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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove controversies’ Category

A legal fence in historic Ocean Grove. Blogfinger.net photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and Jack Bredin, reporter and researcher.

At the November 1 meeting of the Board of Adjustment, a homeowner made a formal request to replace a preexisting 4 foot fence with a 6 foot fence. He based his request for a bulk variance on the need for more privacy.   The homeowner appeared without an attorney or expert witness.   Asking for more privacy is not a valid consideration in providing a variance for this homeowner’s request.

The Neptune Township zoning limits rear fences to five feet. Many historic fences are 4 feet.  Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  But in OG, they may not be too tall or your good neighbors may lodge a complaint at the Mother Ship.

The Chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission, Deb Osepchuk,  was present. She testified that the homeowner sought approval from the HPC, but that request was denied as not being compatible with HPC Architectural Design Guidelines   (see below)

“Rear yard fence height. Fences located in a rear yard area or on lot lines abutting a rear yard area shall not exceed a height of five (5) feet. The height of any decorative elements, articulated corners, gateways and posts shall be included in the fence height measurement.”

Why would a neighbor object to this homeowner’s request? After all, we all understand the need for privacy.

The meeting was poorly attended by those who live within 200 feet of the property who had received letters notifying them of the meeting.  Two neighbors appeared to oppose approval. But the approval  or disapproval of neighbors is not required for the Board’s decision.

Some neighbors didn’t care and didn’t attend. Others could have objected on the grounds of equal justice under the law, because they believe that no one should be exempted from the rules.  Also, there are those who would object because of “light, air, and open space issues.”  And others might be concerned with neighborhood aesthetics.

But the most compelling reason for denial is “precedence.”  If this applicant were approved, then the next person who comes along asking for a 6 foot fence would have to be treated the same way.  Then, all around town, we get 6 foot fences, and then the town no longer looks as it did before—-it will be contrary to what the town is all about.

In this regard, the people of Ocean Grove who want to have a successful historic town, need to keep an eye on such applications.  Neptuners don’t have the same sensitivity to historic appearances as we do.   Luckily, the Chairman of the Board of Adjustment is an Ocean Grover—Paul Dunlap, while Deb Osepchuk  (HPC) also lives in the Grove. They understand why these issues are important.

ELLA FITZGERALD AND THE BUDDY BREGMAN ORCHESTRA

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Are the Ocean Grove beach and boardwalk private property? Paul Goldfinger photograph 2008 ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @blogfinger

In a recent communication by the Camp Meeting Association, we were told that they own all the land.

A woman was walking her dog on our grassy strip. The dog proceeded to defile the strip. Eileen asked the woman to please not allow that on our property.  The woman turned and said, “It’s not your land!”

When the CMA wanted FEMA to pay for the Sandy-damaged boardwalk, the CMA argued that it was practically-speaking  public land because the public uses it all the time as if it were public land; as if it were just like Bradley Beach.  The CMA eventually won that argument, but it was a hard sell. Blogfinger supported that theory.

And that pseudo-public land theory is true since most of the CMA property including parks and pavilions and pathways and grassy areas which they own are totally open to the public without restriction, except, for example, bike riding on the boards at certain times, but those rules are for everyone.

You can even walk around the little trails that intertwine the Tent Village. That feels private, but it is not.  I often go there and take pictures.

If the doors to the Great Auditorium are open, you can wander in, sit down, and listen to Gordon Turk do his magic on the Hope-Jones organ. Open to the public.

And a homeowner can enjoy the privilege of leasing the land which sits under his house, as long as the homeowner pays the land tax and the ground rent.

So there is a commitment to allow public access to CMA land in most places around town, and that is wonderful.  And sometimes that gives the CMA a tax benefit, such as the Green Acres funding which the Boardwalk Pavilion enjoyed until the 2007 brouhaha when the CMA lost that privilege.

But here’s the problem.  We have public municipal ordinances that involve the CMA land  (such as mandatory snow shoveling of your walk), and whenever the Township wants to initiate such a rule, it must run it by the CMA.

