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Posts Tagged ‘Private land ownership in Ocean Grove’

 

Are the Ocean Grove beach and boardwalk private property? Paul Goldfinger photograph 2008 ©  Click on photo to enlarge the conundrum.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @blogfinger.net    Re-posted in 2017.

In a recent communication by the Camp Meeting Association, we were told that they own all the land.

A woman was walking her dog on our grassy strip. The dog proceeded to defile the strip. Eileen asked the woman to please not allow that on our property.  The woman turned and said, “It’s not your land!”

When the CMA wanted FEMA to pay for the Sandy-damaged boardwalk, the CMA argued that it was practically-speaking  public land because the public uses it all the time as if it were public land; as if it were just like Bradley Beach.

The CMA eventually won that argument, but it was a hard sell. Blogfinger supported that theory. We posted more FEMA related OG articles then any other media source.

And that pseudo-public land theory is true since most of the CMA property including parks and pavilions and pathways and grassy areas which they own are totally open to the public without restriction, except, for example, bike riding on the boards at certain times, but those rules are for everyone.

You can even walk around the little trails that intertwine the Tent Village. That feels private, but it is not.  I often go there and take pictures.

If the doors to the Great Auditorium are open, you can wander in, sit down, and listen to Gordon Turk do his magic on the Hope-Jones organ. Open to the public.

And a homeowner can enjoy the privilege of leasing the land which sits under his house, as long as the homeowner pays the land tax and the ground rent.

So there is a commitment to allow public access to CMA land in most places around town, and that is wonderful.  And sometimes that gives the CMA a tax benefit, such as the Green Acres funding  tax break which the Boardwalk Pavilion enjoyed until the 2007 brouhaha when the CMA lost that privilege.

But here’s the problem.  We have public municipal ordinances that involve the CMA land  (such as mandatory snow shoveling of your walk), and whenever the Township wants to initiate such a rule, it must run it by the CMA.

This becomes a fine-kettle-of-fish when public policy must affect all of us in town, but one segment of the town, the CMA, has more influence over policy than others.  Do any of you know a comparable situation elsewhere where there is this peculiar private/public arrangement?

Which brings me to the “Dog Park Principle.”   A petition was presented to the OGCMA to use a small public access grassy area by the tennis courts as a dog park. It seemed perfect, but then it wasn’t when the CMA exerted its private property prerogative.  It said that it was their land, and a dog park would violate their “mission.”

So, there it is…..the “mission,” which is influenced by religion, and religion is supposed to be separate from governance. Yet they rejected the dog park even though the Township was sympathetic to the dog owners on this one.

So private is public until such time that private is private.  This is the “Dog Park Principle.”

This is confusing.  And there is money at stake such as ownership of land that someone else is required to pay taxes on, and there is the collection of ground rent on that private land that someone else is paying taxes on.

Shouldn’t the courts challenge the “Dog Park Principle” again, as a public service to help the citizens of this town  (a town that is a section of a municipality—another screwy arrangement) understand what’s public and what’s private?   I say “again” because somewhere in OG’s history are court cases that failed to settle all this.

But I am a doctor, so what do I know?  I know that Ted Kennedy once complained that drug companies were giving free pens to doctors—OMG Congress was mucking around in my free pens.

Why don’t State officials muck around  in our town where there may be Constitutional issues at stake regarding the public/private distinctions being made here over, for example,  a dog park.

 

CAT POWER:     “The Greatest.”

 

“Secure the grounds
For the later parade.”

“I’ve been sleeping
For the later parade”

“Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
The stars at night turned deep to dust.”

 

 

 

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