April 2016

DATE:  Saturday, April 23, 2016

WHAT:  General Membership Meeting of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association

WHERE:  Community Room on Pilgrim Pathway

MINUTES:

At 10:02 am President Ann Horan opened the meeting and led the homeowners in a moment of silence and then the Pledge of Allegiance.

As a courtesy to our guest speakers Ann first introduced Jonathan Kinney and Andrea Tingey of NJ SHPO, the State Historic Preservation Office. With PowerPoint accompaniment Jonathan presented the history, substance, importance, and application process for the Certified Local Government (CLG) program administered by SHPO. Jonathan is a Senior Historic Preservation Specialist and Certified Local Government Coordinator for the State of New Jersey. Andrea is his immediate predecessor.

The stated mission of the NJ SHPO is “to assist the residents of New Jersey in identifying, preserving, protecting and sustaining our historic and archaeological resources through the implementation of the state’s historic preservation program.”

A municipality or township that earns a CLG certification is making a significant commitment to its historical heritage — saving what is important from the past for future generations. There are currently 45 CLG’s in New Jersey with only two in Monmouth County – Middletown and Freehold. Neptune Township with its historic Ocean Grove district is a prime candidate to become the third.

The benefits of historic preservation that Jonathan cited all ring true in Ocean Grove. They include:

  • Aesthetic – well executed historic restorations are unique and beautiful.
  • Commemorative – a community can take mutual pride in its historic past and pass on what is best from the past to future generations.
  • Developmental – to be certified a town has to develop a master plan that is enriched by a commitment to preserving the best of its past.
  • Economic – most often it costs less to restore than to tear down and rebuild, and restoration has far less environmental impact.
  • Heritage Tourism — the fastest growing niche market in tourism, a factor that Ocean Grove can well appreciate.

Community CLG certification opens doors to funding and preservation technical assistance:

  • Grant funding awarded on a competitive basis – maximum $24,999 per grant to fund a wide variety of projects including surveys, National Register nominations, rehabilitation work, design guidelines, educational programs, training seminars, and structural assessments.
  • Networking and knowledge sharing – the ability to share with and learn from other CLG’s best practices and preservation knowledge.
  • Direct technical assistance from the NJ HPO office staff – help on commissions, building assessments, surveys, historic nominations, and general preservation practices.
  • A “seat at the table” – the opportunity to actively participate in national and state decisions on historical nominations and designations.

There is a formal application process for receiving CLG certification that Neptune Township would have to submit: Jonathan reviewed that process in some detail. Among the requirements for certification is the formation of an Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), a requirement that was met here in Neptune the early 2000’s when the Board of Architectural Review was re-purposed as the HPC.

And finally, after a summation of his key points, Jonathan joined by Andrea opened the floor to Q&A.

The first question form a homeowner clarified grant funding – grant money does not go to homeowners as direct financing for historical restoration. The grants, as described above, are for historical planning, surveying and educational initiatives.

Then, through a series of questions from Homeowner Kathy Arlt (who has for a long time been a champion of CLG certification) and the Chair of the HPC Deborah Osepchuk, the status of Neptune Township and CLG certification became a bit more intriguing.

It appears that for some 20 years Neptune Township has been flirting with an application that has never been filed. The HPC has actually already provided much information to the NJ SHPO office. Both Kathy and Deborah cited many obstacles cited by the Township at various times for their inability to submit the application, many of which according to Jonathan and Andrea were not valid obstacles, including no separate land use plan necessary for Ocean Grove, no photographs required of every building in Ocean Grove, and no application fees.

The core issue causing confusion over the years seemed to boil down to this: although no other area in Neptune Township has expressed ongoing interest in CLG certification, the certification must be for the Township as a whole, and the HPC must be the HPC for the entire Township. However, the Township can designate Ocean Grove as the district in the Township that the HPC is to have review authority over.

Deborah pointed out that this is essentially the current situation in Neptune Township: Ocean Grove has been both a Federal and a State designated historic district since 1976, and although the HPC is officially the Neptune Township HPC, its jurisdiction is in Ocean Grove. Andrea then conceded that the application could be very close to acceptable and that all that might be required for certification are “tweaks” to the Neptune land use ordinance which are, in Andrea’s opinion, nothing out of the unusual.

The CLG certification discussion concluded with Johnathan and Andrea asserting that the door is wide open for clarification and pursuit of a final application, and Deborah Osepchuk of the HPC and Kathy Arlt eager to follow up.

For anyone wishing more in-depth information, here are some key resources:

For CLG information: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/hpo/3preserve/local.htm – CLG/

The National Park Service CLG site: https://www.nps.gov/clg/

National Alliance of Preservation Commissions: https://napcommissions.org/

Next was the monthly presentation by Lieutenant Michael McGhee, our liaison to the Neptune Police Department.

