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This is what the north side of Main Ave. looks like with diagonal parking. this scene is near NJ Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue. Jean Breding photo, Blogfinger staff.©

This is what the north side of Main Avenue   looks like currently with diagonal parking. This scene is near New Jersey Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue.  Jean Bredin photo, Blogfinger staff.© 2/16/17.

 

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen's Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. ©

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen’s Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. © Jean Bredin photo; Blogfinger staff. 2/16/17.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

In a Coaster article (Jan. 25, 2017) it was reported that the Township Committee approved “almost 100 new parking spaces”and that the Committee was “acting on recommendations presented by the ad hoc OG Parking Task Force.”  That task force has members on it from the OGHOA.

The plan includes creating diagonal head-on parking on the north side of Main Ave. from New Jersey Ave. to Lawrence Ave. The same is planned on the west side of Central Avenue from Heck to Webb avenues.

But diagonal parking is ugly. The “new spaces” are created by cramming more cars into a given space where currently there is parallel parking. Diagonal parking may be OK for commercial areas, but in residential areas it is not suitable.

On Main Avenue, starting from the eastern edge of Firemen’s Park and heading west, the diagonal parking will look congested and will visually and actually narrow Main Avenue. Currently that portion of the Avenue has an impressive and welcoming boulevard look.

For visitors who come into our historic town, they will not enjoy the same openness that currently shows off the Grove at its best with historic homes and a lovely park.   In addition the town will lose one of the few places where a bus or truck can legally pull over and give some respite for the drivers to get their bearings or have a coffee.

As for how our leaders feel about this idea, here are two quotes borrowed from the Coaster:

Deputy Mayor Nick Williams, a member of the Township’s parking task force said, “We are going to move forward with these recommendations, and I think the task force did a good job.”

Resident Joyce Klein who is a member of the OGHOA and chairman of their parking committee said, “This is a great start*  but I hope to think that this is the beginning and not the end of the parking study.” She is also on the task force.

So we will get some more spaces, but we don’t need more congestion and density as the price to pay in our residential areas while the town continues its slide downhill.  The policy makers think that this will be wonderful, but do you think these task force people are doing the right thing?

It seems that they believe that all Grovers care about is parking and that we will accept any new spaces no matter the price.   Do you think the task force gave any consideration to the appearance of our town—–how about  the more important variables such as air, space and light?   How about our quality of life?

This plan of squeezing more cars onto our streets fits in with the worrisome current pattern of more condos,  more density, and more crowding.  Making more spaces is not necessarily better than leaving those streets alone.

Who is this really helping?–the commercial and real estate interests, or the people who live here?  Help the residents  with parking stickers and do something to reduce the numbers of cars coming into town and the number of town-clogging events that are too often and create temporary paralysis for OG tax payers. Or build a parking garage somewhere.

This plan will be implemented by Memorial Day. Other ideas are also being considered, including even more diagonal parking on other parts of Central Avenue.

When it comes to policies that hurt our historic town,  if no one complains, they will soon do it again:

MARILYN MONROE   “Do It Again.”

 

 

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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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It seems like it’s hard to find quiet in a town that ought to provide a noise-free environment. One Grover told me that the noise problem is so bad that he would consider moving, except his wife doesn’t mind it. Another recent arrival from Manhattan said that Ocean Grove is noisier than the Gramercy Park area. A woman who lives near Wesley Lake (where we filmed the music video) hates the noise from Asbury.  Not everyone likes the music.

At the North End near Wesley Lake we have significant loudspeaker noise pollution from Asbury Park in season.  Now  “the season” merges left and right into spring and fall. Does the Parking Committee understand that the “season” lasts about nine months?

A couple of weeks ago the noise one evening was unusually loud, penetrating the inside of our house.   The Asbury noise comes from the Beer Hall, the Stone Pony outdoor venue and the variety of events going on there.  The video above, from Saturday, Dec 3, emanated from a live band at the shores of Wesley Lake, on Asbury’s Lake Avenue.  It was nonstop and horrible.

And how about the loud drunks from Asbury returning to their cars in the early morning hours waking Grovers from restful sleep?  Talk about disturbing the peace!

