Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove opinions’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

hoa-one

Kennedy Buckley in 2013. Last night he challenged the Township Committee regarding the North End plan which threatens the future of Ocean Grove. Way to go Kenny ! Blogfinger photo. ©

December 22, 2017:

In a surprise reversal, the Homeowners Association indicated last night that it may finally take the side of OG residents and ask the Township to nullify the Re-development Plan at the North End.

At the Neptune Township Committee meeting, OGHOA spokesman/trustee Kennedy Buckley demanded that the Township Attorney answer his question which was, “Can the Committee withdraw the North End redevelopment designation now?”

Gene Anthony, the attorney, said, “Yes.”

This surprise revelation indicates that the HOA might be amenable to accepting Blogfinger’s challenge regarding their history of siding with the Township on this issue.

This quote is from the Blogfinger post on December 19, 2017:   “The OGHOA should immediately cancel its support for the NERP and get behind the citizens in totally opposing such projects.  If the township refuses to take us down a sensible road, then we will know where their loyalties lie, and the same applies to the Groaners.”

In a prior survey of public opinion on Blogfinger, January , 2016, we asked the question:  “It time for the Township Committee to scuttle the illegal North End Redevelopment Plan?”

250 votes came in, and 80% said “YES.”

So congratulations to the Home Groaners for finally standing shoulder to shoulder with the residents of the Grove who want the North End zoning to revert back to single family homes only.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

Neighbors watch the neighborhood. Blogfinger.net

 

From Natalie of Ocean Grove:

As a newcomer to the Grove, I just received my property tax assessment for 2018.  Our property was assessed at $200,000 for the building and $310,000 for the land.   My taxes will be about $10,000.00 in 2017

I realize that arrangements such as ours, with the building owned by one person and the land by another, can be found elsewhere.  But is there any legal precedent for our paying property taxes on land that we do not own?

As you all know, we also pay a lease fee to the CMA  for being allowed to have our home on their land, so it is clear as to who owns the land.

Why doesn’t the CMA pay the land taxes?

Then, when you sell your house, they can realize the appreciation on the land.  Now we get to realize the appreciation, so maybe it doesn’t make any difference.

But do any of the BF readers know about legal precedents in this regard?

AL JOLSON with an alternative to high Neptune taxes:

Read Full Post »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANNIE LENNOX

Read Full Post »

Back then the CMA controlled all parking in the Grove.  If that parking mandate was not outrageous,  then why not  the new paradigm?

 

Parking in the Grove. Resident parking should come first. Everyone else can find a way. Blogfinger photograph. 2015.

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfnger.net

Until 1980, the Camp Meeting Association ran the town and could command everyone to move their cars out of town on Sunday.  But they are no longer in charge, and Ocean Grove is now similar to other Shore towns when it comes to parking, except that we have few garages and driveways.

There are a finite number of parking spaces in the Grove and a finite number of residents.

Those people who live in this town and who pay to live here—owners and renters—-should receive a special status which gives them top priority for parking spaces.

The Township should  promise that residents will be guaranteed a parking space whenever they need one.  This can be done by allocating special reserved spaces for them.   All others who come into town including tourists, shoppers, church-goers,  and beachers will have to compete for the remaining spaces.

Where is it written that parking is a democratic process?  Favoritism for residents is essential to maintain life styles and functionality for those who make this town their home.  They deserve that privilege, and everyone else is on their own.

Many ideas can be implemented to help those non-residents who want to visit here, and those ideas involve reducing the number of visitors with cars and adding order with metered parking.

Yes there would be some wrinkles to iron out, but this favoritism offers a foundation for solving the problem and a chance to reclaim the town for the home-boys and girls who favor a comfortable, family style, non-congested, historical, small town atmosphere with air, light,  space, and parking.

Petition the town, wave a magic wand, and voila—our home values will go up and our town will be better.

BILLY JOEL ROYAL:

Read Full Post »

Giant truck Main Avenue near OceanAve. Ocean Grove, June, 2017. By Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff. ©

Soon the Township will try to squeeze a few more diagonal  parking spaces into the residential  part of Main Avenue near Firemen’s Park all the way to the “gates.”    That will be ugly and risky and will not help the residents of Ocean Grove with their intermittently disabling  parking issues.  We all have tried to enter Main Avenue from one of those side streets located where diagonal parking already exists  (such as New Jersey Avenue at Main.)  It is discouraging, dangerous, scary and difficult because oftentimes the driver cannot see what is coming as he plans to enter Main Ave.

