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

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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©  Paul Goldfinger photograph on the OG asphalt boards, looking south, near the Casino.  A reminder of what will be lost.

 

It is treading too lightly to call the NERP “Asbury Park South”    Our North End Redevelopment project will be more intrusive near the ocean than Asbury or other nearby towns  have done.

And don’t forget the White Whale site (where the recent fire occurred) where developers will try to re-build east of our boardwalk.   Which of our neighbors have built recently east of their boardwalk?

The OG North End is currently open space, light, and air.  OGNED will destroy that and create something more congested on our boardwalk than even Asbury has done on theirs.  Their condos are all around the AP beach area, but not on top of the boardwalk as will occur with the NERP.  And their boardwalk is much wider than ours.

The reason for the current asphalt jungle over there is that they need to figure out the elevations for construction immediately adjacent to the west side of the boardwalk

 

From Grease:   Bring back pedal pushers.   Sha la, la, la, la, la, la etc.

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You can’t always get what you want. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Just because this agreement is signed by the Mayor and the Redeveloper OGNED  doesn’t mean that the project will ever be completed.  The Redevelopers Agreement for the North End Redevelopment Plan should be subtitled  “Promises, Promises” because it is filled with nothing but those. See Jack Bredin’s report below.

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, was present at the September 9, 2019 Committee Meeting when this long delayed document was approved by resolution.

THE 3 ACRE TRAVESTY AT THE NORTH END OF OCEAN GROVE IS A DONE DEAL……BUT IS IT?

By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, September 10, 2019. Ocean Grove, NJ.

At the September 9, 2019 meeting of the Township Committee, a 100+ page report, with attachments and exhibits (Resolution 19-316,) was passed with no dissenters.

It had been written by the Township’s Redevelopment Attorney.  The report attempted to list all of the items that were NOT accomplished over the past 11 years, items that are necessary to start construction at the North End, and a recommendation for the Mayor to sign a “Redevelopment Agreement” with OGNED LLC.

It would have been easier to just say, “Nothing has been accomplished in 11 years.”  This 100 page report is an attempt to “pull the wool over our eyes.”

The only thing that was new in the report was that Mayor Rizzo’s Redevelopment Committee recommended that the Township Committee drop its requirement that the Redeveloper file “financial guarantees” with the Clerk assuring that the project would be completed and on time.

At the 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting after the 6:00 p.m. Workshop, about 40 residents were present, but OGNED did not attend.  The Camp Meeting Association did attend.  They are the landowner of the 3 acre site and they took notes.   About 6 residents spoke against the resolution, and no one spoke for it.

The OG Home Owners Association is already on the record from day one, 2008, supporting the North End Redevelopment project.

All residents with questions were told, “You can ask that question at a Planning Board meeting.”

Because Mayor Rizzo is the Class 1 member of the Planning Board, she should be able to answer all questions regarding the North End Redevelopment, but she appointed Dr. Michael Brantley as the Class 1 member of the Planning Board in her place, and he voted in 2008 that the redeveloper “shall” be required to post “financial guarantees.” And last night he voted, “The redeveloper ‘may’ post financial  guarantees, to assure the successful completion of the project.”

This change of one word from “shall” to “may” is a financial benefit to the Redeveloper that other developers do not get, and could be detrimental to OG residents if OGNED LLC goes bankrupt or cannot build an underground parking garage as approved by the Township, and they all voted for it.

Editor’s Note.  Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net.

Why should OGNED have been at the meeting?   That Redeveloper has no interest in what the public thinks. You may recall when OGNED visited the HOA and refused to answer certain questions from the audience.

All these documents will be signed in private, out of the public’s view.

The Agreement raises all sorts of questions that currently are not answered.  The Redeveloper thinks he can complete all the approvals and documents within 14 months, but it likely will take longer than that.  And the actual construction project will probably take at least 5 years.  During that time, there will be major hardships on those who live near the project, and the document promises that those concerns will be assuaged.

Most of us wonder about the underground garage which will be huge.  It will have to be flood-proofed and it will need massive pilings to hold its weight as well as the weight on top of it. None of that information is yet available, and the garage is barely mentioned in the document.

And we also wonder where all the equipment and supplies will be kept during construction.

