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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove parking problems’ Category

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.”

 

 

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Mary's Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

Mary’s Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

To the Editor:

As they used to say in Star Trek:  “Space— the final frontier” But here in Ocean Grove it is parking spaces—-the final frontier :

In Ocean Grove it always comes down to parking and land usage and abuses. On our block on Main and Beach, The Henry Richard Inn is now being remodeled and converted into a single family home. Along Main Avenue, Mary’s place is now chock-full of volunteers’ cars and resident cars.

Yes, even after Labor Day, we can look west down the block and see no spots available on the south side of the street and some have even migrated onto Beach Avenue, making it a bit more challenging for the folks on Beach to find spaces in front of their own condo. So, while we have lost the Henry Richard’s parking challenges in the summer, we are now looking at folks finding spaces when we ordinarily could park without a single thought after Labor Day.

If we add to this the family on Main next to the old Henry Richard, we are now getting one or two of their fleet of cars now parking on Beach to add to our agita. Of course, that is the family and house that at time commandeers more than five or six spots on the south side of Main. The ritual of pulling out cars and replacing the space with motor bikes and schoolers is most entertaining on a summer’s day.

Ocean Grove has always been described as a “quirky” place. The owners of Mary’s Place along Main on the south side I do not think ever contacted or considered their new neighbors to be; instead, we saw the full use of those two building lots right to the very edge of the property lines.

It’s a done deal for a good cause, but those who objected to the aggressive use of that property were characterized as heartless and uncaring, and so it goes in Ocean Grove. Neighbors were worried about trucks, but what has happened is that parking in the usual Ocean Grove way has become a real issue for many.

All this, while there are spots galore on the north side in front of the convent and across the street in front of the Majestic, After all it is autumn in Ocean Grove and the streets are emptier as usual, but somehow, the big house that is Mary’s Place continues to add to our parking woes.

When will we get “residential” parking permits for people who pay taxes in Neptune and who pay the outrageous ground rents to a non-profit authority?

JESSE

Ocean Grove, N.J. Sept. 26, 2016.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:    Below is a quote  from our article about Mary’s Place dated September 19, 2014:

“When people walk by Mary’s Place, they won’t admire its beauty; instead they will ask, “Who was responsible for allowing this out-of-place building to be constructed in this quaint, historic, residential town? ” They will ask why two fine Victorian single family houses were not placed there instead, like we now have on the Pathway. And they will see the parking problems and congestion due to the 10 clients staying there, the staff who will be needed to maintain the place, the visitors, and the rest of the support team who teach yoga, etc. Then there will be the deliveries, laundry trucks, garbage pickups, etc.”

And yes, we did get hate mail  over our opposition to the Mary’s Place zoning decisions.  But we also received support from commenters to that editorial.

Here is a link to that 2014 piece:

https://blogfinger.net/2014/09/19/marys-controversy-whats-next/

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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The Warrington's condition has been deteriorating. Photo by concerned neighbor. 9/16 © Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington’s condition has been deteriorating. Note the graffiti. Photo by Concerned Neighbor. 7/1/16. © Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington: Squatters, drug users and other upstanding citizens have been seen in the building. Note the graffiiti. Photo by concerned neighbor 9/16. Special to Blogfinger

The Warrington: Squatters, drug users and other upstanding citizens have been seen in the building. Note the graffiti. Photo by Concerned Neighbor, 7/1/16. Special to Blogfinger.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

“Jack Ancona, LLC, aka the Warrington Hotel ” intends to go ahead with plans to remodel this former rest home into a high-end boutique hotel overlooking Wesley Lake.  Supposedly it will have 16 rooms.  The owner of the building, which is next to the site of the former Park View Inn, has received site plan approval from the Township.  At the last Committee meeting, the owner was granted approval to “build and locate an innkeeper’s suite in the basement.”  Such a structure is prohibited by ordinance, but the Zoning Board of Adjustment has  permitted this,  and so has the Township. The Township has executed a Developers Agreement with “Jack Ancona LLC” to make sure that the work is done properly.  But Developers Agreements are not executed until all other approvals have been recorded.

We will look into those approvals, including concerns about the 3 lots that are included in the Warrington’s plans.  The Warrington used to be shown on the tax map as existing on one lot:  Block 101, Lot 2.

Meanwhile the building is in poor condition.  Sawbucks Construction Co. has been sending one or two workers into the building daily  for the last 4-6 weeks, and the neighbors have noted daily hammering. No one seems to know what those workers are doing inside. They wonder if building permits were granted for this work.  Such permits should be openly posted at the site.

