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

Kathy and Mark of Ocean Grove at the North End. Paul Goldfinger photo

Kathy and Mark of Ocean Grove at the North End. Paul Goldfinger photo

 

 

BRIAN WILSON RE-IMAGINES GERSHWIN:

“I’ve Got a Crush on You”   by George and Ira Gershwin  (1928)

 

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Whitefield Avenue runs down the middle of Embury Arms providing private parking spaces. Blogfinger photo. 9/22/15 © Whitefield Avenue runs down the middle of Embury Arms, oriented north and south,  providing private parking spaces. Blogfinger.net  photograph. 9/22/15 ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

Here is a re-post of part I of our research about the Embury Arms Condominiums posted in September of 2015. Time to re-read it now in 2020.  The dots between it and the current North End Plan can be connected.

Recently a reader wondered about the Embury Arms condominiums. Her concern came about in the midst of our real-time discussions of the North End Project and Mary’s Place zoning. She asked how that large condo project came about and whether there were issues then similar to the ones that we have been considering recently.

Embury Arms condominiums on Whitefield Avenue consist of 112 units. It was built in the 1980’s. Old OG newspaper reports say that the CMA approved the project in 1978, and then the ground breaking ceremony was held in 1980.  Those news reports never mention approvals by Neptune Twp. nor do they mention any concerns about historic preservation.  They do talk about energy conservation measures that won awards for the developer.

These condos are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments within four large 3 story buildings. The complex sits in the middle of the Grove, surrounded by Benson, Delaware, Heck and Abbott Avenues. Embury and Webb Avenues stop short as they go west to Delaware Avenue, right at the border of the Embury Arms  condos, and Whitefield Avenue goes straight through the middle, with private parking spaces on the perimeter of a public street.

Ocean Grove Times, August 25, 1978. Ocean Grove Times, August 25, 1978.

An ad in a 1982 local newspaper  describes “authentic Victorian designs.”  The apartments were starting at $49,900.00.

These are the Embury Arms buildings as seen from the Delaware Avenue side. Blogfinger photo/ © These are the Embury Arms buildings as seen from the Delaware Avenue side. Blogfinger photo/ ©

The official 2015 CMA summer guidebook map shows Webb and Embury going straight through  to Lawrence Avenue, but they do not and they never did because west of Delaware, where Embury Arms now sits, there were stables, used mostly for storage by the Camp Meeting Association. Apparently some of the buildings were rented out for parking, but it was not an area for public parking.

It is not our intention to review the detailed history of this  condo project, but anyone walking by has to wonder how the heck the developer got permission to do this distinctly un-Grovian style condominium complex. It not only is contrary to the Master Plan as we know it, but it takes up space that could have been filled with single family Victorian style homes in order to match the appearance of the rest of the Grove.

Embury Arms provides PRIVATE parking by allowing head-on placement of vehicles on Whitefield Avenue that is partly on private property (using the theoretical front yards of those lots) but it also allows the cars to stick out over where the public sidewalks should be. In other words, that parking lot violates the public pedestrian right of way.

 

Note how Note how the sidewalk (pedestrian right of way) ends to allow parked cars to protrude into that right of way.  This is Whitefield Avenue taken by walking from Heck Avenue.  Blogfinger photo ©

Normally the right of way along a public street is 40 feet wide, consisting of the road (auto right of way) and the sidewalks (pedestrian right of way) measured together.

Yes they put some recessed sidewalks there, but that is private property, and public access could theoretically be shut down at any time. The Whitefield Ave. auto right of way is intact for cars driving through, but is not inviting for autos to drive through, and warning signs threaten anyone who would dare park there.

In addition, the project deprived Ocean Grove of many potential public parking spaces if private homes had been built on streets. Instead, all those curb cuts created a giant parking lot. Where else in town is a public street (in this case Whitefield Avenue) used for private parking?

