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Fletcher Lake in Ocean Grove.  Part of the “community?” Click to enlarge and see what’s at stake when Ocean Grove policy is commandeered by the CMA and the Township. How about the citizens?    Paul Goldfinger photo.  ©

 

Paul Goldfinger. Editor Blogfinger.net

This post from 2018  deconstructs a portion of a  CMA letter about permit parking which revealed a great deal about how they feel about this town.    Here it is again because of our recent discussions on this subject.  Note the comments.

The quote below is from Rev. John DiGiamberardino’s statement to the Neptune Township Committee at their regular meeting on Monday, August 14, 2017, in the Municipal Building. He is the COO of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.:

“The OGCMA, founder of the community, has existed for 148 years as the leading organization and tax payer in Ocean Grove seeking the good of the community, residents, and visitors.”

The context of his statement was to object vigorously against the idea of permit parking for OG citizens and to threaten a law suit if the CMA’s demands are not met.

But if you read the CMA quote above carefully, you will see that we need to clarify some of his words and definitions. Words have meaning, and I assume that the Reverend wants us to understand his meaning.

a.  “The OGCMA, founder of the community…..”    What does “community” mean?  He refers to the “community” as being separate from “residents” when he says that “OGCMA seeks the good of the community, residents and visitors,”  so “community” evidently refers to something other than the citizens who live here.

He introduces the OGCMA as the “founder of the community” as if that has some special significance in terms of governance  in this town in 2017.  When the State Supreme Court turned  Ocean Grove over to Neptune in 1980, that left the CMA as being just another group or entity in OG with no legal special influence in the decisions of the Neptune government, such as what to do about parking.

b. “ The leading organization..” Does this mean the most important organization in town?  Does he claim special entitlement because of being “the leading organization?”

c. “The leading taxpayer” seems to refer to the OG entity which  pays the most tax money to Neptune Township. Does he mention this because those who pay the most taxes deserve the most attention or the most influence?     We have residents in this town who pay no property taxes.  Do they have no influence?

d. “148 years”  Does he mention this because he wants to teach us some history or does it mean that the oldest organization in town deserves some special consideration?    Otherwise, why do we need that number?

e.  ” The CMA is seeking the good of the community, residents, and visitors.”  In order to understand this claim,  we need to know the definition of “good.”  It seems to be condescending for the CMA to know what “good” we residents need, and then to demand public policy based on that unique knowledge.

My guess is that the CMA thinks that it has some special advantage over the rest of us that entitles it to apply its  unique influence in getting the Township to make decisions in its favor, such as re-zoning the North End and refusing to consider a permit parking plan.

The CMA threatens a lawsuit over this.  If they think that they are  more important than any other constituency in town, and if the Township agrees with that, then that seems like a potential Constitutional violation  if laws are passed in their favor.  (“Equal justice under the law.”)

Are we wrong?  Are we totally misconstruing what Rev. John said in that statement?   What do you think this means?

 

Written August 18, 2017,  by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

 

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Whitefield Avenue runs down the middle of Embury Arms providing private parking spaces. Blogfinger photo. 9/22/15 © Whitefield Avenue runs down the middle of Embury Arms, oriented north and south,  providing private parking spaces. Blogfinger.net  photograph. 9/22/15 ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

Here is a re-post of part I of our research about the Embury Arms Condominiums posted in September of 2015. Time to re-read it now in 2020.  The dots between it and the current North End Plan can be connected.

Recently a reader wondered about the Embury Arms condominiums. Her concern came about in the midst of our real-time discussions of the North End Project and Mary’s Place zoning. She asked how that large condo project came about and whether there were issues then similar to the ones that we have been considering recently.

Embury Arms condominiums on Whitefield Avenue consist of 112 units. It was built in the 1980’s. Old OG newspaper reports say that the CMA approved the project in 1978, and then the ground breaking ceremony was held in 1980.  Those news reports never mention approvals by Neptune Twp. nor do they mention any concerns about historic preservation.  They do talk about energy conservation measures that won awards for the developer.

