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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove North End Redevelopment Plan’ Category

“Ice Palace” by Bob Bowné. Asbury Park Carousel Building. January 2015. © Special to Blogfinger.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger   Re-posted from 2015.

iStar is the newest developer for the A. Park oceanfront 1 1/4 mile strip. Others have come and gone, but iStar seems to be confident in their plan to create an amazing strip of 20 mixed use projects including a 110 room hotel to be finished this summer and a new 34 unit condominium complex.

Vive condo project sold out in one day in 2013 and then repeated the feat for phase two. I love to walk by Vive; its design, colors and layout seem so inviting to me. Grovers need relief sometimes from Victorian architecture.

Asbury Park is going places with professional creative planning and above-board management.  What a difference when compared to the wannabe North End project in the Grove.

Undoubtedly those Ocean Grove developers want to hitch their wagon to an iStar and create Asbury Park, Jr. at the OG North End.  But they are so proud of their plan that they are hiding under their beds while waiting for the shenanigans to slither through.  Don’t hold your breath for the names behind WAVE to be revealed. They seem to be  ashamed of their project—it’s been dormant since 2008, and an ugly site remains.

TONY BENNETT AND THE RALPH SHARON ORCHESTRA AT CARNEGIE HALL  (1962)

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This is Tillie, the poster boy for funny business in Asbury Park. But who will be responsible for funny business on the OG side of the divide ?

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

We have received a detailed Coaster report regarding the HOA meeting of Feb. 1. During that meeting there was information presented by President Michael Badger of the OG Camp Meeting Association regarding the North End project which suggested that great progress was being made. The Coaster headline described the presentation as “an update.”

However, Badger offered misinformation which went unchallenged at the meeting. Evidently, he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the redevelopment process as defined by NJ Land Use Law.

The North End Redevelopment plan is supposed to be a public project under the supervision of the Township Committee, but the two Committeemen present, Carol Rizzo and Robert Lane, had nothing to say during the presentation.

Instead the CMA seemed to be usurping their authority.   And why was this presentation being made at the Home Owners Association meeting instead of in a public forum at a public venue with the discussion lead by the Township?

Badger said that “the North End developers and the CMA have been in protracted discussions and hope for a final signed contract within 30 days or shortly thereafter.”

But, in all the years we have been following this mess, no one has ever used the term “North End developers.”  Badger should have defined this term. You may recall that this is a “redevelopment” project and not a “general development” project—an important distinction having to do with local government involvement.

The 2008 zoning for the North End was established by the Neptune Township decision to make that property into a “zone in need of redevelopment.” So any subsequent negotiations and contract talks should be led by the Township.

Of course, private negotiations, such as regarding ground rents, would occur privately between the CMA and WAVE (the presumed redevelopers) but such agreements do not move the ball forward as far as the public’s interests.

So, until these private issues are resolved and until the process finally culminates in a Redevelopers Agreement, signed by the Township and the Redevelopers (whoever they will be,) there can be no developers officially involved in the project.

The only project plan that was ever approved by Neptune is the original NERP from 2008. There was talk of a changed plan (with reduced density) in 2011, championed by the HOA and publicly announced by Committeeman R. Bishop in 2015 , but that 2011 “scaled down” plan mentioned now by Mr. Badger, as if it were the current plan for 2018, was never confirmed by the Township.

Any change in the density of the original North End Redevelopment Plan “shall require notice and public hearings in a manner similar to the adoption of the original plan.”

And, Mr. Badger said, “some of the permits* are still not completed.” But that implies that some are completed, and, without a re-developers agreement, no permits should have been granted.

This project seems to be no further ahead than it was in the past, and the Feb 1 presentation merely served to muddy the waters even more.

 

* For more details about permits, see the comments below.

 

LEON REDBONE   (Is anyone home at the CMA, HOA, or the Neptune Township Committee?)

 

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Power to the people of Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo taken in Ocean Grove, NJ ©

Power to the people of Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo taken in Ocean Grove, NJ  by Jean Bredin.©  Reposted from Jan. 2016. ©

 

FRANK SINATRA    Just substitute Ocean Grove for Chicago.

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The North End along its northern edge near Wesley Lake. Blogfinger photo © 2015.

