Asbury Park's Waterfront Redevelopment - the Saga Continues
C-8 Removed From Ocean Ave!! Landmark road soon to be a straightaway once more. A boost to local morale! Thanks, Henry Vaccaro! Now for the rest of it...
-LATEST Email from Kate Mellina - Please Scroll Down
Click here: News from asburypark.net
Our take on March 19, 2003 AP Council
Please check out Pete Walton's reports about the new Asbury Park city manager Terrance Reidy. I am astounded that this city council - after extortionist Terrance Weldon - would even consider for city manager anyone who'd been accused of doing anything wrong or criticized by the public and a normally reticent local press for not responding to public concerns. Nice Work Pete!!
Through his sources, Pete was able to learn of the candidate's name and affiliation in time to do some research before the meeting. But the public was not. The city council announced the candidate's name to the public last night, only minutes before voting on his hire, leaving the public no opportunity to review this man's qualifications or present questions about a city employee who will make a minimum of $102,000. When Restore asked how much he would be paid - or even the ceiling for the salary - the council said it was still under negotiation. I'm not a business tycoon, but I would think that entering a negotiation in which the other guy knows that the sky's the limit on what you can offer is a pretty insane tactic. What is this the Crazy Eddie of City Councils?
It's clear this council had no interest in hearing from the tax payers of this city in filling this crucial position. It is time the taxpayers of this community made their voices heard. And to Councilman Bruno's instructions from the dais "don't listen to Maureen's radio show" - I would say, "Don't count on it, Jim."
BTW, please note that last night the city had to amend its ordinance regarding the Technical Review Committee, after the "rumor" that people in the rehab zone would have to pass through it, the planning board and the council in order to make improvements to their properties turned out to be FACT. How about some apologies to George Kary, yours truly and the others who were told they were misinformed - spreading false information? Note: the attorney who prepared that erroneous ordinance, James Aaron, had his contract renewed by the council last night - for more money!!
Speak up - It's America!!
The following reports include personal opinions - for straight news see AsburyPark.net - Restore welcomes dissenting views and will post them here as well.
12/18/02 Asbury Partners Announced 3 Subdevelopers
K. Hovnanian is looking at the feasibility of its buying the C-8 (unfinished hi-rise) tract; that is Kushner Companies is vying for the Lake Side development and Paramount Homes of Jackson is eyeing the old Monterey Hotel site. Also, we said the Palace sale period is running out: however, a 10% deposit on the $2.5M price will be accepted up to April 23. We're happy to hear that the HoJo's is not slated to come down. But, sadly, the band shell atop the building is going to be demolished.
Citizens voice concerns over Redevelopers' Agreement at passage of Redevelopment Resolution
If you're looking for the poll we posted asking if the public approves the
council writing clemency letters for Weldon, we apologize. The poll provider,
Alxnet, apparently had technical problems. The response as of 11/21 was 43%
Outraged and 43% No, with 12% voting None of My Business.
MERCY FOR WELDON? - Councilmembers Kate Mellina and James Bruno have both sent letters requesting clemency in the sentencing of former AP City Manager Terry Weldon, the architect of Asbury's redevelopment. During the public question period of the 11/18 council meeting, the two responded that they were asked to write the letters, but - at the vocal urging of City Attorney Falvo - refused to name the party who asked them to write them. John Loffredo said he was not asked, and so has not written a letter. John Hamilton said he also hasn't written a letter of clemency. Mayor Sanders was absent.
November 20, 2002
U.S. District Judge William H. Walls
M.L. King, Jr.
Federal Building & Courthouse, Room 4046
50 Walnut St.
Newark, NJ 07102
I write in the matter of Terrance Weldon, former mayor of Ocean Twp and city manager of Asbury Park, who pleaded guilty to three counts of extortion in federal court, Newark, on October 11th, 2002.
