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Posts Tagged ‘Awaiting development: the North End’

Ocean Grove. 2011 © Paul Goldfinger photograph.  Yellow warning flag is flying.

“Something familiar,

Something peculiar,

Something for everyone:

A comedy tonight!

 

 

“New complications,

Nothing portentous or polite;

Tragedy tomorrow,

Comedy tonight!”

*Stephen Sondheim:  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

 

 

Raise the curtain at the Neptune Theater of the Absurd.  The stage is set for a tragedy:

Jack Bredin attended the Township Comedy’s meeting last night, and his conclusion is, “Ocean Grove is being sold down the river.”

After hearing OG’s  Carol Rizzo, the 2019  Neptune Township Mayor, effusively praise the “new” North End Plan, Jack sank down in his chair—He says that all hope seems to be lost as this show unfolds with its final acts waiting in the wings.

This drama about the historic town of Ocean Grove is now positioned to move forward in a direction that will be accepted by all the power players, leaving the residents of the Grove hung out to dry.  Once the contractors trucks begin to stir up the dust and clog our respiratory tracts, while creating a nightmare of congestion,  and a cacophony of noise, we will wind up with a large scale version of the Greek Temple on Main Avenue—a variation on a theme as the promise of historic small town OG will forever be lost.

And, along with it will be the hopes for a pristine Wesley Lake, now known by  all concerned  as a “retention/detention basin.”

Let’s consider the players in this Greek tragedy known as “The North End Revelopment Plan.”  We have the main actors at Neptune Township along with the Chorus consisting of  the Home Groaners, the Camp Meeting, the Chamber of Commercials, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Board, and The Wesley Lake Commission.

And, providing the backdrop and script for this scandalous performance, there is the main villain of the piece—secretive local developers lurking off stage while pulling on the puppets’ strings.  Here is the cast of characters:

a. The Neptune Township Committee: Mayor Rizzo of Ocean Grove, who has swallowed the Kool Aid,  will lead those Neptuner sheep to unanimously approve the new plan.  She has appointed Committeeman Michael Brantley to take her place as the “Class one” member of the Planning Board.  She has abdicated her key role as the protector of the people at the PB. Brantley is a Neptuner through and through, and he will order the PB to approve the new plan unanimously.

Once upon a time there was a Committeewoman who favored single family zoning at the North End.  Mary Beth Jahn stuck her neck out for the best interests of the people and the town, and she was beheaded by the Monmouth County  and Neptune Democratic Party.

The Neptune Committee is indifferent to the people of Ocean Grove, and one party rule prevents any chance of changing the ending of this tragedy.

b.  The Rule of Law:  Normal procedures regarding land use law have been routinely violated in Neptune, but that crowd, along with their OG allies, does whatever it pleases.  And they are aided and abetted by favoritism offered by key unelected bureaucrats at Town Hall.

c. OG Home Owners Ass.  We don’t know their motives, but this group of turncoats continues to back the developers and Neptuners regarding the North End.  Ken Buckley who is on the HOA Board and the HPC told Jack that they are “backing the Plan.”

d.  Developers: (OGNED)    Most of these people are connected to OG, but despite that, they conspire, whenever possible, to exploit the people of OG for profit.   They are favored at the Mother Ship with zoning manipulations including those that increase congestion and ugliness in town:  Condos, Greek Temple, Mary’s Place, parking  torture, etc.

e. Camp Meeting Association.  They have removed themselves as Redevelopers,but that is just cosmetic.  The President of the the CMA told us publicly that his organization has been involved in negotiations to move the NERP forward. They have control as the land owners, so they are focused on making money.  They seem to have little interest in the OG residents community or the historical designation of the town.

f. Chamber of Commerce:  In many US towns the CC is community minded.  But this crew only cares about two things: profits and tourists.  They never get involved with community issues such as the North End. For them, the commercialized North End Plan will increase their membership as they continue to close Main Avenue for mindless tourist events and crowds.

g.  Historic Preservation Commission:  When they are not hiding under their beds, they are busy being hypocrites and they have stood by while the Neptuners seek to take over their guidelines on behalf of developers and contractors.

h.  Wesley Lake Commission, representing both sides, has stopped trying to clean the Lake and instead they support the Retention/Detention re-naming  in order to allow the Lake to be used to receive  increasing amounts of filthy ground water, thus saving the developers a huge amount of money to fix the ecology of the former “Wesley Lake”

i. The Residents of OG-–Those who envision our historic town as a lovely place with its Victorian architecture, parks, clean Lakes, parking for those who live here, reduction in tourist glut, solving the Asburian invasion, keeping our streets open, nurturing of the community with its kids, families, retirees, diversification, etc. will be the big losers in the North End project.

“Representative government” has failed here, and apathy reigns.   Only a major law suit in Superior Court  or an investigation by the NJ Attorney General could close this show down.

