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Posts Tagged ‘Historical Preservation Commission’

Ocean Grove: Can we keep it? Paul Goldfinger photograph along the edges of Wesley Lake/Lake Avenue. © Undated  Click to enlarge.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net.  This is a repost from 2017 updated in 2021.

Probably the biggest complaint about the Historic Preservation Commission relates to its inconsistencies.  For example, a Grover couple owns a large Victorian home that they have tried to maintain with great attention to its historic attributes.   It is actually a Victorian showplace.  Up in back of their house there is a staircase ascending to an access at the second floor.  They wanted to put a fairly small deck up there.  It would be barely visible from the street and would improve the couple’s life-style.  But the HPC refused the request on the grounds that such a structure was not historic.

Yet around the Grove there are all sorts of porches and decks that have been added. Just take a walk and you can see them.  If you were a prospective home buyer here, you might look around and think that such decks are historic.

We had one on the second floor, in the rear, of our Centennial Home on Heck Avenue.   If I tried to build that from scratch, it might (or might not) be approved. The HPC is unpredictable.  Another person we know  was given permission to put up a deck just like the rejected couple’s.

Double standards by the HPC  (as with their parental  group, the Township Committee) are toxic to good will and lifestyles in this town.

But if some of you are shocked, shocked that we might have double standards at the HPC, consider this:

And, speaking of astonishing double standards, consider the photo below:

HPC approved this “historic design” on Ocean Avenue in a fairly conspicuous location. Blogfinger photograph. ©

The funny thing about this building is that locals and visitors find it to be amusing.  So, thanks to the HPC, we have a giant conversation piece that is famous not for its Victorian architecture, but as a sort of joke; and the HPC has become the straight man for this humorous offering which does nothing for our town’s reputation and designation as an example of  historic preservation.  And rumor has it that the HPC allowed a historic roof top pool, something Rev. Stokes himself would have been shocked over.

One sport in town is to provide it with ironic nicknames.  For example, one person in the Grove calls it “An Ode to Cement.”   We call it the “Greek Temple.”  Somebody else refers to it as “The Bank.”  What do you call it?

2021 update:  As many of you know, the North End Redevelopment Plan has been tied up in meetings with the HPC. The Township has failed to keep the citizens of Ocean Grove informed as to what’s going on, and the HPC is on mute.

As you know, the HPC only concerns itself with exterior design issues.

We have already seen preliminary drawings of the project, so for many of us, that project should not have been permitted in the first place, and I have no information as to what the HPC is fussing over, but we will probably be left with the same concerns: blocked views,  blocked breezes, crowding, neighborhood congestion, environmental issues, and a significant change in the town’s character, appearance and mood.

It will be Asbury Park South. And the timing, now that the town is changing in a variety of ways, is unfortunate.  This project will slither in silently under the door, while the rest of the town is concerning itself with COVID, many new citizens, many rentals including Airbnb and its problems, a striking sellers real estate market with great demands by buyers, a shortage of affordable rental housing, and rising prices for rentals and buys that have shut many out of the market.  The town needs stores that provide services to those who live in town, and such down-home businesses will not be found at the new North End.

 

DOOLEY WILSON  from Casablanca   “As time goes by.”

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