Excuse me if this letter falls short of procedure in these matters; I have never written a letter of this kind before. In this case, I felt compelled. Mr. Weldon deceived the City of Asbury Park, which dealt with him in good faith. Despite the generosity of this town, Mr. Weldon extorted $64,000 from developers in Ocean Twp. While he was accepting this city’s rewards, the trust of our council, and the outspoken admiration of the entire town, he had full knowledge of his criminal deeds. Upon hiring him for the permanent position, our council had to win over an angry populace already burdened by real estate taxes to upgrade the position so that Mr. Weldon could receive an annual salary of over $98,000, plus a luxury car for his full time use. Still his conscience did not stir. In fact, upon resigning office prior to pleading guilty, he had the presence of mind to ask the CFO to compute the comp pay he had coming to him from Asbury Park - $67,000.
Asbury Park is a city that has struggled for generations with corrupt officials and suffered morally and economically because of it. Mr. Weldon willfully inflicted still more shame upon this city and upon the council that its citizens had put such confidence in. He should be pilloried in front of City Hall – not granted mercy from your court. The only way to end this city’s cycle of corruption, lies and profiteering is to make a hard example of Terrance Weldon. I urge you to bring the full weight of the law upon this man in sentencing him this January. Anything less will send the message that this city, perhaps this country since this is on a federal level, is soft on white collar crime, thus encouraging more Weldons to rape our cities in the future.
S. Maureen Nevin
Bruno and Mellina also voted to approve back pay for Weldon amounting to $67,000. Although most of the time in question was accumulated while Weldon was an Asbury Park fireman, the rate was calculated at his last salary of $98,000+, according to NJ State law. Critics question whether Weldon's failure to give 30 days notice, as per his contract as city manager, should have either voided the city's obligation or allowed it to deduct 30 days @$380 per day, or $11,400. The question also remains, were the dates of Weldon's extortion activities, as recorded by the FBI, compared with his dates of employment to see if he had already committed a felony when he applied for the permanent city manager's job? The answer is yes. Weldon admitted to committing extortion from 1998 - 2001. He accepted the permanent position on Jul;y 2002.
AP COUNCIL VOTES IN REDEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE
"This plan wouldn't have never happened without Terry Weldon:" councilman James Bruno. The council was led through the whole process by Weldon, Bruno said prior to casting his vote for the plan, on 10/23. He emphasized that the tax liens, which attracted M.D. Sass to the deal, weren't the idea of the council, but the brainchild of Weldon.
Atty Alfred Faiella, former executive director of the now defunct Newark Economic Development Corp, (far right) will represent Asbury Partners LLC and possibly other developers in the future, according to City Redevelopment Attorney James Aaron (background right) on 10/23/02. Earlier we interpreted Aaron's statement to mean Faiella will conduct negotiations with developers for Asbury Partners LLC, the new owners of all the waterfront development rights. After listening to his quote again, taped by Kyangazi A. Denson, Cable TV Producer MSPTV 71, whose program airs Mondays at 4 PM, we find the statement a bit confusing. Is Aaron saying that Faiella will represent Asbury Partners LLC initially, and then switch sides and represent subdevelopers? In his role as exec dir of the NEDC and deputy mayor of Newark, Faiella put together multi-million dollar deals over the years and had one pending with Tropicana's parent just prior to being ousted.
Contractors Sign up now for Redevelopment Jobs!!
Restore Opened its mic's to the council on many, many occasions - maintained an open door in fact. Questions were always answered.
Then what happened? (pictured Nevin, council member Mellina, attorney/columnist Tom DeSeno, council member Loffredo)
Councilperson Kate Mellina is committed to answering rumors regarding redevelopment.
Here is an email that she asked us to list on the site and my response:
message dated 3/16/2003 9:48:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subj: Re: Tonight's Show
Date: 3/16/2003 9:48:46 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet
I was a bit surprised by the e-mail you sent out to your mailing list on
Thursday, March 13, implying that three members of the council were asked
to participate in your two-hour, on-air radio discussion that night on
redevelopment and had not accepted.