Once the curtain closes on all this, the corruption in OG/Neptune will continue.  Blogfinger will keep reporting the news, but we don’t see an alternative ending to this drama.   Jack says, “Ocean Grove is a door mat;  we’re sunk.”

By Jack Bredin and Paul Goldfinger:  Blogfinger.net.  January 15, 2019.  Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

TONY BENNETT  “Dancing in the Dark”

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The Ocean Grove North End development should be about the lifestyles of the residents, respect for the Master Plan, commitment to the law, improvement of the environment, and defense of the Shore’s beauty.  Paul Goldfinger photo c. 2013. © Blogfinger.net.

 

Looking north from OG. Our North End should contrast with the brightly lit hipster theme  of AP—we should be a believable historic place that emphasizes family life and community. The vacant North End must not become Asbury Park South.. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

 

Summer in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photograph. Defend our lifestyles. ©

 

 

IRIS DeMENT

 

 

 

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Concept plan for the North End. At no time have detailed architectural drawings been submitted. Where are they, Mayor?

Concept plan for the North End. At no time have detailed architectural drawings been submitted. Where are they, Mayor?  . Click to enlarge. Note that Lake Avenue is referred to as a “Waterfront Promenade”  That is a walkway, right?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

According to the Sept.1  Coaster, Neptune Township Mayor Kevin McMillan spoke at an HOA meeting on August 27 regarding the failure of the North End project to progress. He is quoted in the Coaster as saying, “One of the developers has passed away. One major issue is the ground rent situation and its implication to this project.”

He also  said, according to the Coaster,  that the ground rent concern has impacted the ability for Ocean Grove home owners and developers to obtain mortgages.  And that the Neptune Township Attorney Gene Anthony will write an opinion paper on the ground rent issue.

It is our understanding from a local source that no one has been denied a mortgage in town over ground rent concerns.  There is one instance involving the sale of the Carriage Inn on Heck Avenue where a substantial rent increase occurred, but the sale went through anyhow.  No one has heard of a home sale being held up over ground rents—if you know of such a case, please comment below.

The Mayor’s explanation regarding the holdup for the North End project seems to be pretty flimsy.  This project has been held up since 2007, so surely he has more to say on this subject.   As usual, the whole story is never told, and the Mayor is just patronizing us over this issue either because he doesn’t want to reveal the whole truth or he himself is ignorant of the facts.  Transparency is not a strong suit coming from the Neptune Township government.

We invite Mayor McMillan to make a meaningful statement to the citizens of Ocean Grove regarding the North End.  If he does send a statement to us at Blogfinger, we will print every word of it, and then we will get the reactions from the citizens.  Maybe the King can break away from whatever he is doing tonight and send us a nice letter  (Blogfinger @Verizon.net)

RICHARD HARRIS     from Camelot (1982 original London cast album)

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This is Tilly, the poster boy for fun in Asbury Park. But who will be responsible for funny business on the OG side??

This is Tilly, the poster boy for funny business in Asbury Park. But who will be responsible for funny business on the OG side of the divide ??

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

On October 14, 2012, Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn commented on Blogfinger regarding a question raised by a Grover about the North End Redevelopment Plan. That Grover asked, “Who are the principals in the WAVE developers organization besides Mr. Gannon?”  WAVE is the co-redeveloper for NERP along with the OG Camp Meeting Association.

Mary Beth Jahn responded on Blogfinger  with this answer: “This is not the answer you want, but there is no legal requirement for the principals of the LLC to be disclosed. It is up to the owner and developer to decide whether to disclose this information as an act of good faith toward the community. The principals of the LLC are not listed in the organization papers in Trenton.

“The Township Committee could require this information to be disclosed to us as a condition of the agreement if we feel it is relevant, particularly if we feel it relates to ensuring whether the developer has the financial means to construct and complete the project on time and on budget, but they also have the right to request that the list of principals be kept confidential.”

Ms. Jahn also had plenty more to say about NERP and she promised to stop that project. More about her later, because she currently is the Mayor—the most powerful (theoretically) among the five person Neptune Twp. Committee.

And, you should recall, that Ms. Jahn was named to be one of the two Committee members on the NERP negotiating team, along with Mayor (at that time) Randy Bishop. Technically she still is a member of that team, but she did not attend a recent important meeting involving the Township and WAVE.

So, with that background, let’s consider what happened two days ago at the Committee meeting of June 22, 2015.   An Ocean Grover, Jack Bredin, waited patiently for the three hour discussion about Shark River dredging sludge to conclude.   Then he went to the microphone for his 5 minute opportunity to speak to the Committee. You might recall that the last time he went to the microphone, he was forcibly ejected by the Mayor for exercising his free speech rights.