The property was originally used for stables, so no private homes were demolished to make room. Undoubtedly the CMA, the Township, and the developer were in collusion to create this massive mistake, but the history of the time* indicates that OG was not as proactive in historic preservation then. It was a time when governance here was in a state of flux**, and the public did not protest much.  There was a suit that delayed completion, but eventually the Embury Arms condominiums were finished.   At least the condo developer of Embury Arms provided parking, even though the law was stretched to make that happen.

We have no information as to how the zoning was finessed to allow this, nor do we know what the Planning Board had to say. At any rate, it is a done deal, and nothing can be done about it at this point.

It is interesting that there is an earlier precedent.  In 1964, across from Days, a large hotel burned down, and in its place rose the Arlington Court Co-op.  consisting of one bedroom apartments for which no mortgages were allowed.   This was a new idea for the Grove, and evidently no one cared that single family Victorian homes were not built.  The CMA was in charge then and they must have supported the idea.   (? sound familiar)

However, now we are in a position to do something about the largest condominium development in the history of Ocean Grove—the North End Redevelopment Project.  But there is concern that public apathy will once again allow a wrong-headed condo project to go ahead. We have seen this illegal process before.  If no one takes  legal action when work begins or sooner, then, as with other projects in town, nothing can be done after the fact.

The CMA and the Township are counting on public inaction.  Will we let them do it again?

CREDITS:

Ted Bell*, Ocean Grove historian

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger researcher

Tom Constantino, Blogfinger researcher

** In 1980, governance of Ocean Grove was turned over to Neptune Township by the NJ Supreme Court. That transition must have taken years to work out, but the Embury Arms project took hold during that delicate time.

 

Here is a link to Part II of this Embury Arms historical review.

 

Embury Arms Part II. Blogfinger.net

 

NANCY WILSON  “Please do it again.”

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Blogfinger has been in touch with the DEP regarding the OGNED application for North End Approval.  OGNED has already received two deficiency letters about a variety of items, but the most interesting is the rejection of plans for an underground parking garage as stipulated  in the Neptune approved 2008 site plan for the North End.

Below is the latest word from the DEP to us—dated July 16, 2020.

“Representatives with the DEP’s Land Resource Protection division met with the applicant on June 16 to discuss the deficiency issues in their application. During that discussion, the applicant indicated they would address the issues of concern. At this time, DEP has received no additional information from the applicant.”

Editor’s note:  A month has gone by suggesting that OGNED is having trouble responding to DEP.

EARL HINES AND ORCHESTRA featuring Billy Eckstine.   From the movie “The War.”  The skylark reminds us to think of the environment  as we consider what should be done at the OG North End.

 

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Used to be our town, too. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © Used to be our town, too. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  This subject is still relevant even though it first stuck its inquisitive head out of the primordial fog of the Mother Ship and Pitman Avenue.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger   (NOTE:  This was originally posted on Dec  31, 2015, but needless to say, many of you missed it.  It was reposted in 2016.)

However, in view of the current signs of life emerging out of the NERP’s resting place, here is another chance to read selected quotes by your neighbors and a few others regarding governance in this town and about the North End plan.

And for those of you who read that fake news story in the Coaster, June 11, 2020, you can watch for Blogfinger‘s response  to that mindless “news report” about the North End applications before the HPC and the DEP.

Why is it that our local institutions never seem to place the interests of OG’s citizens first?  Representative government here has failed.  The Neptune Committee makes you wait 3 hours before you get 5 minutes to speak and they show essentially no interest in what the citizens of Ocean Grove think.

They have even threatened Grovers who spoke “out of turn” at their meetings.

Now (2020)  they will take advantage of the coronavirus to further distance their governance nonsense from “we the people.”

Here is a collection of comments, mostly from 2015, but some from 2011 and 2012, repeated now to show the extent of discourse, mostly on the critical side, and to offer a sense of clamor for change leading up to 2016.  Note that this is just a mere sprinkling of quotes, chosen arbitrarily from the nearly 17,000 comments made on Blogfinger  (except for A.O. Scott) since 2009 to 2015.