As you are aware, Rich DePetro, your program sponsor that night for the
roundtable discussion and a member of the "Coalition of Concerned
Citizens", publicly invited the entire council to participate in the
program at the last council meeting, and our city attorney confirmed, in
your presence, that council members shouldn't participate because the
apparent topics included the litigation being brought against the city by
some landowners in the beachfront area that will shortly go to court.
I am sure the same restriction affected Larry Fishman, and I am unsure why
you would have invited Peter Falvo at all, since he is our city attorney
and not our redevelopment attorney and is therefore not involved with the
In any case, I am not sure, therefore, why you listed only three
councilperson's names as "invitees" in your public e-mail, or why you did
not make it clear why the council members did not participate.
I am also concerned that the invitation to the council came directly from
the program sponsor who owns property in the district, since this seems to
put the entire discussion in the realm of an "info-mercial", rather than an
Please note that I will be addressing beachfront concerns in my Coaster
column, which also appears on asburypark.net, over the next several weeks,
and people can contact me directly at 774-7871 (I prefer phone calls to
e-mail, especially since I'm heading into several busy weeks) if people
have specific concerns.
However, I can't get tangled up in any issues directly related to the
lawsuits since this could compromise the city's position.
Please feel free to post this message on your website.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear these points up.
The reason I mentioned only three councilmembers in my email to my list was because I was speaking for myself - noting the council members I had asked directly. Rich DePetro was speaking for himself.
As for DePetro inviting the council, since he was the major sponsor of the two hours of air time, and completely aware of my desire to have the council participate, I had no problem with his making the offer. In fact, I would assume that if his case is as frivolous as the council implies, you and your counsel would have been eager to reveal this on DePetro's dime. By the way, anyone can buy air time on WYGG, just call the station at 732-775-0821 or Guy Henry, the manager, on his cell phone 732-693-5509.
Your recollection of the advice from city attorney Peter Falvo differs from mine: I recall Falvo saying that he would not give you an answer then, but would research the question and then advise you. He said that if he had to guess, the answer would be no. But that was a guess, not advice.
I guess you didn't listen to the show. Otherwise, you would've heard attorney Tom DeSeno, of DeSeno & Kunz, call in and, during his other comments, make the legal point that there was no legal reason for the council not to participate in the show.
I invited Falvo to appear on the show, because he had just responded to the question about the council's appearing on the show. Had he deferred to James Aaron, I would've given him a call and invited him.
By the way, since you're confronting rumors, let me offer the opportunity to clear up this one. Is it true that you meet socially with Weldon on a regular basis? More specifically, I've heard that you and Dave dine and go to movies with Terry and wife Nancy. Can you speak to this?
Thanks again. And thanks for a requesting that I post your email on my site. I'll probably post my response as well.
All the best,
Previously reported on this site:
Tom DeSeno's column from TriCity 10/24/02 Note: during the pre-vote public portion on 10/23, redevelopment attorney Aaron said the subsidiaries of Asbury Partners LLC's assets would be liable, in the event of a default or bankruptcy. DeSeno still contends the city would have to litigate to get those assets.
The man credited as the lead negotiator of Asbury Park's waterfront redevelopment deal with the Fishman brothers' Asbury Partners LLC pleaded guilty 10/10/02 to bribery and extortion in land deals he oversaw as mayor of Ocean Twp. Terrance Weldon was interim city manager of AP when the FBI found $40,000 cash stashed his attic - in a suit pocket no less - he literally pocketed it! (Total bribe as per FBI reports, $64,000.) So here's the thing: why would Weldon 6 months later accept the permanent city manager position? More details
How do you feel? What's your read on this? Frank D sees shades of Cecile B DeMille.
Frank saw this coming 2 yrs ago- click here for the Konvitz Chronicles, but then we knew those math teachers were smart.
OK- I'VE HEARD ENOUGH!!
