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Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Grove parking issues’

In 1878, there were no parking problems, but after the automobile arrived, Neptune removed the stables but did not provide parking garages. There are photos of parking gridlock in OG after the Model T came off the assembly lines.

 

By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter and researcher and a resident of Ocean Grove with one car.

August 29, 2019.

This post is in response to the BF post on 8/28/19:  “When you don’t know what to do, form a committee.”   (just scroll down)

 

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the United States, and this fact causes known problems:

a. Traffic congestion costs millions in wasted fuel, lost time, wages, and air pollution.

b. And we should not have to drive in circles when we reach our destination.

 

So, the NJ State Legislature put two “Planning Rules” in place over 40 years ago:

Rule 1:  A municipality cannot approve a site plan application for development that creates traffic congestion or adds to any existing traffic congestion.

Rule 2:  Every site plan application must provide all the parking spaces required by State parking standards, including handicapped parking.  The basic idea is that any site plan must provide enough parking.

To insure that these two basic traffic and parking rules are followed:

1.   A licensed professional must prepare a site plan for the applicant  (developer) pursuant to State Law, and the plan must include a plan for parking. The site plan is signed, sealed and dated by the professional, certifying that the plan provides adequate parking.

2.  When the plan is filed with the town, a copy is sent to both the town’s planning consultant and engineer, and they will also determine, on behalf of the town, that the plan provides adequate parking.

Their written reports are made part of the application, and under oath the professionals present the plan, which could be bogus, to the members of the boards  (zoning and/or planning.)

After approval, board members can say, “We rely on our experts.”  But those experts may not be in compliance with State laws.

So, to correct the “culture of corruption” which exists in Neptune Township, the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association is acting as a traffic engineer as they pursue a parking solution, but they don’t have a clue about  New Jersey Land Use procedures.

They did the “Parking Study” that led to a “Parking Task Force” that recommended a few dozen diagonal spaces in the Grove, making the Town of Ocean Grove more dangerous to drive in.

From day one, Neptune did not enforce New Jersey Land Use laws in OG until the Court ordered them “to obey the Law” in 1980.

After 1980, the Township has disregarded the Court order and continues to violate Land Use Law in OG.

The Township has been consistent in ignoring the minimum amount of parking that the State requires, and State Law supersedes local Municipal Law.  As a result, hundreds of projects have been approved by the Township Committee without providing enough parking, either off street or on street.

So all those approvals have been illegal, and that failure to enforce the laws is the main cause of our parking problems today.

Kevin Chambers has been telling us that for years, and I agree with Kevin.  And Blogfinger is the only media outlet reporting this nonsense.

Does the Neptune Twp. governance fit Lincoln’s* description “of the people, for the people and by the people?” Are they what the Continental Army fought for?   There’s Jack, standing guard in the rear.

 

* From Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:…. “...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

And for a musical metaphor, let’s hope the townsfolk keep trying to solve the parking problems—–a new group has formed and will continue the effort. To them we say, “Keep on dancing.”

THE GENTRYS:

 

 

 

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Blogfinger promotional slogan. Blogfinger.net ©

 

Blogfinger Editorial Board:  August 27, 2019. Ocean Grove.

 

The Ocean Grove Home Owners Association has had a parking committee since 2015. Below is from their web site today, August 27, 2019:

“Parking Committee:

— “Joyce Klein, Chair — Ken Buckley, Barbara Burns, Theresa Checki
— Billy Faccidomo — Julie Hekker, David Phillips
— Richard Williams”

This is their “mission statement:

“The OGHOA Parking Committee’s goal is to improve homeowners’ and residents’ access to parking near their homes during periods of peak parking demand.”

“We conducted a parking survey of Homeowners to better understand concerns in all sections of OG and to solicit suggestions from members of OGHOA.”

 

If you read through their web site’s Parking Committee report, you will find a famous hair-brained idea which proposes parking along Lake Avenue in front of Founders Park.  That one suggestion alone nullifies all credibility which they might have had.