Here is a partial list of what is promised in this Redevelopers Agreement:

a.  “Any and all required goverment approvals” will be obtained including DEP (Federal and State.)

b. A final site plan with all needed engineering approvals to go to the Planning Board.

c. A  “traffic impact study.”

d. A “project schedule.”

e. “Financials” which “may” be supplied.

f. A “minimization impacts” statement.

g.  A long-term lease agreement between the Camp Meeting Association and the Township/OGNED.  We don’t know if all this has been thoroughly worked out. But in the end, all condo unit owners (51)  will have their own individual ground rent arrangements with the CMA. Other components are also condo units such as the hotel and the retail entities.

h. And much more…..You can read the entire Agreement.  The HOA sent it around a few days ago. Email them. The Neptune web site has not posted it.

So, after years of Blogfinger ‘s wrestling with this damn topic, we find that democracy has lost out to apathy….a failure of the people to participate in the process.  So we at Blogfinger finally agree, “You can’t always get what you want.”  But maybe the citizens of Ocean Grove will eventually get what they need.

ITUANA:  From the soundtrack of “Big Little Lies.”

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Ocean Grove. 2011 © Paul Goldfinger photograph.  Yellow warning flag is flying.  Re-post from January, 2019.

“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.

 

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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heading north - Version 2 2014

Leaving Ocean Grove to explore A. Park. c. 2014.   Will the 2019 OG  North End become as  welcoming as it is in this photograph?  Or will it become Asbury Park South?    Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©  Click to enlarge.         Note, the White Whale  (pink in this photo)  burned down on April 13, 2019.  As for Bridgegate, this is an alternate route after midnight without any locks . A. Park owns the Casino building.

And as for girls in their summer clothes, since 2014 the bottoms got higher and the tops got tighter…it’s all good and now rated PG–at least in A. Park;  maybe PG 13 in the Grove.

 

AMY WINEHOUSE

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HOA meeting 6/22/19. Full house, but some questions were banned. Paul Goldfinger photo. Democracy takes a hit.

 

Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

June 22, 2019.  Ocean Grove, NJ

 

Barbara Burns, President of the Home Owners Assoc., had invited two members of OGNED, the OG North End Redevelopers, to discuss the latest Plan at today’s meeting, but before letting anyone speak, she set the ground rules:

No questions may be asked if they relate to the past history of the NERP.  She said that she didn’t want to “re-litigate” old news.  Her guests, “Conditional Redevelopers”  William Gannon III and Joel Brenner agreed that they would not answer such questions. They just wanted to talk about the plan as it is today.

But such questions comprise the very foundations of how this controversial plan developed over time, with considerable difficulty, much skepticism,  and no results, so it made no sense to limit  questioning to the latest point on the timeline.  She may think that there is only old news looking back, but that is outrageous. The whole NERP history, 11 years in duration, is flammable and ignitable.

Evidently Burns and Gannon had conspired to keep the subject matter confined only to what he wanted to talk about.

It seems that Mr. Gannon wanted to control the parameters of the meeting—perhaps he didn’t want to be embarrassed by certain questions having their roots in the past.  And President Burns went along with that—-she should not have invited him if he were going to disrespect skeptical  homeowners in the audience, such as myself and others.

Her demand that only she decide on which questions would be appropriate was arrogant, dumb, overbearing and undemocratic.

In fact, Gannon admitted that his attorneys did not want him to speak at this meeting, but he refused to take their advice, evidently because Burns assured him that there would be no embarrassing questions.

The sorts of questions that she disallowed might  have included those having to do with land use procedures in Neptune Township, redevelopment rules and practices, zoning, easements, bidding, RSIS standards, transparency, secrecy, specialist lawyers, and finally, which plan is this one?  Only one, from 2008, was ever formally approved.

There is a long list of topics related to the NERP which she inappropriately declared off-limits.

It is idiotic to cut the subject off at the knees when everything that Gannon presented today had its beginnings back in 2008 when the NERP was approved by the Township and the Planning Board.  OGNED would not be existing today if it weren’t for the approval of that plan, so all questions dating that far back should have been fair game.

Since that time a great deal has occurred including continuous behind-the-scenes negotiations that went on for years, with no public disclosure, even though a redevelopment plan is a public plan run by the Township, ideally with the utmost in transparency.

Mr. Gannon,a founder of WAVE,  tried to tap dance around the fact that the NERP became a public plan in 2008 when WAVE  and the CMA  succeeded in convincing Neptune to approve the North End as an “area in need of redevelopment.”   Neptune Township was to be in charge.

Now, all of a sudden, today, Gannon says that it is a “private redevelopment project,” but he didn’t explain where that term came from nor did he offer to give up the zoning that came with the public “re-development” designation.  He should have offered to return the zoning to 25 single family houses  if “private” is what it is.   And how did he manage to fire Neptune Township as the entity in charge?