  • Paving in town will continue, but Lt. McGhee could not obtain a schedule: the paving companies pretty march to their own drummers.
  • In the same vein, painting the intersection at McClintock and Central awaits a decision on whether part or all of Central will be re-paved.
  • Pedestrian crossing signs are now in place, and the Police will do their best to keep them in proper position.
  • From mid-March to mid-April traffic speed was monitored on Central Avenue. The average speed of 85% of the traffic over a one-month period is the standard for speeding evaluation. On Central that was 16.9 mph (the single fastest vehicle was 42mph): bottom line, there is not a speeding problem on Central.
  • There will be a temporary speed bump on Stockton by the Francis Asbury Manor, but there are no plans for permanent speed bumps in town.
  • As the weather gets nicer and the volume of visitors to Asbury Park increase, the police will more actively monitor foot traffic returning late at night to cars parked in Ocean Grove, with an eye to inebriation and disorderly conduct. As he does repeatedly, he encouraged North end residents to call the police whenever they see or hear anything of concern and promised rapid response. The police need responsible citizens be their additional eyes and ears.
  • The bridge gates will be locked as close as possible to midnight (and reopened at 5am), although Lt. McGhee did express concern that once the gates are locked at night someone in an impaired state might try to climb around the gates and fall into the Lake.
  • He thanked the OG Community Patrol for reporting numerous street lights out at night and promised that the police would follow up with the utilities responsible for maintenance of the lights. The police will also be evaluating where additional lighting may be helpful, mindful of the impact of those lights on local residents.
  • There is a positive new initiative called the Monmouth County Special Needs Registry where citizens with special needs – physical and/or intellectual – will be identified with decals for their cars and homes and their issues confidentially logged so that in the future the police and emergency services will better know how to help them in times of need.
  • From the police blotter: a homicide on Rte. 33 at the VFW (no suspect yet), and in Ocean Grove a broken window as part of an attempted robbery (no suspect yet), a television stolen from a home on Ocean Pathway (suspect arrested), and postal packages stolen from a porch (no suspect yet).
  • Upon a question, Lieutenant McGhee re-confirmed that on March 11 after a significant two-year application effort the Neptune Police Department had proudly received official NJ State accreditation that affirms the excellence of the department in adhering to sound procedures, policies and practices.
  • Tuesday, May 24th, at 11:00am will be the annual Police Memorial at the CMA Auditorium. The public is invited is invited to this very moving service that this year commemorates three officers killed in the line of duty.
  • His parting request was for everyone in Ocean Grove to look out for each other and keep an eye out for your neighbors, especially older and needy ones. His plea is for all of us to be partners with the police in helping to maintain a safe and caring neighborhood.

Ann then gave what usually starts our meetings – her monthly announcements:

  • April 30 – 10:00am–2:00pm drop-off at the Neptune Police Department for expired and no longer need prescriptions and other pills.
  • May 7 – Town-wide sidewalk sale (participants require permits).
  • May 14 – Spring Fling on Main Avenue: the OGHOA will have a table by Nagle’s and volunteers are urged to sign up and attend the table.
  • May 24 – The Police Memorial.
  • May 31 – May 30 Memorial Day Parade along Route 33 ending at Memorial Park at the entrance to Ocean Grove along Broadway.
  • June 18 – Paper shredding day at the Township Department of Public Works works on Heck Ave.
  • July OGHOA Meeting – Elections for all four officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) and one open Board of Trustee position. Ann Horan has served two 2-year terms and must step down although she will continue in service on the Board as past president. The Board will present a slate of candidates in June, but anyone interested in running should contact Ann Horan.
  • In order to vote in the July election, a homeowner must be a member in good standing with dues paid by June 1.
  • JCP&L is doing some 3,000+ miles of tree trimming in the state including work in Neptune Township in April.
  • Up until May 25th new high power utility lines will be run along Rte. 66 that involve new towers and a helicopter conveying the lines.
  • Leaves can no longer be put out in plastic bags: please use either green recycle containers or purchase inexpensive paper leaf bags. Loose leaves cannot be put out: they present a huge hazard in heavy rains as they flow to and block essential drains causing flooding.

Vince Cartier — the very generous audio-visual technician who has donated both his time and an excellent sound system with multiple mics to our OGHOA meetings – offered to create a summer evening “Beatles Jam” musical fundraiser for the OGHOA at the Starving Artist/Day’s Ice Cream. Vince recently created a similar and successful fundraiser at the Majestic Hotel raising over a thousand dollars for the victims of the Main Avenue fire. His offer will be on the agenda for the May Board of Directors meeting.

And finally, the Membership Business Meeting:

Treasurer George Germann gave a very positive and healthy financial report citing membership dues and contributions exceeding 2015 and our operating fund at its highest level to date. Most important, George gave sincere thanks to the 35% of members who this year added a total of almost $2,100 in contributions to their annual dues.

Chair Kathy Arlt of the Derelict Building Committee gave an upbeat report:

  • The adoption of the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance that Kathy had relentlessly championed for over two years has turned heads in the Township with the collection to date of $19,500 in fees.
  • Equally positive, Kathy cited a number of homes that are on the derelict list but are currently either close to or are being renovated. Of particular note:
  • 80 Main Avenue is under renovation with a promise from the contractor to end up as successfully as 14 Spray, 71 Benson and 24 McClintock.
  • 83 Stockton just had a new porch added and roof work has begun.
  • 39 Olin is now being worked on.
  • 101 Clark was purchased at a Sheriff’s sale and is now on the market
  • One down note from the point of historic preservation, Kathy lamented the soon to be torn down Parkview Hotel which is currently scheduled to be replaced by four single family homes. The unique Hotel with a storied history is a victim of changing times and financial reality.

In Parking Committee chair Joyce Klein’s absence Ann gave a very brief Committee update: the recommendations that were unanimously approved at the April 9 Special Homeowner Meeting were submitted to the Township on April 12 along with a request that the Parking Committee present those recommendations at a Township workshop session. Furthermore, those recommendations have also been submitted to the Camp Meeting Association.

With respect to RSIS issues, the Township has told the OGHOA Board that there is no timeline for re-submission of the application for Special Area Standards as exemption from RSIS requirements. The OGHOA Board will continue to monitor Township progress and be sure there is both sufficient time for review and a public hearing before re-submission of the application to the Site Improvement Advisory Board in Trenton.

There being no further business, Ann adjourned the Meeting at 11:36 am.

SUBMITTED BY:  Richard Williams, OGHOA Secretary