The Neptune Township Police Dept has been “exceptional” according to a neighbor in responding quickly to calls to deal with incursions at the site.  Graffiti has been cleared from the building, and, according to nearby residents,  the contractor has taken down shrubbery on the lakeside, and that is supposed to be illegal in a Green Acres location, which Lake Avenue is said to be.

As usual, due to lack of transparency, the neighbors on Seaview Avenue are complaining that they do not have enough information regarding the future of the site.  They worry that the hotel, which will not have on-site parking, will worsen an already difficult parking situation.  Many people in that vicinity are year-round residents, and they already often have trouble with parking, 12 months of the year.   One resident estimates that at least 10% of those who park there are headed to Asbury.  They also are worried about the garbage disposal from the hotel.  How will that be accomplished?

The owner has told some of them that all guests will park off-site somewhere and then be offered transportation back to the hotel.  Has such a shuttle plan been approved? This sounds potentially  like an innovative solution, but will it work and satisfy those high end customers, and where will they park those cars?  And will those well-to-do guests return after experiencing the OG parking life?

Locals are also worried because the hotel front is on Lake Avenue, a walkway, and they were told that the hotel has been granted an  access pathway between the buildings to reach the Lake side of the hotel from Seaview, but that no garbage, deliveries,  or other non-personal items can be moved via that passageway—-it would be just for guests and their luggage.    We have no details regarding these elements.

It is said that a room in that luxury hotel might cost up to $300.00 per night.  Can someone want to stay there when there is inconvenient parking and when there is no alcohol inside?  And what about parking for visitors that the guests attract? And how about the Asbury Hotel, a boutique hotel just a few blocks away in A. Park?

More details should be provided to the public.  How will this hotel impact the quality of life for that community?

Finally, we have reported on speculation that the Township would like to turn that part of Lake Avenue into a road for cars.  There is widespread anticipatory opposition to that idea.  See our recent articles about whether Lake Avenue is a road or a street. If it is not, then no road could be built there. It would be illegal.

See our forthcoming piece about the 4 lot subdivision which is the site of the former Park View Inn on Seaview, next door to the Warrington. There are some related issues.

Here is a link to a related article dated March, 2015 on BF:

https://blogfinger.net/2015/03/18/just-wondering-about-the-warrington-hotel/

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III    from The Aviator

 

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Here's a cure: privatize a public street and make it a private parking lot  (Embury Arms) Whitfield Avenue near Heck.

Here’s a cure: privatize a public street and make it a private parking lot (Embury Arms) Whitfield Avenue near Heck.

Read this BF link to find out about this:

https://blogfinger.net/2015/09/24/embury-arms-condominiums-how-did-that-fiasco-come-about/

 

Another cure:  Build a two car garage  (this one is on Whitfield near Abbott)  Blogfinger photo

Another cure: Build a two car garage (this one is on Whitfield near Abbott) Blogfinger photo

 

Another cure for the parking blues: Get a smaller car.  Blogfinger photo on Heck Avenue. ©

Another cure for the parking blues: Get a smaller car. Blogfinger photo on Heck Avenue. ©

BEATLES

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Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in.

Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

At the June 13, 2016  Township Committee meeting, there was this item in the minutes about a man who went to the microphone for his 5 minutes in front of the Town fourfathers and one mother:

“Ray DeFaria, 12 New York Avenue, applauded the Committee for their thoroughness in addressing some issues with the parking. He stated Ocean Grove’s history is a Christian retreat and people come from all over and it is buyer beware when you come in.

“He stated people come in to worship and it is a form of discrimination if you are going to charge people to come in to church. He stated the impact in Ocean Grove is minimal and the composite of Ocean Grove has changed and everyone has cars. He stated there should be planning when contemplating moving into Ocean Grove.”

Editor’s note:  It isn’t exactly clear as to what Ray is saying, but it does illustrate that his is one of a number of factions in town which have their own unique agendas regarding parking. That, of course, will complicate the work of the new Parking Task Force which has members from the CMA, the Police Dept, the Township Comedy, the Engineering Dept., the Chamber of Commercials, The Home Groaners Assoc., and the public at large  (no reference to the overweight.)

This past July 4 and during Bridgefest, we had a state of crowding where every available parking space in town seemed to be taken. Only someone leaving to go to the hospital with a cardiac arrest would have moved their car.  Prospective parkers were driving around aimlessly, wild-eyed, and with a high degree of frustration.

You may recall that last year, the mayor of Belmar had to close his town during a seafood festival because of traffic overload.  This is what he said, “They would have come into town driving their car with no place to park, no place really to drive and they probably would not have made either the beach or the seafood festival anyway,” he told NBC 4 New York. Sound familiar?

