Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove news’ Category


This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

The  Township Committee is having a first reading of the new HPC guidelines this Monday at 7:00.  The Historical Society sent out an unsigned email stating,
“These new guidelines are very damaging to the historic district and threaten our historic designation. I’m hoping to get a good showing at the meeting to voice our concern.
The draft can be found on the township web site under committee agenda for Dec. 12. Scroll all the way to the bottom .
Thanks for any help you can offer.”

Below is the official announcement by Neptune Township regarding the HPC guidelines ordinance:



WHEREAS, the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines have needed amendment from time to time based on changed circumstances,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Committee of the Township of Neptune in the County of Monmouth in the State of New Jersey that the Land Development Ordinance, Volume II Section 508, entitled, “Historic Preservation Design Guidelines” is hereby amended as follows:

§508 – Historic Preservation Design Guidelines.

c. The Design Criteria in Guidelines: The aforesaid Guidelines, also known as the “Ocean Grove Historic District Architectural Design Guidelines for Residential Structures” are hereby adopted as an integral part of this Ordinance and incorporated in the Ordinance by reference to the Guidelines available as part of this Ordinance for review in the Clerk’s Office of Neptune Township. Future amendments to the Guidelines, where minor in nature; that is, not amending the entire Guideline document, may be amended by Resolution with all dates of amendments noted in the Guideline document.

All Ordinances or parts of Ordinances that are inconsistent herewith are repealed, but only to the extent of such inconsistency.

The amended Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its passage and the publication as required by law.


___________________________ Richard J. Cuttrell,
Municipal Clerk

___________________________ Kevin B. McMillan,


Editor’s Note:    

Here is a link to read the guidelines:


Click on Dec 12 in the agenda column and then scroll down to Ordinance 16-45 and then keep scrolling down and you will find the Guidelines dated October, 2016.

But where are the latest changes?  Is there an official document that enumerates the changes?   And who wrote these Guideline changes and why?

Someone sent us a notice from the OGHOA which said, “A key change will limit application of the design guidelines to the street-facing facade only of a building. The result of this change alone is not difficult to imagine. The sides and backs of homes could be faced with different materials, and historically appropriate materials would no longer be a requirement on non-street-facing facades.”  

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger



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This photo of the North End is from our Oc tobver 30, 2016 post which said, "Nofrth End Plan celebrates its ninth anniversary of...broken promises. Blogfinger photo ©

This photo of the North End is from our October 30, 2016 post titled, “North End Plan celebrates its ninth anniversary of…broken promises.”   Blogfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In the October 30, 2016  BF article we said,  “Isn’t it time to bring in a new North End plan? This one is a losing proposition and should be replaced by something that will improve the town, not the developers and politicians. Where are the Home Groaners??”

We have made it crystal clear in multiple past articles that the only official North End Redevelopment Plan was passed by the Township Committee in 2008, and since then no changes have been made. Only the Township Committee can make changes and if they wanted to do so they would have to start the whole process over again including public hearings, redeveloper bidding, etc.  And note that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is still part of the plan as the land owner. WAVE is still  the redeveloper, and the identities of the people involved in WAVE have yet to be made public.

And finally no Redevelopers Agreement has been signed between WAVE and the Neptune Township Committee.

Regarding the so-called “New NERP,” below is a link to our last post regarding this subject.  It shows a concept drawing illustrating a sharp reduction in residential units.   Nothing has changed since this April 28, 2015 Blogfinger article.


On November 26, 2016, at the latest OG Homeowners Assoc. meeting, one of the topics discussed was the North End redevelopment. Since the President was not present, the meeting was presided over by Vice President Richard Williams.

According to our reporter, Williams stated that he hoped the North End would “rise up and be re-developed.” Williams asserted that there was “a new plan which would cut the density in half.”

But he seriously misinformed the membership in a very public way.  He evidently didn’t know that  the “new plan”  lies dead and dormant  and thus is totally useless.

Certainly the Township Attorney, Gene Anthony, has never agreed that such a new plan has ever been legally approved, even though ex-Committeeman Randy Bishop spoke publicly about it in 2015,  as did HOA officials who have bragged in the past that they made the new plan happen.