Then there is construction noise.  They are not supposed to begin work before 8 am, but a noisy bucket loader  on Main Avenue was making loud beeping sounds at 7 am that interfered with sleep.  They are also not supposed to make construction noise all day  Sunday.

For anyone who lives near Main Avenue, the traffic noise can get bothersome, but of course there is no way to fix that unless we only allow electric cars here.

But all week long, into the fall, we have weed wackers, lawn mowers, sanding machines and leaf blowers.   You can hear the weed wacker in the top video. Such noisy machines are usually used by landscapers and home owners to maintain their properties, but that is allowed by ordinance.

And the Neptune DPW entertains us with garbage pickups very early in the morning as well as their crews maintaining parks around town.

But shouldn’t loud noises of power equipment, at least on Sunday morning, be restricted even if the source is not a construction project?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Note:  I would feel differently if the New York Philharmonic were playing by the shores of Wesley Lake:

Nutcracker Suite “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.”

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Ocean Grove Fall Flea Market. Sept. 10, 2016. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net ©

Ocean Grove Fall Flea Market. Sept. 10, 2016. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger.net

September 10. 2016.  Ocean Pathway, Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

The ad said “rain or shine,” but today at the OG Giant Fall Flea Market, there was a bit too much shine. It was hot—nearly 90 degrees, but nevertheless, a large crowd showed up, and there were sea breezes.

The Boardwalk Pavilion was crowded as a group had assembled to enjoy the simple pleasures of the shade along with cool air from the ocean.

I like the ambience of flea and farmers markets, while Eileen is more of a shopper. I, on the other hand, could visit every one of the 385 vendors here today and I would find absolutely nothing that I would want. But the photo ops—that’s another story.

If you are a photographer you can sympathize with me. At noon, with the light changing at every step and with my automatic meter being unreliable, I had to figure out exposures from moment to moment, and it was annoying to manually keep changing the settings.

Noon is the worst time of day to get good photos due to the harsh high-contrast light. I much prefer to shoot in the shade whenever possible. And then there are the flea market throngs, with a giant person stepping in the way just as a Jennifer Lawrence look-alike enters my field of vision.

Some people ask me why I photograph women.   The answer is quite obvious—what is more beautiful?  Even women enjoy looking at pictures of women, especially those unique types whose dress and manner are so graceful, interesting, and enticing.

And especially at the famous flea market on Ocean Pathway in the Grove, by-the-sea, where a photographer cannot deny girls in their summer clothes.

Flea Market  Gallery: First turn on the music.  Then  click on one then follow the large arrows.   To return to this page, click on the small X on the left.

WILLIE NELSON AND LEON RUSSELL  From the album One For the Road

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Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in.

Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

At the June 13, 2016  Township Committee meeting, there was this item in the minutes about a man who went to the microphone for his 5 minutes in front of the Town fourfathers and one mother:

“Ray DeFaria, 12 New York Avenue, applauded the Committee for their thoroughness in addressing some issues with the parking. He stated Ocean Grove’s history is a Christian retreat and people come from all over and it is buyer beware when you come in.

“He stated people come in to worship and it is a form of discrimination if you are going to charge people to come in to church. He stated the impact in Ocean Grove is minimal and the composite of Ocean Grove has changed and everyone has cars. He stated there should be planning when contemplating moving into Ocean Grove.”

Editor’s note:  It isn’t exactly clear as to what Ray is saying, but it does illustrate that his is one of a number of factions in town which have their own unique agendas regarding parking. That, of course, will complicate the work of the new Parking Task Force which has members from the CMA, the Police Dept, the Township Comedy, the Engineering Dept., the Chamber of Commercials, The Home Groaners Assoc., and the public at large  (no reference to the overweight.)

This past July 4 and during Bridgefest, we had a state of crowding where every available parking space in town seemed to be taken. Only someone leaving to go to the hospital with a cardiac arrest would have moved their car.  Prospective parkers were driving around aimlessly, wild-eyed, and with a high degree of frustration.

You may recall that last year, the mayor of Belmar had to close his town during a seafood festival because of traffic overload.  This is what he said, “They would have come into town driving their car with no place to park, no place really to drive and they probably would not have made either the beach or the seafood festival anyway,” he told NBC 4 New York. Sound familiar?

Well now we know that Ocean Grove sometimes reaches capacity, and it often comes close. And when that happens, the lives of those who live here are adversely affected.

