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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove feature article’ Category

Ken and Annie plan to make Ocean Grove their home. Founders Park. 7/31/17. Stephen Goldfinger, Blogfinger staff. ©

Annie and Ken, from Inwood, New York City, are singers.  They first met on the OG beach a few years ago when they came to town to sing in the Annual Choir Festival.  But it turned out that they harmonized in ways that they hadn’t planned, and now they are married and they will  soon leave NYC and move full time to Ocean Grove.

Our reporter Stephen struck up a conversation with Annie and Ken in Founders Park where they hit the right note with this spontaneous pose.

THE WESTERN SWING AUTHORITY:

 

 

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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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NJ.com photo 5/3/17

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Recently Blogfinger published a series of articles called “the Case of the Worrisome Warrington”   This quote is from our March 3, 2017 post—on the day of the fire:*

“Three days ago we wrote a piece about how the Warrington project would receive official final approval this week for their site plan to turn that crappy building into a modern 21 room boutique hotel with an apartment in the basement and a basket full of variances to permit this special use, despite all the land use violations which we have documented. The Zoning Board official at the Mother Ship told us that the signing was just a formality, so we assume that it was done.”

The roaring fire that occurred that day was thought to have begun in the decrepit vacated building called  ”The Warrington Hotel.”   Later investigators backed off from that assessment somewhat, but now we know that it was true.

An investigation has been ongoing as to the cause of the massive fire that destroyed 7 buildings and damaged a large condominium near the ocean—the LaPierre.  Nearly 100 people lost their homes.

The day after the fire, Blogfinger heard from an attorney who was looking into the matter.  We understand that a number of lawsuits are in progress.  One of those people who was injured in the fire is suing the owner of the building as well as the contractor who was in there for months doing some sort of demo work. They also were removing the siding on the building—which could make it easier for a fire to spread.  And, there were no working fire alarms inside.

Blogfinger  questioned the land use issues regarding the property including the permission to build a 21 room boutique hotel on a land-locked lot.

A federal agency was involved (ATF), but they reportedly turned their investigation over to the lead investigator, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. The fire Marshall was looking into the matter as was the State.  Up to now, no results were announced.

But last night, after the Township Committee had its usual work shop (ie a secret session,)  Mayor Brantley announced that the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office told him that an accelerant was found inside the Warrington.  In other words, the fire was begun by an arsonist.

No other specifics are currently available, but this is obviously now a criminal investigation in addition to a fire investigation.

And, finally, some agency will likely be looking at the Neptune Township Government and how it so easily evades Land Use Laws and favors developers over the best interests of the citizens of Ocean Grove.  In addition the Neptune Township governing body will probably be named as defendant in one or more of the pending lawsuits and investigations.

Warrington fire link one    *

Warrington fire link two

Warrington fire link three

Other posts can be found by searching our search box at the top right of this page:    “Warrington Hotel”  and “March 3 fire in Ocean Grove”

JOHN BARRY  “Theme From Somewhere in Time.”

 

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Summer tents. August 22, 2015. ©

Summer tents. August 22, 2015. ©  By Paul Goldfinger.  Click to enlarge.

The OG summer tents are sought after by painters, photographers, tourists, renters, historians, strollers, bikers,  and others. Our tents are unique.   From a photographer’s point of view, we look for new ways of seeing the tents;  we try to be creative with lighting and composition.  It’s not easy to come up with something different, but that is what we require at this Ocean Grove website where photography is used more than words to describe our town.

When I submitted a “plain vanilla” portrait of the tents for the book “New Jersey 24/7” I was surprised that the image was one of the winners, but then I realized that those of us who live here are a bit jaded, like New Yorkers who take the Empire State Building for granted.

But for you OG photographers, Blogfinger will continue looking for fresh ways of seeing our historic and beautiful tents.

ADAM LEVINE   “No One Else Like You .”  From the film Begin Again

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xxxx

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  (Originally posted in November 2015 and now minimally edited for this New Year’s Day edition of Blogfinger. The original question posited in the headline is still valid.)

There are multiple factions in the small town of Ocean Grove (pop  3,700,) and these organized groups  are largely isolated from each other. Woven into the fabric are homeowners and renters who live here but do not belong to any organizations, thus becoming, by default, a faction of their own.