At last Saturday’s meeting, during the public comment portion, Grover Jack Bredin brought out the truth that “the new plan was never approved by the Township.” He also reminded the HOA that the NERP is a public project, so there is no rationale for the HOA to make their case to the Camp Meeting Association.

He also responded to complaints by members at the meeting   that if they were worried about trash, weeds, sloppy fencing, or any other messes at the North End, that would be the Township’s job to correct, not the CMA.

It really would be a wonderful service if the Home Groaners actually told the truth to the public.  The HOA trustees should slow down, go out for coffee, and get their facts straight.

DAVID LOUD  and the cast of 70, Girls, 70.




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45 Main Avenue, new home of Re/Max realtors in Ocean Grove, NJ Blogfinger photo. ©

45 Main Avenue, new home of Re/Max realtors in Ocean Grove, NJ Blogfinger photo. ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Some of you may remember Arlene Fox who ran the Re/Max office at 45 Main Avenue in Ocean Grove at the turn of this century. That business was closed, and Diane Turton moved in.  Now three local realtors have reopened Re/Max at this address once again. The will have their official opening in early December, but they are now open and operating,  as you can see from the sign above.

There are about 50 homes for sale in the Grove ranging in price from $299,000 to $2.2 million. Some local realtors say that there isn’t much available in town, but this sounds like quite a few.  Mortgage rates have been climbing rapidly lately, rising to about 4.3%, with the risk of going higher looming in the future. The feds are talking about raising rates. Also, there have been concerns expressed in the Times regarding the potential for falling prices in coastal communities, especially in flood prone shore towns. Some owners are thinking about selling.

Realtors have to apprise shoppers of environmental risks.

EDDY DAVIS AND CONAL FOWKES  “Hannah and her Sisters.”  from the album Live at the Hotel Casa Fuster Barcelona: Selections from Woody Allens motion pictures.

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Jersey Shore Arts Center on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Internet photo.

Jersey Shore Arts Center on Main Street  in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Internet photo.  (For those of you smartiepants who think we made an error in this address, this side of the building is on Main Street;  the other side is on Main Avenue.)



Ocean Grove.  September  16, 2016.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

About three years ago, a group called QSpot moved into the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove, NJ.  They put up a billboard in November, 2013,  on Main Street  to proudly announce their arrival.

This is what we said in Blogfinger about the photo below:

“We saw this banner today opposite the UPS store in the strip mall. I asked a gay friend about it, but she never heard of it. Consulting Google, I learned that this is a social group, founded in Asbury Park in December 2012. It will now be meeting in the lower level of the Jersey Shore Arts Center and its first open house was held last Sunday. It has about 100 members.

“If any of the members of this new Ocean Grove organization want to tell us about the Project, please contact Blogfinger.”

We never heard back from any of that group regarding what Q Spot was about.

Now we have received information that QSpot is an organization  which provides “services” to the LGBT community in this area.   The group thought it would have a long lease with the JSAC, but they were recently informed that the lease would  not be renewed.

Main Street sign announcing the arrival of QSpot in Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo Nov. 2013. © Click to read the sign.

Main Street, Ocean Grove,  sign announcing the arrival of QSpot in Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo Nov. 2013. © Click to read the sign.

The reason given by the landlord is that QSpot does not offer arts and education programs. That is the bottom line for those who get to rent space there.  John Mikytuck, the executive director of QSpot, disagrees regarding its programming.  He says that QSpot, founded in 2005, does offer such programs.

In an article by MaryAnn Spoto of NJ.com, she discusses the situation, but, as usual with the press, she fails to get the facts straight when speaking about Ocean Grove:

She said, “A community center providing services for gays and lesbians says it’s abruptly being thrown out of its office space in a Shore town that touts Christian beliefs but has had past struggles with gay couples.”

She also quoted Mikytuck as suggesting that the timing of the eviction notice indicates an anti-gay bias which he links to the Orlando shooting at a gay club.  This assertion is wildly out of order, and the reporter should have probed a bit before printing it.