So the current idea that we can solve the parking problems in Ocean Grove by appointing  a task force which will try to re-shuffle the deck in a variety of ways, will not work,  especially whenever the number of cars becomes nearly the same as  the number of spaces, and that is not unusual.  And even if there are enough spaces for each car wanting to park, the sheer aggravation and stress  of trying to find a space is toxic to the lifestyles of residents in the Grove.   And even if it is just on weekends from  May through October, that is a substantial per cent of the time when residents have to wrestle with parking issues.

This is what an OG nurse had to say yesterday: “When I work 14 hours I am not happy about leaving my car at the hospital and paying for a cab home, let alone watching my 91 year old neighbor who leaves to visit his wife at Manor by the Sea and ends up walking home with his walker. As a native born Grover, I don’t expect a space in front of my house, but the cars and occupancy now associated with summer rentals have gotten out of control.”

As much as I, a homeowner, want  a reserved space sticker, that plan will cause the number of spaces for those without stickers to decline.  If renters are given stickers, as some have suggested, that plan will be hopeless.   If we remove dumpsters and pods, it will create a trivial number of extra spaces.

And trying to reduce demand by closing the bridges to AP will not help; nor will parking meters.  Hiring a parking engineer won’t work because he has nothing to work with.

So, we have a fixed number of spaces, and according to the laws of physics,  two cars  cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  On top of that, Ocean Grove is becoming more popular each year, so the numbers of cars continue to rise, and unlike other popular Shore towns, we cannot seek refuge in our garages and driveways, so it is tougher here.

Therefore, given the conflicting factions and the near capacity parking availability,  the Task Force is essentially doomed in its mission except for some cosmetic changes,  and they might as well return to their usual state of denial regarding the real causes of the mess.

The inevitable conclusion is that we now need a new paradigm for the town of Ocean Grove.

The solution  is to recognize that we have reached a turning point in this town:  supersaturation —-more cars than spaces.  Even though that state doesn’t always exist, parking difficulties happen often enough to cause distress for residents and it is always hanging over our heads like a black cloud that comes and goes.  Something extraordinary needs to be done instead of the usual talk therapy:

Mayor McMillan should immediately declare that all future attempts to increase density will be  rejected out of hand, and that we will never allow another condominium  (such as #60 Main Avenue) or Mary’s-sort-of-Place to be built here without off-street parking, something which we can’t have, so just re-zone the entire town to single family Victorian houses, with no exceptions,  except for the North End which should be re-zoned for a public park.  Since the CMA has waited too long and dithered mindlessly for years, to the detriment of the town, now the zoning should say that they can only have  a park. Maybe Green Acres will pay for it.  It is the will of the people who pay the taxes and who live here.

Since we will not have any new parking spaces, count the number of current spaces in the Grove, post traffic directors at the two entrances, and only allow that number in, minus 300 for wiggle room, with residents and their friends having priority.  Make the rest wait in a line until a space opens up.  This will help the lifestyles of those who actually live in this town by creating some breathing room.      And we should give a discount on beach badges to anyone who walks or bikes into the Grove.

It won’t work?  OK, use the idea of supersaturation  (too many cars)  and come up with something else that recognizes the law of supply and demand and places the residents of the Grove at the top of the priority list.

If parking lots are offered at nearby schools on weekends and then tourists get bused  into town, each of those will pay for parking.  This will ease the car numbers to some extent.

And then we should allow only three mega-events per year because most of those smother and  devour the town—taking much without giving much back.   There would be one flea market and a craft market. The CMA has control over the number of mega-events on the Pathway.

The third mega-event which must be allowed  is the 4th of July parade.  That is the only huge event in OG which is for everyone—it brings happiness, laughter, entertainment, culture, knowledge, cheers for volunteers,  and a grand sense of community for all.  It is a gift which keeps on giving.   We will suffer with the parking for July 4, but buses and out of town parking must be provided.

All other mega-events should be disqualified for bringing nothing to town other than self interest and smothering crowds of cars and people.  The CMA’s large events like Bridgefest are special cases and must be considered separately.

And as for Ray DeFaria’s plea,  we all have our favorite causes, and if the Grove ever has pay-to- park, then it would be discriminatory to charge some but not charge others.