So now, after the total failure of their Parking Committee, the Groaners are forming yet another committee.  This one consists of the Groaners in “partnership” with the newly formed “Better Parking Alliance” composed of a group of OG residents.   The HOA announcement, which was sent today by email, doesn’t even mention their Parking Committee.   So what happened to them?  Have they been banished to a gulag somewhere?

In that email the HOA  introduces the problem with the understatement of the year:   “Access to parking in Ocean Grove is difficult.”   Really?

Remember, at the last Groaners’ meeting, they forbade the members from asking pertinent questions of OGNED, the North End pseudo- Redevelopers. That board should all resign because of their totalitarian approach to the residents of this town.

The new Parking Alliance is taking a bad first step by associating themselves with the ineffective and dictatorial Groaners board.

However, the first announced step is that this new partnership plans  to rope you all into yet another survey.

So, the Groaners will engage another committee and do another survey, and this is their idea of progress.

Blogfinger conducted a poll in 2017 asking, “Do you support permit parking in Ocean Grove?”  166 votes came in.  47% said yes, 47% said no, and a handful said “unsure.”  This was before any public hearings were held.  So, do we need another poll?  No, we need effective action.

What OG needs as the center-piece of a multi-dimensional plan is residential permit parking, and that won’t happen without a professional parking study which the Township hasn’t done,  and which the Groaners haven’t pressed for.  As usual, the Groaners have missed the boat as to how to conduct a forceful revolution.

Maybe they should invite the two current Republican candidates for Township Committee to tell them what they might do about our parking situation.  The current Committee has no interest.

As for the new Alliance, it seems that they are sufficiently impotent that they won’t step forward on their own, independent of the Groaners.  This failure to flex their own muscles suggests that they  are hiding in the shadows;  just a bunch of wheel spinners like the previous Home Owners’ Parking Committee.

Below are their names, but what are their qualifications that would make them experts on this subject?  This list is from the OGHOA.

It would be good if they would present themselves to the public and proclaim their independence.  Otherwise it sounds like a larger OGHOA parking committee.  We invite them to send us a press release as to what they are about and why we should rejoice at their appearance on the scene.

Lisa Boyd     Paul Kaplan     Andy Levine
Nan MacMorris     James McNamara     Cynthia Soler     Arnold Teixeira

Let’s wish them luck, and maybe the new “Alliance” will find some courage  (like the Cowardly Lion) and do something meaningful with the parking situation in the Grove.

 

Editor’s Note:  For those of you who have sent or plan to send your own theories about parking, that is not the purpose of this post.  We are not going to debate plans such as permit parking here and now on Blogfinger.
You can read our past discussions by using the search box in the top right of the home page.  Type in  “permit parking” or “parking problems” etc.
Let’s give the new kids on the block a chance to dig into the situation.   —-Thanks,   Paul@Blogfinger

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Delaware Avenue. June, 2019. Car remained this way all night. No ticket Paul Goldfinger photo. ©  Blogfinger.net

 

WAYLON JENNINGS.   “Luckenbach, Texas.”  Most places don’t give a second thought to parking.

 

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This thing has been parked here for several weeks on Heck near Delaware Ave. Can I buy a storage unit, park it on the street and store my winter clothes?   Blogfinger photo. ©  August 2, 2018.

 

JOHN DENVER “Looking for Space.”

“On the road of experience, I’m trying to find my own way.
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
When I think that I’m moving, suddenly things stand still
I’m afraid ’cause I think they always will.”

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

On May 15 we posted a report of the May 14 Township Committee meeting where a rushed ordinance was presented for a first reading.  It promoted a pro-business plan to restrict downtown parking to 3 hours per parker.  No study had been done in preparation, and some Committeemen had misgivings, but in the end, all 5 voted for what seemed to us to be a strikingly deficient proposal.

A variety of concerns were expressed including the question of where the residents of that area who parked downtown would go, and that concern also was about those who work in the shops.

