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Posts Tagged ‘Redevelopers agreement for Ocean Grove North End’

You can’t always get what you want. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Just because this agreement is signed by the Mayor and the Redeveloper OGNED  doesn’t mean that the project will ever be completed.  The Redevelopers Agreement for the North End Redevelopment Plan should be subtitled  “Promises, Promises” because it is filled with nothing but those. See Jack Bredin’s report below.

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, was present at the September 9, 2019 Committee Meeting when this long delayed document was approved by resolution.

THE 3 ACRE TRAVESTY AT THE NORTH END OF OCEAN GROVE IS A DONE DEAL……BUT IS IT?

By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, September 10, 2019. Ocean Grove, NJ.

At the September 9, 2019 meeting of the Township Committee, a 100+ page report, with attachments and exhibits (Resolution 19-316,) was passed with no dissenters.

It had been written by the Township’s Redevelopment Attorney.  The report attempted to list all of the items that were NOT accomplished over the past 11 years, items that are necessary to start construction at the North End, and a recommendation for the Mayor to sign a “Redevelopment Agreement” with OGNED LLC.

It would have been easier to just say, “Nothing has been accomplished in 11 years.”  This 100 page report is an attempt to “pull the wool over our eyes.”

The only thing that was new in the report was that Mayor Rizzo’s Redevelopment Committee recommended that the Township Committee drop its requirement that the Redeveloper file “financial guarantees” with the Clerk assuring that the project would be completed and on time.

At the 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting after the 6:00 p.m. Workshop, about 40 residents were present, but OGNED did not attend.  The Camp Meeting Association did attend.  They are the landowner of the 3 acre site and they took notes.   About 6 residents spoke against the resolution, and no one spoke for it.

The OG Home Owners Association is already on the record from day one, 2008, supporting the North End Redevelopment project.

All residents with questions were told, “You can ask that question at a Planning Board meeting.”

Because Mayor Rizzo is the Class 1 member of the Planning Board, she should be able to answer all questions regarding the North End Redevelopment, but she appointed Dr. Michael Brantley as the Class 1 member of the Planning Board in her place, and he voted in 2008 that the redeveloper “shall” be required to post “financial guarantees.” And last night he voted, “The redeveloper ‘may’ post financial  guarantees, to assure the successful completion of the project.”

This change of one word from “shall” to “may” is a financial benefit to the Redeveloper that other developers do not get, and could be detrimental to OG residents if OGNED LLC goes bankrupt or cannot build an underground parking garage as approved by the Township, and they all voted for it.

Editor’s Note.  Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net.

Why should OGNED have been at the meeting?   That Redeveloper has no interest in what the public thinks. You may recall when OGNED visited the HOA and refused to answer certain questions from the audience.

All these documents will be signed in private, out of the public’s view.

The Agreement raises all sorts of questions that currently are not answered.  The Redeveloper thinks he can complete all the approvals and documents within 14 months, but it likely will take longer than that.  And the actual construction project will probably take at least 5 years.  During that time, there will be major hardships on those who live near the project, and the document promises that those concerns will be assuaged.

Most of us wonder about the underground garage which will be huge.  It will have to be flood-proofed and it will need massive pilings to hold its weight as well as the weight on top of it. None of that information is yet available, and the garage is barely mentioned in the document.

And we also wonder where all the equipment and supplies will be kept during construction.

Here is a partial list of what is promised in this Redevelopers Agreement:

a.  “Any and all required goverment approvals” will be obtained including DEP (Federal and State.)

b. A final site plan with all needed engineering approvals to go to the Planning Board.

c. A  “traffic impact study.”

d. A “project schedule.”

e. “Financials” which “may” be supplied.

f. A “minimization impacts” statement.

g.  A long-term lease agreement between the Camp Meeting Association and the Township/OGNED.  We don’t know if all this has been thoroughly worked out. But in the end, all condo unit owners (51)  will have their own individual ground rent arrangements with the CMA. Other components are also condo units such as the hotel and the retail entities.

h. And much more…..You can read the entire Agreement.  The HOA sent it around a few days ago. Email them. The Neptune web site has not posted it.

So, after years of Blogfinger ‘s wrestling with this damn topic, we find that democracy has lost out to apathy….a failure of the people to participate in the process.  So we at Blogfinger finally agree, “You can’t always get what you want.”  But maybe the citizens of Ocean Grove will eventually get what they need.

