For the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association, 2016 was a successful and consequential year. Membership has increased by more than10% from last year, an affirmation, we hope, of the work of our committees and members.
The Derelict Building Committee, chaired by Kathy Arlt, persuaded the Neptune Township Committee to amend the Derelict Building Ordinance to require all owners registering derelict buildings, to pay a registration fee. The fee has generated revenue for the town, and has helped to defray some of the cost of enforcing the ordinance. After many years of slow decay, as a direct result of the ordinance, 80 Main Avenue has been restored to its former glory, and is now on the market.
The Parking Committee, chaired by Joyce Klein, devoted many months and brains cells to a detailed study of Ocean Grove’s parking problem, with a view to improving access to parking during periods of peak demand. The committee produced a detailed and thoughtful set of recommendations that was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of the members of the association, and that resulted in the creation of a Parking Task Force by Neptune Township. The task force will present an action plan to the Township by year-end.
As the result of the tireless; no, relentless, efforts of Ken Buckley, Neptune Township has committed to imposition of fines for violations of the snow-shoveling ordinance. If you are a year-round resident, you are familiar with the post-storm hazard of un-shoveled sidewalks forcing pedestrians to detour from icy sidewalks into icy streets. Vigorous and consistent enforcement of the ordinance will make Ocean Grove safer in the winter months for residents and visitors alike.
The OGHOA made a significant contribution, in terms of money and effort, to the effort to roll back the effort of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to increase ground rents. OGHOA joined with representatives of the innkeepers, merchants and realtors to negotiate a return by the Camp Meeting to the status quo ante. The Camp Meeting has pledged to not increase ground rents under any 99-year lease. The resolution covers ground leases for homeowners, though not all of the newest homes or condominiums or commercial properties on Main Avenue. The Camp Meeting was an active participant in the negotiations to resolve this issue, an effort that we hope reflects a renewed intention to engage with the residents that form a significant segment of the Camp Meeting’s constituency.
September and October saw the presentation of two very successful candidate forums. Both were very well-attended, and our members participated with gusto, asking a great number of insightful questions that did much to elucidate the positions and plans of all of the candidates.
In October, members approved an increase in annual dues to $20.00 without a single dissenting vote. The increase was needed to deal with steeply rising insurance costs, and to replenish funds expended in connection with the ground rent negotiations. The board is grateful for this vote of confidence.
Anyone who attended a membership meeting this year will have noted the quantum improvement in our audio-visual capabilities. Our members can now hear each other and every speaker, and PowerPoint presentations and other visual aids can be more easily displayed on the pull-down screen. We owe a boatload of thanks to Vince Cartier for making this possible. When you see Vince, let him know how much you appreciate his work.
Finally, this year saw the departure from our board of two esteemed colleagues. Denis McCarthy was present at the creation, and served for many years as an officer and trustee of the OGHOA. Janet Whritner served as the secretary and a trustee, and drove a determined and very successful effort to recruit new members. Please join me in thanking them for all that they have done.
Denis and Janet have been succeeded, but not replaced, by Theresa Checki and David Phillips. Theresa is our new secretary, and David was elected to a four-year term as a trustee.
If you’ve lived in Ocean Grove for more than a New York minute, you know there’s never a dull moment in our little town. With more new members and two new trustees, all of us on the Board of Trustees look forward to continuing the work of the OGHOA to make Ocean Grove the best that it can be.
Barbara Burns, President