Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove land use issues’ Category

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:




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#58-60 Main Avenue. Blogfinger photo. © 2016.

#58-60 Main Avenue. Blogfinger photo. © 2016.

In June we posted an article about plans to add a third floor to the Pizza building at #58-60 Main Avenue.  The link is below.

In that post we said,:

“Are we witnessing the intentional progressive increase of density on Main Avenue that will make our downtown more congested with more parking troubles? Are we witnessing an acceleration of illegal approvals by Township officials beginning lately with Mary’s Place, then the rebuilding of #50 Main Ave, and now #60 Main Avenue?

“Every one of these projects has been done or will be done without following State RSIS parking regulations. And what about handicapped access for all these projects, and has the Township’s zoning been properly implemented for these deals? And what other such plans are in the works around town?”


On November 29 we received an email from an anonymous neighbor who was sent a “notice of public hearing to property owners.” He/she said:


“I received this letter on Friday about them adding a 3rd floor to 58-60 Main. This means more construction, more parking congestion as well as destroying the views some of the neighbors currently have.

“I don’t know if there is anything that can be done to stop it but I wanted to let you know this is already scheduled for a hearing. Your blog is a great place to spread the news of what is happening around town.”

Here is the notice.  Click on it to enlarge it.:


Editor’s note:   This building is non-conforming.  We think it may be illegal to allow that third story because that addition will also be nonconforming.    It will create greater density, greater parking problems, and more traffic congestion–all of which will make conditions worse, not better, on Main Avenue in that commercial area.

Zoning approvals are supposed to make things better with the exception of special circumstances, which this plan is not.

If you oppose these variances, you would have to go to the hearing and bring a land-use lawyer with you. But you may be talking yourself into a law suit.

It’s a job for the Home Groaners Association, but they will never step to the plate for the town in matters such as this.

So if no one goes to the meeting to oppose the plan, it will go through even though it violates the State RSIS law about off-street parking for that building and even though the permission will not “advance the intent and purpose of the zoning law,”  which is what the NJ Municipal Land Use Law requires for such a non-conforming addition to an existing non-conforming building. (MLUL 40-55  D70-c)

The Planning Board will do what it always does by giving permission to allow more residential units in a neighborhood without requiring off-street parking.  It’s the way things are done in Ocean Grove.

Take a look at Asbury Park where nothing gets built without providing off-street  parking.

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

KARLY:  “Mr. Bigshot”

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The Warrington as seen from Seaview Avenue. The lot in the foreground is the site of the Parkview Inn. Blogfinger photo. Oct 21, 2016 ©

The Warrington as seen from Seaview Avenue. The lot in the foreground is the site of the Parkview Inn. Blogfinger photo. Oct 21, 2016 ©

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

On October 7, we posted our piece “The Case of the Worrisome Warrington” about the plans to turn that derelict building at 22 Lake Avenue into a boutique hotel adjacent to Wesley Lake.

We pointed out a number of land use issues that concerned us including the illegal subdivision of the original lot into 3 nonconforming lots, two of which are undersized and now contain two small cottages.  In addition we addressed the “easement “ connecting Sea View with Lake Avenue, but that easement does not appear on the tax map.  Other matters include the illegal encroachment of the Warrington onto property owned by the CMA.

Now we turn our attention to the process which the owner of this property utilized to achieve Final Site Plan approval by the Neptune Zoning Board of Adjustment.

In 2014, an application was filed with the Neptune Township Board of Adjustment to redevelop this former rooming house at 22 Lake Avenue into a 20-unit hotel on Wesley Lake. However, the Warrington lot is isolated  (land-locked), not fronting on a municipal street in the front, on the sides, or in the back. Lake Avenue is not a street. It is illegal to construct a building at such a location.

Also,  the hotel will not be providing any on-site parking for guests and staff. New Jersey RSIS Site Improvement Standards  require off-street parking for the Warrington.  Without that, the approval is illegal.

The Board held hearings where its professionals and the applicant’s professionals gave a two thumbs up and proclaimed, “This project will advance the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance.”