According to social scientist Steve Valk, whose family has lived here for several generations, it would be important for these factions to find ways to appreciate and cooperate with each other. For example he cites the religious groups and the secular groups which ought to find common ground for the benefit of the town. One example of such cooperation is the recent interaction, since Sandy, between Ocean Grove United (OGU) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (CMA); however we have recently seen how tenuous that relationship is when we recall the  clash about Sunday sermons this past summer.

The CMA ran the town from 1869 to 1980—-111 years. Neptune Township  treated OG as a sort of gated community.   The CMA made the rules and imposed blue laws until the N.J. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1980 when Neptune  took over active governance in the Grove  (although they were technically the governing body almost since the town’s founding.)   Since 1980, the CMA has continued its mission and  it has largely kept out of the way of Neptune Township.

But we now see the CMA and the Township working together on the North End Redevelopment Project, but suspicious elements have been revealed, and that project does not seem to be designed primarily with the town’s best interest at heart.

As for the Neptune Township governance,  you have seen the results of our recent poll which shows  that 80% of respondents mistrust  the Neptune Township Committee. Interestingly, over the years, there were times when the citizens rose up against Neptune control resulting in law suits and even a failed referendum to allow the Grove to become a separate town which it did for one year in 1925.

The other organizations here also tend to have their own agendas and to be run like private clubs. Such groups include the Homeowners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, and the Chamber of Commerce. They don’t work together very much for the good of the town.  They are busy with their own activities.  For example, the Chamber of Commerce runs big events to try and drum up business for the merchants.  But what do they do for the benefit of those who live here?  We asked them to take over sponsorship of the Town-wide Yard Sale, but they refused. When we introduced a new idea for the town—the Blogfinger Film Festival—a benefit for the boardwalk—-only a few of the members would be sponsors for the program, and hardly any attended the event.

When we think of factions in town, we can see the visible ones, but how about the invisible ones such as families that have lived here for generations and are part of networks that act in concert with each other, with the CMA,  and with the Township governance, especially where land use, zoning,  and parking are concerned.  Let’s call that “the network of special interests.”

For them the town of Ocean Grove  seems like a gift that keeps on giving. This network never speaks publicly, shows its face, or identifies itself, but what it does and has done will impact all of us and will determine what the town will be in the future.  We have seen the results of favoritism for those special interests in the Greek Temple and Mary’s Place.  The North End Redevelopment Project is a good example to keep an eye on.  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?

Because of indifference by the public, organizations, and special interests, Ocean Grove may become an at-risk town which could end up a  failed historic  place without focus and character, such as is seen in other shore towns—unless the public pays attention and the organizations here begin to work together for the overall benefit of the town and not just on their narrow pet projects, like the Homeowners Association which is currently circulating a simple minded parking survey while ignoring the improprieties and illegalities around town regarding land use issues.  The HOA has teamed up with the Neptune Committee ever since 2008 when it supported 165 residential units, mostly condos, at the North End.

In 2002, a professor* at Monmouth University published an academic paper about OG history, emphasizing the powerful way that the activist HOA of 25-30 years ago  fought for the town and saved its life.  Below  is a quote**  from that research about that era.

Contrast the conclusion below with the current HOA which now is failing Ocean Grove through impotence, inaction, and lack of focus towards the issues which currently threaten our town the most.

The Home Groaners need to step up and save the town once again,  but this version appears to so far be hopeless in that regard.

** 2002:   “The HOA has maintained or reconstructed the carefully planned infrastructure of the founders, and even as Ocean Grove is being reborn as a contemporary tourist site, the HOA has worked with the CMA to preserve its sacred foundations. Just like the CMA, the HOA has been outstanding in its ability to secure what it wants and what it believes the community needs. Property values have risen, the community is again a safe place, tourism has been revived, an enormous amount of social capital has been generated, and the Victorian charm of the town has been restored.”

By Karen Schmelzkopf*  in the Journal of Historical Geography, 2002

BLOSSOM DEARIE:

 

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Who will care about light, air, lifestyles, and history in Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

Who will care about light, space, air, lifestyles, and history in Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

That two-story building, #58-60 Main Avenue, has shops on the ground floor and 5 rental apartments on the second floor.

The owner, Sackman Enterprises, of NYC and Asbury Park, wants to add a third floor. They want to renovate the apartments and turn them into five (5) two-bedroom condominiums with one of the bedrooms on the third floor for each unit.