A.O. Scott of the New York Times, 2015,  talks about “how power operates in the absence of accountability. When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer.

“Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary.”  (This quote of A.O. Scott comes from his N.Y.Times movie review of “Spotlight” but it rings true for Neptune Township.)

Jack (Bredin) :  The proposed subdivision (on Sea View)  will result in 4 illegal lots. Whoever purchases them could have big problems in the future, and the Neptune Township Planning Board doesn’t give a flying fig*.

Devo:  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Jack: You would increase your chances of getting a subdivision if you hire a politically connected attorney who can trot out a professional planner who is willing to lie to the Board under oath.  You must first make a campaign contribution.

Kevin (Chambers) : As a service to the people of Ocean Grove it would be nice to have that Committee oath of office  printed on your site to remind each of the Committee people that their duty is to uphold the laws of the State and to enforce those laws, and that includes zoning laws—–for the protection of all the people in Neptune equally.

Oath of office Neptune Comedy

Kevin: The attorneys and the planners have the obligation to the public to make sure that testimony is factual, consistent and truthful. In one of these two cases it is anything but that.

Doubting Thomas:  The people of Ocean Grove are being plundered, just as if the Vikings returned from Iceland and landed on the shores of Ocean Grove.

Jack:

What we do know is :
-The Township Committee has no heart.
-The Planning Board has no brain and,
-the OGHOA have no courage.

They all just “go along” with the “Flat Earth Society” opinions from the Township’s professional planners and engineers who most likely were referred to Neptune by the Great Wizard.

The fact is, we have no idea who is running (ruining) our town.

Blogfinger:   The Home Groaners’ Board has taken the Kool Aid and has jumped on the bandwagon which says that RSIS*** parking standards are no good for Ocean Grove

Rev Janeba:  Although I am a Brooklynite, my heart is in Ocean Grove – the Ocean Grove I KNOW, not the cartoon theme park version that so many misguided persons are trying to bring about. Thank you so much for looking out for MY best interests, too.

Radar:  I can’t remember any recent meeting that a vote was taken on the Homeowners’ position.

Bythe sea:   Who does the OGHOA think they serve? Why do they not test their positions with their own membership? I am a member and I can attest to the fact that OGHOA members were never offered an opportunity to review the RSIS issue, vote on or even discuss it.

From the Neptune Application to SIAB**:      “This application…seeks relief from RSIS standards in an overall effort to balance the needs of residents, visitors and public safety with the unique challenges of maintaining a Federal and State Historic Designation coupled with the unique and historic patterns of development that comprise Ocean Grove as a whole.”

“It is estimated that there are approximately 1.38 potential on-street parking spaces per occupied unit (ie house or condo). This potential inventory adequately addresses the parking need, given that the average number of vehicles per household in the 2010 census is 1.5 vehicles.
Neptune Township has worked in concert with the OGCMA to continue to ameliorate parking issues within Ocean Grove.”

Blogfinger  (re: RISS:)   Let’s face it, this has nothing to do with history or even parking, and everything to do with greed.

Blogfinger:   The $64,000.00 question: Even if the State turns down the application and leaves the RSIS rules in place, who is going to enforce the law?  After all, even today, the RSIS rules are in effect in Ocean Grove and they haven’t prevented condos without parking from being built— single family homes should have been constructed instead.

New Kid in Town  Has any thought been given to forming a citizen’s group to formally object to Neptune Township’s dishonest efforts to destroy our historical town for greed and profit? I for one, would be happy to join such a group and support it in anyway I could. I know many others who would do the same.

Upset taxpayer    I invite anyone on the Township Committee that thinks we already have adequate parking, to sit on my porch on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday all spring, summer and fall, and watch the frustration among all visitors to Ocean Grove.