This becomes a fine kettle of fish when public policy must affect all of us in town, but one segment of the town, the CMA, has more influence over policy than others.  Do any of you know a comparable situation elsewhere where there is this peculiar private/public arrangement?

Which brings me to the Dog Park Principle. A petition was presented to the OGCMA to use a small public access grassy area by the tennis courts as a dog park. It seemed perfect, but then it wasn’t when the CMA exerted its private property prerogative.  It said that it was their land, and a dog park would violate their “mission.”

So, there it is…..the “mission,” which is influenced by religion, and religion is supposed to be separate from governance. Yet they rejected the dog park even though the Township was sympathetic to the dog owners on this one.

So private is public until such time that private is private.  This is the Dog Park Principle.

This is confusing.  And there is money at stake such as ownership of land that someone else is required to pay taxes on, and there is the collection of ground rent on that private land that someone else is paying taxes on.

Shouldn’t the courts challenge the Dog Park Principle again, as a public service to help the citizens of this town  (a town that is a section of a municipality—another screwy arrangement) understand what’s public and what’s private?   I say “again” because somewhere in OG’s history are court cases that failed to settle all this.

But I am a doctor, so what do I know?  I know that Ted Kennedy once complained that drug companies were giving free pens to doctors—OMG Congress was mucking around in my free pens.  Why don’t State officials muck around  in our town where there may be Constitutional issues at stake regarding the public/private distinctions being made here over, for example,  a dog park.

CAT POWER  “The Greatest.”

“Secure the grounds
For the later parade.”

“Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
The stars at night turned deep to dust.”

 

 

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

The meeting hadn’t yet begun, but the Township Committee attendees were greeted outside the Municipal Building by a group of demonstrators with signs complaining about plans to build a bulk-head at the Shark River. Blogfinger has little interest in the subject, but we are impressed that,  for the first time which we are aware, citizen-pickets protested outside.

We need more of that sort of activism when Ocean Grove has demands, and we often do.

Last night the OG Home Groaners planned to pressure the Committee into seriously looking into resident permit parking. They expected citizens to show up and loudly complain (at the microphone) that we need permits.  Even the political arm of Ocean Grove United tried to push the issue on behalf of their allies, the HOA, with a mass email  containing Joyce Klein’s  (HOA Parking Committee Chair) plea to show up.

But since the Home Groaners never publicly revealed their permit plan, how is the public supposed to make up its mind on this controversial issue?  Is this one of those “vote for it first and then find out what’s in it” moments?

As it turns out, an estimated 15 people spoke up, but about half were opposed and the other half were in favor; a somewhat similar result to our BF poll. Since those in favor had no idea what exactly they were in favor of, they basically asked the Committee to “do something.”  And those who were  opposed had no idea exactly what they were opposed to. They basically said “It won’t work.”

And the Committee seemed to cling to its  OG parking strategy which is to squirm in their seats while making believe they care.  This topic offers a no-win situation for them, and they have no courage to address it.   They want it to go away.

And the Home Groaners Ass. once again comes up empty regarding an issue that OG residents do care about.

Two interesting Grovers went to the microphone.  The first was Ted Bell, OG historian and HSOG member.  He said that he was in favor of a permit plan.

The other well known guest was Rev. John DiGiamberardino, COO of the Camp Meeting Association.  He read a prepared statement opposing a permit plan on the grounds that it would not coincide with the group’s “Mission Statement.”    The last time we heard that was when the citizens were rejected for a dog park in the Grove.

He did not hand out copies of his statement.  We will try to get one, since the OGHOA is very influential in town and in their dealings with the Committee.  Also, this must be important to the CMA, because they almost never go public with their views; except when Rev. John sent out a statement in the recent past on ground rents.

But, hang onto your hats, because this was a very long meeting and there was more trash talk to keep the Committee on the edge of their podium seats.