ITUANA:  From the soundtrack of “Big Little Lies.”

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Northern Lights.  Ocean Grove seeks transparency.  Paul Goldfinger photograph.  April, 2014 ©

Northern lights. Ocean Grove seeks transparency. Paul Goldfinger photograph. April, 2015 ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In our last article, we reported that the Redeveloper for the North End was chosen in 2008 by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and included not only the OGCMA itself, but a mysterious entity called WAVE. (Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises.)

Ordinarily a redeveloper for a “zone in need of redevelopment” would be chosen by the Township, but somehow that was handled differently here. Usually the choice of redeveloper involves sealed bids, public notices, and hearings regarding who the bidders are and how the winner is chosen. We have no information as to how that process was accomplished in this instance and who the members of WAVE are.

A contract ( a “developer’s agreement”) must be signed between the Redeveloper and the Township that would spell out exactly what the Redeveloper’s obligations are. Evidently such a contract was never signed, because it appears that one is to be negotiated now. (see below)

Hill Wallack, a law firm that specializes in such projects said, “A developer’s agreement between the designated redeveloper and the municipality is required, and it must contain a time frame for commencement of development, as well as other statutorily mandated requirements. The agreement specifies the rights and responsibilities of the redeveloper. The terms and flexibility of that agreement can be the difference between a successful project for a developer and a financial disaster.”

It was at a Neptune Township meeting on June 9, 2008, that the choice of Redeveloper was on the agenda as Resolution #292. During the open part of the meeting, the Mayor requested public comments regarding resolutions on the agenda. The quotes below are from the typed minutes of that meeting:

“Former Mayor, the late Joseph Krimko said that he thought that Resolution #292 would be open and transparent and at some time a contract would be prepared detailing what the developer would be doing. He thought there would be several meetings prior to that final hearing.”

 

Then “Mayor Bishop stated quite frankly he did not remember that.

” Then “Mr. Anthony (the Township attorney) stated you have to negotiate the contract to come up with a plan.”

Then “Mr. Krimko stated he just wanted to make sure that meetings were held prior to the final hearing.”

Mrs. Argyros, a lawyer in the audience, “questioned what type of developer’s agreement would be used in Resolution #292.”

“Mayor Bishop stated it would be a standard agreement.”

Later in that meeting, the actual resolution was read. It said that the CMA “selected Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises, LLC (WAVE) as the developer of the property, and WAVE is the contract purchaser of the site.” *

Later, the minutes say that the “Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and WAVE have agreed to serve as the Co-Redevelopers of the property.”

Another provision says, “……The Township, the Camp Meeting Association, and WAVE believe that the redevelopment of the zone pursuant to the terms of the Redevelopment Agreement are in the best interests of the Township and will promote the health, safety and welfare of its residents……”

So, we see that the Neptune Township Committee approved the Co-Redevelopers in 2008, but the Camp Meeting Association conducted the actual process of selecting the redevelopers.

Finally, Mayor Bishop announced that a “Negotiating team for the Redevelopment Agreement will be himself, Ms. Jahn, Mr. Bascom and Mr. Huhn.” As it turns out, that Redevelopers Agreement was never consummated. It also appears that the WAVE group was not publically identified and *it seems that they have a contract to buy the property.

This meeting in 2008 marks the formal beginning of a public process which places special obligations on the participants including transparency.

Fast forward to the Neptune Township Committee meeting of Monday, April 13, 2015. The NERP was not on the agenda, but during the public portion, Mr. Jack Bredin asked about negotiating the Redevelopment Agreement. He wondered how the Township Committee could negotiate with people that they do not know. Ann Horan, President of the OGHOA, went to the mic and  stated, “We have done a lot of research as to who the principals of WAVE are, and we still have no idea.”

The Township Attorney, Gene Anthony, said , “We know who they are.” But evidently he did not want to name names.  Why the privacy on this point?

The negotiation process began today, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. A meeting was held with the Township Engineer, Township Attorney, Committeeman Bishop and W.A.V.E. representatives. The CMA did not attend nor did Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn who is supposed to be on the negotiating team.

According to Rick Cuttrell, Township Clerk, once an agreement is reached, the finalization has to occur at a public meeting.

AARON COPLAND   “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

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