These condos are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments within four large 3 story buildings. The complex sits in the middle of the Grove, surrounded by Benson, Delaware, Heck and Abbott Avenues. Embury and Webb Avenues stop short as they go west to Delaware Avenue, right at the border of the Embury Arms  condos, and Whitefield Avenue goes straight through the middle, with private parking spaces on the perimeter of a public street.

Ocean Grove Times, August 25, 1978. Ocean Grove Times, August 25, 1978.

An ad in a 1982 local newspaper  describes “authentic Victorian designs.”  The apartments were starting at $49,900.00.

These are the Embury Arms buildings as seen from the Delaware Avenue side. Blogfinger photo/ © These are the Embury Arms buildings as seen from the Delaware Avenue side. Blogfinger photo/ ©

The official 2015 CMA summer guidebook map shows Webb and Embury going straight through  to Lawrence Avenue, but they do not and they never did because west of Delaware, where Embury Arms now sits, there were stables, used mostly for storage by the Camp Meeting Association. Apparently some of the buildings were rented out for parking, but it was not an area for public parking.

It is not our intention to review the detailed history of this  condo project, but anyone walking by has to wonder how the heck the developer got permission to do this distinctly un-Grovian style condominium complex. It not only is contrary to the Master Plan as we know it, but it takes up space that could have been filled with single family Victorian style homes in order to match the appearance of the rest of the Grove.

Embury Arms provides PRIVATE parking by allowing head-on placement of vehicles on Whitefield Avenue that is partly on private property (using the theoretical front yards of those lots) but it also allows the cars to stick out over where the public sidewalks should be. In other words, that parking lot violates the public pedestrian right of way.

 

Note how Note how the sidewalk (pedestrian right of way) ends to allow parked cars to protrude into that right of way.  This is Whitefield Avenue taken by walking from Heck Avenue.  Blogfinger photo ©

Normally the right of way along a public street is 40 feet wide, consisting of the road (auto right of way) and the sidewalks (pedestrian right of way) measured together.

Yes they put some recessed sidewalks there, but that is private property, and public access could theoretically be shut down at any time. The Whitefield Ave. auto right of way is intact for cars driving through, but is not inviting for autos to drive through, and warning signs threaten anyone who would dare park there.

In addition, the project deprived Ocean Grove of many potential public parking spaces if private homes had been built on streets. Instead, all those curb cuts created a giant parking lot. Where else in town is a public street (in this case Whitefield Avenue) used for private parking?

The property was originally used for stables, so no private homes were demolished to make room. Undoubtedly the CMA, the Township, and the developer were in collusion to create this massive mistake, but the history of the time* indicates that OG was not as proactive in historic preservation then. It was a time when governance here was in a state of flux**, and the public did not protest much.  There was a suit that delayed completion, but eventually the Embury Arms condominiums were finished.   At least the condo developer of Embury Arms provided parking, even though the law was stretched to make that happen.

We have no information as to how the zoning was finessed to allow this, nor do we know what the Planning Board had to say. At any rate, it is a done deal, and nothing can be done about it at this point.

It is interesting that there is an earlier precedent.  In 1964, across from Days, a large hotel burned down, and in its place rose the Arlington Court Co-op.  consisting of one bedroom apartments for which no mortgages were allowed.   This was a new idea for the Grove, and evidently no one cared that single family Victorian homes were not built.  The CMA was in charge then and they must have supported the idea.   (? sound familiar)

However, now we are in a position to do something about the largest condominium development in the history of Ocean Grove—the North End Redevelopment Project.  But there is concern that public apathy will once again allow a wrong-headed condo project to go ahead. We have seen this illegal process before.  If no one takes  legal action when work begins or sooner, then, as with other projects in town, nothing can be done after the fact.

The CMA and the Township are counting on public inaction.  Will we let them do it again?

CREDITS:

Ted Bell*, Ocean Grove historian

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger researcher

Tom Constantino, Blogfinger researcher

** In 1980, governance of Ocean Grove was turned over to Neptune Township by the NJ Supreme Court. That transition must have taken years to work out, but the Embury Arms project took hold during that delicate time.