But also, as Rich Amole points out in the photo above, huge cars/trucks  often occupy those diagonal spaces, and that can cause a problem as a car driving on Main has to go around that big vehicle.

Rich says:

“Hi Paul:     Accident waiting to happen?
“Vehicle turning off of Ocean Ave onto Main  Ave. certainly does not expect that a vehicle heading to Ocean Ave. has to swerve into that other lane to avoid hitting the truck.    I  happened to be in the Grove last Saturday and did have to pass into the other lane with caution.”

These are examples of how desperate attempts to add parking spaces in a futile effort to provide for the growing number of cars in the Grove all season long and beyond in both directions can create more chances for accidents.  We need to have less cars in this small town–not more.   People, including children actually live here; let’s improve the safety profile for them.

Cancel the plans for more diagonal parking and then let’s do some real creative thinking to help the residents.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor.

CAST OF LA LA LAND     “Another Day of Sun.”

Read Full Post »

This is what the north side of Main Ave. looks like with diagonal parking. this scene is near NJ Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue. Jean Breding photo, Blogfinger staff.©

This is what the north side of Main Avenue   looks like currently with diagonal parking. This scene is near New Jersey Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue.  Jean Bredin photo, Blogfinger staff.© 2/16/17.

 

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen's Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. ©

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen’s Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. © Jean Bredin photo; Blogfinger staff. 2/16/17.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

In a Coaster article (Jan. 25, 2017) it was reported that the Township Committee approved “almost 100 new parking spaces”and that the Committee was “acting on recommendations presented by the ad hoc OG Parking Task Force.”  That task force has members on it from the OGHOA.

The plan includes creating diagonal head-on parking on the north side of Main Ave. from New Jersey Ave. to Lawrence Ave. The same is planned on the west side of Central Avenue from Heck to Webb avenues.

But diagonal parking is ugly. The “new spaces” are created by cramming more cars into a given space where currently there is parallel parking. Diagonal parking may be OK for commercial areas, but in residential areas it is not suitable.

On Main Avenue, starting from the eastern edge of Firemen’s Park and heading west, the diagonal parking will look congested and will visually and actually narrow Main Avenue. Currently that portion of the Avenue has an impressive and welcoming boulevard look.

For visitors who come into our historic town, they will not enjoy the same openness that currently shows off the Grove at its best with historic homes and a lovely park.   In addition the town will lose one of the few places where a bus or truck can legally pull over and give some respite for the drivers to get their bearings or have a coffee.

As for how our leaders feel about this idea, here are two quotes borrowed from the Coaster:

Deputy Mayor Nick Williams, a member of the Township’s parking task force said, “We are going to move forward with these recommendations, and I think the task force did a good job.”

Resident Joyce Klein who is a member of the OGHOA and chairman of their parking committee said, “This is a great start*  but I hope to think that this is the beginning and not the end of the parking study.” She is also on the task force.

So we will get some more spaces, but we don’t need more congestion and density as the price to pay in our residential areas while the town continues its slide downhill.  The policy makers think that this will be wonderful, but do you think these task force people are doing the right thing?

It seems that they believe that all Grovers care about is parking and that we will accept any new spaces no matter the price.   Do you think the task force gave any consideration to the appearance of our town—–how about  the more important variables such as air, space and light?   How about our quality of life?

This plan of squeezing more cars onto our streets fits in with the worrisome current pattern of more condos,  more density, and more crowding.  Making more spaces is not necessarily better than leaving those streets alone.

Who is this really helping?–the commercial and real estate interests, or the people who live here?  Help the residents  with parking stickers and do something to reduce the numbers of cars coming into town and the number of town-clogging events that are too often and create temporary paralysis for OG tax payers. Or build a parking garage somewhere.

This plan will be implemented by Memorial Day. Other ideas are also being considered, including even more diagonal parking on other parts of Central Avenue.

When it comes to policies that hurt our historic town,  if no one complains, they will soon do it again:

MARILYN MONROE   “Do It Again.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

images

 exit 100 off the GSP.


Exit 100 off the GSP.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The deal to turn the Laingdon Hotel into a substance treatment center on Main Avenue was hatched last August—before the presidential election.  In our discussions about this matter, we learned something about the economics and we found out that such facilities can be very lucrative, especially for those high end clients who probably would have been found at the new Sprout/Laingdon location. But we also found out that insurance money is available for patients, including those who are not wealthy, such as those under Medicaid.    Also we spoke about a law enforcement program which lets drug criminals enter rehab instead of going to jail.

And that money trail exposed why entrepreneurs were interested in such facilities.