After that she pursued the anti-gay, anti-Ocean Grove theory by saying, “Ocean Grove , a section of Neptune Township, has had past struggles with the gay community.”

She also mentioned the Camp Meeting Association as being guilty of bias regarding the Pavilion matter in 2007.  What in the world does the CMA have to do with this lease renewal situation, and certainly a good reporter would have determined the difference between the CMA and the town of Ocean Grove.

We will definitely  hear more about this situation, but hopefully, as they cover this story,  the press will do something about their muddled journalism.



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Ocean Grove Flower Shop on Main Avenue will not be in bloom this spring,  Jean Bredin photo, Blogfinger staff. March 30, 2016. ©

Ocean Grove Flower Shop on Main Avenue will not be in bloom this spring, Jean Bredin photo, Blogfinger staff. March 30, 2016. ©

By Jean Bredin  (Around the Grove with Jean)

A favorite Rite of Passage in Ocean Grove has always been the profusion of colorful plants lined up welcoming Spring. You would forget about the cold, the snow, the grayness, the bleakness. The corner resembled the Paris flower markets. It was a destination. A place where you could be inspired.

Sadly, we will just have to imagine what it once was, and wonder if we will ever see it again.



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Finally, Construction Action at 80 Main Ave and New York Avenue. By Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff © February 16, 2016.

Finally, construction action at 80 Main Ave and New York Avenue. By Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff © February 16, 2016.

Editor’s note:  There is a Jack Green Co. truck seen around the corner in our photo, but that company is not involved in this project according to his office.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM:  “Move On”  From Sunday in the Park with George.



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Newly-elected Committeeman Nicholas Williams (L)  poses with re-elected incumbent Committeeman Dr. Michael Brantley. (source: Candidates web site)   Williams lives in Neptune, but he is a member of the Ocean Grove Citizens Patrol, so he knows how to spot trouble. We have high hopes for him.   Perhaps Dr. Brantley will pay more attention to OG issues in 2016.      Internet photo.


In a recent Blogfinger poll, 88% of respondents said that they did not trust the Neptune Township Committee to do what is fair and just for Ocean Grove.  310 respondents voted. 85% said No; 9% said Yes; the rest were unsure.

In January there will be a new Neptune Township Committee. Returning are Dr. Michael Brantley (newly re-elected), Kevin McMillan (incumbent and new Mayor)  and Randy Bishop (incumbent.)   Taking the place of Mary Beth Jahn is Nicholas Williams (newly elected.)  We don’t know yet who will take the place of Eric Houghtaling.

Mary Beth Jahn was not nominated to run again  by the Monmouth County Democrats despite the protests of Randy Bishop. Eric Houghtaling will vacate his seat on January 12, as he will move up to the Assembly in Trenton.

Randy Bishop may soon be vacating his seat voluntarily, but there is no official word about that.

In 2016, the Committee will remain all Democratic. Neptune used to be solidly Republican. Now it is the most Democratic town in Monmouth County.   Some say that party politics are not important in local elections, but don’t believe it. If you look at the Facebook page of Brantley and Williams, after winning, they said, “Democratic residents of Neptune. This was a victory for you.”

Hopefully it will be a victory for all of us.

At Blogfinger our New Year wish is that the newly reshuffled Committee, headed by a new Mayor, will take a fresh look at the way Ocean Grove citizens have been treated with regards to our historic designations, fair and equal zoning applications, out-of-control property taxes, parking standards, and protection against being overrun by condo-building developers.

We have been especially worried about how the North End Redevelopment is being handled.  How about zoning all of OG for single family.  And how about cancelling the redevelopment zone at the North End.

Also, many of us believe that the current application for an RISS exemption in Trenton will jeopardize our town’s future. Why not trash that application to the SIAB and start enforcing the State parking law in the Grove.

We want our Committee to represent us in a fair and transparent manner.   Hopefully that poll, when repeated in 2016, will show a better relationship between the Committee and Ocean Grove.