 

Here is a link to Part II of this Embury Arms historical review.

 

Embury Arms Part II. Blogfinger.net

 

NANCY WILSON  “Please do it again.”

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Check the flier at Stoke’s feet. He evidently supports resident permit parking in the Grove. Blogfinger action photo. Click to read the flier. © 7/13/17

In my mind I see this lady with a colorful umbrella and a New Orleans jazz band marching behind her as she goes round and round around Stokes’ statue.  The band would play  “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” over and over, with a wide variety of lyrics.

Sometimes “hot ” lyrics would be substituted in New Orleans such as:

“I used to have a playmate

“Who would walk and talk with me

“But since she got religion

“She’s  scared the c*** outta me.”

The New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band:

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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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Delaware Avenue, south of Main.  Parallel parking is an adventure. Click to Seymour. Blogfinger photo 8/19/17 ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor at Blogfinger.net.    Articles about parking never grow old on Blogfinger. They tap into the fabric of life in the Grove, and they bring the residential community to the surface for a gasp of fresh ocean air:

 

Summer, 2017:

This photo is at Delaware Avenue, just south of Main Avenue. Ironically, there is a funeral home to the right. This street here is very narrow, as are many OG streets.  It’s a sunny Saturday in August, and there is gridlock. About 60 seconds before this photo was taken that parking spot was vacated.  The prior occupant pulled out of the space very slowly.

30 seconds after that, this vehicle showed up.  There was room for parking, but parallel parking in a place like that always feels as if you would hit the car on the other side. You have to have faith in the Lord that you will not do so, and almost always you don’t. This driver must have been sweating this experience.  Behind his car is another car waiting.

But why should parking be a frightening experience and why do we allow our town to overflow with cars—many more than there are spaces?

NJ.com  June 2016:  The Neptune mayor was interviewed about OG parking.  “We have to take a look at the proposals that do what’s best for the greater good,” McMillan said.  Bull!!

This is double talk for “we are not going to seriously look at the OGHOA permit parking proposal.”  This also is fake news because he doesn’t tell us what “greater good” means.  He certainly isn’t giving the residents any advantage.

Parking should not be an absolute democracy.  Permit parking works in many other towns which recognize that their residents are special and need assistance. That is the greater good!    The objections mentioned by the CMA earlier this week (Aug. 2017 ) are bogus.

In that 2016 NJ.com interview, McMillan said, “There’s no easy solution to the parking issue, and the best way to address it is to let the political process play out.”  Is he serious??  We cannot trust the “political process”in Neptune.   Ask them what happened to the revised  HPC guidelines——MIA.

And he said, “We’re not going to run away from the problem.”   More gobbledygook!  Look what happened over the ensuing year—-nothing but poppycock. Our local government specializes in poppycock and they should hang a banner to that effect in front of the Mother Ship.

And now, 2017, Mayor Brantley tells the Coaster  (but not the citizens of OG) that permit parking is dead.

Consider Belmar:  In 2015 they closed down the entire town when the number of cars exceeded the number of spaces during a seafood festival.  But the official Belmar stance on parking, as stated by their mayor, is that they place the interests of their residents first.

Their online site says,  “Belmar’s leadership and citizenry always understood that lack of parking is a serious problem here and that increases in the availability of parking must accompany any increased development.”

Do you think the Neptune leadership ever had this thought in mind when it approved condos without parking?

Paul Goldfinger Editor @Blogfinger.net

MARLENE DIETRICH.  She sings this to the Neptune Committee on behalf of OG residents:

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The siren call of the Asburian night life.. Paul Goldfinger photo of the AP skyline across Wesley Lake. ©

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors at Blogfinger.net

Scene:  It is a stifling peak-season sunny July Saturday afternoon. The Grove is crowded and there is nary a parking space except for one across from where we are standing.

Eileen and I are gardening on the Delaware Ave. side of our house.  A car pulls into that sole remaining space, and a young man emerges. He looks around and then walks over to us.