Michael Grover (2011)     I believe the language in the proposed Master Plan is intended to further develop ratables for the Township in Ocean Grove at the expense of its residents. The Board is attempting to set up a structure that will permit replacement of B and B’s with condominiums and development of larger structures, further adding to our density.

Don’t count on the HPC to protect us, using historic preservation as grounds to prevent conversions. Recent decisions and the North End project demonstrate their weakness against the Planning Board.

As for the Township Committee, don’t look to them for much help either. The town needs money, and this is New Jersey, enough said. We will need to protect ourselves.

Mary Beth Jahn:     (2011)    I am the sole member of the Township Committee to vote against the North End plan, and I still believe that single-family homes and not condos should be built on that site.

OGrover:  2011    The recent high density project with it’s proposed underground parking is not supposed to add to the parking issues but will do nothing to alleviate them either. (Underground parking next to the ocean and a lake? The Titanic was unsinkable, too!)

Frank: (2011)  New Jersey Site Improvement Advisory Board knows the situation of our not owning the property, and their recommendation for parking is that Neptune follow the Municipal Land Use Law’s standards that are used throughout the state. I have a copy of the letter addressed to Neptune from the Sites Board that states that the Township is to follow the standards for parking

Joan C (2012)    I was rather surprised to read that Mr. Williams stated so emphatically that he would never read nor respond on Blogfinger. Is Mr. Williams “too good” for the blog? Is he choosing to remain unaware of the concerns of our residents? I frankly had hoped that all members of both parties read Blogfinger, which is the least divisive, non-political posting of relevant information for those of us living in Ocean Grove and Neptune Township

Devo (2012)  The North end project, in its current form, will not benefit the Grove. It will generate significant additional traffic, create additional parking issues (despite what they say they are planning), will depress home/condo prices for the existing housing stock, and will add out of character buildings. I wasn’t here when all this went down, but I can’t imagine why folks in OG think this is a good idea.

The longer it is delayed, the better.

Michael Grover (2012)  Those of us concerned about noise and congestion, not to mention density and over-development, need to look no farther than the North End project. Want a problem that really happens and lasts forever? Why was this project approved, and where was the HPC to protect the integrity of our beloved historic district? It’s a lot easier to enforce the rules when the issue is the color of a house and other minor cosmetic concerns, or when you have the authority to impose a decision no matter how unjustified on a weak, defenseless homeowner. Take on the town and the developers, that’s another story.

Devo (2012)    Scuttle the redevelopment plan now, or forever be sorry you did not.

Bythesea (2012)  Developing the North End under a State sanctioned redevelopment designation is a terrible idea. I can tell you right now that, based on what has happened most other places in NJ, OG will lose all control and hate the outcome. OG should seek to bring about the collapse of this redevelopment plan. The land and location is valuable/desirable enough that the CMA should be able to manage its own redevelopment.

Despite Mary Beth Jahn’s best intent and all of our wishful thinking, redevelopment areas take on a life of their own and they always gravitate to higher than expected density and insensitivity to quality of life concerns of the town they are occurring in (e.g., traffic impact, parking, etc.).

Gosh: (2012) I have to say for the last time, the approval of the redevelopment of the North End was never legal.

Mary Beth Jahn   (2012)   Those who are sucking sour lemons and trying to run a smear campaign wouldn’t know or care, because they have no respect for the Grove’s historic designation and would have no problem turning the Grove into Condo City.

Wisher:  (2012)  There will be no distinguishing OG or Asbury Park in the future. No grand vistas, or public places for shoppers and beach-goers. People won’t come here any more than they will go to any of the myriad of other shore towns. No distinguishing characteristics. Just everything shoved up against the shoreline while developers walk about with their boatload of cash.

Gosh (2012)   Condos have been motivated by GREED and REVENUE that they bring into Neptune. There is absolutely no interest in keeping O.G. historic with single family homes; just look at the new Master Plan— there are so many gray areas for interpretation.

