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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove controversies’ Category

Aurora under construction. Paul Goldfinger photo. July, 2019. Much of the decorations have been removed  (temporarily we assume.)

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

In March, 2019, Blogfinger discussed the latest status of the proposed Aurora Hotel makeover.

3/19 Aurora BF post

We discussed some of the questionable issues as the developer was winning the argument to turn the historic hotel into 4 condominiums under one roof.  Many were concerned about historic preservation.  We pointed out that there were congestion , parking and land use issues.

As for parking, technically RSIS standards would require 8 off-street parking spaces, but there wasn’t enough room.    However,  the Board allowed a reduction to four and suggested that the developer make an application* to the Department of Community Affairs in Trenton for a “de minimis exception for any/all RSIS parking requirements.”

In July 2018, the owner, “Old Forge at Ocean Grove” received a use variance from the Neptune Zoning Board of Adjustment.   The Board says that two hearings showed “overwhelming public support” for the proposal. (BF note:  we hear otherwise.)

The  Neptune Planner testified that this was a fine decision, “satisfying the requirements of the Master Plan and that the ‘character” of the building will be retained.'”   The planner said that the proposal would  “promote historic use and reduce intensity.”

In the Resolution, item #24, the Board concluded, “There are no substantial negative impacts for the use (no substantial negative criteria present) as said renovation is set to enhance the neighborhood (architecturally, historically, and structurally for health, safety and welfare of surrounding residents) and the majority of the surrounding neighbors are fully supportive of the proposed use as set forth in testimony.”

So, the use variance was granted.

Then in August 2018, a civil action was brought against “Old Forge” and the Zoning Board by Kevin Chambers of Ocean Grove.  His suit was based on alleged land use violations which would  cause “substantial detriment to the public good.”

But Kevin Chambers’ suit was denied in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County.  There was no appeal.

In September, 2018, the same Board approved the site plan for the project.

We have no documentation, but evidently the HPC heard the plan and asked for some changes, so the final HPC approval is pending.  Meanwhile work is ongoing.  We don’t know what’s happening with the interior work to create 4 condominiums under one roof, separated by fire walls.  The HPC will undoubtedly eventually give final approval.

And the outside is supposed to preserve the historic look of this very important historic structure.

In April  2019, it was revealed that the developer’s lawyer had applied by letter to the Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA)  for a de minimis exception to limit on-site parking.  The State advised the lawyer that neither the DCA nor the Site Improvement Advisory Board (SIAB) approve de minimis exceptions. They said that it is the responsibility of the municipality.

So the State punted, and presumably the Neptune Board approved zero to four off street parking spots—we don’t know.

We will prepare a post trying to explain what happened with the DCA.   Is this how the Town got away with approving over 300 condos over the years, none with parking?

Needless to say, those of us who follow this sort of thing were expecting RSIS parking standards to be enforced, but they were not, and I double checked with the DCA as to the legitimacy of that letter. 

So, for the sake of those neighbors who love this idea, they better wish for some rich people with no cars, no friends, and no relatives.

 

JOHN DENVER     “Looking for Space”

“And I’m looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I’m looking to know and understand
It’s a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I’m deep in despair.”

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Can Ocean Grove retain its own unique historical perspective?  This musician is warming up for the OG Summer Band weekly concert on the boardwalk. 2009. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net   Re-post from  April 2018.

In a recent Blogfinger opinion piece, we said, “Will we be left in the dustbin of history as a place with stifling crowding, insoluble  parking concerns, a has-been Victorian success story,  condos all over town,  a pseudo-Asbury  at the North End, self-interested “community” organizations, wealthy  2nd homers instead of year-round residents, and a town devoid of community—– known for no art, culture, schools, or values of its own?”

“And will all that will be left to focus on will be the Camp Meeting Association with its specific mission and lifestyle—worthy as part of the community, but less impressive all by itself?”

“And will Ocean Grove become a place with no life to it in the winter and few downtown shops that cater to the residents?”

