Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove governance’ Category

The Whitfield Hotel in 2015.  The front of the lot  is on Surf Avenue facing north  (60.5 feet wide).   The back is on Bath Avenue, facing south  (60.5 feet).  The side is 103 feet long on Beach Avenue facing the ocean. This property, #20 Surf Avenue in OG, is zoned for one lot  (Block 113, Lot 10.)

4 foundations on one lot, seen here from Surf Avenue,  are not permitted.   Photo by Stephen Goldfinger on 3/18/17. Blogfinger staff.©


This is a view taken from Beach Avenue showing the separation between foundations. . By Stephen Goldfinger 3/19/17 ©

This is the second installment of “The Case of the Notorious Whitfield Hotel.”

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

Not only are there now 4 foundations on that one lot site, but those lots would have to be undersized.  30 x 60 is the minimum lot size requirement for Ocean Grove.   The size of the rectangular Whitfield site is 103 feet long, and four regulation lots would need a minimum of 120 feet along each side. But the Whitfield lots would have to fit into 103 feet, and they are, by definition, undersized.

Everyone we have spoken to, including Township officials, residents who live near the Whitfield, and concerned Grovers tell us that the Whitfield site will become 4 detached single family homes, and almost everyone seems delighted. But should they be?

The excavation has begun, and we now know that there are  four foundations.  And a source tell us  that the developer has been officially “approved” for placing 4 homes at that site. But who allowed work to begin without a 4 lot subdivision being blessed by the Neptune Township Planning Board?

We asked around  and learned, mostly from people in the know, that  Bernard Haney, the long-standing Tax Assessor in Neptune Township, who also wears a second hat, that of Land Use Administrator, was responsible for that decision.

Bernard Haney, Neptune Twp.Tax Assessor and Land Use Administrator. Blogfinger photo  c.2015. Neptune Twp Municipal Bldg. ©

Here is how the procedure should work. First the developer orders a survey map of the property. The survey map shows the exact size of the lot, and the map is used to prepare a site plan/subdivision.

This is a plan which shows where the buildings will be “sited” on the subdivided property pursuant to the zoning and the subdivision ordinance. The site plan is part of an application for development and is to be filed with the Township Building Department.

The site plan is then prepared and signed by a licensed professional who in this case would clearly show on the cover page that the applicant wants to subdivide the property into 4 undersized (nonconforming) lots.

However, the problem is that there is no type of variance or procedure that would permit a conforming lot to be subdivided into any nonconforming lots.

The application should have been referred to the Planning Board for a public hearing, but that referral was never made.   We checked with the Planning Board secretary who verified that she was not instructed to schedule a hearing on the Planning Board agenda.

Approved subdivisions are recorded on the tax map under the supervision of the Township Engineer. As such, the Township Engineer should have been asked to review the plan and prepare a written report for the Planning Board. The Neptune Engineer said she received no such request.

We learned that after the subdivision approval,  the  approved plan was sent to the Building Department to issue permits for the 4 single family houses, or, at least, for the foundation work which is now in progress.

It appears that the current 2014 tax map, which clearly shows one existing lot at the Whitfield site, not four, was ignored. That lot would ordinarily require a subdivision if more than one single family house is proposed.

We were told that Mr. Haney decided that after the demolition, the current empty lot would automatically revert to an 1879 tax map which showed 4 lots and to declare that the 2017 post demolition lot was already subdivided into 4 lots.

This maneuver by the Township appears to be a technique to allow 4 single family houses to be built on a lot where only 3 can be permitted.

Even if this method of circumventing the usual approach to subdivisions turns out to be acceptable, the application  still should have been referred  to the Planning Board.

Do you suppose that this is a well traveled highway in Ocean Grove?  Have we now lost that loving feeling in our town, or did it disappear a long time ago?


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Township Committee

Township Committee

Quotes from Township Committee minutes are  below.   Reading minutes is much more fun than sitting through those meetings. 

Jan 9 minutes:

Ken Buckley (HOA  Trustee) stated that he trusts that summonses will be issued to people parking in the snow emergency zones and for failure to clear snow from sidewalks.