Our discussion also revealed that Ocean Grove still has  multifamily dwellings  and some multi-unit boarding houses such as the Whitfield (now deceased) and the Warrington  (now unoccupied and  aspiring to be an expensive “boutique hotel.”)

But a rehab facility could be created in a smallish multi-family house, even of only 2 or 3 units, just as such places could also be condoized, and neither use seems to be good for the town.   But the pressure to find new sources of investment income in OG could grow even larger, given the rising spending on healthcare.

Now the Grove is in danger of going viral with such “medical shelters” for addicts (rich or poor), Mary’s style clients, or whatever such “shelters” might be devised  by inventive investors.

Those who lived in this town in the 1980’s vividly recall all the “shelters” that were found around the Grove, and many of those attracted unattractive residents who hung out in various favored locations, smoking, yelling, sleeping on benches, and smelling.  We have heard of some of that from  residents who lived here during that era who are now dismayed that we might move in that direction once again.

But why would Neptune Township allow such deterioration?  Well, there are those in the Grove who believe that  Neptune officials really don’t care much about Ocean Grove and would be happy for it to slide into the abyss, as long as the tax dollars continue to flow in one form or another. And there are the local developers who are happy to exploit the town for money regardless of the consequences in terms of crowding, parking, and lifestyle deterioration.

However, during our last look at this subject,  before we could really sink our digital teeth into the rehab/Laingdon matter, the application for a use-variance at the Zoning Board of Adjustment was abruptly withdrawn, and we don’t know why.  Maybe the Blogfinger poll and citizen comments scared them away, but more likely we could find the answer by following the money.  Being unpopular with the OG public has never frightened the Neptune Township and Ocean Grove movers and shakers when money was at stake.

The Township ZBA office denies knowing anything about the withdrawal. But on January 14, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Jeanne Whalen in the US News section, page A-3. which might shed some light on the situation. It was sent to us by a citizen reporter.

In it she explains that there are provisions under the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare) that forces ACA insurance providers to pay for addiction rehab. The amount of money available that way is “huge,” as it tries to chase the widespread increase in deaths due to opioids such as heroine and fentanyl, especially in the north east, including Monmouth County.

According to the WSJ, “There are 2.8 million Americans with substance abuse disorders who would lose some or all of their insurance if the ACA is repealed.”

“Researchers at Harvard Medical School and NYU estimated a repeal would withdraw at least $5.5 billion annually from the treatment of mental health conditions including substance abuse.”

So, is there any wonder that investors have been  sniffing around our town thinking of rehab facilities as sources of healthcare income?  And perhaps, after Trump won, Sprout may have freaked out and chosen to drop the  Laingdon idea.

But, because the opioid addiction problem is growing and harming families and small businesses, the new administration might be compelled to keep the money coming, and if so, OG is really a perfect place to open rehab. facilities.

If Mary’s Place could get zoning approval for their “shelter” without even a variance, then you’d better not pout, you’d better not cry–I’m telling you why:  Santa Claus is coming to town and he has goodies in his sleigh for those who want to help addicts in the Grove.

THE PUPPINI SISTERS:

Read Full Post »

 

This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

The  Township Committee is having a first reading of the new HPC guidelines this Monday at 7:00.  The Historical Society sent out an unsigned email stating,
“These new guidelines are very damaging to the historic district and threaten our historic designation. I’m hoping to get a good showing at the meeting to voice our concern.
The draft can be found on the township web site under committee agenda for Dec. 12. Scroll all the way to the bottom .
Thanks for any help you can offer.”

Below is the official announcement by Neptune Township regarding the HPC guidelines ordinance:

ORDINANCE NO. 16-45

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF NEPTUNE BY AMENDING SECTION 508, ENTITLED, “HISTORIC PRESERVATION DESIGN GUIDELINES”

WHEREAS, the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines have needed amendment from time to time based on changed circumstances,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Committee of the Township of Neptune in the County of Monmouth in the State of New Jersey that the Land Development Ordinance, Volume II Section 508, entitled, “Historic Preservation Design Guidelines” is hereby amended as follows:

§508 – Historic Preservation Design Guidelines.

c. The Design Criteria in Guidelines: The aforesaid Guidelines, also known as the “Ocean Grove Historic District Architectural Design Guidelines for Residential Structures” are hereby adopted as an integral part of this Ordinance and incorporated in the Ordinance by reference to the Guidelines available as part of this Ordinance for review in the Clerk’s Office of Neptune Township. Future amendments to the Guidelines, where minor in nature; that is, not amending the entire Guideline document, may be amended by Resolution with all dates of amendments noted in the Guideline document.

