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Posts Tagged ‘North End Redevelopment Plan in Ocean Grove’

New curb and curb-cut at the northern end of Central Avenue. What is the meaning of this?  Click to enlarge the curb-cut and let a truck through. Blogfinger.net photograph. 5/14/17 ©

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

At Blogfinger we have long been suspcious of the North End Redevelopment Plan.  Our concerns are multiple, and you can review our many articles on the subject by typing key words into the search box at the top right of this page.

One of our concerns is that there is a secret Master Plan which  would create new roadways to make the large NERP project possible.  You may recall that the Home Groaners Ass. proposed putting in some roadways near the Founders’ Park west end, supposedly to create some new parking spaces.  That ridiculous idea did not (yet) materialize, but we saw it as one piece of a destructive move to turn Lake Avenue into a two way road stretching to the boardwalk.

That could be a part of access and egress roads to and from the North End, also involving Central Avenue and Beach Avenue.  You may recall that the Tax Map and even Google Maps have been labeling Lake Avenue at its east end as “Beach Avenue.” We have written about that concern where Lake Avenue, a walkway, could become a roadway.

Lake Avenue dreaming

Beach Avenue situation

Currently, Central Avenue is being paved.  If you were to walk down to the northern-most end of Central you will see that a new curb and a new curb cut have been installed. Before this there was no curb there;  just some grass which a car or truck could ride onto.

So why has a curb cut been installed?   Firstly, curb cuts are illegal in Ocean Grove.  Secondly, the curb cut opens onto a sort of lot which could accomodate a house, but this is CMA property, and it is part of a much larger lot. It is not subdivided for a house there.

Could it be for trucks and other vehicles to ride onto?  Why would that be since there is no roadway beyond that—just the Lake Avenue walkway;  and a curb cut is not a way to access a road.

We have requested  an engineer’s plan to see if we can learn the purpose of that curb cut.

Any ideas?   (See Kevin Chambers comment by clicking below on “comments”)

Even Tony Bennett and Ralph Sharon (and his orchestra) are wondering if this curb-cut might be the start of something big.

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From OhMy:

There’s still no answer for how access to and from the remote, isolated North End site will be managed.  Demand answers.

When the constant parade of heavy equipment starts rolling up and down Main and Ocean it will be far too late to complain.

ELVIS:

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Wesley Lake, lookng toward the OG North End.  A space where light, breezes and ocean views prevail.  Paul Goldfinger ©

Wesley Lake, lookng toward the OG North End. A space where light, breezes and ocean views currently  prevail. Paul Goldfinger photo  ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

At last week’s Neptune Township Committee meeting, April 27, Committeeman Randy Bishop reported that WAVE requested the Committee to amend the North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP. ) However, the Committee took no formal action to amend the plan.   As such, the 2008 plan (permitting 165 units) is still in effect.

The Coaster reports on the Grove, but they are not from the Grove. Their reporter goes to the Committee meetings, shuffles through the packet of press releases given to him by the Township, and then rolls it out in their next edition, as they did last week,  sticking to the Committee’s narrative.

The Coaster doesn’t offer any editorial opinions on these matters because they get lots of money from the Township for ads that you can see at the back of every issue; not that there’s anything wrong with that, but The Coaster is  busy covering a bunch of towns in this area, so it may not get all the facts straight in Ocean Grove.   We, on the other hand, are OG specialists.

It’s a good thing Blogfinger is hovering nearby to keep the record accurate.    In The Coaster front page story on April 30, 2015, about the New NERP, we found some things that need clarification. All quotes are from that Coaster article:

——–“Redevelopment of the North End section in historic Ocean Grove will proceed under a revised developer’s agreement.” Wrong! How can an agreement be revised when it has never existed in the first place? That agreement should have happened back in 2008 when the redevelopers were identified, but it never did.

——–“…but an exact timeline for the project has not yet been announced.”   No kidding! Such a timeline would be a necessary part of a redevelopers agreement which doesn’t exist, so why would anyone expect a timeline to be announced now?

——–“Committeeman Randy Bishop, who was mayor during the initial hearing to adopt the 2008 plan, said at Monday’s workshop that recent meetings were held with the main principals of the redevelopment project.”

Really?  Meetings?   We only know of one such meeting that was announced as occurring in April, and that meeting was attended not by our Mayor (definitely a “principle”) or by the Camp Meeting Association (definitely a “principle.”)   Instead that meeting was attended by the Township Engineer, WAVE, Bishop, and the Township lawyer. That meeting was supposed to be about negotiating a redevelopers agreement, but instead it was for WAVE to offer a new plan.    If there were “meetings,” then why don’t the citizens know about all of them?

——–  “It was very hard and there were very frank discussions. Everyone at the table gave up things to make the plan better.” per Bishop. But who exactly gave things up? Only Bishop and Wave were there. Where was the CMA to say what it would give up?

——-Coaster, “The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association…..will still own the land, like it does in all of Ocean Grove.” But, excuse us, the CMA does not own the beach or Wesley Lake, and those places are involved in the New NERP.

