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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove land use and zoning’ Category

Wesley Lake, looking toward the OG North End: a space where light, breezes and ocean views currently prevail. Paul Goldfinger photo © Click to enlarge.

By Jack Bredin, reporter/researcher at Blogfinger.net and Paul Goldfinger, Editor

This is the second of our three-part post about the Mayor’s Negotiating Team which currently has been in secret sessions with the Camp Meeting Association’s “developer”  which, according to Michael Badger, President of the CMA, is the  “Ocean Grove North End Development LLC (OGNED)”

We don’t know where WAVE went.

In this three-part series of posts, Blogfinger is reviewing how the process has evolved, so now we present a time-line to document what has happened over the last 10 years, beginning in 2008, with approval by resolution of the North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP)  by the Neptune Township Committee.

2011:  In June of 2011, three years after the 2008 NERP (“public plan”) was adopted, WAVE and the OGCMA prepare a “private” general development plan to replace the original NERP.

This private  plan is submitted to the Township. It is titled “North End–a Destination Resort,” and it is not a redevelopment plan. 

The Neptune Township Committee fails to share this proposal with the public. They also do not reveal the fact that getting involved with this “private” plan would require pulling the plug on the entire 2008 NERP and then starting over. The Township makes no changes to the NERP.

2012: The OGCMA announces that they are ready to break ground at the North End in early 2013, but for what plan?  And they have no permits–particularly from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Then comes Sandy on October 29, of 2012.

2013:   The OGCMA announces after Sandy that “the developers are going back to the drawing board.”  What they fail to announce is that new elevations would be required.

2015:  The public becomes aware of a  “new private plan” when Committeeman Randy Bishop abruptly pops up at a Committee meeting and reports, “After exhausting negotiations, where everyone involved had to give something up, we have agreed to a new plan for the North End.”

But this is nonsense. He is referring basically to the private plan that was prepared four years earlier  (see 2011 above,) and the Township Committee already knew all about it.

And, by the way, what are the new  elevations?   No detailed specifications are made available. And no changes can be made to the original 2008 NERP without going back to square one.

The Ocean Grove Home Owners Association takes credit for negotiating the new private plan with the OGCMA, and maybe they did; the Township Comedy certainly did not. The only comment from the baffled Neptune Township Committee about the Bishop plan is, “This is a mistake.”

Actually, the plan is not the mistake—making it public is.

The new plan is not approved by the Township.  It just floats out of the meeting room and fizzles up into the atmosphere.

2018.   As we reported in Part I, the CMA sends out a press release in April 2018  (link below) claiming another new plan and announcing a new “developer” called OGNED. See our initial comments about that at the link (OGNED) below and then look at Part I where we also linked to it:

OGNED

In Part III, the last part of this series about the Mayor’s Negotiating Team, we will bring you up to date on this subject.

 

NOTE:  According to the Township Clerk, “The Redevelopment Committee” consists of Dr. Michael Brantley, Mayor Nicholas Williams, Land Use Administrator, Township Engineer, Business Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, Township Planner and Redevelopment Attorney.

He also informed us that “the Redevelopment Attorney is Maraziti Falcon, LLP  at 150 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Short Hills, NJ.”

 

KEVIN SPACEY   “That Old Black Magic.”       From the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

 

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Ocean Grove beach. June, 2002. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

 

Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

Jack, Kevin and I left the Mother Ship to return to our car after attending  the Neptune Township Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA)  meeting  May 2, 2018.  But as we walked through the parking lot we were approached by a couple who had attended the Aurora Hotel hearing but did not say a word during the hearing for which they had traveled one hour to attend.

They said that they moved to the Grove in 2005 because they thought it was a “charming and special place.”   Like so many who have moved here, they had fallen in love with this unique small town, but in recent years, they noticed a decline in their quality of life.

They mentioned the noise and congestion.  A strong sense of community had failed to materialize.  Parking had become awful, and the town was becoming overrun with tourists who often clogged the streets causing gridlock that was becoming progressively worse.

The heavy-handed Neptune government was allowing a deterioration of  historical preservation, culture and zoning in the Grove, and their decisions were causing perceptible damage to life styles for residents.

They thought the taxes were  exorbitant for what they received in return.  Then they had enough and moved to a New Jersey town that was more appealing to them. They still own their OG home, but they rented it out.

The couple  came to the meeting with the slim hope that the ZBA would do the right thing for one of OG’s historic treasures, but they were disappointed by the indicators at the hearing.  Their plan now is to sell their OG home.

We know others who also have moved or are thinking about leaving for a variety of similar reasons. One of those reasons is the inconsistency of the HPC.  And then there are the wrong-headed, impotent Home Groaners.  The Chamber just makes things worse with their self-interested giant mega events.

As for zoning, “The primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. But in practice, zoning also is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the ‘character’ of a community.  (Wikipedia.)”     In other words, zoning is supposed to offer protection and to level the land-use playing field for everyone.

The NY State Office of General Counsel says,  “Courts have regularly found a legitimate purpose in zoning regulations which are aimed at achieving a homogeneous, traditional single-family neighborhood. ”

But in the town of Ocean Grove, special interests get to defy land use laws in order to provide special deals for developers, politicians, the CMA, and others. An example is the designation of the North End as an area in need of redevelopment, abolishing desirable single family housing zoning.

Residents experience growing frustration and find themselves at the bottom of the priority list.

Ocean Grove, after peaking and looking like it had a bright future as a marvelous place to live year-round, has shown unmistakable signs of losing ground in the quest to evolve into a fair-minded residential historic district with unique character, culture and community.

 

GERRY MULLIGAN.  “Here’s That Rainy Day.”

 

 

 

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