Jan 23 minutes:

Ms. Rizzo stated that the  (Parking) Task Force did a great job and came up with good recommendations. She indicated that she is favor of moving forward with angled parking on the north side of Main Avenue between New Jersey and Lawrence Avenues and on the west side of Central Avenue between Webb and Main Avenues.

Mr. Williams also noted that a Sub-Committee of Task Force members was created to examine parking permits. It was noted that parking permits would not increase the number of parking spots or decrease the number of cars. Concerns were raised about permit parking proposals such as increased demand for non-permit spaces, impact for families with multiple vehicles, fairness to hotels and bed-breakfast establishments, and cost of the start-up and enforcement of about $90,000.

Mayor Brantley thanked the parking task force. He felt they did a tremendous job and it has improved the situation.

Feb. 13 minutes:

Ken Buckley (HOA big shot)  stated that the shoveling of sidewalks in the recent snowstorm was good and issuing summonses really works.

Jack Bredin, 94 1⁄2 Heck Avenue, stated the name of Wesley Lake on the tax map was changed from Wesley Lake to Wesley/Retention Basin. He went to a Wesley Lake Commission meeting and they stated they really had no input into that name change. Asbury Park assured him that they had no part in the name change. He asked at a Township meeting how did it get changed and Mr. Bishop stated they were told to change it but he did not mention by whom. He stated he believed that Mr. Bishop thought to himself that somethings were left better off not said.

Editor’s Notes:

–Isn’t it great that the OGHOA was pleased with itself after pushing for fines to punish those who didn’t shovel?  Ken Buckley should get a medal for that one.   What’s next—-bad parking techniques, raking leaves the wrong way?

The Committee was pleased that they are going to squeeze more cars into town using more diagonal parking without addressing the more fundamental problem of too many cars.  The HOA Parking Committee also loved the idea.

And how hard did the HOA  push to get we taxpayers stickers to reduce our parking concerns?

—-Why isn’t the HOA pushing the Township to deal with land use violations that guarantee more and more cars and crowding in town?

—And why didn’t the HOA find out why Committeeman Brantley was showing developers around the North End site last year.  Why was this activity part of his job as an elected representative of we the people?

—And why isn’t the HOA trying to find out why Wesley Lake has undergone a worrisome name change?  Well don’t expect the HOA to get involved in Wesley Lake’s problems. Here is an item from their November 2016 minutes regarding items to discuss for 2017:  “Westley Lake pollution”   If you can’t spell it, you’re not likely to be helpful.

As we can see from the minutes, no one in the big chairs on the podium will tell the truth about the Wesley Lake name change.  Why are all our committeemen willing to accept an answer of “we don’t know” or “we can’t say?”

—-And  what has happened to the HPC guidelines?  The HPC made an initial fuss over what they saw as a threat to the town’s future and then they clammed up and joined the other opaque silent groups in town. Did somebody from the shadow government threaten them?    Meanwhile the HOA Nov. minutes say, “It appears as if the goal of the township is to limit the power of the HPC to reduce cost to home owners.”  So why don’t we hear from the HOA on this matter?   Why is the HOA perpetually busy going against the taxpayers of Ocean Grove?

—-And Carol Rizzo, the only  Committeeman from Ocean Grove, seems to have jumped on the big boys bandwagon up on the podium. She seems reluctant to step out of the box and tackle some of the worrisome issues for OG such as violations of land use laws and investigating the secretive North End situation with a questioning eye.  She seems to be sticking with safe zones such as parking.  We would welcome hearing from her as to her activity vis a vis Ocean Grove.  Maybe she can lead the charge for  better fire safety in the Grove.

—And what does the Committee think about drug rehab facilities in town?  They don’t seem to want to be daring and proactive when a potent issue like this shows up. This subject may reactivate this year, especially if funding for such facilities is retained at the federal level.

MARY McCARTY   from Chicago  (Of course, this song would apply to all members of the Committee–just change mama to poppa as needed.)

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