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Liberate the truth in Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo ©

Liberate the truth in Ocean Grove. Photo by Bob Bowné. Special to Blogfinger.  ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

This was not the first time that Neptune wanted to be free of the RSIS (Residential Site Improvement Standards) parking rules that required off-street parking for every new building that would be constructed in town.  Their quest goes back to 2007 when they were denied by the State of New Jersey and told to bring their zoning in line with Municipal Land Use Law.

The way that Neptune dealt with those requirements in the past was by ignoring them. That is how the condos around town were built without parking, including two on Ocean Pathway, near the Albatross, which were constructed in 2010.

We don’t know exactly why official Neptune tried to get an exemption (ie a “special standard”) in the past—they couched their request in terms of historic preservation. However they did not succeed and some Grovers were suspicious of their motives.   On one occasion, according to a State official, OG citizens’ outrage resulted in denial.   So why bother to seek an exemption now when you can just ignore the rules? Maybe they felt guilty.

When the North End Plan was passed in 2008, it contained the promise to follow the RSIS regulations for that project to provide parking for the condos and the hotel.

Last year, Neptune tried once again to get a special standard for the entire town of Ocean Grove.   The town planner seemed to think that they could quietly achieve that goal without any controversy.

They went through the required procedures, with the help of the SIAB staff. The plan in Trenton was to have the matter heard by the Streets Subcommittee in December.

A number of us were planning to go to that meeting in order to be part of the discussion.    However, the day before, the town planner called Trenton to ask that the hearing be postponed. It’s not clear why she wanted that, but the SIAB staff in Trenton said that the application was on the agenda and could not be removed. The reason for the change was not important to the staff. Neptune had the right to back off, without any reason, even at such short notice. Some of the SIAB staff thought that Neptune was afraid of the OG citizens who were coming to the hearing.

Therefore the staff and Neptune agreed that the Township could come to the meeting and ask the Chairman to withdraw the application without prejudice, but they would have to pay a price. (see below)

The SIAB staff had to decide what to do with the Grovers who were planning to speak at the hearing, so they decided to let us be heard, and we did get to address the full Committee and to actually have a discussion with them regarding our objections to the application.

On the day of the meeting, neither the Neptune Planner or the Township Attorney showed up. Instead Vito Gadaleta, the Business Manager at Neptune, came and publically asked that the application be withdrawn.

The Chairman informed Gadaleta that the request was granted without prejudice , but if the Township wanted to reapply, it had to go through the entire procedure, including a formal resolution, from scratch. Since then, Neptune has not reapplied.

So it’s not exactly clear what the purpose is of bringing this matter to Saturday’s HOA meeting. Is it a chance for the HOA to show off its new-found expertise on this subject after years of ignoring the issue?  Do they want to debate or defend their grotesque support (in a letter to the SIAB)  of an application that no longer exists? Is this really a meeting without meaning?

For those of you who are going to the Saturday “discussion,” there may be some fireworks as certain knowledgeable opponents of the application may show up. Will the HOA cut off debate to try to stop them from speaking? Are they hoping for an audience of ignorant robots? Well that’s not going to happen.

And best of all, maybe someone will make a motion to force the HOA Board to oppose all attempts to favor developers and politicians who would increase density and congestion, build ugly condos or other Mary-like buildings without parking, and who would want to turn Ocean Grove into Asbury Park South.  Isn’t that what the HOA ought to be about?

You will have to go to find out and to speak up.

LINKS:

RSIS ARTICLE #1

https://blogfinger.net/2016/01/22/editorial-oghoa-cancels-rsis-meeting-its-time-for-the-membership-to-demand-a-policy-vote/

https://blogfinger.net/2015/12/22/letter-to-the-editor-lets-get-the-home-owners-ass-moving-on-the-north-end-and-riss-issues/

https://blogfinger.net/2016/02/12/sleepless-in-seattle-how-about-cynical-in-ocean-grove-neptune-fails-so-far-to-reapply-for-the-rsis-exemption/

https://blogfinger.net/2016/01/18/oghoa-wakes-up-from-a-coma-and-schedules-an-open-forum-to-discuss-rsis-application-and-parking-issues/

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