The third floor may be added according to the HD-B-1 historic mixed use zoning. The lot is double, 3,600 square feet  (60′ x 60′). The maximum building height is 35 feet.  Blogfinger got to review the site plan today at the Municipal Building.  Luckily they gave us more than five minutes to study it.

The lawyers for the owner requested that their application be heard by the Planning Board, but there is reason to believe that the correct place would be the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). That is what the Planning/Zoning office thought in the first place and that is how they initially marked the paper work—–The application and plan have “ZBA” written on them.

But later that department decided to send it to the Planning Board as requested by the applicant’s attorneys.  We do not know the dynamics of that decision, but we suspect legerdemain.

The reason  that the ZBA would be a proper destination is that the building is non-conforming, and the third floor addition is non-conforming. Only the ZBA can grant the proper variances for the addition and for its use as condominiums.

And part of the problem for approving this project is density. It will increase congestion and parking problems in a part of town where those issues already exist. The Planning Board might not be interested in those aspects, but the ZBA may be.

In addition, an RSIS parking waiver should be proffered if the applicant wants to increase density without offering off-street parking.  Of course Neptune Township will likely ignore this Land Use law as they have done for years in approving condominium projects sans parking, all over town.

It seems that the owners want to finesse this project by having it sail through the calm waters of the Planning Board on Wednesday, December 14, 7 pm, in the Municipal Building.

If you are cynical about the way that projects get approved in this town, and if you are resigned to having the citizens of Ocean Grove lose these battles due to the lack of opposition, at least you can be informed. Come to that meeting. You can stand up and ask a question or not, but you may find it interesting to hear the discussion which may actually become heated and thus great fun.

The PB chair is Sharon Davis—–please be kind to our man Jack.

Link to the BF article on this subject 12/3/16. There is a photo of the building:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/12/03/going-up-owners-of-58-60-main-avenue-wants-to-add-a-third-floor-a-neighbor-is-concerned/

FRANK SINATRA AND COUNT BASIE:

 

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Wesley Lake 2009 . Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

Wesley Lake 2009 . Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

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

In recent posts, Blogfinger acquainted our readers with the renaming of Wesley Lake into the “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin.” We alerted our readers to the change in Wesley Lake from public open space land to a water retention basin on the Tax Map.   Jack Bredin, Blogfinger researcher, has reviewed this issue and he has used the Neptune Township Master Plan (2011)  and the latest Tax Map as his main sources.  

Today’s post focuses on the “Name Blame Game” and tries to  get some answers.

Our emphasis is on Wesley Lake, but the same thing happened on the Neptune Township Tax Map for Fletcher Lake which also has a  new name: “Fletcher Detention/Retention Basin.”

The link below is to our latest post  (Nov 13, 2016) on the subject of “What’s in a Name?”:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/11/13/who-killed-wesley-lake-part-2-whats-in-a-name/

We pointed out that the Neptune Master Plan supports the idea of keeping our lakes clean. It says, “Encourage the reduction of runoff into surface water bodies.” We think that the name change was done to save money for developers in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.

This name change would not be permitted by the DEP or the Green Acres program.

In addition, Wesley Lake and Fletcher Lake are on the Township’s ROSI list (Recreational and Open Space Inventory) where the Township is committed to hold these lands reserved for recreation and conservation “in perpetuity” in exchange for Green Acres funds. 

But instead, the Township seems to be committed to dumping even more dirty water into Wesley Lake and using the Lake as a municipal facility.

Our prior posts also contained email exchanges with Tee Lesinski, a member of the Wesley Lake Commission, who said, “The Commission had nothing to do with the name change, and Wesley Lake is not a retention basin.”

Despite our publicizing this issue, no one from Neptune Township has explained to the citizens of Ocean Grove who is responsible for the name change and what is the true reason for it. We believe that the Neptune Township Committee has to accept responsibility for the name change because they have the exclusive authority over the Tax Map. Only they could order the change.

At the last Township Committee meeting on November 28, 2016, Jack Bredin once again waited patiently for the public portion and then he went to the microphone to publicly ask the 5 man/woman Committee about this name change situation.  What he said was recorded and will appear in the Committee’s minutes, although it might take quite a while.

 

Here is a summary of what Jack crammed into 5 minutes:

—– He reminded them of their environmental obligations under the State Land Use Law and their own Master Plan. They are supposed to reduce dirty street water runoff into our lakes, not increase the runoff according to the Tax Map renaming Wesley Lake. 