Bythesea:    (2012)  Where is the OGHOA on the North End Development? What stand have they taken relative to the abomination of a plan that now exists for the “redevelopment” of the North End? It is they who should be the champions in the fight against poor planning that will hurt the town. Do they just play a reactive game, or do they try to lead? Where is their position paper? Seems to me that this is by far the biggest issue on their plates for the next year.

Jack    The first and only comment from our new year (2016):

OhGee, the reason this special town exists, is to the credit of the OGCMA.

The Township Committee has the exclusive authority to adopt our zoning ordinance.
We cannot blame any property owner for developing what they are permitted to develop under the zoning ordinance adopted by the Committee.   With zoning, the buck stops with the Township Committee.

The problem is that the Committee, Planning Board and Board of Adjustment use Municipal Land Use Law in ways that were never intended by the NJ State Legislature.

**SIAB  is the State Site Improvement Advisory Board in Trenton.  They keep Blogfinger up to date on their agendas so that the Neptune Comedy doesn’t sneak into one of their meetings without the people knowing.

*** RSIS means Residential Site Improvement Standards” regarding required off site parking standards for new construction.

Editor’s note:   June, 2020. The OGNED North End Redevelopers applied to the DEP for CAFRA approval to build an underground garage at the North End.   But they were rejected, and we are seeking up-dated information as to the current status of that fraudulent plan.

JAMES TAYLOR

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unknown

Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net

On March 22, 2020, Blogfinger posted an article about the OGNED application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding the North End project. The application was prepared by a consultant (LOMAX)

The application contains 400 pages, but we all have known for a long time that environmental issues would be paramount when it was time to go to the state DEP for approvals.

In that article we posted the  cover letter and a map.  We questioned a number of provisions contained in that application.  Here is the link:

Blogfinger report on CAFRA application

In our piece we mentioned the controversial  planned underground garage.  This is what we said:

“I don’t see any mention of the underground garage. Would that not be an important environmental concern given that this project has boundaries on a natural lake and on an ocean?  Have they given up the plan for an underground garage?  If not, why isn’t it shown in the enclosed site plan?”

On April 15, the DEP sent a letter to OGNED saying that more information was needed.  That letter is linked below.

The April deficiency letter identifies a number of issues.

Over the years, in our many articles about the North End, we and quite a few of our readers questioned the environmental impact of that proposed garage.

Now, in May,  according to an email to their members from the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association, the DEP has declared the application to be “deficient” on the grounds that “no subsurface enclosures are permitted.”

Blogfinger has not seen that garage denial letter.

It’s hard to imagine how OGNED can do their huge project without that garage, unless, of course, they pull strings in Neptune and get  approval for a 150 car above ground garage on the surface.   If they do that, there should be an insurrection in town.

Maybe this will provide an opportunity for the CMA and for Neptune Township, like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, to get a heart and do something beautiful and grand at the North End.

And, as usual, the Groaners offer no opinions about this remarkable happening.  When will they find the courage, like the Lion, to become activists and get tough on behalf of we the people?

This situation  provides an opportunity to make noise, once again, about the misguided and selfish plan for the North End of Ocean Grove. Maybe some citizens can form an ad hoc group to push for new ideas at the North End.  Don’t let this upheaval go to waste.

Let’s hope that  our faith in the DEP will be reinforced.

Also note our January piece about the North End, with 20 comments.

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight

JACK HALEY   from the Wizard of Oz

And from the ‘Useless Decorations Department” of the HOA comes a map of historic OG which was included in the email.  But why did they include that map?  Who knows?  No explanation.

This map is very early, but no date.  c. 1879.  Click to enlarge and study.

But while we are here, note the area of the OGNED North End. It contains 19 lots for single family homes. Jack Bredin tells us that those lots were originally designated for ministers and their families. And before Neptune changed the zoning in 2007, it was zoned for 25 single family homes.