This time he asked Mayor Jahn, “Are you still a member of the negotiating committee for NERP?”

She said “Yes.”

Then he asked, “Who are the members of WAVE?”

The Mayor did not answer him, but someone from the OGHOA said, (out of order) “We know because we put in an OPRA request.”   But the OGHOA member did not divulge that information, nor did the Mayor.

Then Jack asked, “Do we have an official map of the town?” He asked that because an official map would be essential to make changes to the NERP, and the Township tax map would not do.  A Committee member then turned to Gene Anthony, the Twp. Attorney, and asked him to look into the map question.

In the end, Jack had to sit down without having two of his three questions answered by the Mayor.

The reason that the Mayor should tell the public about the WAVE principles is that NERP is a public project under the watch of the Committee. Shouldn’t the Committee know whom they are doing business with?   Shouldn’t the public know that? Are there any conflicts of interest going on? Did WAVE post the 10% good faith deposit required in deals like this and did WAVE disclose its finances to prove that it could handle the NERP?

And there are more questions about WAVE: We know that WAVE was chosen by the Camp Meeting Association, but did the Township Committee vette WAVE back in 2007 after the Planning Board approved the “Area in need of re-development” designation?  The Committee should have done so.   Has WAVE ever developed anything?

In addition, you should know that the Planning Board approved this special designation on the grounds that the CMA was incapable of improving the property itself.   And then, a mere two years later, the CMA was named as co-redeveloper for NERP. How did they get so capable so fast? And if they are now capable, why doesn’t the Committee rescind the special designation and toss the ball back to the CMA along with all those questionable zoning changes?

So we ask: Is there any funny business going on? Are there shenanigans? Is there sufficient transparency?  Why won’t the Mayor answer questions put to her by a citizen? Will she attend NERP meetings in the future?

Why is there only one Committeeman attending the NERP discussions?   And where is the Redevelopers Agreement that was promised 7 years ago and then recently by Randy Bishop?

Some more loose ends:

There is a rumor that the NERP, which was recently changed to the NEW NERP, might be changed again to a NEW NEW NERP,  eliminating the hotel and putting in more condo’s. We believe these recent changes to be illegal.

More Duck News: Is the Mayor ducking her responsibility to protect Ocean Grove from questionable development at the North End? After all, the Mayor is supposed to be looking out for the folks.  What happened to her opposition to the NERP  expressed strongly in 2012?  And, as a wise old duck once said, “If it quacks like  a duck, it is a duck!”

Does the Committee want to do the right thing? If so, they should go back and correct all the mistakes that have been made in the process of creating the NERP.

Why has the OG Home Groaners Association failed to share information that they have about WAVE with the public?  Why are they covering up important information?  Why didn’t they share that information with Jack Bredin at the meeting ?

The OGHOA web site reports on their North End Committee’s work.  The most recent minutes say, regarding their  committee chairwoman:” For the CMA to be released as developer, and for WAVE to become the primary developer (with Neptune Township as the new co-developer), WAVE must release both its financial statement and identify its principals. At the most recent May 21st township meeting she asked if WAVE had provided that necessary information and she was told they had not, and no one had knowledge of when such information would be provided.”

These OGHOA minutes do not mention the WAVE information claimed above.

Do you believe that the Township  Committee does not know who WAVE is? They act like they don’t, but is it possible, after all these years, that they still don’t know?  And, if they do know, then why don’t they share the information with the public?

ZERO MOSTEL:  From “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”

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New law office to go in at the site of the former toy store/news stand. Blogfinger photo. © March 19, 2015

New law office (Hunt Parry, Esq.)  to go in at the site of the former toy store/news stand. Blogfinger photo. © March 19, 2015  (Note: check the comments below  for reactions to this photo—-PG)

Main Ave. east bound lane closed.  Removal of fire debris begins. Thursday, March 19, 2015. Blogfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

Main Ave. east bound lane closed. Removal of fire debris begins. Thursday, March 19, 2015. Blogfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

Big shovel digs into the fire mess. Probably best to stay away and not breathe the air.  Blogfinger photo.  ©  3/19/15.

Big shovel digs into the fire mess. Probably best to stay away and not breathe the air. Blogfinger photo. © 3/19/15.

tawdry

The Tawdry Sisters. Park View (L) and Warrington. These Ocean Grove vacant derelict buildings face Wesley Lake and are a block from the boardwalk. Blogfinger photo. 3/19/15 ©   Click to enlarge.

The Ocean Grove North End as seen from Spray Avenue looking east.  Blogfinger photo. 3/19/15 ©

The Ocean Grove North End as seen from Spray Avenue looking east. Blogfinger photo. 3/19/15 ©  Awaiting the long delayed rehab project   (NERP.)  Click to enlarge.

ANITA O’DAY AND CAL TJADER

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