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Posts Tagged ‘OGNED North End Plan’

“Democracy dies in darkness.” We need transparency and light in Neptune. Paul Goldfinger photograph 2014 ©. Quote is from the Washington Post.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor at Blogfinger.net  and Jack Bredin, researcher.

The North End Plan controversy goes back to 2008 when the NERP was approved by Neptune Township—signed, sealed and delivered.  The Committee became involved because they had approved zoning changes in declaring the site an “area in need of redevelopment.”  Doing this made the plan a public project.

But along the way, a revised and “scaled down plan” materialized and  surfaced quite a few times, especially powered by the Home Groaners.  But, regardless of what anyone says about a “scaled down project,” the only plan which is legal is that pesky 2008 plan with 165 residential units and two levels of an underground parking garage.

Because of the smoke and mirrors, the situation has become confusing, so here we are with an attempt to understand the truth by turning on some lights and seeking focus.

a.  In 2008, the Township failed to follow State Land Use Laws regarding Areas in Need of Redevelopment. The Township should have advertised a “request for proposals,”  and any interested developer could have applied for the job.  But they failed to do that.

By rights, the Township should have had “bids on the job” and then they would have chosen a redeveloper.  Then the mayor would have  signed a Redevelopers Agreement Contract that very day with the winning bidder.

But a contract was never signed and so there was no legal redeveloper for the 2008 plan.

At that time,  the CMA (land owner) and WAVE (developer) chose themselves as redevelopers .

c.  Eleven years later, in 2019, the “local process” lurched forward. The 2008 plan remained the only North End Plan ever approved by the Township.

In mid-2019, the HPC reviewed the latest Revelopment Plan and made a recommendation to the Planning Board which would consider final approval .  The only plan which should have been considered would be the 2008 NERP.

The HPC’s recommendations are the most important report for the Planning Board when reviewing any plan in a Historic District.

The HPC had a great deal to say in their summary, and much of it was critical.  Here is one of their conclusions:

“The proposed plan does not demonstrate an in depth understanding of or regard for Ocean Grove’s character and the need to preserve the town’s ‘sense of place,’ established in its plan.”

On October 11, 2019, in a letter from OGNED’s lawyer (Ansell, Grimm and Aaron)  to the Neptune Township Planning Board, the “final major site plan” was submitted.

The only plan which should have been submitted would have to be the 2008 original “final plan.  If not, anything else would be illegal.

Mayor Rizzo signed a Redevelopers Agreement based on that “final major site plan,” but what does her contract actually say?

We are skeptical and will try to obtain a copy of the Rizzo contract.

In November 2019, the Neptune Planning Board should have approved  the 2008 plan. If OGNED submitted anything else, they would be guilty of a Land Use Law violation.

The Township Engineer testified at that meeting that the current plan submitted  is  “substantially consistent” with the 2008 plan for 165 residential units with 2 levels of underground parking.  And the OGNED lawyer Krimko said the same thing about consistency.

And that OGNED plan was apparently the one sent to the DEP for review and approval.–and it should have been the 2008 approved version and nothing else that went to Trenton.

It was at that November 2019  Planning Board meeting that OGNED’s lawyer Krimko, and the PB Chairperson refused to  accept the HPC report or allow the HPC to speak about its conclusions at the  meeting. That was outrageous!

d.  The reason given by OGNED’s lawyer for suppressing the HPC at the Planning Board meeting was because “the HPC report is now immaterial since Mayor Carol Rizzo just signed a Redeveloper’s contract with OGNED.”

The OGHOA promised to post all important documents on their site, but the Rizzo contract is not there.

d. In 2020, Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta spoke to the Coaster and created the false impression that the HPC is holding up the process.   Not so.

e.  And now, the required scrutiny by the DEP is ongoing, and OGNED has received two deficiency reports.

Years ago, when my father would drive past Secaucus on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel, a foul smell would force us to close the windows.  It was the pig farms—long gone.

But now, in Ocean Grove, there is an off smell in the air. But this little light of ours, we’re going to let it shine:

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK  WITH JAMES HORNER.   From the movie soundtrack  Freedom Song.

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