We also want to remind the Committee that the OGHOA does not represent most Grovers, so the Committee needs to do more outreach in the Grove to judge what our citizens prefer.  Don’t wait for the citizens to come to you.   Let’s reach out of the box.

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger



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Sam from Surf and Skate shop. Blogfinger photo. © Dec. 19, 2015.

Sam from Surf and Skate shop on Main Avenue. Blogfinger photo. © Dec. 19, 2015.

Despite the fact that it is only 6 days till the big day, there were few shoppers on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove on a sunny, cold  Saturday. What the Heck Avenue is happening to our commercial district?  But it wasn’t a total loss: The Wall High School Fabulous Four were playing carols in front of Favorite Things, but music lovers everywhere were elsewhere.

We did get the the recording in  only two takes.  The first was a warm-up.  A bandstand fell over during the taping, and the flute player had to fake the entire song, but she amazingly came through without showing signs of stage panic. A few wrong notes don’t bother this marvelous ensemble.  Their motto is, “good enough for jazz.”

The second piece was “Oh Come all Ye Faithful.”  What a marvelous performance. You must see them at half time sometime, these Knights of the Wall High School.  Martin Scorsese would have said “cut” and shown the first take as an example of cinema verité, so we are posting both takes.

Pizza Shoppe. Saturday, Dec 19, 2015. Blogfinger.net

The so called Pizza Shoppe (above)  still has the sign on the door that says “open weekends” but it was still closed.  What’s up with that?  The surf and skate shop was open, but Sam wasn’t having much traffic today.  But she had her cheerful face on, as always, as she waited for some skaters or surfers to fly into her Main Avenue shop where the newstand/toy shop used to be.

Here’s a link to our original post on Sam and her shop:      Surf and Skate in OG

Other shops were also open including Seasons, Favorite Things, Cheese on Main,OG bakery, The Emporium, Nagles, and The Comfort Zone.

BEVERLY KENNEY  from Guys and Dolls


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Internet photo

Sports report from the Blogfinger sports department, Paul Goldfinger, Editor.    Updated to 2015.  Go Navy.  I still have my Navy sword which I keep in our OG bedroom in case the Barbary pirates show up seeking revenge.

On Saturday, December 12, there will be a battle in Philadelphia—Army vs. Navy. This rivalry goes back 116 games.  Navy has won 59 times, and the army 49, with 7 ties.    Navy has  a long winning streak, having won the last thirteen times.  The weather should be warm, so we won’t have to shiver our timbers;  it will be a spirited event at 3:00 pm on CBS.

But here in Ocean Grove, we have two neighbors on Seaview Avenue who have chosen opposite sides every year, and each year they hang out the appropriate banner.  At 18 Seaview is Liz Ogden’s house where the Navy reigns and the goats go baaaaa.  This is what she said yesterday, “The Flags are flying on Sea View Ave in excitement for the upcoming football game Saturday at 3pm..  I learned recently that my Dad marched in the 1953 Army – Navy Football game with the American Flag..  GOOOOO NAVY!!!!!  BEAT ARMY.


18 Seaview18 Seaview Avenue in Ocean Grove.  Liz Ogden’s house.

US Navy Band:    

Ted Bell's home at 24 Seaview Avenue. Blogfinger photos.

Ted Bell’s home at 24 Seaview Avenue. Blogfinger photos.  Dec 10, 2015 Ted’s team are the Black Knights and they eat beans while the Navy eats the gravy.

A few houses down at 24 Seaview is the Army house where Ted Bell will be cheering for the Army mules. Ted’s grandson is a graduate of the USMA and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Ted and Liz have been competing over this game for more than 10 years.  Ted gave us a quote: “Go Army, Beat Navy.”  Ted was there when the army beat the Brits at Bunker Hill.

Ted likes the traditions, especially when the two sides sing their alma maters at the end of the game.   He predicts that Army will win by a score of 13-12.  Really, Ted?   You can call him and make a bet.

Liz Ogden on Main Avenue counting her chickens. Her team are the "Midshipmen". © Paul Goldfinger photo. Dec 10, 2015.

