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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove historic restorations’ 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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colors

Intricate use of multiple colors can be difficult. Click to enlarge.

Home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Ocean Grove , just painted,  used new historic red and bright yellow from Benjamin Moore.   Blogfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger

Major paint manufacturers offer color charts that are called “historic Victorian.”  The HPC in Ocean Grove seems to pay heed mostly to the Benjamin Moore company. Choices from the historic charts of other companies might get rejected at the HPC. Perhaps you have wondered about the purple house as you enter the Grove.   That was an approved color, but evidently the HPC later said that it was a mistake.

Those of you who have wrestled with color decisions for your OG home know that there are a wide array of choices, but perhaps you don’t know that the paint companies are always adding new colors.

A lot of the paint company decisions are based on archeological information. The chemical makeup of historic home colors used in the 19th century  resulted in a limited choice, but now you can get many approved colors available in latex paints.

Some homeowners use 14 or more different colors. Of course that sort of paint job can be expensive.

Delicate painting of decorative trim requires a steady hand and a bucket loader. 113 Mt. Hermon Way. Blogfinger photo .  Joan  Corbo painter. Click to enlarge.

 

Some people think of the San Francisco “painted ladies” when they think of Victorian colors, but, as Ocean Grove designer J. Cortese has said, the “new  look” are darker hues. And we have learned that the “painted ladies”  pastels would not be approved in the Grove.

33 Main Avenue design by J. Cortese. Blogfinger photo ©

 

The quote below is from a 2015 Blogfinger post.

“This purple house (above) is at 33 Main Avenue.   Some people love the colors while others hate them.  We spoke to J. Cortese about this restoration project which he designed, color consulted and construction managed. J. uses historic colors, but he also enjoys the unexpected, changing over recently to darker “rich” colors in the Grove.  He says that all his colors are approved and chosen from historic color charts. He thinks that darker colors are “more historic.” 

Yellow seems to be more popular recently.  Some of you are familial with the spectacular restoration at the Founders Park end of Seaview Avenue  (26 Lake Avenue, a yellow Bersheeba Award winner).  Link below:

BF post on spectacular yellow home

And then there are colors which most people in town don’t like, but either they were done that way without permission, or the HPC made a mistake. Do you think that the Mary’s’ Place blue color  (see below) ought to be considered historic?  Is a blue roof historic?  Does the HPC practice favoritism?

And do you recall the orange house on Mt. Hermon Way?  That owner went ahead with it even though that orange is not historic. The owner argued that 19th century homeowners were allowed to pick any colors they wanted —–the palette was very limited;—-all the colors then were dreary. So the orange house owner said that our modern choices should also be whatever we want. And, she argued, that the  orange house would make her happy, so how about the “pursuit of happiness” promised  in our Declaration of Independence–definitely some colorful patriotic reasoning.

Mary’s Place. 12/15.   Main Avenue Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo. Is the blue roof OK? The other blue on the siding  looks darker now.  Blogfinger photo 12/15. ©

KEITH URBAN with a song about the color blue—“Blue Ain’t Your Color”  (This song was nominated for two 2017 Grammy awards.)

 

 

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This 19th century OG home is getting gutted within and a historic look without. Blogfinger photo 8/23/17.    Restoration by Sawbucks. © Click for enlargement.

Close-up of siding. Blogfinger photo. © 8/23/17. Click for details

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Grovers like to find out about the history of their homes.  The most interesting houses are those that were built from the time of the founding (1869) up to the turn of the last century.  When work is done on an old house in town, some fascinating findings can turn up.

When we gutted our 1880  kitchen, we found a hidden winding staircase.  It seems that the way to get to the second floor was to climb that staircase which began in the kitchen.   Then that part of the stair case was buried when the home was turned into a duplex, and the front door was relocated. You can still see a turning portion of the stairs if you look up while walking down to the basement. As most of you know, the HPC has no interest in the interior of our homes  (thank goodness.)

One of the most common findings relates to the siding. The original siding was wood shingles or clapboard which was later often covered over with asbestos shingles or, even later, with vinyl or aluminum.  Evidently, some of that wood siding was in good condition, and it was buried, much like the treasures in Tut’s Tomb.

Now, as new owners  seek to  restore an authentic historic look, there is great interest in the original siding as it is unveiled by workmen.  The HPC encourages that sort of archeology, and sometimes the old siding is still very beautiful and useful.

Today, some workmen showed up from New Egypt.  They are specialists in asbestos removal.    I asked the foreman about his long commute to work from Africa, but evidently there is a NJ town with that name near Fort Dix.   They worked very carefully to remove the asbestos-laden shingles. The workers spread large black plastic sheets all over and they wore special suits and ventilator masks.  He said that the most worrisome aspect of the removal process is not the shingle removal, but the dust under the shingles.  The crew was very careful because they understand the risks and the historic significance of protecting the wood underneath.

We shut the windows adjacent to the alley and front walls where they were working and we decided to use the back door exclusively for now. This process should take a few days.  They did not recommend any respiratory protection for us, because the asbestos is trapped within the shingles which they remove in one piece as much as possible.  The foreman said that only about 15% of the shingle material is actually asbestos.

One of the workmen was smoking a cigarette while taking a break.  Asbestos and cigarettes are a lethal combination.

I can remember Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City  during my medical residency in the late “60’s where I met Dr. Irving Selikoff whose pioneering work on the health risks of asbestos helped turn the tide of that material’s use in construction.  He used to show us chest xray’s of asbestos workers who had heavy exposures, for example in ship yards.  Asbestos is a carcinogen, and the biggest risk is for lung cancer (mesothelioma.) Many law suits ensued over the years after that discovery.  Below is a quote from the Mt. Sinai  web site:

“Because of its hazards to human health, virtually all new use of asbestos has ceased in the United States. A combination of government regulation and market pressures brought about the end of asbestos. These actions stemmed in large part from the landmark studies on asbestos conducted at Icahn School of Medicine   (Mt. Sinai)  by the late Dr. Irving J. Selikoff and his colleagues.”

asbestos_house_diagram (1)

Asbestos.com

LORETTA LYNN:

 

 

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