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This is the view of the Park View Inn facing Lake Avenue and Wesley Lake  before it was demolished. Note how narrow that property is. The Warrington is to the right.  The La Pierre condos are on the left.   Blogfinger photo. 2016. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.

After the Park View Inn was demolished in the summer of 2016, Blogfinger wrote some articles regarding the fate of that property. The Planning Board approved a subdivision that would allow the site to be turned into 4 lots for single family homes.  But Blogfinger questioned the legality of that subdivision, because the 2 lots on Lake Avenue would not face any street—Lake Avenue is not a street.

On the other hand, after years of trying to get rid of that derelict property, it was accomplished, and the neighbors were thrilled. They did not question the legality of what occurred next.

Here is a link to our last post on that subject:

Is the Park View Inn subdivision legal?

Now, one of the 4 houses has been built, at #21 Seaview Avenue, and the developer has the other 3 properties, including #18 and #20 Lake Avenue and #23 Seaview Avenue up for sale.   The homes will cost over $ 1 million. They will have 5-6 bedrooms and  3-4 bathrooms.  They are 2 1/2 to 3  stories high and they will have views of Wesley Lake and the Ocean.  The subdivision, which is one block to the beach is called “Seaview by the Lake.”

One house on this subdivision is built (#21 Seaview Ave.) Note how narrow it is with 5 bedrooms. The lot is 25 x 72.  (1,800 ft2.) The Warrington foundation is in the foreground. Paul Goldfinger photo Dec. 2017. ©

The marketing by realtors is of interest, because it is revealing the attitude of this developer toward Ocean Grove.  And will this sort of promotion become the norm?   We have been worried that the community of Ocean Grove will be left behind to collect sand in its shorts as the developers promote the town of OG as basically a gateway to Asbury and other areas, as they turn out very expensive homes as is the norm now in Asbury Park.

The Internet promotion of these 4 homes refers to “landmarks” that are accessible, and this list includes only one in OG—the beach. The rest of the list includes sites in Asbury Park, Belmar, Pt. Pleasant Beach, Long Branch, and Spring Lake beach. There is no mention of Ocean Grove’s historic nature or its fabulous places to visit—not even the Great Auditorium is featured.  And there is no mention of the community of Ocean Grove, its life styles, its diversity, or its friendly and neighborly porch culture.

In addition, there is no talk about parking. As with other projects in town, the Township allows defiance of State mandated regulations, so these 4 houses provide no off-street parking—just further congestion at that North End part of town.  And who knows what will happen at the Warrington site?

PEGGY LEE AND GEORGE SHEARING   “If Dreams Come True.”   Live in Miami, from the album Beauty and the Beat

 

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An OG artist decorated this Main Avenue home for a wedding later that day.  The image was obtained shortly after sunrise.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

An OG artist decorated this #10 Main Avenue home with metallic strips  for a wedding later that day. The image was obtained shortly after sunrise near the beach to catch the light and the breezes. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

GLEE CAST:

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The Auditorium Pavilion in Ocean Grove, NJ. By OG artist Jack Bredin. July, 2016. ©

The Auditorium Pavilion on the Ocean Pathway.  By Ocean Grove artist Jack Bredin. July, 2016. ©

Jack Bredin has been interpreting scenes of Ocean Grove on a regular basis. His unique and creative  take on our town is making him famous as  a Jersey Shore artist.  His work is on permanent exhibit at the Ocean Park Gallery on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, NJ.  Jack’s paintings are best described as “folk art.”

Here is a link to our 2015 post about Jack’s work celebrating the success of the Together Campaign in the Grove:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/03/28/ocean-grove-artists-series-jack-bredin-painter-celebrates-the-together-campaign/

Music for Jack by THE  MIDNIGHT SERENADERS:

 

 

 

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# 58-60 Main Ave. June 19, 2016. Blogfinger photo.

# 58-60 Main Ave. June 19, 2016. Blogfinger photo.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   and Jack Bredin, Blogfinger Reporter/Researcher

When Blogfinger took an interest in the North End, the zoning changes had already taken place, leaving us with the task of researching, exposing and defining the situation and sharing our  information with the Ocean Grove public.

When Mary’s Place on Main Avenue was conceived, a highly dubious zoning decision was made in 2014 by a single Neptune Township official that allowed two lots to be merged and a “community residence and shelter” placed instead of two single family homes. No variances were required. We came upon that situation after the fact.

Kevin Chambers sought a legal remedy for the zoning decision at #50 Main Avenue, and we have reported on his efforts.   We learned about that late as well, but now we are following that situation, unlike the OGHOA which pays no attention to such issues, and they ought to do so.

It turns out that public officials in Neptune Township, the CMA, and developers have gotten used to doing what they please regarding land use, regardless of local zoning laws and regardless of State laws such as RSIS parking rules for new construction,  and without taking an interest in public opinion on such matters.

But the saga of # 58-60 Main Avenue is a bit different. Here we have the opportunity to study the process as it is occurring.   Two days ago we posted a letter from an anonymous Ocean Grover that alerted us  to what is going on at # 58-60 Main Avenue regarding planned changes to the property.    If it weren’t for that person, we would not have found out about the situation. Definitely the OGHOA wouldn’t have told us, because they don’t do their duty as watchdogs.  No one is watching such events on behalf of the public——except Blogfinger and a few individuals.

Today we went to the Municipal Building and spoke to Kristie Armour, the Administrative officer for the Planning/Zoning Board of adjustment.

We learned that yesterday, June 20, 2016, a lawyer named Andrew J. Karas, from Fox Rothschild LLP, Attorneys at Law in Roseland, submitted a large box to the Neptune Township Planning Board regarding #58-60 Main Avenue.   That box contained an application for a site plan for that property.

Blogfinger will not have access to the application until Ms. Armour’s office processes it, but we have filed a request for access to government records  (aka OPRA request—Open Public Records Act,)  and we should have more information for our readers next week.

It seems that our information from our informant was mostly accurate. The building is two stories, with stores below and apartments above. It is in a mixed use zone called HD-B-1 which does permit a maximum of 3 stories, and the developer evidently wants to add a third story for condominiums, and we suspect that he will want condos on the second floor as well.

But there are some issues having to do with density and parking (or lack thereof). Ms. Armour tells us that her office will determine which board will handle this application, and it may be the Zoning Board of Adjustment rather than the Planning Board.   And there will be other issues as well such as why a high profile real estate firm would take on this project without knowing for sure that  the condo customers will have guaranteed parking on Main Avenue.  And have they determined that the  OGHOA parking plan provides  cover for such ambitions ?

Does that sound crazy?  Well, take a look at the OGHOA Parking Plan. It says that permit parking should be provided “for tax paying residents.”   Really?   Do you think that they want each condo owner to have a permit?  Will they support a reserved space on Main Avenue for each of those new  condos at # 58-60?  We’ll find out sooner or later.

Stay tuned to Blogfinger. We want the public to know how their Neptune Township government actually functions  and we will have more to say about that and about our OG Homeowners Association which has failed to monitor and protect our town from projects that will damage our lifestyles and property values in the Grove.

GEORGE HARRISON  “All Those Years Ago.”

“I’m talking all about how to give
They don’t act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love.”

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This design was approved by HPC, but many Grovers believe it doesn't fit in.  Blogfinger photo.  June, 2016. ©

This new “Victorian” design was approved by HPC, but many Grovers believe it doesn’t fit in. Blogfinger photo. June, 2016.   Ocean and Webb. ©  Click to enlarge

 

#30 McClintock is being  fixed up. It looked similar to this before. But is this sufficiently Victorian?  Blogfinger photo, June 3, 2016.

#30 McClintock is being fixed up. It is described as an 1875 Victorian by the realtors who have priced it at $800,000.   It looked similar to this in the past.  But is this design sufficiently Victorian to satisfy the people from the National  Register? ? Blogfinger photo, June 3, 2016.  What do you think?

 

 

There are many amateur architects and designers in OG.  They love to watch the construction of new Victorians as well as the remodeling of the 0ld.  Do any of  you want to comment on the job being done in Ocean Grove to maintain our historic designation?

ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST OF ZORBA:     “No Boom Boom” in Ocean Grove

 

 

 

 

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Thornley Chapel. Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger. ©

Thornley Chapel. Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger. Silver gelatin darkroom print. ©  c. 2005

JANUSZ OLEJNICZAK   From the soundtrack of the movie The Pianist:  Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor.

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book-one

ISABELLE FOUNTAINE  “Roses of Picardy” live with the Hot Club of San Francisco.

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Great Auditorium doors are closed for this photo by Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

Great Auditorium doors are closed for this photo by Paul Goldfinger ©  Ocean Grove, New Jersey.    Blogfinger.net.   Click to enlarge

RACHEL CANTU  “De Colores.”  (in colors)

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The North End Redevelopmane Zone is bordered by the boardwalk, Wesley Lake and Spray Avenue. Photo by Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff. ©

The North End Redevelopment  Zone is bordered by the boardwalk, Wesley Lake, Beach Ave,  and Spray Avenue (foreground).   West to east photo by Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff. ©   This was first posted in 2015.

Northeast aspect of the Redevelopment zone. Prosper Bellizia ©

Northeast aspect of the Redevelopment zone. Prosper Bellizia ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In the December 4, 2014 issue of the Coaster is a column called “Did You Know?” by reporter Bonnie Graham. The focus of the piece was to explain the functions of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association. Ms. Graham interviewed HOA President Ann Horan and wasted no time in bringing up the controversial North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP).

In responding to Graham’s questions about the NERP, Horan made an unforced error and got the facts wrong,*  resulting in a mild tempest at the subsequent Township Committee meeting on December 22, 2014.  The NERP, after all, is a sensitive and critical subject in Ocean Grove.

Between Horan’s embarrassing factual mis-step in the Coaster  and the reaction to it before the Neptune governing body, our interest in revisiting the story of the NERP was aroused.   On top of that, Graham made a  comment in the same article  that “CMA COO JP Gradone had asserted last August, 2014, at the  legislative breakfast meeting, that the North End redevelopment project, which had been on the back burner for some time, is now on the front burner.”   Really ?

On January 23, 2015, Blogfinger asked Gradone about that quote, and he said, “We are currently in discussion with the Developer regarding the project.”   So there is  some life in the process after many years of mystery, and therefore it’s time for the public to pay attention once again.  It should be noted that work cannot go ahead on the plan without a signed Redevelopment Agreement between the Township Committee negotiators  (Committee-persons Jahn and Bishop)  and the developers.  

By way of background, in the year 2006, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, owners of the undeveloped 2.37 acre North End property, decided to bring the desolate area back to its previous life where it was a lively place with a hotel, a cinema, attractions and shopping.  But one thing stood in the way—-zoning;  it was zoned for 13 single family homes.

So the developers of the property, including the CMA and others involved, created an end-run and convinced the Township Planning Board to redefine the area as a zone “in need of redevelopment,”  in accordance with the State Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.    This meant that the property was so “blighted,” that local government had to take over its management.  That new designation would allow a mixed use community to be built.

The design of a redevelopment was turned over to professional  planners in Middletown to come up with a ” framework” for a mixed use community at the OG North End. Ultimately, a much more detailed plan would have to be done before any construction could begin. Two planners signed the NERP, but no engineers did.

The developers of the plan include the OGCMA and a partnership called WAVE  (see below.)

In early 2008, the HPC, the CMA, and the OG Homeowners Association provided input which resulted in some changes in the NERP, and that was the last time that there were any changes made. The Planning Board approved the proposal, and in March, 2008, the Township Committee wrote the NERP into law.  A lawsuit was filed in opposition, and that held things up for awhile, but in 2010, Neptune Township won the suit.

The Plan includes a hotel with 80 rooms, 85 residential units consisting mostly of condos, some single family homes,  a “below grade” parking deck and  about 20  surface parking spaces. Parking is supposed to comply with RSIS State standards.   A 99 year renewable lease was part of the deal. The design was supposed to look Victorian.

You can read the  official NERP document at the Clerk’s office in the Neptune Township Municipal Building. It is no longer available on the Township web site, but we have located a link  (below) where you can read the entire planning report. **

For a variety of undisclosed reasons, the project has been dormant. Among the theories  are that a bad economy has been inhibitory and/or there have been difficulties getting all the approvals.

In 2011  the HOA passed a resolution asking that the NERP be scaled back. They offered some constructive ideas.  There is a link below reporting on their recommendations.  Unfortunately, nothing came of it.

In 2012  there were objections raised by the soon-to-be-elected Committeewoman Marybeth Jahn  regarding the size, scope and other details of the project.   Ms. Jahn spoke aggressively of changing the NERP in a totally retro direction, and everybody cheered.  It should also be noted that two other Committeemen were sympathetic to downsizing the project—-Eric Houghtaling and Randy Bishop.

Evidently buyers’ remorse was echoing through the town of Ocean Grove.  But not a single change was adopted despite these outcries.      Our October 2012 piece on this subject is linked below and is critically important reading material for every Ocean Grover.

In Sept. 2012, the following was reported in Blogfinger, covering the year-end Labor Day CMA meeting:  “CMA Trustee Douglas E. Arpert responded to a questioner who asked the status of the North End development of condos, homes and a hotel. The CMA and a company called WAVE (Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises run by attorney William Gannon) are co-developers.  Arpert told Blogfinger they hope to conclude a redevelopment agreement with Neptune Township by the end of the year and to break ground in 2013.”    

But, of course, one month later, all of that changed with Sandy, and the developers planned to go back to the drawing board to “reassess” the plan. That made sense, because environmental regulations after the superstorm were going to change how things must be done in environmentally sensitive areas.  That was the last time we heard anything about NERP—until now  (2015).

So, getting back to the aforementioned HOA President Ann Horan’s December, 2014 Coaster interview, she said that the current  “North End Committee (and she listed the current members’ names) have  expressed the HOA’s concerns regarding the project to the Neptune Township Committee,  and their efforts helped to persuade the Committee to revise the redevelopment plan by reducing the number of proposed hotel rooms/condominium units, limiting the size of the structures in the site, providing for single family homes, and including an off street parking facility”

The problem with Horan’s December public statement in the Coaster is that she gave the false impression that the current North End Committee has been “active” in eliciting recent changes in the Redevelopment Plan.  But, as noted, there have been no changes in NERP since 2008—-7 years ago.

Horan’s statement was of sufficient concern that it was brought up at the Dec. 22, 2014 Township Committee meeting where her remarks were discussed publicly, and Committeeman Randy Bishop  found it necessary to make a public statement about it (see below.)   The Township Committee’s minutes are posted at Neptunetownship.org

The following is taken from the Committee minutes of Dec. 22, 2014:

Jack Breden, 94 1⁄2 Heck Avenue, read a recent Coaster article regarding the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association concerns regarding the North End Redevelopment Plan. The President of the Association, Ann Horan, is quoted that the Redevelopment Plan was changed based on recommendations from the Association. The article goes on to state that the Association got numerous elements of the Plan changed. Mr. Bishop stated changes were made to the Plan based on Association input before the Plan was adopted in 2008. There have been no changes made to the Plan since it was adopted in 2008.”

Because of the importance of the Redevelopment Plan to the town of Ocean Grove, “Horangate” has given us a heads-up to bring the plan’s story out of mothballs and into the public eye once again. Concerned citizens need the background to assess whatever may be coming our way re:  NERP.

Regarding starting work on the project, Committeeman Eric Houghtaling told Blogfinger three weeks ago, “I know that there are many, many things that need to be worked out before anything can be done on the Redevelopment project.”

Township Clerk Rick Cuttrell said earlier this month that he thought that the project had gotten all necessary approvals, including NJDEP, but he wasn’t certain and would find out.  We have not heard back yet on that inquiry.

So, now that the cat is out of the bag once again, and the history of the HOA’s involvement is cleared up, we will consider a series of more  detailed Blogfinger articles about the North End Redevelopment and what the future will bring.

It’s time to pay attention again, because anything new in this story, even just a dorsal fin in the water, must be made public. Currently the NERP is no different in size, scope or specifics than it was in 2008 when there were many misgivings in town about local congestion, environmental impact, parking,  and other quality of life issues. The project will affect the future of Ocean Grove in a major way.

RELEVENT LINKS AND NOTES BELOW:

1.   North end plan from 2008**

http://www.neptunetownship.org/sites/default/files/archive/documents/EDC/Redevelopment%20Plan_03-06-08_NorthEnd.pdf

2.   Dec 13, 2010:  BF “basic fact guide” about NERP         Link to  2010 BF review

3.   May, 2011:  HOA passes a resolution which results in no changes to the NERP   HOA NERP resolution 2011 BF post link

4.  October 2012:       Very important article which all Grovers should read. Blogfinger was the last OG entity to plead for a reduction in the project.    Link:     BF Oct 12, 2012 North End article

BF quote from the Oct. 2012 article linked above  (a very important piece written shortly before Sandy:)  “If this is built, it will be the most massive construction project in Ocean Grove’s modern history. Its impact on all of us will be substantial, and that impact will begin at the opening gun, with the start of construction. ”  

If you use the BF search engine on the top of our home page, just type in “North end redevelopment plan” for more details.

WANTED:  Experienced researchers to help BF in assessing and investigating  this very important subject in great detail looking back and forward. You won’t get the details unless you, the people, get it yourselves.

 

 

 

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