A LOOK BACK AT 2022
Dear Members: For the OGHOA 2022 came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. At the start of the year, as we were emerging from the shackles of covid, Ocean Grove was relatively quiet; by the end of the year, the need to wrestle with challenging issues and growing controversies in our community was demanding the lion’s share of our time. It was quite a year.
First a quick review of the year in our HOA meetings:
- A third of our meetings included Neptune Township speakers – Michael Bascom, the Township CFO, David Milmoe, head of Public Works, Gina LaPlaca, our new Township Business Administrator, and Gabriella Siboni, our new Township Clerk.
- Two unique and very informative meetings featured local contractor Jason Urig and Ocean Grove’s resident oceanographer and climate change guru, Philip Orton.
- Our annual August Summer Breakfast was a very special event held in the Washington Firehouse featuring incumbent politicians including State Senator Vin Gopal and our State Representatives Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno.
- We had our usual invaluable September and October Candidates Forums with candidates in our local November elections.
- And we were twice fortunate to have performances by Neptune High School’s a cappella singing group Scarlet Sound: once at a Spring meeting focused on the arts in the High School, and the second at our annual December holiday breakfast at the Jersey Shore Arts Center.
Our OGHOA committees remained aggressively active:
- Since the June HPC denial of the North End Redevelopment proposal by the developers OGNED, our North End Committee continues to closely monitor the ongoing OGNED appeal of that ruling to the Township.
- Representatives of the OGHOA Parking Committee are members of the Neptune Township Parking Sub-Committee under the direction of Committeewoman and (now Deputy Mayor) Tassie York. The parking Sub-Committee has developed a proposal for a trial resident permit parking program (RPPP) in the Northwest quadrant of Ocean Grove that the Township will be considering in 2023.
- Our Preservation Committee has been resurgent as it monitors closely abandoned and run-down homes in Ocean Grove with the dual goals of helping, if possible, owners to restore/sell their properties, and prodding the Township, where necessary, to issue notices of violations to owners who do not maintain and/or secure their properties.
- We created a Bike Path Committee to follow the development of the CMA “bicycle path” that will run parallel to the boardwalk and which, as of this writing, is still in its design phase. The state legislature has awarded the CMA a $500,000 grant-in-aid that will be disbursed as the CMA successfully navigates through the Department of Community Affairs approval process.
On another front there is positive news: we have been hard at work helping to develop a new organization called the Ocean Grove Community Council whose members will be groups in town that create and are involved with community events and activities. We now have now secured the participation of both the Neptune Township Committee and the Camp Meeting, and the initial core group will hold its first meeting early in 2023.
As 2022 wore on, there were growing controversies over whether the Camp Meeting was becoming more aggressive in the outward expansion of its religious mission (witness the pier in shape of a cross and crosses on beach badges), and whether the Camp Meeting was becoming increasingly unresponsive to the concerns of the non-Methodist and secular community in Ocean Grove. A new group in town – Neptune United — was formed to focus intensely on these issues.
What has become most apparent is the need for the residents of Ocean Grove to be even more involved with each other, to express opinions on all sides of important issues, and to stay ever more civil with each other. The OGHOA wants to continue as a vital hub for these dialogs and we open our doors to all residents including renters.
Working together – this is what is at the heart of Ocean Grove, and what makes us not just a town with beautiful historic homes – we are a community. The mission of the OGHOA will always be to protect and enhance both property values and quality of life in Ocean Grove, but most important, we want to work toward these goals with you, our members, as partners. If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to renew or join us as active members.
Let’s all have a great 2023!