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

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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.

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?”

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, 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.”

The HOA obtained a copy of the deficiency letter (click on link below)

The deficiency letter identifies a number of issues,

Acting on behalf of an OG homeowner, they contacted the DEP for clarification and learned that “the prohibition applied to the site as a whole and that the rules under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act do not permit the construction of underground parking within a floodplain. ”

OGNED can revise its application regarding the deficiencies and they have 30 days to do so.  The Township already is nefarious regarding the North End, but will they now look even more wicked as they pull strings and bend the law to try to satisfy the DEP?

This is great news, full of hope, and the OGHOA deserves accolades for chasing this down.

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.

The Home Groaners, as is their style, only sends their notices out to their members.  They should have opened their organization to everyone in town years ago, representing all residents and not only homeowners. And then, by now, we might have had a forceful organization to represent us all.

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.

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.

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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Main Avenue Ocean Grove. The people want to preserve our lifestyle and keep the small town of Ocean Grove historic and uncluttered. Paul Goldfinger photo of the Days Kazoo Band on July 4.    Blogfinger.net

 

We have announced the forthcoming Planning Board meeting and have encouraged citizens to attend. I would caution you about a dirty trick sometimes evoked in the past whenever a controversial topic was to be discussed at the Mother Ship.

If a large number of Grovers were anticipated to attend, the meeting might be cancelled and rescheduled in the dead of winter.

Here’s a copy of some information transmitted by email from the OGHOA:

“The North End Redevelopment Agreement will be on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting of the Neptune Township Planing Board on Wednesday, November 13.  7 pm in the second floor meeting room at the Municipal Building, 25 Neptune Boulevard.

“The Planning Board will review the Redevelopment Agreement and the many plans that are incorporated in the Agreement. These include the site plan, traffic plan, drainage plan, landscaping plan and architectural drawings. There’s a lot to unpack here, and the Planning Board’s review is a key part of the process.

“If you care about this issue; the obligations of the redeveloper and how construction in the North End is expected to unfold, you should attend the Planning Board meeting.”

 

Blogfinger finds this message from the Groaners to be hopelessly incomplete either due to  ignorance of the subject or purposeful evasiveness.

Among the many issues which should be addressed in the open include:  Environmental impact, financial guarantees, parking garage, parking in the neighborhood, easements across the boardwalk, subdividing one lot into two,  plans to block public access, impact on Grover lifestyles in that area and actually all over town, air and light for the public, relationship with the Asbury Park Casino, elevations related to the boardwalk,  pollution of Wesley Lake, plans for Lake Avenue,  HPC evaluation, flood prevention,  retaining wall along the lake, payment to repave the Municipal Building parking lot, types of retail, condominium details, access for fire and sanitation, CMA ground rents agreements, and the very legality of these proceedings.

Since this plan is a redevelopment plan which received preferential zoning, the public has a need- to-know place in the process. This presentation should be an open book, and the reading of that book should take many meetings to be done properly.  Maybe you can think of some topics that you would like to hear about.

Can you imagine that all the above “plans”  might be approved in one fell swoop?  Well, if the Planning Board wants to rush it through  (a “snow job,”) they will, but the topic and all its ramifications  should be carefully considered, and that should require many public meetings.

Blogfinger reporters will be at the meeting, and Jack will be breathing fire, and hopefully he won’t be the only one bringing a ring of fire.

—PG     Blogfinger.net

 

JOHNNY CASH: 

 

 

 

 

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Paul Revere’s ride. Internet graphic.

 

This is what happened after the British arrived.

By Paul Revere Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net

You may recall that Paul Revere came riding into Concord-Lexington in the spring of 1775 to warn that the British were coming.  He didn’t know exactly why they were coming, but he was suspicious and he delivered the warning.

At Blogfinger we are enacting the Paul Revere Syndrome to warn you all about the forthcoming Planning Board meeting on Nov. 13 at 7 pm in the Municipal Building, 2nd floor Committee room, regarding OGNED’s design for that 3 acre North End  site west of the Boardwalk.

That meeting was announced by Vito Gadaleta at last night’s Committee meeting.

Like Paul Revere, we  currently have no specific knowledge of what the agenda will say or exactly what will be discussed or approved, but we have some ideas about what the issues ought to be.

It is the job of the Planning Board to make sure that the 2019 OGNED plan for the North End agrees with the original 2008 NERP.

We know that OGNED has changed the original plan in terms of number of condominiums, details about the garage, hotel rooms, etc, but those changes were not approved using State procedures as to how to change a zone in need of redevelopment plan.

So how can the Planning Board approve something that is not in agreement with the 2008 NERP?  We guess they can simply approve it, and the hell with the laws on land use. We have seen that MO before.

In addition, as Kevin Chambers has pointed out, the Township has, as far as we know,  not done the necessary subdivisions of the parcel.

Also, we wonder about easements which the original NERP called for to provide water, sewer, gas, and electric for whatever would be built at the White Whale site east of the Boardwalk. And what have they done regarding the fact that the White Whale site is not on a street?

So, as with Paul Revere’s ride in 1775, on a fast horse, we are riding on the wings of the Internet to alert you that  OGNED will be coming with its lawyers, and our message is that they will try to slip something past Neptune officials that will not be in Ocean Grove’s best interest.

And, like Benedict Arnold, this Mayor is not on our side.

We expect an agenda before November 10th, and that OGNED will try to get a complex and worrisome plan through in one fell swoop.

(Note:    One fell swoopAll at once, in a single action.  This term was used and probably invented by Shakespeare in Macbeth (4:3), where the playwright likens the murder of Macduff’s wife and children to a hawk swooping down on defenseless prey.

Well, OGNED and the Township are predator hawks, and Ocean Grove is the defenseless prey.

Perhaps our modern day Paul Revere will ride again to give more information for those of you who might attend that meeting.

 

CAST OF HAMILTON;  “History Has Its Eyes on You.”

 

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger researcher.

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The North End of OG has looked like a gulag for many years. We don’t know if or when construction will begin. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©.  Click to make that site bigger.

 

 

HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF

 

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OG North End, October, 2019: Something to be proud of, courtesy of OGNED and the OG Camp Meeting Association. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

The OG Homeowner’s Assoc. has been complaining at the Committee meetings about the unkempt condition of the Redevelopment site.  However, despite the messiness, you can still look out over this vista.  That won’t be possible after OGNED, Neptune Township, and the CMA are done.

 

THE CRESTS:

 

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