——-“Bishop said all of WAVE’s principles and financials will have to be given before it is declared the sole redeveloper and that a timeline for the project will probably be announced once this happens”

Sorry, but the timeline must be included in the Redeveloper’s Agreement before it is signed.   And  let’s be frank here: those WAVE “principles” have been concealed from the public for the last 8 years. Why weren’t they identified before? They will have to come out of the shadows now if they own over 10% interest in the project.

——-And Coaster what about the site plan which must be designed after the surveys are complete, and no surveys have evidently been done so far. Those site plans are needed to get all necessary approvals such as DEP, Army Corps of Engineers, etc.

——-And Coaster  how about the Gateway Design feature* which has now been eliminated? Why did that happen and why did you forget to tell us about the construction plans which must be obtained before this New NERP goes forward?

It seems that you only want to mention what they tell you to mention. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

* Gateway design feature: A statue or other structure on the boardwalk at the place where Asbury Park meets Ocean Grove.

BIG BIRD:   What the heck avenue do those NEW NERP words mean?

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Heading through the OG North End, near the Asbury line.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Wide open spaces.  Heading through the OG North End, near the Asbury line. June, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

This is Part V of a series of articles about the North End Redevelopment Plan in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

Since the OGCMA would have been able to develop the North End on its own, and since the North End was no blighted, crime-ridden, disease-laden, drug selling, rat-hole dilapidated slum in need of immediate rescue by government, why did the Neptune Township Planning Board fudge its way through the criteria in order to enable the North End to become a congested, money-making, commercial zone—-an “area in need of redevelopment,”—- which was not in the best interest of the people of Ocean Grove?

In the Resolution document they listed everything that was wrong over there that justified the creation of a redevelopment zone.   Those were code violations which were corrected as soon as the CMA was cautioned by Code Enforcement. Thus the result was no code violations and thus no valid reason to declare the North End property an “area in need of redevelopment.”  The CMA was perfectly able to work on that property itself.

To argue, as the Planning Board did, that there was some sort of emergency in 2007 is a joke. The North End in 2015 is no different than it was in 2007 except for some 2012 Sandy damage and a burned out storage shed from a few years ago.

Surely the Planning Board realized that the reasons they gave (including a few crummy abandoned unsafe buildings, a wreck of a swimming pool, over growth of vegetation, lack of utilization etc) were a joke and that the real purpose for the Township’s request was to achieve a dramatic change in zoning.

The Planning Board said that redevelopment at the North End was “necessary and overdue.” OK, why not tell that to the owners in 2007 and skip all the rest?  Is the project still “overdue” or is it not convenient now to say “overdue?”

Whether there were hidden financial motives, we cannot say, but for the Planning Board to conclude that the positives outweighed the negatives; that a hotel and condos would be better for the whole town than single family homes, is clearly, to any objective observer, a hoax.

On February 28, 2007, at a meeting of the Township of Neptune Planning Board, the Resolution 07-12 was presented, and a motion to approve was offered, and a vote was taken.

Resolution 07-12 is a “Resolution recommending that the Township Committee of the Township of Neptune designate certain properties as being in need of redevelopment (North End Ocean Grove.”)

That 22 page document mentions all the experts and citizens who spoke either for or against the plan, all the dotted i’s and crossed t’s, all the photos that showed how crummy conditions were at the North End, all the lawyers who weighed in, and the sworn witnesses which included Peter Avakian, the Township engineer.

The Resolution papers also mentioned that there were those who submitted written objections to the Resolution including former Mayor Joseph Krimko (now deceased,) Richard Seltzer, Esq., and Edward V. Kolling, PP, AICP (professional planner.)

The motion to approve the resolution was offered and then 5 Board members voted “Yes” including D. McCarthy, M. Hood, J. Shafto, W. Lapp and M. Golub. The Resolution needed 5 out of the 11 Board members for a legal vote.

No one voted “No” but there were six members of the Planning Board who were absent: R. Ambrosio, L. Berardi, A. Cardinale, W. Gizzi, J. Kortenhaus and I. Calderon. Why were so many board members absent for this vote? Can you guess?

If Dennis McCarthy, a Trustee of the OGHOA had voted “no” or even, along with the six others, had not shown up,  the Resolution would have gone down to defeat.

Finally, on page 19 of the Resolution, we have this quote:

“The Planning Board is of the unanimous belief that there is an immediate need for appropriate development in the subject North End/Ocean Grove (as referenced herein)— and that appropriate redevelopment is beneficial to the Township as a whole, and the residents of Ocean Grove.”

Editor’s Note:     Here is a quote from an October 2012 editorial by Blogfinger:   We urge the people of Ocean Grove who care about preserving the charm, character and livability of this community to start paying attention to this process now…”

The Planning Board vote described above was borderline and was suspicious. Most members of the Board did not even vote. Eight years have gone by, and the current NERP should be trashed now, and the process, beginning with the Planning Board vote, should begin again—-this time with hundreds of Grovers attending the meeting.

Maybe this time we can get that “old black magic” working for the people of OG:

MICHELLE WILLIAMS.   From the movie My Week With Marilyn

Credit:  Mr. Jack Bredin of Ocean Grove for his invaluable research.

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