All Ordinances or parts of Ordinances that are inconsistent herewith are repealed, but only to the extent of such inconsistency.

The amended Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its passage and the publication as required by law.

APPROVED ON FIRST READING: APPROVED, PASSED, AND ADOPTED:

___________________________ Richard J. Cuttrell,
Municipal Clerk

___________________________ Kevin B. McMillan,
Mayor

 

Editor’s Note:    

Here is a link to read the guidelines:

www.neptunetownship.org/agendas-minutes/township-committee

Click on Dec 12 in the agenda column and then scroll down to Ordinance 16-45 and then keep scrolling down and you will find the Guidelines dated October, 2016.

But where are the latest changes?  Is there an official document that enumerates the changes?   And who wrote these Guideline changes and why?

Someone sent us a notice from the OGHOA which said, “A key change will limit application of the design guidelines to the street-facing facade only of a building. The result of this change alone is not difficult to imagine. The sides and backs of homes could be faced with different materials, and historically appropriate materials would no longer be a requirement on non-street-facing facades.”  

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

ETTA JAMES

Read Full Post »

This is what's left of the Park View Inn on Sea View Avenue. Blogfinger photo Sept 22, 2016 ©

This is what’s left of the Park View Inn on Seaview Avenue. Blogfinger photo Sept 22, 2016 ©  On the left is the Warrington (see our Warrington posts), and on the right is the La Pierre condos  at the lake and a private home on Seaview. Click on photo and you might be able to discern palm trees in A. Park.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Shirley and Ted Bell were married 62 years ago in the Park View Inn on Seaview Avenue in Ocean Grove which was owned by Shirley’s parents.  It was a busy place and quite wonderful.  There were porches in the back where guests could look out onto Wesley Lake and enjoy great hotel food.  Lake Avenue ambled by, and walkers provided a parade for the Park Viewers. The Park was Founders Park.

Ted, an eminent Ocean Grove historian, recalls that Lake Avenue was “always a walkway.”  The founders would not allow even a horse and buggy on that footpath.  Lake Avenue actually had two levels, with the houses and hotels being elevated (see photo below).  But for now, Ted and Shirley can sit on their porch on Seaview Avenue, look across the lake, and see real palm trees!

1896. Wesley Lake. Ocean Grove. Clearly the precedent for Lake Avenue is a walkway. Courtesy of Ted Bell.

1896. Wesley Lake. Ocean Grove. Clearly the precedent for Lake Avenue is a walkway. Courtesy of Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian. Look closely and you will see Ted walking over to Days Ice Cream Garden.

 

1896. OG. Lake Avenue had upper and a lower elevations. No one imagined that someone might want a roadway there. Courtesy of Ted Bell

1896. OG. Lake Avenue had upper and a lower elevations. No one imagined that someone might want a roadway there. Courtesy of Ted Bell.

Now that the Inn is gone, the Township has approved plans to subdivide that narrow lot into 4 undersized house lots.  Two would be on Seaview Avenue, while two would be on Lake Avenue.   Those lots are currently for sale.  The two lake front lots are $459,000 each.  The two  Seaview Avenue lots are $419,000 each. The four houses planned are said to have received approval for 3 stories each.

But since Lake Avenue is not a street or a road, land use law would forbid building those two lakeside houses.  They should have never been given permission.  We also need to determine if the lakeside houses are being built on Green Acres properties.

Municipal Land Use Law (New Jersey). Official record.  Click to read it easier. Source: Jack Bredin.

Municipal Land Use Law (New Jersey). Official record. Click to read it easier. Source: Jack Bredin.

The neighbors over there are concerned about parking  and access issues. Supposedly a path between the houses would allow access to Lake Avenue from Sea View.  Or the residents could walk around to Lake Avenue  (aka Beach Avenue) by the boardwalk and then head west.  But what about UPS, garbage trucks, mail delivery, etc.?

And won’t those houses be crowded together when built on small lots?  Would they get any breezes or light?   Aren’t OG lots small enough?  Shouldn’t there be only two houses there, fronting on Seaview and with lovely rear yards and views of the lake?

Blogfinger will be investigating these issues.  Please comment if you have any information.

Link to our 1/14/16 article about the land under the now demolished Park View Inn.  It is very interesting:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/01/14/is-the-park-view-inn-subdivision-in-violation-of-new-jersey-municipal-land-use-law-when-is-a-street-not-a-street/

So how exactly were these permissions given?  How long has this been going on?

PEGGY LEE

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »