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

Video by Jean Bredin.  Blogfinger.net staff.  Feb. 4, 2019.

 

Jean Bredin. Casino, Asbury Park. Feb.. 4, 2019. ©

Jean says, “A lot of musicians take advantage of the acoustics in the Casino building.” “Dantana” (his nickname) is the guitarist in the video.   Jean tells us that “Dantana” has a running feud with the carousel music man Paul Eichlin. Evidently these two musicians are not compatible in that Casino echo chamber. Is this the start of the “casino wars?”

The building has been hallowed out by A. Park developers with plans to remodel it at some time in the distant future. But, despite that, Grovers love to walk through our North End with its expansive views of the Ocean and then enter the Casino to hear the echoes of laughter, chatter, bikes riding by, children running around, and live music in the air. Fanciful art is painted on the walls.

Here is a view of the Casino from the outside:

Casino borders the North End of Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger©

 

DON AZPIAZU and the Havana Casino Orchestra

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South end of Fletcher Lake as seen from the Bradley Beach side. WE can still have an open vista at the North End if we fight the voracious NERP. Blogfinger photo 5/16/16 ©

Southeast end of Fletcher Lake as seen from the Bradley Beach side. We can still have an open vista at the North End if we fight the voracious NERP. Blogfinger photo 5/16/16 ©

Thomas Mato Blanchot feat. WAWA:  “Isn’t She Lovely”

Editor’s Note:  This Stevie Wonder song is about his newborn daughter, but in a larger sense he is writing about the beauty of God’s gifts.

Shouldn’t we try to preserve one of the few remaining open vistas at the Jersey Shore for all to enjoy, not just a select few?      Go take a walk at the North End of OG and look around, especially at the open views of the ocean.   Why not start by sending letters to the Township Committee. They have the power to cancel that zoning disaster in favor of a gift to the people.

In Morris County, they pay farmers to keep the land forever as farms. Why don’t our elected officials campaign in Trenton and Washington to do the same sort of thing here by turning the North End into a wonderful seaside park  (perhaps with a vast underground parking garage to soften the financial loss for the Camp Meeting Association.)

A reasonable Plan B would be to return to single family zoning for that project.

Link to the 1986 rejection of a South End project   (posted in 2016):

1986 OG project rejection of South End condominiums

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor at Blogfinger

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Gobbledygook

 

 

By Jack Bredin and Paul Goldfinger.   Blogfinger.net

A resolution, 19-85, was presented at the Committee meeting of January 28, 2019.

The stated reason for the resolution is that the Township Engineer, Leann Hoffmann, is incapable of handling a matter that needs a “coastal engineer.”  The funny thing is that the specific reason for needing such a “specialist” is not stated in the resolution.

The resolution says that the Township “desires to appoint a pool of consulting engineers for services on specific Township projects.”

The wording in the “Be It Resolved” portion is that these engineers, already chosen, will be  “solicited for proposals on larger and/or specialized coastal engineering projects beyond the scope of the Township Engineer and in-house staff for the year 2019.”

The resolution indicates that the Township will be “appointing” CME Associates and Andrew Rella of ECOncrete Inc.as consultants.”

Well, golly…do you suppose that this is about the oft-mentioned underground parking garage which is part of the North End Redevelopment Plan near the Ocean and the Lake?

Some members of the citizen audience asked if this had to do with the North End, and Vito Gadaleta, Business Administrator for Neptune, somehow got the job of responding.  You would think that the elected Committee mavens could answer the question. 

However Mr. Gadaleta caused some eyebrows to go up when he asserted that the North End Redevelopment project was “not a public project.”   Therefore he seemed to be saying that it is not a public concern. And does he really believe what he just said?  

Does he not know that an “Area in Need of  Redevelopment” is, by definition, a public project?

Already the meeting sank into a dark hole of subterfuge.

Then he went on to explain that the coastal engineers just appointed would not be looking at the North End project. Instead they would be used for some other un-named coastal issues. 

So why were they  appointed just now?  He said, “We are looking to create living shore lines.”

Wow…where did that come from?  