He:  Can I park here?

We: Yes, but be sure you are close to the curb.

He:  Checking his tires. “I work at the Brick Wall in Asbury, and someone told me that I can park in Ocean Grove for free.”

We: It’s not only the workers who park here, but your customers as well, and we’re not happy with the idea.

He:  Oh….I’m sorry.

We: No need to apologize.  It is legal for you to park here.

He:  I’ve been paying over $100.00 week to park for work.

We: Wow.  (We felt bad for him….he obviously is a “working stiff.”)

He:  Well, thank you.

We:  It’s OK.   Bye.

He:   Smiles and heads towards the New Jersey Avenue Bridge across Wesley Lake to A. Park.

 

We:  We agree that A. Park is exploiting their workers by neither providing parking or paying for parking.  $100.00 is a lot for this worker. We should feel compassion for these young people, but this is Asbury’s problem to solve, and it is a reasonable concern for Grovers.

The AP City Council refused a plea from Neptune to help us with this parking situation which is their fault, and now they demand that we open our  bridge-gates.

That is Chutzpah!

 

BILLY ECKSTINE:

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Internet photo

In the July 18, 2019 issue of the Coaster, there is this “news” item on the front page:

“Officials are cracking down in Ocean Grove on those who try to save parking spaces by placing orange cones in front of their homes.   Although there is not an ordinance regulating cones, there is a policy in place prohibiting obstruction of parking spaces.”

Blogfinger has checked with a high ranking Neptune PD official who tells us that police are enforcing their rules on this in the same way that they always have—there is no “crackdown.”

Also the rule is enforced even if the violation is not in front of one’s house.

The rule says that no objects may be left at the curb other than a parked vehicle. If someone does try to save a parking space with a cone, a garbage pail, or anything else, a passing police officer will issue a ticket.

A garbage pail may be left at the curb only on the day of garbage pickup.   In a marginal case, the officer will decide.

As with Bridgegate, the Coaster has decided to act as if this is a unique news story, but in  both instances, Blogfinger has covered these matters on quite a few occasion  over the years.

In July 2017, we posted a piece on this very subject.   It gives quite a bit of information:

2017 Blogfinger article on saving spaces

Another BF 2017 piece on this topic looks at the ethics.

Within that top 2017 post, there is a 2013 link, and that post had 35 comments!   So saving spaces is a hot (intermittently) topic.

Recently I spoke to two neighbors about the common practice of arranging cars creatively so that a space could materialize when a friend, relative, spouse shows up.

In both cases, these Grovers think that is unethical.

But I have consistently believed that the Township should do something  (permit parking) to give the residents a leg up in the quest for parking spaces. In the absence of such legislation, then I see nothing wrong for residents to give themselves a slight edge in the parking wars.

Shouldn’t a resident have a better chance for a space than some out-of-towner who is coming to take pictures of our houses  or visiting the shlock-market on the Pathway while parking for free and adding to the congestion?

But, to be clear, I don’t usually do it, but if a neighbor offers to move his car to make room for mine, I will accept.

LADY ANTEBELLUM:

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From Stephen Goldfinger.  October, 2018:

 

In a local physical rehabilitation center. Two rehab therapists talking about the end of summer:

 

Female rehab therapist 1: You know, I stopped going to my beach this summer.

Female rehab therapist 2: What beach?

Female rehab therapist 1: My local beach in Long Branch. It’s ridiculous. They charge you by the hour to park your car. You want to lay out from ten to six, it’ll cost you almost twenty bucks! Forget that.

Female rehab therapist 2: So you mean you just stopped going to the beach?

Female rehab therapist 1: No, I went to Ocean Grove instead. They’ve got free parking, the beach is nicer, and plus they’ve got all those cute stores.

Female rehab therapist 2: Hey, that’s a good idea. I’ll have to remember that next summer.

 

Going to the OG beach free of all parking worries. Paul Goldfinger from our “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” series. 2015 ©

 

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have free parking?”

