a historic expert.  If an owner wants to demolish a structure, that is usually approved unless it has historic significance.  Even if the place is structurally sound and within code, it can be demolished.  We do not know why the owner wants to demolish the hotel after all these years, but it’s likely that he did the math.

If the Historic Preservation Commission gives its OK, then Code Enforcement steps into the picture. The owners apply for a permit to demolish, and then things can move pretty quickly thereafter.

However, once it is taken down, the property redevelopment must satisfy zoning requirements which, for this zone, is single family residential.

Residents who live near there are enthused that the old hotel might be replaced with four single family homes.  Ocean Grovers who are familiar with the 50 room hotel say that it is a ” seedy fleabag” with residents who often have criminal backgrounds.  They say that trouble frequently occurs there and that the police are often called for unsavory happenings at the Whitfield.

Evidently the building is a blight in that community and  it has no historic significance.  Those who know the building say that it’s demolition will have a positive effect on the entire neighborhood.  One man who has lived here for over 40 years told us that if the HPC doesn’t approve the demo, the citizens will be bringing out the pitchforks.

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