After more hearings in 2015, the Board gave its approval of the Warrington’s Final Site Plan and  also adopted a Memorialization Resolution signed by the Board Chairman, Secretary, and the Board’s Engineer.

The decision was published in the newspaper, and then the Board’s jurisdiction was automatically transferred to the Superior Court pending an appeal that did not materialize, so the Board’s job was completed.

Then, the jurisdiction was automatically transferred to the Neptune Twp. Building Department for building plans and permits to begin construction.

But first, there were some details discovered recently that had been so far ignored in the process.  On June 17, 2016, the Board’s Engineer reported “that some conditions of approval remain to be satisfied” including a Developer’s Agreement with the Township Committee.

 On September 12, 2016, the Township Committee passed resolution #16-400 authorizing a Developer’s Agreement.  They did so on the written advice of the Township Attorney.  The agreement addressed all other “conditions of approval” and states “the Warrington Hotel LLC applied for and was granted preliminary and final Site Plan Approval.”

Two weeks ago Blogfinger asked the Board’s Administrative Officer, Kristy Armour, to send us the Finalized Site Plan.

She emailed us the Plan, but in her text to Dr. Goldfinger, she said, “This plan has not received final approval from the Board at this time.”

The opinion by Ms. Armour is contrary to the Board of Adjustment’s Resolution and the Township Committee’s Developers Agreement, both of which state that the Site Plan was indeed finalized.

We went to her office to review the Site Plan application. We discovered that the approval block on the cover page of the Site Plan was not signed, sealed or dated by the Board Chairman, the Secretary or the Board Engineer.

When we asked Ms. Armour how this could happen, she said that there was a “to do list” consisting of a variety of approvals and tasks which remained to be done before the document could be finalized.   This probably explains why, when we went to the Building Department to find out about construction permits, we were told that they had not yet granted permits.

It is our opinion that the Warrington approval is a “done deal” despite all the issues of land use law that we have raised.  It appears that this is the way that “business” is done by the Neptune Township government.  They have approved a site plan that violates Municipal Land Use Law.

We will continue to report on the Warrington.

FATS WALLER  “Undecided.”

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Work has begun at the Warrington. Blogfinger photo Oct 21, 2016t

Work has begun at the Warrington. Blogfinger photo Oct 21, 2016

Messy work. Warrington Lake Avenue view. Blogfinger photo. Oct. 21, 2016 ©

Messy work. Warrington Lake Avenue view. Blogfinger photo. Oct. 21, 2016 ©

Neighbors have reported to us that interior work had begun several weeks ago with workers hammering all day long .  Yesterday we received a message from a neighbor that exterior work on the Warrington had begun, “People working on it, and no permits in sight.”  He also said that “siding is being removed and debris is blowing all over the neighborhood.”

We went over there and saw that a plastic/rubberized path had been created to move materials across the next door condo property to get to Beach Avenue.  Several workers were there (I saw one outside and heard hammering inside.)   Siding is indeed getting stripped to reveal the original siding, but the mess on the ground indicates the lack of care in doing this job.

We suspect that work should not be going on until some final details are resolved  (see our two articles on “The Case of the Worrisome Warrington.”)

Also, obviously, there are some environmental concerns with this current work.

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

ADRIANA CASELOTTI   (from the original soundtrack of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)


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92 Lawrence Avenue from Realtor.com. $399,000. Kacl Green realtor/Gannon Construction Co. Oct. 2016.

92 Lawrence Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ—from Realtor.com. $399,000. Jack Green realtor/Gannon Construction Co. Oct. 2016. Internet photo.


In Feb. 2015 this empty lot was known for its piles of dumped dirt. Who knows what lives in that soil?    Blogfinger photo.

In Feb. 2015 this empty lot was known for its piles of dumped dirt. Who knows what lives in that soil? Blogfinger photo.