Here’s a song dedicated to the Township Committee from their buddies the OGHOA:

MARILYN MONROE

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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.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In 2017, 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.   They just like being here.  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 much lesser extent today,  but it is no longer central to life in Ocean Grove.

Thirty years ago, the town 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 doctor’s offices, a video store,a flower shop, a cafeteria, a newsstand, a drug store, a barber shop,  a fishing club, a town pool, and a few fire houses.  In other words it was a town that was largely for the residents. So many towns at the shore are not for tourists, for example Atlantic Highlands, Avon-by-the Sea,  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.

Elected officials do not really represent the Grove’s citizens.  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 the people and try to make their lives better, but our situation  now is the opposite.

The Camp Meeting Association ran the town for over 140 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 OG 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, was 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, common identity, and direction for the town as a whole  So the town of Ocean Grove, lacking leadership and a sense of 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.

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.

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 is, and that’s a good thing.

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

THE CRESTS:

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Neptune goes all out to clean up the Shark River area after Sandy, but they made believe that they had no responsibility to provide help at the OG oceanfront. If they are going to deny services to OG, than how about a tax rebate for us?  Blogfinger photo Nov. 2012. ©

 

OG volunteers clean up after Sandy. No sign of Neptune DPW at the beachfront. They made believe that it wasn’t their job by saying that the land was owned by the CMA. But what about the needs of the people of Ocean Grove?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

The relationship between the Township of Neptune and the Town of Ocean Grove has always been unnatural.   Ocean Grove is culturally, historically, demographically, and physically much different than the rest of the Township.    It is a strange and strained partnership, but Neptuners make believe that it is a good fit.

The decision to attach the town of Ocean Grove to Neptune Township was a bizarre  and archaic example of legislative  patronage, but Neptune makes believe that the historic error continues to make sense and they have refused to allow Grovers to seek a path on their own.  Even the wall in East Berlin eventually came down.

We pay property taxes to Neptune Township. They make believe that we are like the rest of the Township in terms of services paid for, but that’s not true.

We have few school-age children that use the schools compared to the rest of Neptune, but  Neptune makes believe that we are the same.

Neptune charges property tax to us for our leased land. They  make believe that we own our land. In reality the CMA claims to own  the land and collects lease charges from us. The Township should bill the CMA for the land tax, or, some arrangement should be made to turn over the land ownership to the homeowners.

Neptune won’t fix our sidewalks because they make believe that the CMA owns the sidewalks. That may be technically true, but the rest of Neptune gets their sidewalks fixed, and the CMA won’t fix our sidewalks. The Township and the CMA make believe that it is our responsibility, but why is that?  We don’t own the sidewalks.  In what towns do property-tax paying citizens fix their own sidewalks?

Neptune makes believe that we own the trees along the streets, but we do not. OG trees are in deplorable condition and pose risks to those who live, drive  and walk nearby. Does the Township allow trees along the streets in other parts of town to become unhealthy, ugly, and dangerous messes?  Neptune makes believe that the citizens should pay for tree maintenance.

Neptune is responsible for  some parks in OG, but they make believe that somebody else should maintain them.  For example, Firemen’s Park is a disgrace. They sure do a nice job with the park by the Shark River.

Neptune makes believe that Ocean Grove has representative government, but the Township Committee clearly has Neptune proper  as its priority.  Neptune makes believe that they are not exploiting our town for money  (ie the so called “cash cow” syndrome) but they are constantly looking for ways to find ratables in the Grove even if their decisions adversely impact our historic preservation and our quality of life.

Neptune makes believe that it supports the Grove’s special designation as a National and State historic site, but they consistently look for ways to defy the Master Plan and zoning ordinances that are supposed to look after the “historic district.” An example is the way that they defy RSIS rules.  Now they are working on a way to water down the HPC guidelines. They make believe that it is about fire safety.

Now they want to turn our North End into a big commercial zone that will hurt the Town of Ocean Grove.  They make believe that the project is good for the Grove.