There is nothing there to suggest a project such as has been proposed by the CMA/OGNED/Neptune Township/OGHOA.

CMA Pres. Badger tried to argue that the current proposal would fulfill some sort of historic vision for the area, but if historic vision is what they want, then how about tent village part II or a wonderful park for all.

Osborne, the founder of OG, was offered a money making opportunity to join with Bradley (AP founder) to make our “sister cities” into a great investment.  But Osborne declined saying that making money was not part of the original OG vision.  No wonder the CMA has been going under-cover on this project.

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Rev. W.B. Osborn was the founder of Ocean Grove. This bio was written by his wife. Let’s see if she writes about a commercial North End.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (from 2018)

Speaking at the Home Groaners meeting on August 6, 2018, CMA President Michael Badger said, ” The maps of Ocean Grove from the 1880’s contained a plan for the North End hotel and it will be excellent to have the founders’ vision fulfilled again,” 

This quote is from the Coaster which reported on that meeting.

Here is a  CMA map from  about 1879 when Stokes and other founders were in charge, so you know that it is very early:

Ocean Grove from about 1879.  Map commissioned by Dr. Stokes, President of the CMA.  Click on map for details. North End has 26 lots for single family homes. See Jack Bredin’s comment below about this map.

Ocean_Grove_1889

Ocean Grove 1889 map.  It shows 12 lots at the North End property.   Those lots were for single family houses for Methodist clergy.  No sign of a planned hotel there.

1881 Library of Congress map. Detail below this map.

Detail.   Library of Congress map of OG and A. Park 1881. No North End hotel. There is the Ross bathing pavilion located there, by the ocean. The North End is otherwise shown as a barren lot.  Click to enlarge.

Click on these maps  to see the details. If you look carefully near the Ocean at the North End you will not find a “plan for the North End Hotel.”

Obviously CMA President Badger would like to find a historic precedent for a “very early” North End Hotel plan to back up his latest (2018) new North End plan.  He says that there are maps that reveal “the founders’ vision” for a North End hotel.

We have never seen such a map, so it would be good if President Badger could back up his statement with at least one of his 1880’s  maps, and we would be pleased to post it on Blogfinger.

We have reviewed Elwood Stoke’s biography as well as the book about early Ocean Grove written by Mrs. W.B.  Osborn.  Neither of these books mention a hotel.

In fact Mrs. Osborn tells us that James Bradley, who developed Asbury Park, saw that the two cities might compliment each other, so he offered Osborn a chance to partner with him and make some money.   But Osborn refused, saying that he founded Ocean Grove not for money but for the “glory of God.”

The Grand Ocean Grove North End Hotel complex opened in 1911, about 40 years after the founding—hardly a good historic precedent for 2018 justifications.

Besides, even if that founders’ vision can be verified, who’s to say that it justifies the CMA’s 2018 North End Plan to build a hotel?  OG’s history is full of hotels, but zoning normally would not allow one to be built from scratch now.

ELVIS PRESLEY

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The HOA is behind the North End project. They may not be investors, but they are enablers.

 

By Paul Goldfinger Editor @Blogfinger.net

It turns out that two of the major financial players belonging to OGNED, the North End redeveloper, are part of an investment company called MB1–Capital Partners.  Evidently they were added to WAVE in order to provide needed financing of the OG North End project which was recently unveiled publicly.

mb1capital

The link below will take you to our post on this subject.  It names the four major stockholders in OGNED including Joel Brudner and Christopher T. McCallion, who are part of MB1.

Each of these four own at least 10% of the stock.

OGNED financers

What’s ironic is that 2 of the OGNED partners were among  the main financiers and part owners of the Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar (2014) which replaced the old Freedman’s Bakery.

The ironic part is that these brewsters are now investing in the Grove, one of the driest towns in New Jersey.

Do you think the new North End hotel will serve alcohol?  How loud does money talk at the Mother Ship?

Will the OG blue laws wind up at the bottom of Wesley Lake? Maybe the Township Committee will be revisiting the need for blue laws now that 2020 has arrived.

It’s not unreasonable to consider jettisoning those archaic rules which are there just to satisfy one segment of town.  How about a referendum to find out if the citizens of OG want alcohol and tobacco sold in the Grove and if they want the beaches open all day on Sundays.

And while we are looking at OGNED in more detail, let’s find out who the rest of OGNED are.  That information was promised some time ago, but the Township has not released all that info. How many of them conspired in 2007 to change the North End zoning and how many of them have a track record of building condos without parking in OG?

The North End Re-development Zone is, at heart, a public project. The public should know who is behind the planned North End monstrosity.   Why the secret?

 

ROY RODGERS:

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Ocean Grove. 2011 © Paul Goldfinger photograph.  Yellow warning flag is flying.

“Something familiar,

Something peculiar,

Something for everyone:

A comedy tonight!

 

“New complications,

Nothing portentous or polite;

Tragedy tomorrow,

Comedy tonight!”

*Stephen Sondheim:  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Raise the curtain at the Neptune Theater of the Absurd.  The stage is set for a tragedy:

Jack Bredin attended the Township Comedy’s meeting last night (August 2019,) and his conclusion is, “Ocean Grove is being sold down the river.”

After hearing OG’s  Carol Rizzo, the 2019  Neptune Township Mayor, effusively praise the “new” North End Plan, Jack sank down in his chair—He says that all hope seems to be lost as this show unfolds with its final acts waiting in the wings.

This drama about the historic town of Ocean Grove is now positioned to move forward in a direction that will be accepted by all the power players, leaving the residents of the Grove hung out to dry.  Once the contractors trucks begin to stir up the dust and clog our respiratory tracts, while creating a nightmare of congestion,  and a cacophony of noise, we will wind up with a large scale version of the Greek Temple on Main Avenue—a variation on a theme as the promise of historic small town OG will forever be lost.

And, along with it will be the hopes for a pristine Wesley Lake, now known by  all concerned  as a “retention/detention basin.”

Let’s consider the players in this Greek tragedy known as “The North End Revelopment Plan.”  We have the main actors at Neptune Township along with the Chorus consisting of  the Home Groaners, the Camp Meeting, the Chamber of Commercials, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Board, and The Wesley Lake Commission.

And, providing the backdrop and script for this scandalous performance, there is the main villain of the piece—secretive local developers lurking off stage while pulling on the puppets’ strings.  Here is the cast of characters:

a. The Neptune Township Committee: Mayor Rizzo of Ocean Grove, who has swallowed the Kool Aid,  will lead those Neptuner sheep to unanimously approve the new plan.  She has appointed Committeeman Michael Brantley to take her place as the “Class one” member of the Planning Board.  She has abdicated her key role as the protector of the people at the PB. Brantley is a Neptuner through and through, and he will order the PB to approve the new plan unanimously.

Once upon a time there was a Committeewoman who favored single family zoning at the North End.  Mary Beth Jahn stuck her neck out for the best interests of the people and the town, and she was beheaded by the Monmouth County  and Neptune Democratic Party.

The Neptune Committee is indifferent to the people of Ocean Grove, and one party rule prevents any chance of changing the ending of this tragedy.

b.  The Rule of Law:  Normal procedures regarding land use law have been routinely violated in Neptune, but that crowd, along with their OG allies, does whatever it pleases.  And they are aided and abetted by favoritism offered by key unelected bureaucrats at Town Hall.

c. OG Home Owners Ass.  We don’t know their motives, but this group of turncoats continues to back the developers and Neptuners regarding the North End.  The late Ken Buckley who was on the HOA Board and the HPC told Jack that they are “backing the Plan.”