We all know about the empty lot next to the Jersey Shore Arts Center.  But we don’t know much about it. Recently we heard that Herb Herbst said that it might become a parking lot  (uttered by Herb at a Community Leaders meeting recently.)   But then someone recently  showed us  3 single lots that are for sale on the internet—-somehow subdivided by legerdemain. The lots are advertised on line as being for single family homes. Jack Green is the realtor company while someone named Gannon is the realtor handling this listing.

In the recent past, the lot  has served as a place to dump construction waste.  Mostly it looks like a fine site in downtown Aleppo.  We’ve had a couple of comments about it, so it is time to distinguish it by its own Blogfinger space which you are now looking at.

Let’s start with these comments that were posted when we first mentioned the topic on Wassup?


Oct 16, from Kevin Chambers:

Two previous statements have raised a very serious question here, when and how were these three nonconforming lots created out of the single tax exempt public dedicated lot on Lawrence Ave?    Though most of the lots in OG are pre-existing through leases from the OGCMA, the Township must have a definition for a single family conforming lot and these lots do not and can not meet that requirement or definition.

So how and when were they created? When did the Planning Board create these nonconforming lots? And how did the Planning Board give approval in violation of RSIS State requirements without the requirement of parking when more than enough land existed to permit parking for these newly created lots?


Oct 18, from Jack Bredin:

Kevin, most of the lots in Ocean Grove are 30×60 foot lots, subdivided in 1879, and are legally conforming lots.
The lots that you are referring to on Lawrence Avenue are illegal subdivisions of land.
You ask, ‘ How does this happen?’
I believe this happens because the OGCMA is now and has been since 1879 a “silent partner” in the Neptune Township government.
Neptune Township and the OGCMA certainly have a “joint venture” in development going on at the North End.


Oct. 19 , from Kevin Chambers:

In response to Mr. Bredin,

In fact, an OGCMA 30×60 1800 sq. ft. lot, under New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law, “MLUL” is not and can not be a legally conforming lot. It can only be a pre-existing nonconforming lot.When the State Legislature established RSIS, it required every community in NJ to rewrite its zoning laws to establish parking requirements within its definitions for a conforming lot.   Any and all pre-existing lots in the State of NJ that were not capable of providing parking, no matter what zone they were in, were automatically made non-conforming. This included all the 30×60  1800 sq. ft. lots in Ocean Grove. One reason for this is that it is illegal to “LAND LOCK” any piece of land in NJ.
What has been happening at the Board of Adjustment and in the Courts, is that, the Township has been arguing the legality of the 30×60  1800 sq. ft. lot, using the OGCMA lot as a legal lot established by Neptune, when in fact Neptune cannot by law use 1800 sq. ft. for its definition of a legal conforming lot since it can not provide off street parking.

Neptune, as required by law, established a legal minimum lot size for Neptune, this is 5,000 sq. ft., but instead of Neptune and its Boards using its correct 5,000 sq. ft. definition for a conforming lot, Neptune, its Boards and its Planner have segregated the OG development out of Neptune’s legal zoning in order to foster and perpetuate the OGCMA non-conforming lots and uses. This violates RSIS and the MLUL and the very reason for our increasing parking problems.

Neptune violates the law not to protect the Historic District. It violates the law to create more units in OG to bring in more taxes for the rest of Neptune at the peril of OG residents.

Neptune is required by law to use its legal 5,000 sq. ft. definition, which would limit density, and improper uses within OG. Instead, Neptune has permitted the OGCMA to dictate what uses and what lot sizes Neptune should use when it comes to the development of OG. This violates the MLUL.  Neptune, by law, must use a legal conforming lot size definition for its zoning equally throughout Neptune. Anything less circumvents the legal requirements demanded by the MLUL and is therefore a very serious violation of law.

This is what Neptune’s Parking Committee and the OGHOA’s Attorney will never report.

Editor’s note:  Excuse me while I enroll in law school. Is there any OG lawyer who will ignore the town’s “silent treatment” and say something useful here?  There are two lawyers, at least, on the HOA Board, but of course, that auspicious body of Groaners doesn’t say a word about Land Use controversies here on Blogfinger.  —-PG

Maybe they will turn the lot into a summer camp for Grover kids.



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