So we must, as stated before, ask the question, “Whom is the town for?”  Let the discussion begin.

BOBBY DARIN

“Somewhere beyond the sea
She’s there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I’d go sailing…..because I can’t give up my parking spot in Ocean Grove.”

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To the Editor:

Has the OGHOA committee on parking submitted their recommendations or report to the OGHOA membership for a vote ?   Is there a written report for the public to read?

The OGHOA once before sent a letter to the RSIS (Residential Site Improvment Standards) Board before the membership voted on its contents. Is this happening again, this time with the Township?

I know that this so called committee incorrectly addressed the RSIS issue with the membership. It was clear that this committee failed to address the fact that the Township has created zoning for OG in violation of law. I know that two attorneys from the OGHOA  and a member of the Township Committee recommended that RSIS, a State mandated law, should be defied.

I am concerned that this committee’s recommendations are designed to encourage and promote the continual violation of law instead of demanding that Neptune Township bring its zoning for OG into conformity with the MLUL (Municipal Land Use Law) and RSIS.

KEVIN CHAMBERS

Ocean Grove, N.J., June 12, 2016

The writer is an Ocean Grove resident and historian. He has been an activist in town for many years, trying to insure lawful and fair zoning policies.

EDITOR’S NOTE:   The OGHOA parking recommendations will be presented to the Township Committee on June 13, 2016, at 5:00 pm,  at the Municipal Building, 2nd floor chamber. The public is invited.   The parking committee did present its findings to the membership, but we have no information as to whether a vote was taken. Perhaps someone from OGHOA wants to clear that up.  (addendum:  see Barbara Burns comment in the comments section; click below )

The Parking Committee report is on their web site at OGHOA.org, under the Parking Committee tab.   Click link below:

Parking Committee

The item below  is brought here from our Wassup section to further clarify and elucidate and provide appropriate music for the forthcoming meeting:

—-Workshop meeting of the Neptune Township Committed will hear a presentation by the HOA Parking Committee on June 13 at 5 pm at Town Hall. But don’t expect to speak or discuss. You can go to the mike for 5 minutes when the entire meeting is done. Bring some knitting and your nonsense meter. If you go, please take notes and send us a concise reports of the the results. (Blogfinger @verizon.net)

Be prepared to rush the dais to demand that the Neptune Township Committed members let you speak. The Home Groaners should be deposed and replaced by a group of White Panthers who will demand FREE parking stickers for home owners or else!

–Theme song for the parking meeting with the Home Groaners:  (with Zero Mostel from A Funny Thing Happened at the Township Meeting)

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Nagle's Apothecary Café. By Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff. © Sunday 4/17, 2016

Nagle’s Apothecary Café. By Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff. © Sunday 4/17, 2016.  Click to make the cones bigger.

Jean:     “The migration in Ocean Grove always seems to head for Nagle’s. Even though summer isn’t officially here, the line was long. People yearning for their ice cream cone lined up with anticipation.”

BOBBY DARIN:

Here’s a 2014 Blogfinger post about Nagle’s:

https://blogfinger.net/2014/03/04/nagles-apothecary-cafe-and-horse-racing-emporium/

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"Well…obviously we had snow here today in The Grove….and I can assure you that as of mid-afternoon, that no deliveries have been made form The Purple Zebra Boutique at 76 Main Avenue."  By Bob Bowné  ©

“Well…obviously we had snow here today in The Grove….and I can assure you that as of mid-afternoon, that no deliveries have been made form The Purple Zebra Boutique at 76 Main Avenue.” By Bob Bowné ©

DONALD O’CONNOR and CAROLE RICHARDS.   This song is from the movie version of  Call Me Madam. The composer is Irving Berlin.

 

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Feb. 22, 2016. No one working on a Monday morning. Blogfinger photograph. ©

What construction?    Feb. 22, 2016. No one working on a Monday morning. North End boardwalk project.  Blogfinger photograph. ©  Click to make the driven piles bigger.

BETTE MIDLER  from her album   “It’s the Girls.”

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Ocean Grove, NJ. By Paul Goldfinger ©. Blogfinger.net

Ocean Grove, NJ.   July, 2012.    By Paul Goldfinger ©. Blogfinger.net Click to enlarge.

FRANK SINATRA

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