d.  Developers: (OGNED)    Most of these people are connected to OG, but despite that, they conspire, whenever possible, to exploit the people of OG for profit.   They are favored at the Mother Ship with zoning manipulations including those that increase congestion and ugliness in town:  Condos, Greek Temple, Mary’s Place, parking  torture, etc.

e. Camp Meeting Association.  They have removed themselves as Redevelopers,but that is just cosmetic.  The President of the the CMA told us publicly that his organization has been involved in negotiations to move the NERP forward. They have control as the land owners, so they are focused on making money.  They seem to have little interest in the OG residents community or the historical designation of the town.

f. Chamber of Commerce:  In many US towns the CC is community minded.  But this crew only cares about two things: profits and tourists.  They never get involved with community issues such as the North End. For them, the commercialized North End Plan will increase their membership as they continue to close Main Avenue for mindless tourist events and crowds.

g.  Historic Preservation Commission:  When they are not hiding under their beds, they are busy being hypocrites and they have stood by while the Neptuners seek to take over their guidelines on behalf of developers and contractors.

h.  Wesley Lake Commission, representing both sides, has stopped trying to clean the Lake and instead they support the Retention/Detention re-naming  in order to allow the Lake to be used to receive  increasing amounts of filthy ground water, thus saving the developers a huge amount of money to fix the ecology of the former “Wesley Lake”

i. The Residents of OG-–Those who envision our historic town as a lovely place with its Victorian architecture, parks, clean Lakes, parking for those who live here, reduction in tourist glut, solving the Asburian invasion, keeping our streets open, nurturing of the community with its kids, families, retirees, diversification, etc. will be the big losers in the North End project.

“Representative government” has failed here, and apathy reigns.   Only a major law suit in Superior Court  or an investigation by the NJ Attorney General could close this show down.

Once the curtain closes on all this, the corruption in OG/Neptune will continue.  Blogfinger will keep reporting the news, but we don’t see an alternative ending to this drama.   Jack says, “Ocean Grove is a door mat;  we’re sunk.”

By Jack Bredin and Paul Goldfinger:  Blogfinger.net.   Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

 

ZERO MOSTEL  from the original Broadway cast album of Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.*

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William Heatley was taking a ride in a banner plane over the beach in OG. It was August, 1981, and he took this photo. © Special to Blogfinger.net

William Heatley was taking a ride in a banner plane over the beach in OG. It was August, 1981, and he took this photo. © Special to Blogfinger.net  Click to enlarge   Re-post from 2015.

Note Wesley Lake to the right. The North End Hotel has been torn down, but the salt water swimming pool remains.  You can see the outlines of the North End area which will be “re-developed” according to the North End Re-development Plan. and imagine where the condos will be along Lake Avenue, Spray Avenue, and the Ocean. Then imagine a hotel there which probably will actually become condos.  Oh, and don’t forget the parking garage underground, stores, and new North End boardwalk.

The process is currently moving forward, and that “progress” is being followed here on Blogfinger. Pay close attention to the changes in NERP 2008 which are being slipped into place.      See our post later today.    —–PG

Thanks to William Heatley for making his photograph available here.

ASTRUD GILBERTO  “Only Trust Your Heart.”

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By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter.

December 11, 2019.

 

The Planning Board is a quasi-judicial body, exercising functions of a judicial nature as a guide for official action.

Members of the Board act as judges and cannot talk in private with someone that has a case coming up before the court, or in this case, the Planning Board.

When Vice-Chairman Paul Brown was called on to vote, he said, “I have been meeting with Jennifer Krimko*, so I am convinced that this is all being done properly.”

The Boards’ Attorney said nothing to correct this error.

Then Deputy Mayor Robert Lane said that he had also been talking to Jennifer Krimko* about this application, and he also voted Yes.

There is now a dark cloud over this entire hearing.

 

* Jennifer Krimko is the attorney for the North End redeveloper OGNED.

 

JULIE RAFFERTY: From the Fantasticks:

 

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