Jack also reviewed the ROSI statement and the Green Acres obligations for protecting all places on the list for recreation and conservation. A ROSI statement is required to be signed by the Mayor and the Chairman of the Planning Board and is attached to each application for Green Acre funding.

—–This obligation is confirmed by the Neptune Township Planning Board Chairman and the Neptune Township Mayor when they signed off on the 2011 Master Plan.
—–Jack asked who will take responsibility for the name change on the Tax Map?
—–He asked who will publicly explain why the name change was done?
—–He pointed out that all Township maps (eg zoning and Wesley Lake Commission) must contain the same name change as is present on the Tax Map. These maps must be consistent with the Tax Map, but they are not.

—–And he wanted to know why there is no formal resolution available to authorize the name change. Without a “Resolution” there are no “Reasons” to change the name of Wesley or Fletcher Lake.

 

In response to Jack’s comments, no one on the Committee or the Township Attorney was willing to answer the questions.

Jack’s inquiry was met with silence.

 

Those of you who support the current Township Committee have got to wonder about such issues as transparency, following the law, representative government, caring for the environment, and favoritism for developers. The “Name Blame Game” is a perfect touchstone for illustrating those concerns.

 

MATT CAVENAUGH.  “Something’s Coming”  from West Side Story 2009 Broadway cast album.

 

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The Warrington's condition has been deteriorating. Photo by concerned neighbor. 9/16 © Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington’s condition has been deteriorating. Note the graffiti. Photo by Concerned Neighbor. 7/1/16. © Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington: Squatters, drug users and other upstanding citizens have been seen in the building. Note the graffiiti. Photo by concerned neighbor 9/16. Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington: Squatters, drug users and other upstanding citizens have been seen in the building. Note the graffiti. Photo by Concerned Neighbor, 7/1/16. Special to Blogfinger.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

“Jack Ancona, LLC, aka the Warrington Hotel ” intends to go ahead with plans to remodel this former rest home into a high-end boutique hotel overlooking Wesley Lake.  Supposedly it will have 16 rooms.  The owner of the building, which is next to the site of the former Park View Inn, has received site plan approval from the Township.  At the last Committee meeting, the owner was granted approval to “build and locate an innkeeper’s suite in the basement.”  Such a structure is prohibited by ordinance, but the Zoning Board of Adjustment has  permitted this,  and so has the Township. The Township has executed a Developers Agreement with “Jack Ancona LLC” to make sure that the work is done properly.  But Developers Agreements are not executed until all other approvals have been recorded.

We will look into those approvals, including concerns about the 3 lots that are included in the Warrington’s plans.  The Warrington used to be shown on the tax map as existing on one lot:  Block 101, Lot 2.

Meanwhile the building is in poor condition.  Sawbucks Construction Co. has been sending one or two workers into the building daily  for the last 4-6 weeks, and the neighbors have noted daily hammering. No one seems to know what those workers are doing inside. They wonder if building permits were granted for this work.  Such permits should be openly posted at the site.

The Neptune Township Police Dept has been “exceptional” according to a neighbor in responding quickly to calls to deal with incursions at the site.  Graffiti has been cleared from the building, and, according to nearby residents,  the contractor has taken down shrubbery on the lakeside, and that is supposed to be illegal in a Green Acres location, which Lake Avenue is said to be.

As usual, due to lack of transparency, the neighbors on Seaview Avenue are complaining that they do not have enough information regarding the future of the site.  They worry that the hotel, which will not have on-site parking, will worsen an already difficult parking situation.  Many people in that vicinity are year-round residents, and they already often have trouble with parking, 12 months of the year.   One resident estimates that at least 10% of those who park there are headed to Asbury.  They also are worried about the garbage disposal from the hotel.  How will that be accomplished?

The owner has told some of them that all guests will park off-site somewhere and then be offered transportation back to the hotel.  Has such a shuttle plan been approved? This sounds potentially  like an innovative solution, but will it work and satisfy those high end customers, and where will they park those cars?  And will those well-to-do guests return after experiencing the OG parking life?

Locals are also worried because the hotel front is on Lake Avenue, a walkway, and they were told that the hotel has been granted an  access pathway between the buildings to reach the Lake side of the hotel from Seaview, but that no garbage, deliveries,  or other non-personal items can be moved via that passageway—-it would be just for guests and their luggage.    We have no details regarding these elements.