We have pointed out that there are often, in season, more cars in town, than there are spaces.  And this is particularly true in the shopping district which is close to the beach.  So was this just a mindless scheme to rearrange the chairs on the Titanic’s deck?

Who stood to benefit from this ordinance which seemed to be propelled  at full speed ahead by some special interest?  The most likely culprit seemed to be the Chamber of Commerce, pushing for an advantage regardless of the effects on the rest of the town’s demographics.

And why would the Mayor offer special attention to them when there already are concerns of favoritism at the Committee?   Are they so blind to the optics of such suspicious behavior?

It is difficult to even track the origins of the plan. Somehow it was placed on the agenda by the Mayor, but why was it rushed through without preliminary study and discussion?   Who was responsible for pushing this idea onto the Committee’s agenda and then trying to ram it through in less than two weeks?  The issue of process is at least as important as the half-baked almost incoherent ordinance itself

To get the background, click on the link below

3 hour parking plan ordinance first reading

At the May 24 meeting, the new ordinance was supposed to have a final vote by the Committee after the public portion when anyone could get up and speak about it. It seemed like the ordinance would pass easily based on the first vote.

Remarkably,  the President of the OG Chamber of Commerce got up and said that her group hadn’t discussed or voted on the issue, and that perhaps half of her organization was opposed to the plan. Some evidently were worried that the ordinance would be a bad public relations move.

But in the Coaster article prior to the first meeting, they reported that the Chamber was encouraging its members to go to the meeting and support the plan.   As for the past history of this idea, this Chamber official revealed that Joyce Klein, of the OGHOA, had come to the Chamber with the idea 2 years ago, but that the Parking Task Force had shot it down.

So who brought it to the Committee now?   The veil of secrecy once again is floating around the facts.

The meeting was sparsely attended.  But when some Committeemen spoke now, it appeared that they were going to do an about-face on their own ordinance that had passed 5-0 on May 14.  Carol Rizzo said, “We’ll do a study.” But she didn’t say who would do the study. Michael Brantley said, “We need a real study to make sure that we are not making things worse.”  So a motion was made to table the ordinance, and that passed, in an almost psychotic reversal, 5-0.

Tabling means that it could re-emerge again, but obviously it’s too late to affect this summer season.  Maybe it will  be buried with permit parking.

What isn’t clear is why the Committee did a total flip-flop now since most of the facts that are now known were available when they voted “Yes” 5-0 on May 14.   Did they come to their senses?  Were they out of their senses for the first vote?  Did the Chamber flip-flop and then strong arm the Mayor?

The public ought to worry about the procedures that are followed in the back rooms of the Neptune Governing Body.

BEVERLY KENNEY:

 

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Commercial vehicle parked at a work site early on a Sunday morning.  No work being done that day.    7/30/17 ©

The commercial van above should not be left overnight at a job site. Allowing such vehicles to park on residential streets overnight aggravates the parking situation and encourages other contractors to do the same.  However if the commercial van owner actually lives in the Grove, there is an ordinance exception for one such vehicle.

DEAN MARTIN   ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”

 

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By Charles Layton

For the past two weeks, people on this blog have been discussing the interrelated topics of parking, New Jersey land use law, and the conversion of old hotels into condominiums (a trend many of you deplore).

I think I speak for everyone when I say that this stuff is too thorny for amateurs. Most of us haven’t followed the history of zoning, and we don’t know the jargon — RSIS regulations, special area standards — yikes!

Yet, when Kevin Chambers claims, as he did in a posting on January 31, that what Neptune has been doing – letting condos be built with no provision for parking — violates the law, it is our burden as citizens to try to understand what he means.

So I’ve spent the past two days poring over the scores of comments published here, and I’ve also read most of the key documents people have referred to.

If you’ll bear with me, I’ll try to lay out, as simply as possible, what I think it adds up to. Please excuse some of the bureaucratic gobbledygook.  And please, also, understand that I’m no expert; take this with a grain of salt.