Liz Ogden on Main Avenue, Ocean Grove,  counting her chickens. Her team are the “Midshipmen”. © Paul Goldfinger photo. Dec 10, 2015.

Liz: Watch out;  Ted may get your goat or steal your goat or eat your goat.

US Army Band      

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Editor’s Note  (2015) : Kevin Chambers is a long time Ocean Grover who has brought suit against Neptune Township regarding  condominium projects  in town.

Kevin has never, in the past, commented on Blogfinger, but he decided to join the discussion in 2011.

–This article was originally posted on BF in January 2011, but it is as relevant now as it was then.   I think this 2011 post pretty much explains Kevin’s views in 2015, but perhaps we  will  hear from Kevin again now if he wants to bring us up to date with his views on zoning and parking in Ocean Grove.

—Note the interesting comments section from 2011 which can be added to now.

———Paul  Goldfinger . Editor  @Blogfinger

August 2012. Kevin Chambers, and OG histsorian, testifies at the HPC demolition hearing re: Whitfield Hotel on Surf Avenue.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

August 2013. Kevin Chambers, an OG historian, testifies at the HPC demolition hearing re: Whitfield Hotel on Surf Avenue. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

From Kevin Chambers of Ocean Grove:

The following is to address RSIS and parking in Ocean Grove:

In 1997 the State of New Jersey created the New Jersey Site Improvement Advisory Board that established “Residential Site Improvement Standards” (RSIS). RSIS is a part of the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) that governs all zoning in the state of New Jersey. Every town in the state, including Neptune, was mandated to amend its zoning to conform to RSIS.

Neptune, when amending its Land Development Ordinance in 2000, violated the MLUL and RSIS when it created the Historic District Oceanfront (HD-0) zone.
The Historic District of Ocean Grove, a section of Neptune, is the only development in the entire state, in which the township that governs it refuses to enforce RSIS.

The state wrote three letters informing Neptune that it is required by law to enforce RSIS. Neptune, seeking a way to circumvent the law, created an ordinance that prohibits driveways and curb cuts for Ocean Grove. Believing that the new ordinance gave Neptune the right to ignore RSIS, the Township continued permitting the conversion of unauthorized nonconforming apartments and hotels into condominiums without providing parking.
The Township, still in violation of RSIS, was then forced into seeking a waiver known as the “Special Area Standard” designation from the State. Neptune believed that the designation would permit the Board of Adjustment to continue its abuse of granting improper high density development within Ocean Grove, which in turn has lead to more car congestion on the streets.
The RSIS Board explained to Neptune’s representatives, that if Neptune enforced RSIS within Ocean Grove that it would prohibit improper high density uses that would in turn lessen the density of cars on the streets.

If Neptune acted responsibly and brought its zoning for Ocean Grove into conformity with the MLUL it then wouldn’t need to seek the designation from the state. The enforcement of RSIS would break the vicious cycle of permitting greater density in Ocean Grove at the expense and the detriment to Ocean Grove residents.
Even though all the committee members of the RSIS Board were well aware of Ocean Grove’s problems having visited Ocean Grove, the RSIS Board was forced to deny Neptune the “Special Area Standard” designation since Neptune’s zoning for Ocean Grove was and is in violation of the MLUL.

Even more troubling, Neptune was in violation of the “Open Public Meeting Act” when it sought the designation. Neptune is now required to hold open public meetings in which to provide a legitimate parking study in order to establish a need to seek a waiver from the state. Neptune must also bring Ocean Grove’s zoning into compliance with the MLUL before reappearing before the RSIS Board.

Solving Ocean Grove’s high density and over crowding of the streets doesn’t take “brainpower or innovation;”   it only takes following the law, the very law that every Committee member in the state is sworn to uphold.

To this very day, the Township continues to be in violation of the MLUL and continues to refuse to enforce RSIS. Both were created and designed for the protection of every resident of the state, including the residents of Ocean Grove. Every resident of Ocean Grove should be leery of any township committee person who hinders or who refuses to demand their enforcement.

Kevin Chambers

Editor’s credit:  Top photo was taken at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove Museum.   Blogfinger photo

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