Well now we know that Ocean Grove sometimes reaches capacity, and it often comes close. And when that happens, the lives of those who live here are adversely affected.

So the current idea that we can solve the parking problems in Ocean Grove by appointing  a task force which will try to re-shuffle the deck in a variety of ways, will not work,  especially whenever the number of cars becomes nearly the same as  the number of spaces, and that is not unusual.  And even if there are enough spaces for each car wanting to park, the sheer aggravation and stress  of trying to find a space is toxic to the lifestyles of residents in the Grove.   And even if it is just on weekends from  May through October, that is a substantial per cent of the time when residents have to wrestle with parking issues.

This is what an OG nurse had to say yesterday: “When I work 14 hours I am not happy about leaving my car at the hospital and paying for a cab home, let alone watching my 91 year old neighbor who leaves to visit his wife at Manor by the Sea and ends up walking home with his walker. As a native born Grover, I don’t expect a space in front of my house, but the cars and occupancy now associated with summer rentals have gotten out of control.”

As much as I, a homeowner, want  a reserved space sticker, that plan will cause the number of spaces for those without stickers to decline.  If renters are given stickers, as some have suggested, that plan will be hopeless.   If we remove dumpsters and pods, it will create a trivial number of extra spaces.

And trying to reduce demand by closing the bridges to AP will not help; nor will parking meters.  Hiring a parking engineer won’t work because he has nothing to work with.

So, we have a fixed number of spaces, and according to the laws of physics,  two cars  cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  On top of that, Ocean Grove is becoming more popular each year, so the numbers of cars continue to rise, and unlike other popular Shore towns, we cannot seek refuge in our garages and driveways, so it is tougher here.

Therefore, given the conflicting factions and the near capacity parking availability,  the Task Force is essentially doomed in its mission except for some cosmetic changes,  and they might as well return to their usual state of denial regarding the real causes of the mess.

The inevitable conclusion is that we now need a new paradigm for the town of Ocean Grove.

The solution  is to recognize that we have reached a turning point in this town:  supersaturation —-more cars than spaces.  Even though that state doesn’t always exist, parking difficulties happen often enough to cause distress for residents and it is always hanging over our heads like a black cloud that comes and goes.  Something extraordinary needs to be done instead of the usual talk therapy:

Mayor McMillan should immediately declare that all future attempts to increase density will be  rejected out of hand, and that we will never allow another condominium  (such as #60 Main Avenue) or Mary’s-sort-of-Place to be built here without off-street parking, something which we can’t have, so just re-zone the entire town to single family Victorian houses, with no exceptions,  except for the North End which should be re-zoned for a public park.  Since the CMA has waited too long and dithered mindlessly for years, to the detriment of the town, now the zoning should say that they can only have  a park. Maybe Green Acres will pay for it.  It is the will of the people who pay the taxes and who live here.

Since we will not have any new parking spaces, count the number of current spaces in the Grove, post traffic directors at the two entrances, and only allow that number in, minus 300 for wiggle room, with residents and their friends having priority.  Make the rest wait in a line until a space opens up.  This will help the lifestyles of those who actually live in this town by creating some breathing room.      And we should give a discount on beach badges to anyone who walks or bikes into the Grove.

It won’t work?  OK, use the idea of supersaturation  (too many cars)  and come up with something else that recognizes the law of supply and demand and places the residents of the Grove at the top of the priority list.

If parking lots are offered at nearby schools on weekends and then tourists get bused  into town, each of those will pay for parking.  This will ease the car numbers to some extent.

And then we should allow only three mega-events per year because most of those smother and  devour the town—taking much without giving much back.   There would be one flea market and a craft market. The CMA has control over the number of mega-events on the Pathway.

The third mega-event which must be allowed  is the 4th of July parade.  That is the only huge event in OG which is for everyone—it brings happiness, laughter, entertainment, culture, knowledge, cheers for volunteers,  and a grand sense of community for all.  It is a gift which keeps on giving.   We will suffer with the parking for July 4, but buses and out of town parking must be provided.

All other mega-events should be disqualified for bringing nothing to town other than self interest and smothering crowds of cars and people.  The CMA’s large events like Bridgefest are special cases and must be considered separately.

And as for Ray DeFaria’s plea,  we all have our favorite causes, and if the Grove ever has pay-to- park, then it would be discriminatory to charge some but not charge others.

So we must, as stated before, ask the question, “Whom is the town for?”  Let the discussion begin.

BOBBY DARIN

“Somewhere beyond the sea
She’s there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I’d go sailing…..because I can’t give up my parking spot in Ocean Grove.”

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