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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. The application was prepared by a consultant (LOMAX)

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

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

Blogfinger report on CAFRA application

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

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

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

The April deficiency letter identifies a number of issues.

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

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

Blogfinger has not seen that garage denial letter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight

JACK HALEY   from the Wizard of Oz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Additional info from the  BPA:

“In response to people’s requests that the BPA provide more opportunities for in-person discussion of parking challenges in Ocean Grove, we’re offering the following Open Forums for discussion.

We’ll start each session with a review of the BPA’s proposed pilot program designed to alleviate growing congestion on the north side of town. We’ll then transition to exploring group ideas to improve parking for all who live, work, and visit Ocean Grove. We invite you to help us find viable solutions to this growing problem.The Forums start Saturday, March 7. Details follow, and you can sign up at BetterParkingAlliance.EventBrite.com.

If you need to reach us, just email us at BetterParkingAlliance@gmail.com.
Thank you again for your interest in improving parking in Ocean Grove. We hope you’ll be able to join us at one of the sessions on March 7, April 4, or June 6.
Andy Levine
Better Parking Alliance

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RAlly on September 3, 2007. Tabernacle. Paul Goldfinger photo.©

Rally on September 3, 2007. Tabernacle. Paul Goldfinger photo.©

Sunday service in the Boardwalk Pavilion on Sept 2, 2007. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Sunday service in the Boardwalk Pavilion on Sept 2, 2007. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Youth Temple: Community joins together to raise money after Sandy. c. 2014 Paul Goldfinger photo

Youth Temple: Community joins together to raise money after Sandy.
c. 2014 Paul Goldfinger photo

By Paul Goldfinger, MD,  Editor @Blogfinger  (April, 2015 )

On January 13, 2013, about 300,000 marchers converged on Paris to oppose the idea of legalizing gay marriage in France. Earlier that week, the Episcopal Diocese of the Washington, D.C. area announced that gay marriage ceremonies will be held in the National Cathedral, the 6th largest in the world. In 2013, the US Supreme Court  ruled in favor of gay marriage in two cases, the first such cases since they last looked at it 10 years before.

So far, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow gays and lesbians to marry including New Jersey which joined the group on October 21, 2013.

The issue has been contentious in those states where, so far, gay marriage has not been legalized, although there are civil union laws in some states.   Now, about 75% of the population lives in places where gay marriage is legal.

Gay marriage also is a cause for debate by many religions in the US and around the world. The Episcopal church has had a wrenching controversy about gay marriage, and their ruling, which allows such ceremonies in states where it is legal, has caused members and parishes to leave the church.

The United Methodist Church has been discussing changing its policies. Many Fortune 500 corporations have given support to the gay marriage movement. Public opinion has been changing rapidly in that direction as well, and President Obama has reversed himself on the subject. Now over 50% of citizens polled across the country support gay marriage.

Currently the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments regarding whether same sex marriage is a a right under the 14th amendment regarding equal protection under the laws. That ruling will be issued in June.*

Ocean Grove received state-wide and national attention over the 2007 Pavilion controversy. The Camp Meeting Association had refused to let a lesbian couple have a civil union ceremony in the Boardwalk Pavilion, and later the State of New Jersey ruled the CMA guilty of discrimination. It resulted in the formation of a gay rights organization in the Grove (Ocean Grove United.)

But the brouhaha here was not about civil unions per se, nor did it have anything to do with gay marriage.   It wasn’t even about the tenets of the Methodist Church to ban gay unions and marriages in their churches. Instead it was about discrimination in that one building.

The Boardwalk Pavilion was judged to be a public place, so turning the gay couple away on religious grounds was ruled discriminatory by the State.  And this event in Ocean Grove became part of the fabric of the gay rights movement in New Jersey.

Some wondered whether the Grove would get a reputation as being an anti-gay town and if our town would become a lightening rod for gay issues which might erupt with any local provocation such as the 2013 refusal of the Asbury Park Council to support the OG FEMA appeal.  That refusal was based on the views of some Asbury councilmen who connected the Pavilion matter to their decision to support Ocean Grove or not with the FEMA appeal, and they chose not.  (Subsequently they wisely changed their minds.)

In 2012, when Kirk Cameron came to speak about marriage in the Great Auditorium, there was a demonstration involving perhaps 200 people who protested his appearance because of anti-gay rhetoric which he had expressed elsewhere. The event resulted in a great deal of publicity, even though no actual anti-gay rhetoric on his part occurred then in the Grove.

In July 2013, when Mike Huckabee came to preside at Sunday services in the Great Auditorium, a meeting was held to discuss free speech in the Grove. In attendance were officials of the Camp Meeting and of Ocean Grove United. Just the fact of such a meeting points up how sensitive these issues can be in this town.

Ocean Grove is a unique village, not only because of the significant presence of a religious-based group that follows the tenets of the Methodist Church, but also because of a relatively large gay community living here.

It is fundamentally a tolerant town, but because of past experiences as outlined above, we need to keep our eyes on LGBTQ issues and try to prevent any more brush fires from igniting the whole forest.

The recent initiative of working together for the good of the town sprang from a natural disaster—Superstorm Sandy (2012.)     It created a model for everyone in the Grove to continue this neighborly attitude where everyone works for the common good.

And besides, any issue which is important to a significant number of Grovers should attract the attention of the rest of us.

 

2020 Update:

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that same sex marriage be legalized in all states.*

The United Methodist Church has 13 million members worldwide.  They have been struggling for over 50 years with concerns surrounding the issues of marriage equality and gay clergy.

Now, the Church is on the threshold of dividing into two branches over these controversies by forming a splinter group—a “traditionalist” Methodist denomination.

Evidently, the stage is set for the two-Church solution to become policy at a meeting in May to be attended by Church officials from all over the world including about 30% from Africa. About 55% are American.

We haven’t heard of any official notice from the OGCMA regarding which group it will associate with, but our sources tell us that the CMA will retain its past “traditional” approach in these matters.

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is not a church, but it has formed an affiliated  Ocean Grove Church which will be meeting at St. Paul’s in the off-season and at the beach in season.  We  understand that the new church will have a “brick and mortar” location on Embury Avenue, but no details have been announced.

We all remember the controversies which surfaced in 2007.  Those wounds could be easily reopened without vigilance in the Grove.

So this topic regarding the split is of interest to many of us who live here and those from out of town who also care.  After Sandy, Blogfinger received  25,000 visits in one day from all over the world, so we do know that there are many who care about Ocean Grove.

Here is a link to a very good update on this topic.  It seems to be a fair presentation by VOX an on-line news site, although VOX is generally a left leaning source.

As usual, comments are welcome here on Blogfinger.

www.vox.com/identities/2020/1/7/21051757/methodist-church-split-lgbtq-same-sex-marriage

 

 

BLOSSOM DEARIE:

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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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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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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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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 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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