Is it possible that the original 1970’s vision of a historic town, as expressed in the Master Plan, will eventually evaporate leaving just another shore town with rising real estate prices, elitist demographics,  outrageous taxes, and fancy seasonal shops in our downtown?

An article in yesterday’s New York Times addresses some of these changes which are turning down-home, family-oriented communities such as Avalon, at the South Jersey Shore, into something else, mostly for the wealthy.   Families with modest incomes, some of which have been there for generations are being forced out, and with them go memories, traditions, and a nostalgic atmosphere that that will be lost as the town’s character changes.  The author says that some towns at the north Jersey Shore, such as Mantoloking, are also changing.

You can read that article, linked below.   But each Shore town is different.  In OG we have some unusual variations on the theme, such as the role of the CMA  and the aggressiveness of developers pushing condo conversions, as well as some home buyers who are promoting tourist rentals.

For Mantoloking there is the awesome devastation wrought by Sandy.  So the Jersey Shore is changing everywhere, but each town has its own unique challenges.

The second-home phenomenon is very real in Ocean Grove and is a strong driving force towards change.  Neptune Township cares little about historic OG.   Their actions make it clear what their goals for the town are, and we have written about those issues including illegal zoning and parking decisions, the pollution of Wesley Lake, and taxes which are too high  (the “cash cow” effect–you can almost hear the sucking sound of our money heading west.)

 

3 new homes are going in on Lawrence Avenue. (88, 90 and 92). Will they look Victorian? ©  4/23/18. Blogfinger photo.

Here are some “objectives and goals” taken from the Master Plan of the OG Historic District,–a “plan” which is largely ignored by the movers and shakers in the Grove who care little about historic preservation or the vision of those who were thrilled when OG was given recognition by the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

a.  “To integrate historic preservation into the Township’s history,  its historical figures and its historic sites and district.”  And “encouraging new construction that is compatible in scale and design to the physical character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

b. “To seek to insure compatibility between new development and nearby historic sites and districts, in terms of both use and appearance.”  Really?”

So how do Mary’s Place and the Greek Temple get built in the heart of our ocean-front Historic District?

c. “To  encourage residents to preserve the historic character, livability and property values of historic structures in neighborhoods….”

This subject is not exactly new.  Take a look at this 2012 Blogfinger post   (and the comments which are very interesting and unique:)

Blogfinger poll on historic heritaget in OG

 

SARAH VAUGHAN  sings a Cole Porter Broadway  song:

 

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Some Grovers are investing huge sums to create authentic Victorian restorations like this gorgeous newly redone Main Avenue showplace, but that alone does not define us.  Paul Goldfinger photo May 2, 2017.

 

Another ambitious Victorian restoration. Note the original siding being brought back to life at great expense . Blogfinger photo © Ocean Grove at  Main Avenue.

 

Ocean Grove July 4 parade, 2015. A truly unique community event. Paul Goldfinger photograph

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger–updated and re-posted from 2017.

 

In 2019, on its 150th birthday, Ocean Grove is a small town without a clear sense of identity.  It has a local government that treats us like an appendage to be milked, but otherwise there is no love emanating from Neptune Township. We may be part of Neptune officially, but we are clearly NOT part of Neptune in our hearts.  Most towns have a continuous thread of history that has resulted in a strong sense of identity, but not Ocean Grove.

Citizens say that they “love” the town, but the definition of that love remains undefined.   Many just like being here at the beach.  Is the Grove  just a collection of old houses interspersed in another cozy shore town?   Or  maybe it is the perception of the town as a place with an unusual and special  culture that attracts people to live here.

Many  like the urban feel, the friendly neighborhoods, the comfortable  sidewalks for walking, the porch culture, and the magic of summer evenings on the boards or fun at the beach.  And for some it is the closest nicest shore town to NYC.

Those who say they “love the town”  often have little knowledge of the town’s history as a religious enclave.  They have no interest in it as a historic place recognized by State and Federal historic registries.  So, to what extent is OG an authentic and serious historic district—a very special place for that reason?

A related question is whether this town was conceived as a tourist attraction?  The answer to that is an emphatic no.  Sure, in the late 1800’s, religious tourists came here in droves, mostly by train, and that identity persists to a  lesser extent today,  but the CMA community is no longer as central to life in Ocean Grove as it once was.  OG evolved into a residential community with cottages and boarding houses.   The Victorian buildings were  less valued than they are today and many had gone into decline.   Its census population was more than it is today.

Forty years ago, the downtown was not a tourist place to have a burger, buy a T shirt, take a tour, go to a massive craft show on the Pathway, or close down Main Avenue to sell Thai food or sell shlocky art or display old British cars.

Instead the downtown had a serious grocery/butcher shop, several doctors’ offices, a video store,a flower shop, a cleaners, a cafeteria, a newsstand, a newspaper, a drug store, a barber shop,  a fishing club, a seashell shop, and a town pool.   In other words it was a town that was largely for the residents. So many towns at the shore are not  primarily for tourists, for example Atlantic Highlands, Avon-by-the Sea, Long Beach Island, Spring Lake, Deal, Avalon, and Allenhurst.

But now Ocean Grove has become  a mish-mash—a combination of all of the above; but for those who actually  live here  (year round or part-time), or want to live here, we need to define our situation more clearly: what is the heart and soul of this town?  Or maybe those attributes don’t even exist. Maybe it will never be that sort of town.

Elected officials do not really represent the Grove’s citizens. So democracy doesn’t exist as defined by representative government. The Neptunite governing operation is like a secret foreign occupying power that has undercover agents and contacts who live among us, but has underlying agendas based upon self interest.

A local government is supposed to represent its community of residents and try to make their lives better, but our situation now is the opposite.  Witness the efforts to bring large numbers of tourists to town to the consternation of those who live here, and the failure to solve problems like zoning abuses, over-building, and the invasion of the parking snatchers.

The Camp Meeting Association ran the town for 111 years.  During that time, until 1980, they had reason to believe that the unique religious culture which prevailed till then, as odd as it was in America, would last  forever.  They certainly did not envision the town becoming a historic site.  They had no problem letting many of the early houses deteriorate. And it is unclear if stores during those years sold T shirts, surf boards, jewelry or pizza.

But when Ocean Grove was handed over to Neptune Township in 1980, and with the CMA giving up governance and most blue laws,  it was like a child who lost his parents and was given to someone for foster care—for money.

The town, which was becoming quite diverse by 1980, went forward without a clear sense of who or what it was, and today, what is its character and purpose?

The result is a place with a variety of power centers, all self interested  and largely propelled by an active real-estate market;  and all without the will to find a framework, a common identity, and direction for the town as a whole.

So the town of Ocean Grove, lacking leadership and a sense of town-wide community, is adrift and thus what goes on here is helter-skelter and out of focus.  That is why no progress is made in solidifying the town as a real place with its own sense of being.  If it weren’t for the homeowners who have brought to life historic homes that had been on life-support, this would be a pretty disheveled and much less desirable place.

The vision of an authentic historic town, defined by its historic designations, is currently fraudulent because most citizens don’t give a rat’s tail about its history. Even the “Historic Preservation Commission” has gone dark and has seemingly slipped into the shadows, never to be trusted again.

It is rare to find a historical event here such as re-enactments, poetry readings, vintage music concerts, classical street musicians, jazz, and educational programs about the town’s history for those who actually live here.  Instead we shut down Main Avenue for car shows and we crowd the town with huge numbers of strangers (ie tourists)  to have giant retail events of no value to the town itself while the residents struggle to find a parking place and to share our streets with the free parkers heading to Asbury.

We have had a major Walt Whitman Poetry Festival and a Blogfinger Film Festival (for collegiate film students.)  And we had arts in the parks,  People’s Garden Tours, classical street musicians, and other community cultural events, but most of them died on the vine.

The Ocean Grove Homeowners Association has no idea what it should be doing, and its leadership has no idea what its mandate is. It is not only essentially worthless in terms of bringing this town together and forward, but it has actually become a force working against the people—a subversive presence.

Jack Bredin is correct that the only workable solution is to become our own town again  (it actually happened for one year in 1925, but the church vs state  dilemma caused it to collapse on itself.) Perhaps it is possible once again, but not in a place where the citizens are apathetic and don’t seem to care about a vision for the town.

So  Ocean Grove, despite some wonderful attributes, is poorly defined, and the citizens are seemingly satisfied to ride the waves, sleep on the beach and enjoy being here, much like so many other Jersey Shore towns, although many of those towns actually have their acts together and know who they are or what they want to be. For example Belmar has only one mega-event each year.  Its mayor says that his main concern are the town’s residents.  The beach scene is a given in all Shore towns.

Bradley Beach , our neighbor to the south, which lacks the history that we have, knows what it is.   Go there to experience a true Jersey Shore town.  Forget the architecture, just view it as a fine place to enjoy the shore.   Take a deep breath and smell the ocean.  Go on Main Street on a summer night and have some Thai food or terrific Italian delicacies.  Sit outside at a real  coffee shop and watch the young people walking by or heading towards the boardwalk.  Bradley Beach has a heart and soul which goes all the way back to its founding. It knows what it is, and that’s a good thing.

And here’s a song for the kids in town, especially the teenagers who breathe life into the town no longer  known as “Ocean Grave.”

THE CRESTS:

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July 6 parade in OG for Independence Day and the 150th birthday of Ocean Grove. But read the banner, to see what the CMA is celebrating.    Paul Goldfinger photo.

 

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This fine work of fictionalized history is by an Ocean Grove author.  It is about Victorian OG in 1905. It describes a life of over 100 years ago in the Grove  that had nothing to do with the Camp Meeting. The book is available on Amazon. Posted with permission.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger

At the concert on July 4 in the Great Auditorium, Gordon Turk, the host for the concert, said to the audience that we are celebrating “the birthday of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.”  If you read the recent writings of the CMA, it is quite evident that their main goals for this 150th anniversary are based on their religious “mission.”  Just read the 2019 “Ocean Grove Summer  Program Guide” and you will see what they are doing in addition to what they are saying.

In other publicity ads, the wording  for the 150th seems to say that we are celebrating the birthday of the town of Ocean Grove.  And yes, there are many secular events scheduled as well, but it all happens without an effort to clearly define what this town is really about and, in particular, to recognize that there is another Ocean Grove besides the religious based community.

After the founding of Ocean Grove in 1869 by the Camp Meeting Association, the Town’s public taxpaying community and the private religious organization called the OGCMA were essentially one and the same.  But as time went by, considerable diversity evolved, and many residents were not affiliated with the CMA;  but they all had to follow the CMA rules (“blue laws”)  based on religious principles, and those rules were enforced by their own police force.

However, in 1980, Neptune Township took over governance, and the CMA was no longer in charge, although it subsequently brought to bear considerable influence— moral, practical,  and political.

The historical truth, looking back, is that there were groups of residents who got together to oppose the CMA governance as early as 1898 when a group of “lessees” in town sued to get the CMA to pay property taxes to the Township.  The lessees lost the suit at the NJ Supreme Court.

OG historian Gibbons said in 1939:   “Many times residents and land lessees of the town have voiced their objection to the local rules, to the tax situation, or to the form of government, especially from 1900-1925, and there have been many court fights.”

There were those who wanted secular public governance not private religious based rule. In 1920 there was a law passed  in Trenton called the “Ocean Grove Borough Bill.”  There actually was a public democratic town of Ocean Grove established, but for only one year; the law was reversed because the new Borough failed to rid itself of the blue laws.

This anniversary is about 150 years of history in this town, and there are many elements that the CMA had nothing to do with:  Presidential politics with visits by Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley, Garfield, Wilson, and US Grant among others, commercial district with historic businesses such as Days, historic organizations such as the Historical Society of OG, Ocean Grove United, and the Homeowners Assoc., suffrage  and feminist movements, architectural design and historic preservation, celebrities such as Caruso who visited Grovers here, businesses that started here such as Mrs. Wagner’s pies, giant events such as craft shows and flea markets, Town-wide Yard Sale, OG Film Festival, tax and zoning issues, land use issues, famous hotels, shipwrecks, Wesley Lake pollution, wildlife, restoration of homes around town including the famous Ocean Pathway, demographic evolution, residents’ issues with Neptune Township, parking challenges, relationship with Asbury Park, condoization, and more.

The point is that this 150th  anniversary is both that of the CMA and the Town of Ocean Grove as separate but related entities.  One is a private religious based group—the CMA, while the other is a public largely secular community with taxpaying residents often on a different wave length.   The situation, of course, is complicated by the  CMA’s ownership of the land.  This unique connection has yet to be ironed out.

Currently the CMA, which is promoting this 150th anniversary celebration,  is behaving as if it is all one and the same, and their writings confuse the distinctions.  If you read their summer program guide, there is no doubt that they are mostly celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Camp Meeting Association.

The idea of another historic  “Ocean Grove” is getting lost in the shuffle;  the “other Ocean Grove” is a historic 150 year old residential small town with much to celebrate besides religion.  And don’t expect the media to “get it” because most of the citizens don’t “get it” either.

So, regardless of these distinctions, we are in the midst of a festive sesquicentennial, and we can thank the Camp Meeting Association for organizing it and paying for it.  And they have every right to do this celebration in whatever way they choose, but at least let’s speak clearly about what is happening.

Let’s enjoy the events, but don’t lose sight of the strange admixture of three factions  that goes on here—perhaps the only such arrangement anywhere in the US.

Don’t depend on Neptune Township to help at all to understand these distinctions,  even though they have a sign on Corlies Avenue, near the Grove, that says that we are their “Historic District.”

But they really don’t care much about the Grove. Look at what they do, not what they say.     The Neptuners enjoy the apathy and the distinctions, because they get to milk the cash cow, exploiting whatever differences we have in our town.

JOHN LITHGOW  sings about knowing who we are and appreciating our differences:

 

How to refer to our town

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After Sandy the CMA mobilized citizens and other volunteers to work together in the cleanup Oct 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

Paul Goldfinger,MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net

This post first appeared last January regarding how the CMA affects the life styles of secular residents in town.  This past Sunday (June 2, 2019) a large religious event occurred that alarmed some residents who live near the Great Auditorium.

The Liquid Church brought a crowd of religious tourists here for a morning service in the Great Auditorium. Apparently it was noisy, then lunch on the Pathway with 7 food trucks, and then later with baptisms on the beach.  The usual quiet OG Sunday had changed.   The Liquid Church  will be returning every Saturday night   in July and August.

This change raises these questions:  Is Ocean Grove once again becoming a Christian town?    Does the CMA have the unlimited power to expand in ways that can impact the quality of life of all who live here?   Does owning all the land give it that power?

The article below gets into some of these issues:

 

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  used to run this town, but all that changed in 1980 when the NJ Supreme Court turned over our historic village to the municipality of Neptune Township.

None of the “blue laws” were left in effect, except for bans on selling tobacco, sales of alcohol, and closing of the beach on Sunday mornings.  There has been no coherent explanation for those bans and beach closure  as initiated by a private group in a public town.

The CMA retained control over the beachfront and they actually own the boardwalk; they and others worked together to press FEMA to help pay for the boardwalk restoration.  The Camp Meeting still owns most of the land in town as they pursue their religious “mission” which is growing year-round and has an effect on all who actually live in the Grove.

Interestingly, they have no membership list, so we don’t know how many residents in the Grove are committed to the CMA organization.  Most of their supporters seem to be religious tourists.

There is a group in town of private residents who are mostly secular and who probably number over 5,000 if second homers are included.  But, that group doesn’t seem to have much influence.

So how does the CMA maintain the reigns of power here, in  a democracy,  to influence the residents of this community?

Around 2011,  Blogfinger became interested in the role of the CMA as it relates to the “community ” of Ocean Grove—ie the residents of the town.  We interviewed the  President of the CMA.  He said that the group would focus on its “mission” and not on the community of residents. That’s when I first learned that the CMA actually had a policy regarding the rest of the Grove.

After Sandy hit, the CMA stood tall to deal with the beachfront damage, but they opened their arms to the OG community to help pay for it via the Together Fund.

Clearly the CMA is a sort of neighbor for all of us, but it is a peculiar sort.  They have power and influence in Neptune that enables them to strong arm certain issues in the Historic District such as congestion, parking, land use, North End Redevelopment, and life-styles for residents.

If we ask residents of OG the question: “What do you expect from the CMA,” we suspect that opinions will range from “nothing” to “a great deal.”

If you try to answer that question by thinking about the recent history of the CMA as neighbors in town, consider this summary below.  It is a short list of how they impact all who live here.

a.  They have lucrative large events through the year, especially during “prime time” which effects all of us who live here and which bring no money to help the OG  community.

b. They bring in thousands of tourists for their religious based events, but also for the town- wide clogging mega secular events on Ocean Pathway such as the Flea Market. They hope to extend their reach year-round.

c. They don’t seem to care much about the secular residents in town as evidenced by their seeming indifference to issues that effect all of us, such as when they threatened to sue over permit parking before the conversation ever got out of the starting gate.

And you would think that they would be concerned about the Master Plan, the Land Use abuses,  historic preservation, and other matters that involve them. But they never speak out about these topics.

d.  They were found to be guilty in 2007 of discrimination, and that stained the reputation of the entire town.

e.  They have been intimately involved with the worrisome plans for the project at the OG North End.

f.  Secular programming has been cut back at the GA.

Of course, there are many positive attributes for the entire town that stem from the CMA’s presence in the Grove such as: the 4th of July parade; Illumination Night;  Christmas events;  a clean and friendly beachfront; a wonderful summer music program; and activities for families, kids and teenagers.

So, what do you think?  Please comment below.

ELVIS:   “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

 

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New Jersey Marathon in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © 2015.

On August 23, 2017, Newsmax published its top 50 religious landmarks in America.   They began their coverage with this:

“Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis and leaders have initiated nearly every significant sociopolitical event in America. Their churches and synagogues were catalysts and hubs that made possible the American War of Independence, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. They founded schools and hospitals, created architectural wonders, and emphasized the preservation of nature.

“Religious landmarks in most of the original 13 states could easily fill their own top 50 lists, especially the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. However, these sites exemplify the diversity of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and commitment to religious freedom — the hallmark of American exceptionalism.”

This statement is extraordinary and it is true. Below is what they said about Ocean Grove:

1. “God’s Square Mile;” Ocean Grove, New Jersey; 1869 This popular seaside retreat, concert, and vacation destination for millions is a lasting testament to the Victorian-era revivalist movement that followed the Second Great Awakening.

Methodist ministers founded Ocean Grove believing “religion and recreation should go hand in hand.” Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this quaint town is crammed with picturesque Victorian homes, antiques, a historic Auditorium, chapel, and tent community, and offers numerous tours and activities on land, sea, and air. Methodists still gather here regularly as well as other Christian groups

 

Editor’s Note:

This designation is huge, at least in the eyes of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. It  is a great honor for the CMA, but it perpetuates the myth that Ocean Grove is still a religious community and not a small town with multiple factions including the CMA.

The CMA is a powerful presence here, but the most salient emblem of the community are the Victorian homes which are maintained and paid for by a largely secular and diverse community of residents.

This award will have practical consequences, and perhaps our readers would like to speculate as to what these consequences will consist of.

Here is a link to the Newsmax presentation:

www.newsmax.com/BestLists/top-religious-landmarks-america/2017/08/23/id/809233/

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger,net

BEN WEBSTER:

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Will we allow Neptune to continue dumping the Grove into their dumpster?  Paul Goldfinger photo.© October, 2018.

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.net

Two incumbents are up for re-election to the Neptune Township Committee. Their dominance will not be cast aside.

This one-party rule will perpetuate a habit of ignoring the needs of Ocean Grove residents. They are aided and abetted by a number of OG organizations that pursue self interests rather than promoting the OG community of citizens. We have identified them many times in the past. This coupled with public apathy allows our historic town to twist in the wind, blown around without direction.

I guess most people who live here are happy enough with the town to not worry much about its heart, soul, and future.

It looks like nothing positive will come of the November election as far as Ocean Grove is concerned.  And that will send a message to that one- party crowd that sits elevated in their Comedy Room that caring about OG is not worth their effort.

 

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TEA LEAF GREEN:

 

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A lovely event was held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 on Ocean Avenue at Main and Heck.  This single family house is doing just fine without being divided into condominiums. All that is required are owners who care about the town.  Such owners could have been found for the Aurora.  Blogfinger photo.

 

In August, Blogfinger questioned the decision by the Board of Adjustment to allow the single family zoned Aurora to be turned into a 4 condominium building.

Here is a link to that post:

Aurora zoning change

In that article, we asked, “Why didn’t this Board insist on the single family zoning that was present when the owner bought the property? Do you think any promises were made to that owner, and who might have made those promises?”  Zoning is supposed to protect the town and its citizens.

We know that the previous owner had trouble selling the property, presumably because of the single family zoning, but he bought it that way and lived with it that way, and this historically important building should have been left with its original zoning.

Some might argue that it is unfair to require that this old hotel be continued with single family zoning, because they say, “What can you do with such a big single family home?”

But you can visit any Jersey Shore town, including Ocean Grove, and find very large single family homes.

For example, on Ocean Avenue in OG are such buildings.  Our photo shows a beautiful single family home which was happily occupied by 2 people before it was acquired by the current owners who left the zoning alone.  You can see that it is often rented out for events, and none of its history has been compromised.   It is located on Ocean Avenue, lovingly straddling Main Avenue and Heck Avenue, for all visitors and residents to enjoy.

Will you be able to say the same thing about the new Aurora?

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

JIMMY BUFFETT:

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Just before the start of the Summer Band concert at 8 pm, August 24, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Just before the start of the Summer Band concert at 8 pm, August 24, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Re-posted from summer 2016.

 

Scene:  The crowd was entering the great Auditorium prior to the Summer Band concert celebrating their 64th anniversary.  Among the visitors to the free concert were some out-of-towners.  We sat down on an aisle.

 

Man overheard speaking to his wife:   “Look Betty, they got an organ!”

 

Another out of towner behind us speaking to his wife:

She:  How many seats in this building?

He:  About 600

She:  Wow

Me:   (turning around) The Auditorium seats 6,500.

He:  Oh…I just left out a zero.

 

Another conversation:

We:  Let’s sit here on the aisle  (Behind us is a couple—they discuss our presence in muffled tones.)  Then they get up and move to different seats.

Another couple sits in those seats behind us:

She:  These are wonderful seats!

 

VINCE GIORDANO and  THE NIGHTHAWKS   from the movie The Aviator     “Stardust”

 

 

 

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At Pilgrim Pathway near Mt. Hermon Way. Blogfinger photo. Friday 8/24/18. ©

 

Pitman Avenue at the edge of Auditorium Square Park. Blogfinger photo. 8/24/18. ©

 

It was the beginning of a beautiful beach weekend.  On Friday afternoon, the floodgates of vehicles had already opened for another gridlocked weekend  in the Grove.  Ironically, both these parking games were being played out within one block of each other, almost on top of the NTPD substation next to Thornley Chapel.

By Saturday, I had to park over 3 blocks from my house, and while walking back, the sloppiness of parking on our streets was evident, with large segments of curb being empty, but not quite large enough to be a parking space.  If only some parkers were more considerate and less arrogant.

Some have suggested marking the parking spaces in town, but that would, I am told, take up even more parking spaces given the sizes required.   Have you noticed how large each marked  handicapped space is?

 

JULIO IGLESIAS     (” The games of love I played with arrogance and pride, including my parking habits.” )

 

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