Neptune makes believe that its first responsibility in OG is to the tax paying citizens who live there, but in reality, they act like we are invisible.  Just visit a Committee meeting to see how our neighbors are treated.  Instead, Neptune’s actual priorities are first the CMA, second developers and merchants, and third the Home Groaners Ass.

Neptune went all out to clean up and rebuild the Shark River area after Sandy, but they made believe that cleaning and fixing the ocean front was somebody else’s job. So an army of volunteers had to do it, and the CMA had to struggle to raise huge funds and to deal with FEMA. Neptune reluctantly participated later by supplying some bonds until FEMA came through.   The Township used  tax money after Sandy to fix other parts of town while denying us services and they make believe that this discrepancy doesn’t exist.

And now, as $800,000 has rolled in from FEMA for phase 3 post Sandy, the Township wants to build an unwanted bulkhead at Shark River instead of using the money to finally re-do the OG Boardwalk north of the Pavilion. They are favoring the marina area while making believe that the remaining OG Boardwalk repairs are unimportant.

So, we have  the Land of  Make Believe in Neptune, and we the people make believe that there is nothing we can do.

HARRY NILSSON  from the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II music for Showboat.  The song is “Make Believe.”

“Others find peace of mind in pretending,
Couldn’t you? Couldn’t I? Couldn’t we?”

 

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Artist’s rendition for condos to replace the old Surf Avenue Hotel which was destroyed by fire in 2011. Condos were permitted for the site.

 

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Future President of the OGHOA. Vote for her at the next election. Saucy Susie will do a better job for the citizens of OG. Blogfinger photo. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Bonnie Graham writes for the Coaster, but she mostly specializes in reporting on HOA meetings. She is more like a stenographer because she writes down everything that happens, and then the Coaster regurgitates it all in their next edition 5 days hence.  She does a fine job of putting every ounce on paper, so no one really needs to go to those meetings.  All you need to do is read the Coaster if you can bear the pain of wading through it all.  But the June 1 account of the May 27 Home Groaners  meeting contains some gibberish which Blogfinger has an obligation to share with you, because it might otherwise just sink to the bottom of the sludge in Wesley Lake.

a.   The subject of “additional parking spaces along Main Avenue” was raised.  President Barbara Burns is quoted as saying, “We asked the Township to assume the administrative burden without funding, and the OG Chamber of Commerce is not pushing the parking issue.”  So, speaking of gobbledygook, someone please explain the meaning of this quote.

b.  Carol Rizzo, Township Committeeman who lives in the Grove,  is quoted by Bonnie  as saying, “OGHOA always sends 4-6 members and trustees to the Township Committee meetings. We listen to everybody. The parking recommendations made were a consensus opinion.”

So, who is “everybody” that formed that “consensus” ?  Does the “consensus” include the silent majority? Perhaps that parking “consensus” was formed behind closed doors somewhere. Do the people of Ocean Grove really believe that the answer to the parking issue is to squeeze in more spaces?

Shouldn’t  Committeeman Rizzo be  representing we the people  in demanding more accountability and new transparent  procedures in the decision-making process involving the citizens of OG, the HOA, and the Committee?  And how about those parking stickers for the residents?   And why doesn’t Ms. Graham challenge any of this balderdash?

c.  The Home Groaners announced that they have found something else to “focus” on.  It seems that they have exhausted their work on behalf of Ocean Grove, so, as reported by Ms. Graham, “The group will soon focus on issues in Neptune ‘outside of Ocean Grove.'”

Richard Williams, the Vice President of  the group “spoke at length on the Midtown Urban Renaissance Corporation–MURC—which serves as a liaison between this community and Neptune Township”

What “community?” Can anybody translate this mumbo-jumbo? Did the HOA members authorize its trustees to spend time looking into “Neptune issues such as gun violence, children’s activities, community garden, and fund raisers?”

The Home Groaners should do one thing: be involved in issues affecting home ownership in Ocean Grove. This is what their website says, “The mission of the OGHOA is to protect and enhance property values and the quality of life in Ocean Grove.” (period.)

d.   Ocean Grove fires: Barbara Burns spoke about fires in 2008, 2010, and 2011, but she had nothing to say about the horrendous Warrington fire of March 3, 2017. So Barbara, have you checked on those OG citizens who lost their homes in the fire?  There were nearly 100 of them.  Maybe she has no time now in view of the group’s latest incursion into Neptune’s  Midtown “renaissance.”

e.  And finally, Ms. Graham reported that a former President of the HOA, Ann Horan, said at the meeting, “We live in a diverse community. I have seen some of the most mean-spirited people being invited as summer speakers. I hope none of this year’s pastors are of the same ilk.”  Ugh!

Her ill-mannered portrayal of visitors to the Grove was aimed directly at the HOA’s special guest, Rev.  John DiGiamberadino, COO of the CMA who felt compelled to offer a defensive and embarrassing answer when he said, “We check to try to insure that speakers are non-controversial.”  Really?   He was bullied by Ann Horan, and no one in the crowd evidently protested. What a pathetic, blind-sided swipe at a man who came to the meeting to share good news, not to be rudely attacked by an unforgiving HOA all-star.

Thank you Bonnie Graham for sitting through this lame blather so that some of us could stay home and avoid these obnoxious meetings run by a group which is failing in its responsibility to the community of Ocean Grove.

So, enough of this summary of an event that was like the Mad Tea Party or perhaps an Oscar Meyer Weiner cookout?

Here’s something musical to get our minds off the gobbledygook.

MAX RAABE at Carnegie Hall, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

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Sent by citizen reporters Susan and Barry Krumm reportng from the North End beach.. 5/31/17

The Rainbow Connection. Ocean Pathway. Ocean Grove. 2013 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.   Editor @Blogfinger

Does this advisory surprise you?  The Monmouth County Health Dept has been checking* the ocean water every Monday for many years at 50 ocean sites, and, it turns out, Ocean Grove has had a tendency to have worse problems than other beaches in our area.  Our water tests positive* for enterococci (coliforms) derived from feces more often.  Tomorrow, the Health Dept will close our beaches if the count remains too high, not only at the North End, but also at the South End.

Why should our beaches be more of a problem than others?  The general answer is that we are situated between two “ocean lakes”—Wesley and Fletcher which collect dirty street water which then runs off into the ocean. The fecal bacteria could be traced  to inland infrastructure failures  (ie sewer lines leaking) but mostly it is from dirty street water runoff, and oftentimes the source of that bacteria is animal feces.

The high counts get worse when there are rain storms—which the Dept of Health, in a  rare moment of humor, refers to as “crappy weather.”

And there are other issues for Ocean Grove. Wesley Lake receives a huge volume of street water during storms, and Wesley Lake itself has higher temperatures than other area lakes (? reason) and it receives a large amount of “nutrients”  (nitrates and phosphates ? from fertilizers.)

Whenever an area is “built out,” the amount of dirty water runoff increases, and guess what:  The Ocean Grove side of Wesley Lake is worse than the Asbury part because there is a four foot pipe that carries street runoff from NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP—an area reaching from Neptune  Rt. 35 and Neptune Boulevard all the way east to the Lake.

Regarding Wesley Lake, the Health Dept. Specialist that I spoke to refers to the Wesley Lake water condition as being “pretty bad.” But, he believes that the main source of the enterococci detected in our ocean test is NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP.

He says that “detention basin” is not a bad name for what goes on there because since the ocean end of the Lake was essentially closed off in the past, the Lake became the place where rainwater runoff sits.

And  the Township has not shared that bacterial information with us nor has the Wesley Lake Commission, unless they are ignorant of this issue.

The County Health Department is currently embarking on a two year study of Wesley Lake, and when it is over, they will look at possible remediation recommendations.   But because Neptune, Ocean Grove, and Asbury are so built up, it isn’t clear that they can do anything to fix the infrastructure  (old sewer lines.) Perhaps they will make other recommendations. 

We received today’s  information from David Sorenson, Environmental Health Specialist at the Monmouth County Health Dept. Their phone number is 732 431 7456, and I would suggest that the Wesley Lake Commission and the Friends of Wesley Lake jot down his phone number.  He also recommends a web site where the data can be reviewed:

NJDEP Coastal Monitoring

—–*Coastal Cooperative Beach Program

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By Sue Gioulis, Blogfinger staff based on a BF photograph from July, 2016.

By Jack Bredin, researcher and reporter @Blogfinger and Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

At the Township Committee meeting of May 22, 2017, the Township Attorney Gene Anthony finally stopped making excuses for the stalled North End project with an announcement saying, “Mr. Gannon has an agreement with the new redeveloper and WAVE.”

William Gannon III is the spokesman, the leader, and the lawyer for WAVE, the mysterious group behind the North End Redevelopment Project (NERP) which has been languishing since 2008.

Jack Bredin went to the microphone to ask Anthony, “How can WAVE select a new redeveloper? You become a redeveloper when you sign a Redeveloper’s Agreement with the Township, and WAVE has never signed its own contract with Neptune Township.”

Anthony replied, “That may be true, but the Township Committee designated WAVE as a redeveloper.” 

Yikes, talk about evading a question!

Let’s take a look at some background information regarding the term “redeveloper” as it pertains to the North End project. And let’s also pay close attention to the words “Committee,” “WAVE,” “Association” (i.e. OGCMA,) “Redeveloper’s Agreement,” and “developer.” And let’s look for misuse of the English language that would distract from the truth.

On June 9, 2008, the Township Committee adopted Resolution #292 designating Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises LLC (WAVE) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA or Association) as Co-Redevelopers of the NERP.

Resolution # 292 said “Whereas the Association conducted an extensive process to seek and interview potential developers for the property, and….

“Whereas, the Association selected Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises, LLC as the developer of the property.”   (Note that the word “redeveloper” is not used in these two quotes)*

We believe that illegal procedures were used to get this project going in a direction that suited the developers and not the people of Ocean Grove.

To begin with, the selection process should have been conducted by the Township, not the Association, including advertising a request for proposals followed by a public bidding process as required by law.

The Township Committee allowed the Association to usurp the Committee’s legal authority to select a redeveloper. In a redevelopment project, the Township is in charge and should be the entity that selects a redeveloper.

In addition, the resolution confuses the issue (? intentionally) by twice referring to “developers” instead of “redevelopers.”   These words are not synonymous.

So, from the beginning, the whole process has been tainted, and now, at the May 22, 2017 meeting, it was reported that the Committee is currently permitting WAVE to do the same thing, i.e. to usurp its authority to select a redeveloper. In other words, the first illegal redeveloper is now choosing another illegal redeveloper. And the Committee, the citizens’ elected representative, remains silent on this shell game.

It also must be noted that no entity can be officially named as “Redeveloper” without signing a Redevelopers Agreement, and neither WAVE, the Association, or the new kid on the block (currently not identified by Anthony) have ever signed such a contract with the Township.

When will our elected officials take the side of the citizens, follow the laws, and favor the Master Plan as they deal with North End redevelopment ?

So here’s a metaphor.  Consider that the Town Committee are a bunch of teddy bears having a grand old time at their regular picnic, aka the Committee meetings. They love to dance and prance and act innocent, but they are blind to the forest rangers who are watching them very carefully.

ANNE MURRAY

 

 

 

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Ocean Grove fishing pier pre-Sandy. By Paul Goldfinger. Undated. Blogfinger.net©

 

Bob Bowné says, “Speaking of fishing piers… I have heard that OGCMA has been completely stonewalling the the OG fishing club pier and club house rebuild.

“Does anyone have any further info on this? What is the agenda here?”

 

Editor’s note:  When Bob says “Speaking of fishing piers…” he is referencing his photograph which appeared earlier this year.  Below is a link to that post:

Bob Bowné at Belmar pier

 

RICHARD KILEY  from the Man of La Mancha, the story of a pursuit of truth and beauty.

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