Posts Tagged ‘HPC guidelines in Neptune Township’

26 Lake Ave. This beautiful historic home restoration was monitored and approved by the HPC using its guidelines. It won a Beersheba Award in 2012/. Blogfinger photo ©

26 Lake Ave. This beautiful historic home restoration was monitored and approved by the HPC using its guidelines. It won a Beersheba Award in 2012. Blogfinger photo ©

 By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfnger

A large crowd, mostly from Ocean Grove, assembled  on Monday night, December 12, at the Neptune Municipal Building for the regular session of the 5-person Township Committee.

The crowd was there because of an  item on the agenda: the rewriting of the Historic Preservation Guidelines.  But it quickly became apparent that ordinance #16-45 would be tabled.  The motion was made by Committeeman Nick Williams.  The crowd was not pleased. 

The Historic Guidelines are implemented by the HPC (Historic Preservation Commission) whose 7 members (and 2 alternates) are appointed by the mayor of Neptune Township.

Evidently, two Township Committeemen, Rizzo and Brantley, commissioned these revised guidelines and placed them on the agenda three days before the meeting.  The document was not properly marked up to reveal where the changes were, and interested parties had a difficult time deciphering the new document.  Even Committeemen Brantley  complained that he could not understand it.

This is ostensibly why the item was tabled three days after it suddenly appeared on the agenda.   Do you buy that?

The OGHOA had declared prior to the meeting that the changes would weaken the authority of the HPC to maintain historic construction standards in town. The Historical Society of OG came up with similar concerns, and both groups encouraged Grovers to come to the meeting. 

The HPC itself made no formal announcement about their opinions, but it is our understanding that they are not pleased with the changes.   Don’t they have an obligation to inform the OG public about their concerns?  

One change that emerged prior to the meeting was the idea that the HPC could only regulate the parts of buildings (the façades) that front on a street.  This is a big issue because its implementation could adversely affect the look of the town and perhaps even the chance to keep the historic designations which we have received—-federal and state.  

Many believe that weakening the guidelines will make it easier for developers and investors to introduce more condos and other buildings including non-Victorian private homes which could jeopardize the special character of Ocean Grove.  Without the guidelines we could become another Bradley Beach.

The HPC War is about that vulnerability, and there are concerns regarding the underlying motives behind this attempt to re-write the guidelines.  Committeeman Carol Rizzo asserted at the meeting that the reason for the re-write was  because of two complaints about the cost of HPC compliance.

Well, heck, folks sometimes complain about the HPC rules, but that shouldn’t prompt a re-write.   It is those rules that help keep the town the way we like it.

 What is the real reason for the new guidelines and why was it placed on the agenda in such an abrupt way without proper documentation and opportunity for study?

And, along those lines, we need to know who wrote the new document and why that document says “prepared by the HPC” on the cover when the HPC says it had nothing to do with it? 

This issue has significant potential repercussions, and the Mayor owes the people of Ocean Grove a true explanation.  In our initial article on this we suggested that the weakening of architectural standards is only one component of a conspiracy by Neptune/OG insiders to change Ocean Grove.  There have been plenty of reasons to suspect such a movement.

Last night a number of you went to the microphone for your 5 minutes in the spotlight. How about telling Blogfinger what you said?  Note that all those comments were recorded and can be retrieved whenever the CD is available. We will post your information anonymously if you wish.   Contact us at Blogfinger@verizon.net.

Please use this post for further comments on this topic. 




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This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

This is why Grovers need to pay attention to HPC issues. Blogfinger file photo. ©

The  Township Committee is having a first reading of the new HPC guidelines this Monday at 7:00.  The Historical Society sent out an unsigned email stating,
“These new guidelines are very damaging to the historic district and threaten our historic designation. I’m hoping to get a good showing at the meeting to voice our concern.
The draft can be found on the township web site under committee agenda for Dec. 12. Scroll all the way to the bottom .
Thanks for any help you can offer.”

Below is the official announcement by Neptune Township regarding the HPC guidelines ordinance:



WHEREAS, the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines have needed amendment from time to time based on changed circumstances,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Committee of the Township of Neptune in the County of Monmouth in the State of New Jersey that the Land Development Ordinance, Volume II Section 508, entitled, “Historic Preservation Design Guidelines” is hereby amended as follows:

§508 – Historic Preservation Design Guidelines.

c. The Design Criteria in Guidelines: The aforesaid Guidelines, also known as the “Ocean Grove Historic District Architectural Design Guidelines for Residential Structures” are hereby adopted as an integral part of this Ordinance and incorporated in the Ordinance by reference to the Guidelines available as part of this Ordinance for review in the Clerk’s Office of Neptune Township. Future amendments to the Guidelines, where minor in nature; that is, not amending the entire Guideline document, may be amended by Resolution with all dates of amendments noted in the Guideline document.

All Ordinances or parts of Ordinances that are inconsistent herewith are repealed, but only to the extent of such inconsistency.

The amended Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its passage and the publication as required by law.


___________________________ Richard J. Cuttrell,
Municipal Clerk

___________________________ Kevin B. McMillan,


Editor’s Note:    

Here is a link to read the guidelines:


Click on Dec 12 in the agenda column and then scroll down to Ordinance 16-45 and then keep scrolling down and you will find the Guidelines dated October, 2016.

But where are the latest changes?  Is there an official document that enumerates the changes?   And who wrote these Guideline changes and why?

Someone sent us a notice from the OGHOA which said, “A key change will limit application of the design guidelines to the street-facing facade only of a building. The result of this change alone is not difficult to imagine. The sides and backs of homes could be faced with different materials, and historically appropriate materials would no longer be a requirement on non-street-facing facades.”  

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger



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