From The President

A LOOK BACK AT 2021

Dear Members:  While 2021 was constantly overshadowed by Covid, the OGHOA wrestled with many important issues over the span of an up-and-down year. Our first five Homeowner Meetings through May were all-Zoom Meetings as Covid and Delta variant cases restricted public gatherings.

A very thorough OGHOA Survey was conducted virtually through the hard work of BOT Member Bob Lamontand volunteer James McNamara, who presented the results of the Survey at our February Meeting. The Survey proved most helpful for our Board of Trustees – new committees (Membership, Volunteer and Green) were formed, and most important, Past President Barbara Burns drafted new Bylaws for the OGHOA, which were approved by the membership at the May Meeting.

The 2020 CMA-funded Kimley-Horne Parking Report carried over into 2021 – the CMA ultimately turned it over to the Township for assessment. The OGHOA, under Parking Committee Chair Joyce Klein in coordination with the Better Parking Alliance (BPA), worked early in 2021 to interpret the report and made suggestions for implementation of an experimental permit-parking plan to be tested on the North Side of Ocean Grove. Finally, at a May Township Meeting with more than 300 attendees, Kimley-Horne presented the report to the Committee Members. The result – no surprise – the Township deferred decision-making. During the summer, a working group that included representatives of the Township Committee, CMA, OGHOA, BPA, and the Chamber of Commerce made recommendations on several non-controversial improvements to parking, including three-hour parking in the business district and shuttles for large events. However, prior to addressing permit parking, the working group agreed that the Township should survey all Ocean Grove residents on that controversial topic. At present, we continue to wait for actions on both the recommendations and the survey.

In June, we finally resumed live meetings in the Community Room, albeit with added Zoom coverage. As Covid remained an ever-present threat, many members elected to avoid crowds, and our Zoom meeting coverage proved vital. Therefore, we have decided to continue Zoom coverage of all live meetings going forward. Our annual August summer breakfast was held at the CMA’s Youth Temple with record attendance.

OGHOA North End Committee Chair Joan Venezia tracked the ever-pending North End Redevelopment as it received the all-important Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) approval early in the year, but then was bogged down after two Spring Historical Preservation Committee (HPC) Zoom reviews. The rest of the year slid by with the Redeveloper’s architects working on design revisions with an eye to securing HPC approval, and the redeveloper has yet to submit its fire-safety plan. The fate of the North End project still hangs in 2022.

And, once again, the complex issue of ground rents re-surfaced in 2021 with the CMA demanding unexpected rent increases on renewal of business and change-of-use properties. Although the CMA promised that ground rents on single-family homes would not be increased, there is concern that CMA’s actions will increase the challenges to obtaining mortgages and title insurance for all properties. A small group of dedicated residents, with the encouragement of the OGHOA, is working to explore legal responses to these CMA practices, with the caveat that this would be a long-term and expensive initiative.

Under the guidance of BOT member Nancy Clarke, we have added an important tool for communicating with our membership – our new OGHOA Facebook page gives us another resource for spreading news on the OGHOA and important local activities. Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/OceanGroveHomeOwnersAssociation/. Nancy’s social media team has also started work on revising our website which should be ready mid-2022.

Our Fall September and October Candidates Forums were frustrated by candidates in key races unable to attend – scheduling and covid complications wreaked havoc with election campaigns. But the year ended on a high note with our joyful December Holiday Party held at the Jersey Arts Center.

Many thanks to our 2021 guest speakers that included many incumbent elected officials, John Bonney from the Neptune Public Library, Dan Brown and Christina Hink , “green” business development executives discussing electric vehicles, Realtors Thea Bowers and Denise Sherman-Pula, Executive Director of the Jersey Arts Center Nicolle Nappi, and outgoing Neptune Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta.

Looking ahead in 2022, we will, as always, be vigilantly tracking and acting on existing and developing new issues, ensuring that our members remain informed and involved. Ocean Grove continues as a sought-after premier town to live in on the Jersey Shore, and our mission will always be to protect and enhance both the property values and quality of life in Ocean Grove.

Let’s all have a great 2022!

Richard Williams
President, OGHOA