Posts Tagged ‘Fire questions in Ocean Grove’

Doing what's best for OG. In this case, the Whitfield was recently torn down and will be replaced by single family homes. © Paul Goldfinger photo.

Doing what’s best for OG:   In this case, the Whitfield Hotel was recently torn down and will be replaced by single family homes. Let’s figure out what’s next. It’s not easy.  © Paul Goldfinger photo.

By  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Jack Bredin,Researcher @Blogfinger

So, where do we begin with our discussion regarding the massive fire of March 3, 2017 in Ocean Grove, NJ?  So many questions come to mind. At Blogfinger  we have one news writer, one researcher, a couple of editors, some itinerant citizen photographers/reporters, no fact checkers, no IT staff, no professional journalists, and finally, more questions than answers.  And don’t knock the citizen reporters; after all, Paul Revere was one, and look at what he accomplished.

But what we do have are our readers and our freedom to speak out.   On March 3, there were about 6,000 hits on our site.  Surely some of our readers have expertise that they can share to help us with our questions.  After all, we are an “information sharing website.”

And now, after the fire, we need to create some order out of the many issues to be raised.  We will begin today with a collection of questions.  We will raise a few and ask you to send us some more.  Then, as with our Warrington initiative, we will focus on certain subjects individually.

You may ask a question anonymously or with your actual name. We may post questions without attribution. We have already begun specific topics about fire investigations in town, about current fire damages, and about aspects of the Warrington situation.

At the outset today, the quest for information will be chaotic.  But if we find that certain questions are attracting a great deal of interest, we will dissect them out and give them their own platform on Blogfinger.net.  Meanwhile this post will be the place to suggest more questions and answers.


ONE.  Why don’t citizens band together to demand that the Neptune Township Committee immediately change the zoning for the Warrington lot to single family house zoning.  The Committee has the power to override the current site plan which gives special zoning to the Warrington owner. Then the owner will have to present a new site plan to accommodate single family Victorian-style houses..

TWO. Will the Zoning Board of Adjustment prove to the people of Ocean Grove that the Warrington site plan was officially signed and on what date?   Will that site plan allow for a new hotel even though the old hotel is now gone?

THREE.    Lake Avenue is a privately owned lot on the tax map.  The owner is the OGCMA.  It also is designated as “privately owned public open space” which gives the CMA a Green Acres tax deduction.  So, how could the ZBA grant permission for the Warrington developer to encroach on that land?  Did they get DEP approval first?

Blogfinger was told by the ZBA official that there is a permission letter from the CMA to the developer, but does the CMA actually approve of such encroachment into a public walkway? Did the ZBA look into the Green Acres situation before it allowed the Warrington developer to encroach on this public space?

Green Acres sign on Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove. See wording below. Blogfinger photo.

Green Acres sign on Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove. See wording below. Blogfinger photo.

This faded sign above is on Lake Avenue at the foot of the New Jersey Ave. bridge across Wesley Lake and pertains to Lake Avenue.  It says: “GREEN ACRES TAX EXEMPTION PROGRAM. This privately owned land is dedicated for public recreation/conservation. State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. PO Box 412, Trenton, NJ 08625.  NJSA 54:4-3.63 Et. Seq”   If the CMA were to cancel their participation in Green Acres, they would have to pay taxes on the involved property.

FOUR:. Will the Township agree to follow RSIS standards all over town with the exception of single family houses? That would be the first step to stop condoization and mandate single family zoning all over town, as requested by the Master Plan?  This would improve fire safety in OG. Do they realize that three of the major recent fires have involved condominiums or hotels destined to be condominiums?

FIVE:. Do you remember the #50 Main Avenue fire on Feb 6, 2015.?  That one occurred on a Friday and destroyed a building that had apartments upstairs; stores downstairs.  Here is a link that talks about that fire:    Fire chief discusses Main Ave. fire 2/6/15

SIX.  How much insurance was placed on the Warrington?

SEVEN. Who owns the land at the Warrington site? ( CMA or  developer.)  Who owns the cottages near the Warrington which were destroyed, and what happens to those lots if the new Warrington is built?  And what happens to the easement for Lake Ave to Seaview Ave so that the hotel guests, workers, UPS, etc. can get by?

Will the new Warrington developer buy or use those two adjacent sites for an on-site parking lot?  Will the Township force the new Warrington to provide on-site parking, as per RSIS standards?

EIGHT.  Regarding the new Warrington, will the Township allow that building to be placed on a land-locked lot as before?  Will the Township continue turning its back on NJ Land Use Laws?

NINE.   Is it true that the owner of the 50 unit La Pierre rental building is the same person who owns the Warrington?   When a building burns down, does the owner still have to pay ground rent when the building no longer exists?

TEN.  From Old Timer:
Real estate – will people still want to move to OG?
Insurance – will everyone’s home insurance increase?
Aesthetics – is OG becoming a continuous disaster area (major fires
and Sandy)? Will it ever be normal (“good old days”)?

ELEVEN.  From Bythesea:

Looking ahead…what is likely to happen to the affected land? There is now a large new area to be redeveloped that is right up against the existing North End redevelopment zone. Could the consequence of this fire be more non-conforming development as an integrated part of the North End monstrosity development? If the fire was intentionally set, which they will figure out, then maybe the ultimate motivation for the perpetrators is to enable the North End to take on an additional dimension that was not possible before.

Conspiracy thinking, I know. But this is Neptune Township in bed with unscrupulous, money grabbing developers.

TWELVE:  From Citizen:

Who is running Neptune Township? Is it the Governing Body or is it a shadow government with non-elected individuals, such as developers,  manipulating elected puppets and telling them what to do?   This is not unheard of in local governments.

THIRTEEN:   From Suffering Surfer:

Are there laws regarding a work site? If not, why not? We need laws such as: an uninhabited work site in Ocean Grove, such as a derelict building being renovated, must be properly secured when workers are not present and all electricity and gas must be turned off.



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