Posts Tagged ‘Condos at the Aurora?’

The Aurora undergoing interior demolition. November, 2018, after the use variance was granted in July, 2018. Blogfinger photo. ©


Our most recent post about the Hotel Aurora was in November, 2018. the link is above.

As you may recall, the current owner of that historic single family home received a use variance in July, 2018, from the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Neptune to convert the building into 4 single-family homes under one roof separated by fire walls.

There were problems with this approval:

a. The site plan does not satisfy the law regarding the amount of square feet of land needed for 4 homes on that Aurora lot.

b. Land use law (RSIS)  requires at least 2 off-street parking spots per home  (8 total,) and that is not possible, even if they tear down the garage (which has already been done.)

c. Evidently the next step was to obtain approval from the Historic Preservation Commission regarding the exterior of the project. We have no information about that evaluation.

d. What we do know is that the project is on hold because of “litigation.” The suit was brought in August, 2018 at the Superior court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County. The defendants are Old Forge Builders at Ocean Grove and the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Neptune.

The Plaintiff is Kevin N. Chambers, a full time resident of Ocean Grove.

The property is officially known as Block 107, Lot 8 on the official tax map of Neptune Twp—aka either 6 Atlantic Avenue or 5 Surf Avenue.

Here are some details of First Count of the suit—these are excerpts, arbitrarily chosen by Blogfinger, which are not meant to be seen as consisting of the entire First Count.  There are 4 counts.

a. The property is in the HD-R1 zone (Historic District), and multiple residences are not a permitted use.

b. The Zoning Board granted the variance on July 18, 2018. The first count of the suit says that no evidence was presented that would justify granting that use variance “without substantial detriment to the public good.”

c. Neptune Township failed to acquire relief from state parking regulations (RSIS,) so the off street parking requirements are still in play but were ignored by the Township.

d.  The Aurora lot is 4,670 square feet in area. This is not enough for the 4 units permitted by the Township.

e.  The Board of Adjustment’s award of a use variance in this case, “is in fact a usurpation of the specific powers of zoning which are granted only to the Township Committee and to the State Legislature.  “

g. The Plaintiff was “denied a complete and fair hearing.  His Civil Rights have been violated.”

h.  The suit asks that “an order be entered enjoining the Defendants from obtaining any development permits proceed with the development of the subject property.” 

Currently no work is being done, but the developer has already done considerable demolition inside, as judged by the number of dumpsters coming and going, as reported by neighbors.

The trial will occur on April 18, 2019. 10 am. Monmouth Superior Court.

Since we are not lawyers interpreting the suit document, we welcome comments of lawyers and other knowledgeable readers.


Simon and Garfunkel.

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A dumpster raises the specter of  “progress” at the Aurora.   November 6, 2018. © Blogfinger undercover staff photo.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and Jack Bredin, researcher/reporter.

As you may know the Neptune Township Board of Absurdities granted a use variance to the new owner of the Aurora Hotel. He was given permission to turn that building into two structures separated by a wall.  He wants to have two single family units on each side, equaling 4.

We have written about some of the problems we have seen regarding this planned outrage at one of our town’s most important historic structures  (per Ted Bell, OG historian.)

The Aurora project cannot proceed legally until:  the developer receives approvals for a legal subdivision, a site plan is approved, bulk variances are received, and the HPC issues a Certificate of Appropriateness.  Then, after all approvals are given, the developer can apply to the Building Department for permits to stick in the window of the building.

Here are a few factoids relating to this matter:

a. No work can be done inside without an approved site plan.

b. A subdivision has to occur, turning this single lot into two, but there is not enough room for such multifamily housing on that single lot which is only about 4,700 square feet.  More like 120,000 sq ft. would be needed.

The single lot was once a double lot in 1879, but that is no longer true, no matter what Mr. Haney says about reverting to historic zoning maps.

c. The bulk variances have to do with eliminating the requirement that a rear yard separate the two lots, since both buildings will be attached.

d.  There is a lawsuit pending regarding the Board of Adjustment’s awarding a use variance.

So, what is the dumpster doing there?   Well, there are no restrictions regarding bringing junk out of the house and into the dumpster. But if there is work being planned inside and/or outside, that would have to wait for the various approvals.  Hopefully the Township won’t allow that dumpster to remain without progress being made to fill it up.

Blogfinger will be having a film crew at the site to document all the ways that local laws are to be ignored. We expect to see the usual Neptune “turn a blind eye” syndrome while a developer defies the laws. A noted OG observer observes, “They do whatever they want.”

Watch for us streaming on Netflix with “The Case of the Aurora Dumpster.”





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We recently reported that the Neptune Board of Adjustment granted a use variance to the new owner of the Aurora which would allow him to turn that historic building into 4 condominium apartments.  That property had been zoned for a single family home, which is what it was when the last owner bought it and sold it.

This variance ruling is suspect because the Board of Adjustment  OK’d the application on the grounds that the Aurora lot could legally accommodate 4 single family houses.  But, it is possible that this reasoning  presented by the developer may be fraudulent.

And this is the basis for the suit which has been filed in Monmouth Superior Court by a Grover, and thus the progress of this new zoning decision has been brought to a grinding halt pending resolution of the suit.

We have not seen the suit , but we are told that the developer and the property owner have been named.





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Are the winds of zoning changes blowing again in the Grove? Are such changes good for the town? Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net  Click to Seymour.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

We have some credible information about the Aurora Hotel, #6 Atlantic Avenue in Ocean Grove,  which has been for sale for several years.

In a recent Blogfinger article we noted that the majestic old hotel, currently officially registered as a single family home, would have to get some variances if a new owner wanted to do something with it, such as turn it into condominiums, which is what has happened to similar old buildings in the Grove in the past, despite violations of State parking laws. (RSIS).

Now we learn that the Aurora was sold in February, 2018, to a mysterious developer called “Old Forge at Ocean Grove, LLC.”  This LLC name was registered in New Jersey on Jan 9, 2018.

Shouldn’t Neptune discover the principals of this LLC?  What if there is someone involved who has a conflict of interest, such as a member of the Planning Board?

And the same applies to the secretive WAVE, the re-developer at the North End where some action on that plan is supposed to be brewing.

There is an application regarding the Aurora pending at Neptune Township, but no hearing has been scheduled yet.  The developer wants to convert the existing building into 4 individual residential units  (presumably luxury condos for sale.)

If we can learn from history, the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment will give permission for this, even though the property does not have enough off-street parking, and such a conversion would create even more congestion on Atlantic Avenue. In addition what about preserving the exterior appearance of that historic structure?

Why in the world would such a buyer purchase that building unless they were reassured, in advance, that a condo conversion would be approved, or they have an escape clause pending approval or not?

God only knows what will happen.  This is crooked Ocean Grove.

Here are two  links to our recent posts on this subject, but there are others. Just use the search block at the upper right corner of this home page and type “Aurora.”

Aurora for sale BF post Jan. 2018.

Aurora false assumptions 2018 Blogfinger.net


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