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Posts Tagged ‘North End HPC hearing 2021.’

 

South elevation of the proposed hotel  presented at the HPC meeting April 6, 2021. Not everyone thought it was wonderful. All photos taken from the ZOOM presentation by Paul Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net

 

HPC Chair Deb Osepchuk looked uncomfortable while putting on a happy ZOOM face. 4/06/21.

 

Jen Jensen, Commissioner, gallantly tried to tell the truth about the design in front of her. 4/6/21 Blogfinger.net ©

 

Jennifer Krimko, OGNED lawyer, opened the session with a preemptive strike, attempting to stifle any opposition at the  hearing by invoking the Redevelopment Plan. But which Redevelopment Plan is she referring to, and exactly what is in it?   Where is our expert lawyer to translate for we the people?   Blogfinger photo.

 

By  Paul Goldfinger,  Editor, Blogfinger.net  Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 7 pm.

The OG Historic Preservation Commission  (HPC)  held  a ZOOM meeting last night attended by about 100 citizens. Its purpose was to review the North End Redevelopment Plan design, and they decided to begin with the hotel.

The only reason these hearings are being held is because the OGNEDs have to get the HPC “Certificate of Appropriateness,” and Neptune Township is jumping through hoops for them instead of for the people of Ocean Grove.

The first sworn witness was the Plan’s Ocean Grove architect Stephen Carlidge who presented his “iconic” design for the hotel which, it was said, would become the most viewed building in the Grove, other than the Great Auditorium.  It would be the first building noticed by anyone who walked into town from Asbury Park.

The word “iconic” was manhandled all night by the OGNEDs.  It’s amazing how important that word was at the meeting and how little effort was expended to define it. The devil is definitely in such details.

But the HPC’s hands were tied behind their backs with their mouths effectively taped shut by the OGNEDs lawyer, Jennifer Krimko, who said that most of the details about the North End design were set in stone because the Neptuner Governing Body had spelled it all out when the Planning Board and the Mayor  (Rizzo—2019) signed off on the current Redevelopment Plan, right down to most architectural details.

And no one tonight would be allowed to question such fundamental concepts as whether the “Zone in Need of Redevelopment” was appropriately passed in 2008 and what effect this project would have on the ecology, crowding, and life styles in town.

Krimko also insisted that HPC guidelines would be superseded by the Redevelopment Plan’s details, with only some lesser scrutiny allowed to be discussed by the HPC.

Commissioners and citizens would only be permitted to ask questions and not offer comments/opinions.  She made it clear that the HPC has been rendered impotent in this matter thanks to the actions taken by her and by our own elected officials who are supposed to care about historic preservation and citizen life styles in their “Historic District.”

And the HPC lawyer was useless in obtaining some free speech for those present last night in ZOOMWORLD.

Blogfinger was at that Planning Board meeting in 2019 when the Township engineer swore under oath that the redevelopment plan now being considered was essentially the same as the one which became law in 2008.  This was an important pre-condition.  She said “Yes” and then she walked out of the meeting without being subject to any scrutiny.  But is it true?  Has any independent expert reviewed the two plans—2008 and 2019? This is essential to elicit trust in this process.  See link below.

Frustration was evident on the faces of some of the commissioners and some citizens who, while trying to be polite last night, made it clear that they did not like the “Queen Anne” design which one observer said looked like  “two large towers with a box in between.”

Others complained that the north side of the building was especially unattractive.  One Commissioner said, “The north side design falls short.”

Often when someone tried to express an opinion or bring up  some detail, Krimko objected and thus shut them up, always citing the Redevelopment Plan.

The hotel’s Queen Anne design is supposed to reflect original “iconic”  hotels from the past.  But HPC experts fought back on this issue with some saying that it is not Queen Anne.  The architect said  that maybe he shouldn’t call the building Queen Ann.   “Maybe we should call it Seaside Vernacular.”    So even he  isn’t sure what his design is about.

Also, does the Redevelopment  Plan really mandate  “Queen Anne?”

The HPC should send a few of their members to the Mother Ship to read that Redevelopment document to which Krimko keeps mentioning to make sure it really contains the architectural  details she keeps referencing.

Some at the meeting showed courage in refusing to be enthused and not wanting to rubber stamp the building which looks a lot like other mediocre Victorian reproductions in town such as the big monstrosity condo building on the Pathway near the GA.

OGNED’s lawyer and its architect evidently thought that their presentations would be enthusiastically received, but instead, some re-design-work will be required;  however such a re-do will consist of minor details, and the HPC will have to accept its role carrying the water for OGNED rather than on behalf of their fellow citizens.   What is needed is to defeat the entire project, but of course, that is out of the hands of the HPC but still could be a public target.

The Commission consists of dedicated and knowledgeable OG citizens, but this is embarrassing.  They have been hamstrung and humiliated by public officials, a lawyer,  and a developer who show little recognition that the town of Ocean Grove is actually a place where people live, and not a sort of Disneyland to turn the town into Asbury Park South with gingerbread.

The HPC should refuse to grant the “Certificate of Appropriateness” and not let the OGNEDs and the Neptuners define what is best for our historic town.  If necessary, they may have to protest by resigning while maintaining their self respect.

The Township  should try to recover its dignity by halting the process and organizing an independent investigation of what went on in 2008 and forward to now. But fat chance!

Or a group of citizens should petition the NJ Attorney General to bring a parade of black cars and briefcases to the Mother Ship and conduct a proper investigation.

Are we witnessing the truth or just a contrived scheme?

If the latter, it must be uncovered for the sake of democracy in America–all politics is local.

The people of Ocean Grove must force the truth—-this should become an affair to remember for those who love transparency and honesty in government.

NOTE    Here is a detailed link about what happened at that Planning Board meeting in 2019.  It is essential that you all read this to understand why the current plan be compared to the original plan by an independent expert!   You will see striking similarities to April 6, 2021.   —PG

 

Preemptive strikes at the Planning Board designed to suppress HPC free speech .

 

WARREN VACHE´ who performed in the Great Auditorium:  “An Affair to Remember.”

 

 

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