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Posts Tagged ‘Can the Ocean Grove of 2016 block the North End development’

 

Is this true? Think about it. Blogfinger photo 2014. ©

Ocean Grove, NJ.  Is this slogan true in OG?  Think about it. Blogfinger photo 2014. ©  Click to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

The issue boils down to a more specific question:   Is the Ocean Grove of 2016 a community of like-minded groups and individuals that would work together to block condo and commercial development at the North End?

A Grover who lived here in 1986 tells us that the many voices who pushed back against the South End project contributed in a significant way to the failure of that plan.  But he doubts that we have similar conditions now.

 

Concept drawing 1986 of South End condo project, 7 stories.

Concept drawing 1986 of South End condo project, 7 stories.

THE SOUTH END IN 1986:

As you know from our prior pieces on this subject, in 1986 the Camp Meeting Association made a deal to sell their open beachfront property at the South End to a developer who would construct a 7 story, 53 unit condominium building at that location. The voices of those who had opinions about the issue were heard in the videos which we posted (see link.)

https://blogfinger.net/2016/05/13/ocean-grove-rejects-condominium-in-1986-where-the-citizens-won-a-battle-at-the-south-end-grovers-must-see-this/

What is clear from the videos and some personal conversations, is that a groundswell of opposition was heard in 1986 which contributed to  the defeat of the project. and we are now left with the beautiful open natural area which can be seen today near Fletcher Lake and the beach.

We also know that the State was claiming riparian rights, and the developers were finding that to be a formidable roadblock, but listen (below)  to some of those Grovarian voices that were willing to speak up against the South End condominium Plan.      Then ask yourselves whether there is any comparable push back today, 2016, from Ocean Grovers who want to  block the North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP.)

We have  also included below some local 1986 voices that supported the project. They may have opposed the citizens, but at least they were willing to speak publicly. Today, the developers are anonymous and never say a word to the public:

1986 quotes:

———-CMA President Truitt admitted publicly that this South End plan was because the CMA needed money to pay for the beachfront expenses..  He said, “We are trying to merchandise the property.”  The CMA recruited the Schneider group to find a way to make money through development. Truitt said that “residents are concerned with preserving the historical beauty of the Grove which may be threatened by condominiums.”  But he liked the plan  design.

—–Ocean Grove Homeowners Association was represented by President Bill Benford. He said that the project is “totally unacceptable.” He voiced his concerns about density, bulkheads, storms, shadows and environmental issues. He said, “This structure is totally out of character for the rest of Ocean Grove.” Today the HOA stands in opposition to the citizens.

—–Norm Buchman, President of the OG Historical Society and a member of the CMA Board: “Many of our members object to this project. It’s too large..” He added, “I don’t like the project.”


 

—–Ocean Grovers come out in force.   On January 28, 1987, over 200 OG residents met with the Board of Adjustment regarding their opposition to the project expressing concerns about the height, fire safety, congestion, blocking views and breezes, flooding, parking,  foundation design and Victorian features. The next meeting was scheduled for February, but we don’t have those records.

—– A group of citizens got together and pooled funds to pay a lawyer who showed up and pushed back on behalf of the Grove.

—–Ed Handler, Grover worried that the plan “lacked the ambience of Victorianism.”

—–Business community. Owner of Nagle’s and resident, John Gross,  was totally opposed and said so publicly. He spoke about the loss of air, light and open space. He said that there would result “a loss of quality of life.”  Also said, “In the long run it would change the town and discourage visitors. OG would not be as attractive a community to live in.”

—–HPC  (BAR) turned down the preliminary design. Then, no final site plan was ever submitted.

—–DEP claimed a “State riparian interest” because tidal water was involved.  Fletcher Lake  (aka Goose Pond) had, at one time, opened to the sea.  The  lawyer (Schneider”)  said that this posed a major obstacle” and that he might have to sue the State.

—–An outside environmental group American Littoral Society fights/lobbies to protect shorelines. They were watching to see if the developers in OG were to get a NJ “coastal permit” for projects over 25 units. Their spokesman said, “Our reaction is very negative.”


—–Resident Kevin Chambers said that “the structure is out of place for the community.” He said that they would build “right on top of the dunes.”

—–Resident and historian Ted Bell: “OG is something very unique in the US (a planned community in  the 1870’s) and has changed little over last 100 years.”

—–Resident Jim Garley of Broadway said, “I’m against the CMA for recommending this building.”

—–Resident Victor Burke said “This will definitely change the quality of life. We will have excess housing density and utility overload (more police, trash, electric and water)

—–A Fire Department representative worried about a “disaster” in a building over 4 stories.

—–The Board of Adjustment preliminarily said that the design was “inappropriate to the style and scale of Ocean Grove.”

—–Vito Gadaleta, Neptune Zoning Official:  “Project violates zoning rules for historic and recreation zones—need multiple use variances.”

—–A developer from North Jersey’s Schneider Group admitted that Ocean Grove already has a “very serious problem with congestion” in the summer, but he denied that this project would make things worse.   Yet he was willing to speak publicly about the matter.   He also spoke about his “option agreement” to buy the land from the CMA. He admitted that he needs DEP and Zoning and Board approvals.

—– Architect for the project H. Robert Yaeger spoke out and defended the proposed sprawl along the South End Boardwalk, Fletcher Lake and Broadway.

In the end, the  South End project was never approved.

 

THE NORTH END IN 1986:

CMA President Truitt  also admitted in 1986  that they were planning a large building at the North End with over 200 units (4 times the size of the South End building). Some say that it was to be a nursing facility. He said that there would be a large increase in congestion.

It was never built for reasons which are unknown to us, but the CMA was willing even then to overload the North End,  and so what do you expect now from them?

So, in conclusion, the Ocean Grove of 2016 is nothing like the activist community which existed in 1986.

Too many citizens and organizations in the Grove in 2016 are apathetic as they pursue their own singular agendas, with little interest in the town’s history and future.

The future of this town is endangered, and it looks like we have no cohesive community to stand at the barricades. If the NERP is built, the Grove will become a much different place.  Do you want that?

IRIS DeMENT   “Our Town”

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