In brief, according to the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science, “Living shorelines are a green infrastructure technique using native vegetation alone or in combination with offshore sills to stabilize the shoreline. Living shorelines provide a natural alternative to ‘hard’ shoreline stabilization methods like stone sills or bulkheads, and provide numerous benefits including nutrient pollution remediation, essential fish habitat provision, and buffering of shoreline from waves and storms.”

Well, if you believe that, we will sell you an underground parking garage.   And don’t forget, there already is a darn good bulkhead at the North End boardwalk, one that was highly touted by the CMA after Sandy.

Let’s consider a couple of basic facts.  If the Township wants an underground garage for the North End, it would have to obtain DEP approval.  But the DEP doesn’t have its own engineers.  Instead, for any particular project involving the shore, the developers must hire engineers who are approved by the DEP.  Maybe that’s what’s going on here.

As usual, we get opaque gobbledygook at these meetings, instead of clear information.  We are forced to speculate.

Interestingly, the Ocean Grove Home Groaners Ass. departed from its usual position at these meetings, which is semi-comatose, where it throws softballs at the dais, to an unusual sight where two of them actually went to the mic and challenged Gadaleta to explain the hiring of those engineers.  

But then, after hearing his nonsensical replies, instead of forcefully leaning on him, they offered him an invitation to one of their dopey meetings where he can come, have coffee and cookies,  and play patty cakes with Barbara Burns and her merry band of soft shoe dancers.

 

ABBA:   

 

 

 

 

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The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove.   Does this look like a town in need of a special redevelopment zone?   Paul Goldfinger photograph.  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The copy below is from the “NJ Statutes for Counties and Municipalities,” section 40A:12A-5: Determination of need for redevelopment:

As many of you know, the way that the CMA, WAVE, and Neptune Township were able to bury the single family zoning for the North End of Ocean Grove was to fraudulently declare the property an “area in need of redevelopment.”

That is how they justified turning that property into a commercial zone.  That is how they were able to grant permission for condominiums, an underground garage, retail, restaurants, etc.

All of this is contrary to the goals of Ocean Grove’s Master Plan which stressed the residential /historic nature of the town.

Currently the latest  consortium of big shots in town will push hard to begin a revised version of that project.

It’s not clear from the gobbledygook that they are putting  out lately, that the changes which they are now happily  promoting will avoid complications such as environmental damage, congestion, worsened parking distress, and further deterioration of quality of life for residents.  Nor is it clear that those changes are legal and proper according to land use laws in New Jersey.  We think not, on both counts.

If you are curious about what went down in 2008, read this to see what the State had in mind for “areas in need of redevelopment.”

40A:12A-5   Determination of need for redevelopment:

5.A delineated area may be determined to be in need of redevelopment if, after investigation, notice and hearing as provided in section 6 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-6), the governing body of the municipality by resolution concludes that within the delineated area any of the following conditions is found:

a.  The generality of buildings are substandard, unsafe, unsanitary, dilapidated, or obsolescent, or possess any of such characteristics, or are so lacking in light, air, or space, as to be conducive to unwholesome living or working conditions.

b.  The discontinuance of the use of buildings previously used for commercial, manufacturing, or industrial purposes; the abandonment of such buildings; or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenable.

c.  Land that is owned by the municipality, the county, a local housing authority, redevelopment agency or redevelopment entity, or unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years prior to adoption of the resolution, 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.

d.   Areas with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community.

e.   A growing lack or total lack of proper utilization of areas caused by the condition of the title, diverse ownership of the real property therein or other conditions, resulting in a stagnant or not fully productive condition of land potentially useful and valuable for contributing to and serving the public health, safety and welfare.

f.  Areas, in excess of five contiguous acres, whereon buildings or improvements have been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished or altered by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake or other casualty in such a way that the aggregate assessed value of the area has been materially depreciated.

g.   In any municipality in which an enterprise zone has been designated pursuant to the “New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones Act,” P.L.1983, c.303 (C.52:27H-60 et seq.) etc.

h.   The designation of the delineated area is consistent with smart growth planning principles adopted pursuant to law or regulation.

L.1992,c.79,s.5; amended 2003, c.125, s.3.

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL:  “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright.”

“So long, Frank Lloyd Wright
I can’t believe your song is gone so soon
I barely learned the tune
So soon
So soon.”

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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, 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.  Ken Buckley who is 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.  January 15, 2019.  Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

TONY BENNETT  “Dancing in the Dark”

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Jack Bredin is covering the home front for Blogfinger these days.  Here he is with a North End bulletin:  a commentary on the Township Comedy Meeting of  December 20, 2018—the last opaque words for this year from this gang that can’t shoot straight.*

“The Approved NERP was for 165 units.  After approval it was put into cold storage for ten years.

“Since then, the Mayor and the Township Committee, the Mayor’s Re-development Committee, the OGCMA, the OGHOA, the former Re-developers, and the new Re-developers, have all said the following :

‘There is a new Re-development Plan that cuts the proposed density 50%, down to 80 units.’

“Early this month the Township Committee reported they were voting on this new plan,  and they did.  And, the Mayor signed off on the plan they voted on.

“At the Dec. 20, 2018 meeting, an OG resident from Heck Ave (not Jack Bredin) said to the Committee:   ‘The Township website is not clear as to what plan was approved at the last meeting.’

So, what plan was approved?’

“The answer from the Township Attorney was,  ‘The 2008 plan was the only plan we were ever considering.’ “

* “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” is the story of Papa Baccala, a Brooklyn Mafia boss, and Kid Sally Palumbo, a would-be capo who “couldn’t run a gas station at a profit even if he stole the customers’ cars”.

This Broadway tune is the perfect backdrop for the comedy of errors described above by Jack Bredin.  We have Zero Mostel with a ditty from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”   It goes to show how local government around here has deteriorated since the days of the Roman Forum when Jack was a prefect in a short skirt.

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The Brewer Cemetery (1810   Farmingdale ) where the NERP ought to be buried. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©  2015.

By Paul Goldfinger and Jack Bredin of Blogfinger.net

A little historic perspective is now in order since the Township is insisting on pushing their unfortunate ten year-old North End Redevelopment Plan past the citizens and into the reality of a construction zone.  They are determined to move quickly and  to break a variety of rules along the way, and the public be damned.  But why not push this travesty through since they have had a lot of experience doing whatever they please with zoning abominations, architectural design, land use law, and condoization of our little town?

Let’s go back to 2008.  The Neptune Planning Board received a request from the Township  Committee to consider the idea of an Area in Need of Re-development for the long neglected and vacant North End.  The Camp Meeting Association associated with a group of developers called WAVE and conspired to find a way to bypass the single family zoning of that time.

So they decided to exploit a State program designed to bring to life horrible urban land areas, such as the inner city of places like Camden, where nobody wanted to invest and develop.  The program was not intended to help affluent developers such as the CMA and WAVE do away with current local zoning and instead allow them to do pretty much whatever they wished.

The Planning Board had a meeting in 2008 where only 6 of 11 members were present to act on that request. Only 5 “yes” votes were needed to approve the Redevelopment project.   For such an important meeting, 100% of members should have been present.  Were those absences a form of protest?

One of the 5 who would vote “yes” was Denis McCarthy, the President of the OG Homeowners Association.  If he had voted “no” we would have had single family homes over there a long time ago.   But he voted “yes,” and the Committee accepted those 5 “yes” votes and went ahead and allowed that Area in Need of Redevelopment.

Fast forward to 2011.  There was no progress at the North End, so the OGHOA, instead of insisting that the NERP be abandoned, met with the CMA to ask that the project be scaled back.  Then Randy Bishop presented that idea to the Township, but the historic reality is that the HOA had no authority to negotiate anything with anybody regarding that public project.  And, the HOA plan was never officially approved, but they have continued to brag that somehow they made progress.

Now, as you know from our recent articles, a new re-developer has been named called OGNED.  Mayor Williams said publicly at the last Committee meeting that the “OGNED plan” would be approved.    However, there is still only one legal plan extant, and that is the 2008 North End Redevelopment Plan.  The explanation of the current situation and negotiation was presented in such a muddled way at the November meeting, that we called it “gobbledygook” in our last article.

Last night, December 10, 2018, at the Committee meeting, a representative of the OGHOA, Joan Venezia, went to the microphone during the Public Portion to complain that the recent explanations by the Redevelopment lawyer and the Mayor were so confusing that no one at the HOA understood what was going on. Jack Bredin from Blogfinger concurred, as we did in a recent article.

But here is the rub:  After 10 years, the HOA is still supporting the NERP instead of taking the side of reasonable and caring residents.  And, despite 10 years of their failure to accomplish anything meaningful regarding the NERP, they are not embarrassed to say publicly that they don’t know what is going on and that they have not employed any impartial experts to help the community understand the process.

When Ms. Venezia asked the Committee when public hearings will be held on this matter, she was told by Mr. Gadaleta, the Township manager, that the public can be free to ask questions when the HPC has its hearing and when the Board of Adherence has its rubber stamp session.  But, the HPC has no power to rule on the NERP–only the architectural drawings, and the Board of Adherence will not challenge any of this despite what public statements are made by Grover residents.

At Blogfinger we are still doing our best to stay on top of the situation and to demand that the fraudulent Area in Need of Redevelopment be abandoned, with a return to single family zoning, a decision that would be consistent with the Master Plan in this historic town.

VALERIE MASTERSON    from the soundtrack of the marvelous movie “Quartet.”  This is from Gilbert and Sullivan’s the Mikado.

“I think you ought to recollect
You cannot show too much respect
Towards the highly titled few;
But nobody does, and why should you?”

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The Township Comedy needs to shine some light on the current Resolution so OG citizens can see the gobbledygook.   Paul Goldfinger photo.  OG beach. September, 2018. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

When Jack and I  first read the new North End Resolution which was passed on Nov. 26, 2018, we looked at each other and asked, “What is this?”  It wasn’t clear what the main point of the Resolution was.  It included an itemized list of over 30 important elements of the plan, none of which were explained in detail.

It not only wasn’t clear as to what the Resolution was all about or why it was necessary, but it was impossible to figure out if the Resolution was attempting to actually pass the “new” 2018 North End Redevelopment Plan.

Here is the official title of the Resolution #18 -395 as obtained from the Neptune Comedy agenda:

Authorize the execution of a conditional designation and interim cost agreement with OG North End Development (OGNED) including provisions for a deposit of project funds to defray costs incurred by the Township of Neptune in connection with the negotiation of a Redevelopment Agreement, pursuant to the local redevelopment and housing law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1, ET Seq.”

Got it?

We thought the language was gobbledygook, and below is a link to Part I of our discussion of the Resolution.

Gobbledygook Part I regarding the North End resolution 11/26/18

The Township Redevelopment Attorney for the “Proposal” did speak to the  public at the Comedy meeting, and some of his quotes are mentioned  (below)  in a Coaster front-page article dated Nov. 29, 2018

Isn’t it interesting that none of our elected officials tried to explain the Resolution to the public–instead the Neptune Comedy brought their hired gun out of the shadows and asked him to explain the Resolution to the citizens.

Below are some Qoaster quotes from the Township Redevelopment Attorney Joseph Maraziti of Short Hills.   He said:

It’s important for the community to understand the project.”

“…this is not  a redevelopment agreement but part of negotiations towards a redevelopment agreement with Ocean Grove North End Development LLC.”

“There will be many topics at many levels discussed and resolved (in the agreement.) Nothing is even resolved at this time.”

The Coaster reporter said, “Redevelopment of the long-neglected North End of Ocean Grove took a step forward this week when Neptune officials approved an official agreement that is expected to eventually result in a comprehensive redevelopment plan.”

Mayor Nicholas Williams of Neptune Township. What will his legacy be? By Paul Goldfinger ©

And finally, Mayor Nicholas Williams cleared it up by saying, “This is just the first step and that’s where we are tonight.”

So, Mr. Mayor, you say that ” ‘this’ is just the first step,” and now that we all know what the meaning of “this” is,  we can  be reassured that we now understand the Resolution.

Last June we posted this Mayor’s photo with the lead-in:  “Portrait of a leader who represents the electorate or just one of the boys?  What will Nicholas Williams legacy be?”

What do you think?

SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS:

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Are they kidding?  “Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe” by Yue Minjun. Paul Goldfinger photo. Princeton U. Art Museum.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  and Jack Bredin, citizen activist, reporter and researcher for Blogfinger.net

There will be a resolution on the menu for the November 26 Township Committee meeting regarding a new plan for the Ocean Grove North End.  The language is such that it will be very difficult for any of you citizens who are not lawyers to know precisely what is going on.  The resolution is long and has multiple parts, and they probably won’t read the whole thing at the meeting.

But either way, it will leave your head spinning due to lack of transparency and lucid explanations of what it all is about.

As you know, a North End Redevelopment Plan was approved in 2008 with the CMA and WAVE designated as co-redevelopers.  Over the years, the principles could not figure out how to make the Plan happen.  In 2015 Randy Bishop presented  a scaled-down  plan, but that was never approved.  Until now, only the 2008 NERP has been valid.  But now, with this resolution,  the Township is  re-introducing the “Randy Bishop Plan.”

About 6 months ago,  the President of the CMA said that a new plan would take effect soon. Lately a new redeveloper  (OGNED) appeared on the North End scene and has been “negotiating” with the Township.  That group is called Ocean Grove North End Developer. It is a “joint venture”  consisting of WAVE and a few more LLC  players.

If you want to read the entire new Resolution, go to neptunetownship.org and click on agendas/minutes.  Then click on Township Committee and choose the agenda for Nov. 26, 2018.

In brief, the title of the Resolution #18-395 says “Authorize the execution of a conditional designation and interim cost agreement with OG North End Development (OGNED) including provisions for a deposit of project funds to defray costs incurred by the Township of Neptune in connection with the negotiation of a Redevelopment Agreement, pursuant to the local redevelopment and housing law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1, ET Seq.”     Got it?

We can tell you some of the provisions, but the Resolution is full of more holes than a bagel factory.  Here are some of the  components:

a.  The project site is now 3 acres, not 5 acres as before. The entire new plan  is about half the size of the original 2008 NERP.

b. The new “Proposal”  calls for a mixed use development with a hotel, 36 condos, 10 single family homes, 9,000 square feet boardwalk retail, 20 surface parking spaces and a 144 car “subterranean parking structure.”  There also will be “public open space, view corridors and a promenade along Wesley Lake.”

c.  The Township Redevelopment Committee has “vetted the Proposal.”

d. The Township has decided that OGNED has the “necessary experience and qualifications” to implement the Proposal.

e. The Township and OGNED must negotiate a Redevelopment Agreement.

f.  CMA, the land owner, is no longer designated as a co-redeveloper, as requested by WAVE.

g. With this Resolution, OGNED is designated as the “Conditional Redeveloper of the Project Site.”  This is pending further negotiations involving the Township. If they cannot agree to a Redevelopers Agreement, then the deal is terminated.

We are concerned that the proper redevelopment legal procedures are not being followed as this “new Plan” is propelled into reality by this Resolution.  Of course, we are not lawyers, and wouldn’t it be great if the Home Groaners hired an expert to vett this stuff for we the people?

We are just scratching the surface, but our concerns include:

A.  Why were there no public meetings/input prior to putting this gobbledygook on the table.  The public deserves a transparent  explanation, in detail, to understand what this is all about.  Why isn’t normal English used–for example, what are a “conditional designation, a conditional redeveloper, and an interim cost agreement?”

B.  What is the relationship of the original (2008 and still in effect) NERP to this new “proposal?”  Could the OGNED developers decide to change their minds and shift gears back to the original  and larger NERP provisions?

C.  the Resolution says that the original 2008 NERP has been “amended from time to time,” but that is not true.

D. A sketchy presentation of the “new proposal” is found in the resolution, but does this Resolution pretend to officially approve the “new proposal” now?   The title doesn’t say that.

E. Is there an engineering estimate of the cost of this project?

F. The resolution gives OGNED exclusive negotiation rights with the Township.  Why has there been no bidding requested to let other developers have a chance to get this project? The redevelopment law requires bidding.

G. Terminology:  What are the definitions of: “concept plan,” “consent agenda,” “option agreement,”  “interim cost agreement,” “pre-submission forms,” and “preliminary plans?” And what is the definition of the “Proposal?”

Does approval of this Resolution indicate approval of the new “scaled-down” North End Re-Development Plan?  There are 34 items listed as part of the “scope” of the plan, and there are few details.  So how can such a plan be approved now?

H. It’s been ten years.  The Township owes it to the people of Ocean Grove to reconsider the out-of-date “Zone in Need of Redevelopment” designation.  Why should these developers with their new “Proposal”  be given a free ride to overthrow the original single family zoning?

There is nothing about that property that would make the North End site in need of re-development. The CMA and OGNED are perfectly able to develop that area without local government handing them zoning relief.

I.  And finally, after 10 years of diddly-squat at the North End, are they kidding??

JESSI ALEXANDER  “So Wrong”

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Light, air, and open space is what we want at the North End.   Photo by Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff in Ocean Grove, NJ. ©

 

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

Let’s review some of the background of the North End Redevelopment Plan and then bring us all up to date.  At the heart of this post is the Township Committee meeting of October 22, 2018.

Redevelopment is a public project. A developer does not become a Redeveloper with the authority to develop an “area in need of redevelopment” until they have signed a contract with a Township called a Redevelopers Agreement. In Neptune Township there are “areas in need of redevelopment”, but there are no officially approved redevelopers.    What went wrong, and how can this happen?

In 2005, and again in 2008, at a time after redevelopers were selected by the Township for two large projects, the Mayor’s Redevelopment Committee went into executive session behind closed doors to negotiate Redevelopment  Agreements for:

  1.  West Lake Avenue in Midtown
  2. North End in Ocean Grove

But the choice of redevelopers was done out of sequence in the Grove, and Redevelopers Agreements were ever finalized.   The Township should have waited for the Township Attorney to first negotiate and have signed the Redevelopers Agreements before selecting anyone as a Redeveloper.

These agreements would have provided  the Township Committee with guaranteed provisions to insure the timely construction of the redevelopment projects, the qualifications, and the financial capabilities and financial guarantees of the redeveloper (s) before the Committee selected a Redeveloper for either project.

Signing a Redevelopers Agreement would usually take place at a special 10 am meeting on the same day the Redeveloper is officially selected by resolution.  In the event that a developer does not sign an agreement within 10 days of being selected, he should be dismissed.

Ten years ago, our Governing Body did not properly vet their Redeveloper friends for the North End of OG (CMA and WAVE,)  and after being appointed as the only horses in a horse race, they never crossed the finish line due to the fact that they could not come up with the necessary money and then they all backed out.  Thus the North End Plan was never implemented.

As a result of that failure, the Mayor’s Redevelopment Committee is technically still in executive session for all these years and that is why the Mayor’s Committee will not now reveal any information to the public.   And thus there are still no Redevelopers for these two projects.

Now, after 10 years of nothing being developed through the redevelopment process, and while everything is being developed all around us by “general development,” Dr. Brantley said, “I think we have to review all the redevelopment projects,” and then the Township hired a “special redevelopment attorney”  for the unenviable job of trying to pull these projects out of the mud.

Shortly after that, this past month, our new Mayor, Nicholas Williams, reports the following: “Thanks to the non-stop work of our Redevelopment Committee, residents will soon be hearing about two major investments that will transform our community for the better…..”

And then, like magic, there appears on the agenda of the October 22, 2018 Township Committee meeting, a Resolution, No. 18-369, regarding the West Lake Avenue project in Midtown.  The Resolution was approved, appointing BAW Development, LLC, as a “Conditional Redeveloper” while also approving a “Pre-Redevelopers Agreement.”  This agreement is for a 6 month period of time when a formal Redevelopment Agreement will be signed.

We believe that this so called “Pre-Redevelopment” process is not permitted by State Standards, Municipal Land Use Law, and Redevelopment Law.   We think that this new process has been invented to find an end-run around the usual legal procedures to move such projects along and which have failed so far in Neptune Township. In addition, this maneuver will prevent any other developers from bidding on these projects while the Township dithers.

The new Redevelopment Attorney said at the meeting that they will use the same process with the North End project in OG.   That is why we are extrapolating what was said about West Lake to what will likely happen for the North End.

We think that the Mayor’s Redevelopment Committee is failing we the people by remaining silent.  Where is the transparency?

Ocean Grovers:  Keep your eyes and ears open as this situation evolves—our local government seems to be placing the best interests of Grovers at the bottom of the pile.

 

MUDDY WATERS:

 

 

 

 

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