THE BEACH BOYS:

 

 

 

 

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Hi Mom!     Bamboozle attracted 80,000 people to A. Park in 2012.  Many crowded the rentals in OG.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor. Blogfinger.net

Did you ever hear certain Grovers belittle the parking complaints of residents in this way?   I have, and it is a cliché  chosen to intimidate residents and trivialize the effects of parking distress on their quality of life.   Such talk often emanates from the mouths of realtors and speculators who want to build condos, sell houses, and rent stores. And they want to minimize the parking problems here to naive prospective buyers and renters.

Here is a quote from a BF parking article last October, 2017.   “Jack Green said on Facebook that there are only about 18 days at peak season when there is trouble parking.” 

The truth is that there are many 3-day weekends and weekdays each summer and also on some spring and fall weekends where the number of cars exceeds the spaces in the Grove. The “season” actually extends from May through October.

When glut happens, there are  issues that  adversely affect those who live in town and ironically pay real estate taxes, one way or another.  Here is a link to our article regarding the “Parking Derangement Syndrome” first described at the Blogfinger Offshore School of Medicine in Ocean Grove:

Parking derangement syndrome

Did you happen to notice the syndrome during the Giant September Flea Market which just happened? The F bombs were flying around the Pathway and landing on the two Norms’ porches. This problem is about more than parking.  Crazed drivers were circling our streets looking for a space.  They were frustrated, wild-eyed, hot, and angry.    They were lured by advertisements promising a good time. (Fake news and false advertising) None of the organizers provided any parking assistance (such as shuttles.)    If a parking space were to appear, its life expectancy was averaging 15 seconds or less.

This is no way to live; I don’t care if it is “only” 50 days each year.

Consider the email we got today from Rosemary of Ocean Grove:

“Good Morning Paul:
I just learned that 20,000 attendees are expected for the inaugural Sea Hear Now Festival  (art, music and surfing) in neighboring Asbury Park on the weekend of September 29 and 30)  Much of the available parking near the boardwalk was acquired by the promoters from the city.  Not sure if this is to provide parking for attendees or to have space to stage.  AP will also receive $1 from each ticket sold.  
I assume we Grovers will be competing for spaces over here in Ocean Grove as the spillover would appear inevitable.  Just when we were beginning to enjoy the relative quiet of the post season.
Best,
Rosemary
Editor’s note:  Thanks Rosemary.   Not only is the Camp Meeting Association of Ocean Grove striving to have more tourist weekends year round, so is A. Park whose parkers will be inundating the Grove.  The AP crowd won’t be happy until every weekend  in their city is filled with tourist lures.
And, if the North End extravaganza eventually gets built here,  there will be yet another source of that sucking sound which draws cars, SUV’s and giant trucks into the Grove adding to air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and culture pollution which we already are experiencing.
My son’s dog Pooja can’t even find a place to poop lately.
The Zombies come by the thousands. Last year a few lurched over to the Grove; this year it is October 6.

2013 Zombies. A. Park. At least 20,000 will come this fall. Paul Goldfinger photo.  Click to enlarge the mob.

* Dictionary.com:

adjective Slang. cockamamie
  1. ridiculous, pointless, or nonsensical: full of wild schemes and cockamamie ideas.

 

SEAN HAYES:

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Fantasy parking garage in OG. Another symptom of OOGPDS.

 

From Linda:

Neptune/CMA clearly missed the boat. Using eminent domain, they could have taken the property from the Jersey Shore Arts Center to Broadway. Then, built a 3 story parking garage with easy access to Route 71. Charge for parking.

Run shuttles to beach and auditorium.

Of course, this paid lot for visitors would  bring in millions of dollars if the visitors were offered no free parking in Ocean Grove, the entire town for resident parking and friends or family of residents (with special passes).

 

Editor’s note:  This sort of idea is nothing new.  Here is a link to a Blogfinger post from 2014 which has something similar to say, only better:

Parking garage at the Arts Center 2014 BF post

 

“RAY CHARLES AND NORA JONES:  “Here We Go Again”

 

 

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