It is said that a room in that luxury hotel might cost up to $300.00 per night.  Can someone want to stay there when there is inconvenient parking and when there is no alcohol inside?  And what about parking for visitors that the guests attract? And how about the Asbury Hotel, a boutique hotel just a few blocks away in A. Park?

More details should be provided to the public.  How will this hotel impact the quality of life for that community?

Finally, we have reported on speculation that the Township would like to turn that part of Lake Avenue into a road for cars.  There is widespread anticipatory opposition to that idea.  See our recent articles about whether Lake Avenue is a road or a street. If it is not, then no road could be built there. It would be illegal.

See our forthcoming piece about the 4 lot subdivision which is the site of the former Park View Inn on Seaview, next door to the Warrington. There are some related issues.

Here is a link to a related article dated March, 2015 on BF:

https://blogfinger.net/2015/03/18/just-wondering-about-the-warrington-hotel/

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III    from The Aviator

 

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Michael-Klien-event-image (1)

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.

Steve Valk (photo above) is a contemporary dance dramaturge, visual artist, designer and currently the director of the first Insitute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt Germany. He is an American who visits his family’s Ocean Grove home every summer. He has done that since his childhood in the 1960’s.

Last year he was consulting with the Martha Graham Ballet Company in New York City

I have met with Steve in the past to tap into his long term perspective and interest regarding  Ocean Grove and what needs to be done to preserve its future. We had our first meeting for this summer today, but it wasn’t predominantly about the Grove.  We will get to that before he leaves.

We got together this morning at Café Volan on Bangs Avenue in Asbury Park. It’s a down-home sort of place where the mood is bohemian and the coffee is excellent. We need a place like that in Ocean Grove.  Steve likes to bike around OG and AP, but then he often wears another hat as he goes into New York to meet celebrities such as the creators of the Sopranos and Northern Exposure, among others. Check on the link below to get up to date.  You can find other posts by using the Blogfinger search box above and type in Steve’s name.

SIDNEY BECHET with the Gershwins’ “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess

https://blogfinger.net/2015/07/15/a-quixotic-search-for-a-fine-coffee-shop-near-og-try-cafe-volan-510-bangs-avenue-in-a-park/

https://blogfinger.net/2015/02/07/letter-to-the-editor-from-steve-valk-in-frankfurt-germany/

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Condominiums at the Time Warner Center were found to have a number of hidden owners over a decade who had been the subjects of government investigations. Credit Edward Caruso for The New York Times Advertisement Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyShare This Page Email Share NY Times

Condominiums at the Time Warner Center were found to have a number of hidden owners over a decade who had been the subjects of government investigations. Credit Edward Caruso for The New York Times

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In a front page article in the NY Times*, it is reported that the Justice Department is looking into secret investors who are behind high end real estate deals. They are especially interested in professionals such as real estate agents, bankers, and lawyers who are involved in developing such entities.

Oftentimes shell companies are formed such as LLC’s**  (Limited Liability Corporations)  that shield the identities of investors. Frequently foreign buyers are involved using cash payments as they seek real estate deals to hide or launder their money.

Currently the investigators are focusing on New York City and Miami.

There is an LLC that is involved in the North End Redevelopment Plan. It is called WAVE, and we posted an article about it in April, 2015.

https://blogfinger.net/2015/04/16/peeling-back-the-layers-of-nerp-and-wave/

Since 2007. the identities of the WAVE investors have been hidden, even though they have been doing business with Neptune Township, the governing entity that is in charge of the North End Area in Need of Redevelopment.

You would think that any group doing business with the Township would be required to disclose the identities of its investors, and if it refuses, the Township should open bidding for others to be redevelopers of the NERP. But the Township continues to be involved with WAVE.

This is not to say that there is any evidence that WAVE’s principles are doing anything illegal,  but any entity doing business with the Township should be totally above board  and transparent, or it should be excused from participating in this project. This is about appearances, and the Township ought to make sure that its business associates are squeaky clean.  As far as we can tell, the Committee does not know whom it is dealing with.

**”Simply put, an LLC is the least complex business structure. Unlike an S corp or C corp, an LLC’s structure is flexible. It also gives you the perk of pass-through taxes, limited liability (obviously), and legal protection for your personal assets. Plus the added benefit of looking more legit than the other guys.”  Internet definition.

NY Times link:*

www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/us/us-will-track-secret-buyers-of-luxury-real-estate.html?_r=0

CAROL HANEY   from the Pajama Game.

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