Posts Tagged ‘THE AURORA’

Aurora under construction. Paul Goldfinger photo. July, 2019. Much of the decorations have been removed  (temporarily we assume.)


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

In March, 2019, Blogfinger discussed the latest status of the proposed Aurora Hotel makeover.

3/19 Aurora BF post

We discussed some of the questionable issues as the developer was winning the argument to turn the historic hotel into 4 condominiums under one roof.  Many were concerned about historic preservation.  We pointed out that there were congestion , parking and land use issues.

As for parking, technically RSIS standards would require 8 off-street parking spaces, but there wasn’t enough room.    However,  the Board allowed a reduction to four and suggested that the developer make an application* to the Department of Community Affairs in Trenton for a “de minimis exception for any/all RSIS parking requirements.”

In July 2018, the owner, “Old Forge at Ocean Grove” received a use variance from the Neptune Zoning Board of Adjustment.   The Board says that two hearings showed “overwhelming public support” for the proposal. (BF note:  we hear otherwise.)

The  Neptune Planner testified that this was a fine decision, “satisfying the requirements of the Master Plan and that the ‘character” of the building will be retained.'”   The planner said that the proposal would  “promote historic use and reduce intensity.”

In the Resolution, item #24, the Board concluded, “There are no substantial negative impacts for the use (no substantial negative criteria present) as said renovation is set to enhance the neighborhood (architecturally, historically, and structurally for health, safety and welfare of surrounding residents) and the majority of the surrounding neighbors are fully supportive of the proposed use as set forth in testimony.”

So, the use variance was granted.

Then in August 2018, a civil action was brought against “Old Forge” and the Zoning Board by Kevin Chambers of Ocean Grove.  His suit was based on alleged land use violations which would  cause “substantial detriment to the public good.”

But Kevin Chambers’ suit was denied in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County.  There was no appeal.

In September, 2018, the same Board approved the site plan for the project.

We have no documentation, but evidently the HPC heard the plan and asked for some changes, so the final HPC approval is pending.  Meanwhile work is ongoing.  We don’t know what’s happening with the interior work to create 4 condominiums under one roof, separated by fire walls.  The HPC will undoubtedly eventually give final approval.

And the outside is supposed to preserve the historic look of this very important historic structure.

In April  2019, it was revealed that the developer’s lawyer had applied by letter to the Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA)  for a de minimis exception to limit on-site parking.  The State advised the lawyer that neither the DCA nor the Site Improvement Advisory Board (SIAB) approve de minimis exceptions. They said that it is the responsibility of the municipality.

So the State punted, and presumably the Neptune Board approved zero to four off street parking spots—we don’t know.

We will prepare a post trying to explain what happened with the DCA.   Is this how the Town got away with approving over 300 condos over the years, none with parking?

Needless to say, those of us who follow this sort of thing were expecting RSIS parking standards to be enforced, but they were not, and I double checked with the DCA as to the legitimacy of that letter. 

So, for the sake of those neighbors who love this idea, they better wish for some rich people with no cars, no friends, and no relatives.


JOHN DENVER     “Looking for Space”

“And I’m looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I’m looking to know and understand
It’s a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I’m deep in despair.”

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A dumpster raises the specter of  “progress” at the Aurora.   November 6, 2018. © Blogfinger undercover staff photo.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and Jack Bredin, researcher/reporter.

As you may know the Neptune Township Board of Absurdities granted a use variance to the new owner of the Aurora Hotel. He was given permission to turn that building into two structures separated by a wall.  He wants to have two single family units on each side, equaling 4.

We have written about some of the problems we have seen regarding this planned outrage at one of our town’s most important historic structures  (per Ted Bell, OG historian.)

The Aurora project cannot proceed legally until:  the developer receives approvals for a legal subdivision, a site plan is approved, bulk variances are received, and the HPC issues a Certificate of Appropriateness.  Then, after all approvals are given, the developer can apply to the Building Department for permits to stick in the window of the building.

Here are a few factoids relating to this matter:

a. No work can be done inside without an approved site plan.

b. A subdivision has to occur, turning this single lot into two, but there is not enough room for such multifamily housing on that single lot which is only about 4,700 square feet.  More like 120,000 sq ft. would be needed.

The single lot was once a double lot in 1879, but that is no longer true, no matter what Mr. Haney says about reverting to historic zoning maps.

c. The bulk variances have to do with eliminating the requirement that a rear yard separate the two lots, since both buildings will be attached.

d.  There is a lawsuit pending regarding the Board of Adjustment’s awarding a use variance.

So, what is the dumpster doing there?   Well, there are no restrictions regarding bringing junk out of the house and into the dumpster. But if there is work being planned inside and/or outside, that would have to wait for the various approvals.  Hopefully the Township won’t allow that dumpster to remain without progress being made to fill it up.

Blogfinger will be having a film crew at the site to document all the ways that local laws are to be ignored. We expect to see the usual Neptune “turn a blind eye” syndrome while a developer defies the laws. A noted OG observer observes, “They do whatever they want.”

Watch for us streaming on Netflix with “The Case of the Aurora Dumpster.”





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