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Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Grove Area in Need of Redevelopment’

The Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ.  Does this look like a town that needed an Area in Need of Redevelopment?     Paul Goldfinger ©.. Undated.

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

“Redevelopment is a tool which may be used by municipalities to turnaround stagnating, deteriorating, underutilized, or “undeveloped” properties which are not being properly maintained or invested in through the instrumentality of private capital.”  (From the NJ Redevelopment Law)

 

In 2007, the CMA and WAVE persuaded Neptune Township to declare the North End of Ocean Grove as an “Area In Need of Redevelopment.” The Planning Board agreed, and the deed was done, giving developers the green light to dump the existing single family home zoning  recommended by the Master Plan in favor of a mixed use that would allow the commercialized NERP which we have all heard about.

But that designation was inappropriate for the North End of Ocean Grove where there was no shortage of investors to develop that property.  This was a decision that appeared to be illegal and was done to enrich investors at the expense of our historic town and its citizens.

Now the latest group of developers plan to implement that same designation when the best interests of the community would be better served by the Township’s cancelling that 12 year old plan and reverting to the original single family zoning.

 

BILL CHARLAP   “Dream.”

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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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