Condolandia (North End) as seen from Surf Avenue in 2015. Blogfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger,MD    Editor @Blogfinger.net

For the last ten years, the North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP)  has been kept under wraps for obscure reasons.  Instead of moving ahead with something that would be good for the town of Ocean Grove and for this region of the Jersey Shore, that large dirt zone has been allowed to fester by the Neptune Township Committee.

Why do you suppose the Committee would stick with a flawed and failed project?   Whose side are they on—the developers or the community of Ocean Grove.?   Since this plan was approved, no re-developer has ever been chosen. There is no re-developer’s agreement.

When that plan was conceived, it was said to be immediately necessary to bring that property to life. It was called an “area in need of redevelopment.” For some reason, the Township decided that the property owner, the Camp Meeting Association, was incapable of developing that valuable piece of land on their own.   They said that local government must take over.

The Township Committee ruled that the zoning had to be changed from 25 single family homes to a major commercial enterprise with 165 residential units—mostly condos, plus a hotel, stores, and an underground garage.

Was anyone fooled by that nonsense?  Even a blind man could see through it. Did we really need to turn the OG North End into Asbury Park South?  Was that going to save the town?   Or was that going to save Neptune Township?

The misguided concept was approved despite the Planning Board’s Master Plan for the “historic district.”

Everyone knew that it was just trickery to allow developers to make a ton of money once the zoning change had been allowed.  What is the motive for the Township to turn its back on its citizens?  Is it only about ratables?   Are there other variables such as special treatment for certain OG investors or for CMA trustees?  It’s ironic, but many of those 25 properties were originally earmarked for CMA religious leaders.

This is what the NJ Land Use Law said back then about redevelopment projects:   “Historically, redevelopment was primarily envisioned for totally deteriorated, blighted urban ghettos.”

 

For the last ten years,  our elected officials have allowed the NERP  to fester while developers figured out what to do, and there still are no answers and no progress.  The only one who spoke out in support of the people was Mary Beth Jahn, former Committeewoman, who was forced out by her own party.

 

On  January 1, 2018, a new administration will be sworn in, including a new mayor.   It would seem like an opportune time to do something which should have been done years ago:  They should  nullify the NERP and restore the original zoning.

Then maybe the CMA will start construction on those 25 homes—something which should have been  accomplished a long time ago.  By now we could have had a  beautiful residential area at the North End, with off-street parking.

Below are some notes about redevelopment plans per the New Jersey Land Use Laws:

a.   ” No permit for the erection of any building or structure shall be issued unless the lot abuts a street giving access to such proposed building or structure.

b.   “A delineated area may be determined to be in need of rehabilitation if the governing body of the municipality determines by resolution that there exist in that area certain conditions   (pick one)  such that:

“The owner cannot be found; unpaid fines and taxes exist; code violations cannot be rectified;

 

“—-or land that is owned by the municipality, or unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years and that by reason of its location, remoteness, lack of means of access to developed sections or portions of the municipality or topography, or nature of the soil, is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital.”     Source Hill Wallack, LLP

The truth is that the special designation of “area in need of  redevelopment” should never have been granted by the Neptune Township Committee in 2007.

There was no reason to think that the CMA could not have brought their property to life without government help under the original zoning.

Here are two links that address public opinion on this matter:

2015 poll

Trusting the Township Committee 2016 BF opinion poll

THE TOKENS.  In this song, the lion is a metaphor for the citizens of Ocean Grove.

 

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September in the rain. The beautiful Founders Park,on polluted Wesley Lake,  is near the North End zone. The OGHOA had proposed new parking at lakeside. Citizens must be vigilant! Paul Goldfinger photo in Ocean Grove ©

From Alberttrotter    (aka “Albert 4-T’s”)

“When it comes to the OGCMA, who knows what they have up their sleeve?  With new flood maps, WAVELAND (i.e. the North End Redevelopment site) is in a flood zone, and they are still trying to justify having that built.”

EDITOR’S NOTE—— Albert Four T’s:   The North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP) remains under wraps by WAVE (supposedly the developer along with the CMA.)

The Township Committee, which is in charge of the Redevelopment Zone, has yet to reveal the identities of WAVE  investors, despite longstanding promises to do so.

We are skeptical that most of the Committee knows anything about this subject. Who are the string pullers? We have suspicions, but the CMA is definitely involved.

In the past, the township Clerk told us that all approvals for the project, including environmental, have been obtained but we do not believe that it is so.

Keep your eyes on certain components including the fate of Wesley Lake, the planned North End hotel, the planned underground garage, and the precise number of condominiums.   —-Paul Goldfinger, Editor

ANNIE LENNOX

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By Sue Gioulis, Blogfinger staff based on a BF photograph from July, 2016.

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

At the Township Committee meeting of May 22, 2017, the Township Attorney Gene Anthony finally stopped making excuses for the stalled North End project with an announcement saying, “Mr. Gannon has an agreement with the new redeveloper and WAVE.”

William Gannon III is the spokesman, the leader, and the lawyer for WAVE, the mysterious group behind the North End Redevelopment Project (NERP) which has been languishing since 2008.

Jack Bredin went to the microphone to ask Anthony, “How can WAVE select a new redeveloper? You become a redeveloper when you sign a Redeveloper’s Agreement with the Township, and WAVE has never signed its own contract with Neptune Township.”

Anthony replied, “That may be true, but the Township Committee designated WAVE as a redeveloper.” 

Yikes, talk about evading a question!

Let’s take a look at some background information regarding the term “redeveloper” as it pertains to the North End project. And let’s also pay close attention to the words “Committee,” “WAVE,” “Association” (i.e. OGCMA,) “Redeveloper’s Agreement,” and “developer.” And let’s look for misuse of the English language that would distract from the truth.

On June 9, 2008, the Township Committee adopted Resolution #292 designating Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises LLC (WAVE) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA or Association) as Co-Redevelopers of the NERP.

Resolution # 292 said “Whereas the Association conducted an extensive process to seek and interview potential developers for the property, and….

“Whereas, the Association selected Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises, LLC as the developer of the property.”   (Note that the word “redeveloper” is not used in these two quotes)*

We believe that illegal procedures were used to get this project going in a direction that suited the developers and not the people of Ocean Grove.

To begin with, the selection process should have been conducted by the Township, not the Association, including advertising a request for proposals followed by a public bidding process as required by law.

The Township Committee allowed the Association to usurp the Committee’s legal authority to select a redeveloper. In a redevelopment project, the Township is in charge and should be the entity that selects a redeveloper.

In addition, the resolution confuses the issue (? intentionally) by twice referring to “developers” instead of “redevelopers.”   These words are not synonymous.

So, from the beginning, the whole process has been tainted, and now, at the May 22, 2017 meeting, it was reported that the Committee is currently permitting WAVE to do the same thing, i.e. to usurp its authority to select a redeveloper. In other words, the first illegal redeveloper is now choosing another illegal redeveloper. And the Committee, the citizens’ elected representative, remains silent on this shell game.

It also must be noted that no entity can be officially named as “Redeveloper” without signing a Redevelopers Agreement, and neither WAVE, the Association, or the new kid on the block (currently not identified by Anthony) have ever signed such a contract with the Township.

When will our elected officials take the side of the citizens, follow the laws, and favor the Master Plan as they deal with North End redevelopment ?

So here’s a metaphor.  Consider that the Town Committee are a bunch of teddy bears having a grand old time at their regular picnic, aka the Committee meetings. They love to dance and prance and act innocent, but they are blind to the forest rangers who are watching them very carefully.

ANNE MURRAY

 

 

 

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The North End on the occasion of the NERP’s ninth anniversary. Blogfinger photo 10/16. ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and Jack Bredin, Researcher.

At the April 24, 2017 Committee meeting, Jack Bredin went to the microphone to ask about the recent Coaster ad seeking a redevelopment attorney for Neptune Township. He found out that the ad was placed by the Committee without a formal resolution to back it up.  This is not a position which is part of the usual Township line-up of employees and consultants.  The Township already employs very knowledgeable attorneys for the Planning Board and the Township who are currently on the payroll.

But evidently the Committee needs a  lawyer who has a bigger tow truck to pull the NERP (North End Redevelopment Plan) out of the haze, smoke and mud it’s been stuck in for years.

Hiring for such a position, which undoubtedly will be costly for the Township, should be justified in a resolution, but Jack was told that no resolution was required. The Committee said, “We don’t need one.”

You might recall that the original NERP from 2008 was still in effect. It consists of 165 residential units (mostly condominiums,) an underground garage, and a hotel.  Many are skeptical regarding the latter two components.  You might also recall that no formal engineering plans have ever been submitted to estimate  the costs and to explain the engineering challenges of the whole project, especially the garage and the pilings.

WAVE and the CMA are still listed as the redevelopers, although the CMA has said that it no longer wanted that job.  WAVE has been promising to present its financing arrangements and to identify its investing partners, but that hasn’t occurred so far either.  A redevelopment plan cannot go forward without those financial details.  Also no formal re-developers agreement has ever been signed.

In January a newly enlarged redevelopment committee was announced which will not only deal with the OG North End, but with other redevelopment projects around town. No one from Ocean Grove is on that line-up.  How about some affirmative action for the Grovers?

It would appear that the new lawyer will have a lot of  ‘splaining to do.

THE OINKER SISTERS:  The current NERP has been a dead duck for some time… or is it a pig?   Well, it’s time for a new way to walk at the North End.  (song by Joe Raposo on Sesame Street)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OG North End looking through the looking glass into A. Park. Paul Goldfinger ©

OG North End looking through the looking glass into A. Park. Paul Goldfinger ©

 

Brought to you by the Committee to Save OG's North End. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©©

Brought to you by the “Committee to Save OG’s North End.” Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

 

RYAN GOSLING AND EMMA STONE  from La La Land:  “A Lovely Night.”

 

 

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The Casino and the White Whale: works in progress. Is that good?   Paul Goldfinger © 2016.

The Casino and the White Whale: works in progress. Is that good? Click to enlarge. Paul Goldfinger © 2016.

IL DIVO AND KRISTIN CHENOWETH

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North end portrait by Deep Float, our Grovarian environmental watchman. who sent the photo.

North end portrait by Deep Float, our Grovarian environmental watchman who sent the photo on Dec 4, 2016.  Click on any of these delightful photos to make the mess bigger.

From Deep Float at the Nrrth End near the Wesley Lake basin spill-over. Dec 4, 2012.

Crapiness abounds at the North End.  Photo from Deep Float near the Wesley Lake basin spill-over. Dec 4, 2012.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Note: Schmutz * rhymes with foots.  It is  Yiddish for dirt–(from the Blogfinger University Department of Useful Synonyms.)

A Grover citizen reporter nicknamed “Deep Float” notified us recently that there was an awful mess at the North End.  He complained that much of the schmutz was due to the Dunes food complex located in the White Whale Building.  He sent photos and noted that the problem stemmed from a dumpster that had been allowed to overflow.  He said that the dumpster had been at the location since after Labor Day.

Float said, “I called code enforcement two times and nothing. I went to see John new president of C.M. two times and nothing. I have photos from August with boxes and eatery refuge that has been flying around all summer due to a lack of cooperation between Gannon and C.M.”

There are those who complained about the same mess at the last OGHOA meeting.   Today we visited the site, and maybe someone else complained, because the area looks cleaner now, although it is generally ugly due to crummy fencing and decrepitude strewn around in a haphazard way.  All the stores appear to be closed now.

We also heard from a Grover who walks his dog daily by Wesley Lake. He reported that the Lake was “awful” with debris, worse than usual, and that was verified today by us.  Most likely all that rain drove filthy street water into the sewers and then into the Wesley retention/detention basin—- ie a giant water hole which receives all sorts of toxins, chemicals, bacteria, animal feces and dirt from the streets of Asbury Park–and less so from Ocean Grove.

WAter sample near the retaining wall by Founders' Park in OG. Blogfinger photo. 12/7/16 ©

Water sample near the retaining wall by Founders’ Park in OG. Blogfinger photo. 12/7/16 © Click it and then take a deep breath. Is it any wonder that not a single bird was in sight?

At the east end of Wesley Lake where debris accumulates near the catch basin. Blogfinger photo. ©

At the east end of Wesley Lake where debris accumulates near the catch basin. Blogfinger photo. ©

Who is fighting to protect Ocean Grove from this sort of pollution?

SHEP FIELDS AND HIS RIPPLING RHYTHM WITH GENE MERLINO:    “Lovely to Look At.”

 

 

 

 

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