-0-

Here is the history:

On June 3, 1997, New Jersey gave birth to a body of land use law called Residential Site Improvement Standards. That mouthful is usually shortened to RSIS. These standards deal with sewers, storm water, streets and the like. And they establish rules for how much parking a builder must provide for condos, townhouses, single-family homes — all kinds of residences.

Neptune Township happens to have an ordinance especially for the Historic District of Ocean Grove that conflicts with these state rules. Our ordinance prohibits off-street parking requirements and driveways for new residences. The justification is mainly that driveways, curb cuts and garages erode the historic character of Ocean Grove. There were no cars when this town was founded, so its architecture and town plan made no provision for off-street parking. And if we monkey too much with the town plan, we might lose our Historic District status. It is also argued that Ocean Grove is unusually compact (at least 24 units per acre in most parts of town) and its lots are unusually small (30 feet in width). The argument is that a driveway curb cut severely limits the amount of on-street parking, with the net effect of giving us less parking space overall. (While that argument works for single-family houses, it’s less persuasive when applied to a multi-unit condo development.)

On January 25, 2005, Neptune received a letter from the state Division of Codes and Standards pointing out the obvious — that our local ordinance violates the RSIS and is therefore legally invalid. However, the letter said Neptune could apply for special permission, in the form of what’s called a “special area standard.”

On October 26, 2007, Neptune did apply. It asked the New Jersey Site Improvement Advisory Board, which enforces RSIS, to let it retain its own separate regulations. Its application laid out all the arguments mentioned above.

On February 21, 2008 and again on September 18, 2008 the board held hearings on Neptune’s request.

On September 29, 2009, Neptune received a letter from the chairman of the board stating that there was insufficient evidence to justify a special standard for Ocean Grove. This letter reiterated that the Neptune ordinance was inconsistent with the RSIS and therefore invalid. However, the letter said the board was “willing to work with the Township” if it decided to submit a new or different request.

During all these years of negotiation, of course, quite a number of residences have been built in Ocean Grove, on Ocean Pathway and elsewhere. According to the RSIS law, those residences should have included off-street parking. But, because the buildings followed Neptune’s law rather than state law, no such parking was provided. In fact, by local law, the builders were forbidden to have off-street parking even if they’d wanted it.

How much off-street parking are we talking about? Well, under the RSIS standards, new condo developments must provide room for 1.8 off-street parking spaces for each one-bedroom unit, 2.0 spaces for each two-bedroom unit and 2.1 spaces for each three-bedroom unit. Obviously, the kind of density we’ve seen lately in Ocean Grove condos wouldn’t be possible had the condo builders been required to follow this legal standard. But because Ocean Grove builders continued to follow the local standard, they provided no parking at all, except for parking on the street.

A few Ocean Grovers, most notably Kevin Chambers, have been arguing for years that Neptune was in defiance of the law, and that the practice of allowing new condos without parking should be stopped. Chambers has made some enemies in the course of pressing this case.

But without judging whether all this condoization is good or bad, the historical record does seem to support Chambers’ claim that it’s illegal. And although nobody can now undo what’s already built, surely as citizens we could insist that all future condos provide off-street parking for their residents — unless the state changes its mind and gives Neptune some sort of exemption.

In conclusion, allow me to say that if Township officials, developers or others have a different perspective, or see errors in what’s written here, please give us the benefit of your knowledge. We are trying to feel our way forward on this issue. We are hungry for sound, detailed information. We will gladly correct anything that needs correcting.

Also, since the mother of all Ocean Grove condo projects is the proposed North End Redevelopment, we should point out in closing that the Township has provided, by law, that RSIS standards for off-street parking be followed in that case. That is to say, approximately two off-street parking spaces are required for each residential unit. In addition, the North End plan requires one off-street parking space for each hotel room. The North End is a special case because sites deemed to be “in need of redevelopment” fall outside the normal zoning process. It is the only such special case in Ocean Grove.

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