My question at the censored meeting was going to be:  “In 2008, when the North End was designated as ‘an area in need of redevelopment’ under the supervision of Neptune Township, what was the legal rationale that permitted that designation?”

The CMA back then was capable of building 25 new homes and creating a beautiful new neighborhood. The “redevelopment”  designation was not necessary.  Then the property lay fallow for 11 years.  So now we are getting retail, condos, underground garage, 10 private homes, and a hotel—ie Asbury Park South.

At the meeting, Jack Bredin tried to ask the OGNED duo about the considerable paring down in project density that occurred between 2008 and now, but no straight answer was forthcoming.

Gannon said that the developers originally wanted 224 condos, but now they are down to 78, with 10 single family homes and 40 hotel rooms.  So what happened? Why did they willingly give up all that money?  Jack  and the rest of us want to know.

Homeowners do not seem to be Burns’  top priority—instead developers are.

The biggest news of the morning was that OGNED and the Township have still not signed off on a Redevelopment Agreement, and that is needed before the package goes to the Planning Board.  It seems that there still is a tangle of issues to be settled, and OGNED was evasive in explaining all that, hiding behind the “we can’t talk about it” excuse.

Gannon promised that there would be plenty of parking, but no smiley face and jokes will disguise the fact that parking will be trouble.

He said that the White Whale is not part of his group, and he doesn’t know what that owner will do, but maybe there will be a Phase 2 in the future to create further congestion over there.

Also, it seems that OGNED will buy the land currently owned by the CMA.

Gannon  also said that plans are being made to treat ground water coming off the site. Details are not available. The DEP is still looking at the plan.

Many permits are still not obtained as OGNED and the Township deal with agencies looking at the situation.

This song is dedicated to Barbara Burns and the Home Groaners:

JUDY CAPLAN GINSBURGH:

 

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North End Area in Need of Redevelopment Blogfinger photo ©

 

By Jack Bredin, Ocean Grove resident.

June 17, 2019.

 

In 2018, the Township Committee:

a. Withdrew the 2008 (10 year old) public North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP) prepared by the Neptune Planning Board for the Township Committee.

b. Withdrew the title of “Co-Redevelopers” from both the OGCMA and WAVE.

c. Approved a 2011 private plan prepared by Shore Point Architecture for WAVE that the HOA took credit for negotiating with the CMA.  However, the Township is processing it as if it were a public plan.

That plan is now the OGNED plan that includes the Pavilion building in one section of resolution 18-395, but does not include the Pavilion in another section of the same resolution (Attachment A, dated 11-26-2018.)

d.  OGNED is now designated as the exclusive Conditional Redeveloper.  But it will become the Redeveloper when a Redevelopers Agreement is signed with the Township.

In 2019: The Township Business Administrator reported, “All issues regarding the OGNED plan have been worked out,” and a Redevelopers Agreement is ready to be signed.

It is clear that the Township Committee has already approved the private development plan prepared by WAVE for OGNED.

The next step is off to the Planning Board, and they will decide if the new OGNED plan is the same plan they prepared with Planning Consultants T&M Associates for the Township Committee in 2008.

Of course, it is not the same plan, but they will say “it is,” or they will be replaced

What is the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association’s role in all of this?

With a favorable response at the June 22 meeting of the HOA, the Township Committee can say, “The Home Owners of Ocean Grove support the high density WAVE/OGNED plan.”  After all, they supported the first 2008 plan and took credit for negotiating the new plan.

But to make the record clear on this matter, the Homeowners Association at their upcoming meeting should entertain a Motion of the Membership that they approve or do not approve the OGNED plan for the North End.

As to the HPC, they only make a recommendation, but the HOA represents the “conscience of the community of Ocean Grove” as well as the “will” of the people.

Is there any hope for Ocean Grove?

 

Editor’s note: HOA members—be sure to demand a vote as to whether the group wants to support the plan presented to them by Mr. Gannon.

That vote should only take place after all audience questions are answered and discussed.

And make sure that the individual who is presenting the plan is giving you confidence that he can be trusted to do the right thing  for the residential and historic town of Ocean Grove.

Paul Goldfinger,  Editor  Blogfinger.net.

BAN THE PLAN!

 

THE PLATTERS.   Perhaps the HOA leadership will say they’re sorry for supporting the Township on this:

 

 

 

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