POSTPONE THE REDEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE
This week Restore took
you inside AP City Hall (listen
to that show now) to show you how Terry Weldon bullied the zoning
department and possibly other depts.
Listen to one observer's impressions of Inside City Hall
Hear how Terry Weldon put a halt to weekly staff meetings
How Weldon got into "shouting matches" with the highly qualified Zoning Officer, Barbara Van Wagner -
Accusations that Weldon tried to undermine Van Wagner by having unauthorized personnel sign off on permits -
How Weldon forbade City Historian Werner Baumgartner from seeking a federal grant for the reconstruction of the Water Tower atop Convention Hall, which tax payers had to float a $2mn bond to pay for. AND MORE!
Did Weldon do it for money? We don't know. But he seemed to have a clear agenda. Weldon also brought in M.D. Sass, the lead investor behind Asbury Partners LLC. The city is about to sign into law an agreement with Asbury Partners for which Weldon was the lead negotiator. Do we know whether Weldon brokered backroom deals as part of that plan? No. Was he capable of it? By his own admission, yes. What do you do when you don't have the facts? You either trust or back up. He doesn't have my trust, so I'm backing up.
Also, it seems new faces are taking lead roles in this process. Case in point, Asbury Partners' attorney, Alfred Faiella, Newark's most powerful redevelopment official for 30 years, who showed his impatience for citizens' questions at the Paramount meeting this week. We owe it to AP and future generations to know the people into whose hands we're placing the future of AP.
How do you feel? What's your read on this? Frank D sees shades of Cecile B DeMille.
Frank saw this coming 2 yrs ago- click here for the Konvitz Chronicles
AP City Manager and Mayor of Ocean Twp, Terry Weldon resigned both posts 10/7. Weldon cited his "illegal" and "reprehensible" acts as Mayor of Ocean Twp. Weldon will appear in court Thursday10/10/02 and is expected to plead guilty. Listen to our show on 10/10/02
Oct.8 AP City Council Introduces Ordinance for the Negotiated Redevelopment Agreement! 1 dissenting vote: John Hamilton
10/8 - Council appoints Hazel Samuels acting City Mgr.
Click here for developer's update as of 7/29/02
REDEVELOPMENT VOTE - HUGE MEDIA EVENT
NJ Ch. 12 camera captures George Kary, whose house is in the redevelopment zone, in the throng of spectators at city hall.
SRO at City Hall - Asbury Park.net for full story and link to Ch12Video
McGreevey Says State Backs Asbury Park Revival
Governor James McGreevey Confers with Larry Fishman & brother Glenn, of lead developer Asbury Partners, as City Council Looks On
Asbury Park Mayor Kevin Sanders with the Governor on His Side
See AsburyPark.Net for full story...
Residents Debate Redevelopment Details: Go
The Redevelopment Ordinance passed 5-0, but we'll continue to monitor the process. So make your voice heard. This is a big project - it really will take everyone to make it turn out right!! see what your neighbors & leaders have had to say so far, click on the redevelopment page
On Parking, from Helen Pike:
Is Asbury Park ready for the kind of summer it hasn't seen in a long time: thousands of vacationers flocking to the beach front and hoping to find parking?
With Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing July 26th in Convention Hall, and then returning for the "Today Show" broadcast July 30, the economic benefits to the city's merchants are undeniable. The Berkeley Carteret Hotel is already booked.
This past Saturday night, an 11 p.m. drive through the city showed just how enduring Asbury Park's popularity is, particularly in the skilled hands of its new generation of entrepreneurs.
Cars lined Lake and Grand Avenues around the restaurant, Moonstruck. A few blocks up Lake at St. James Place around Anybody's Cafe, you couldn't find a spot at the curb.
At the head of the old circuit, not only was the parking lot full at Paradise, the disco club, but the former Plaza Hotel block was jammed with vehicles carefully doubled parked to edge of the old sidewalk, the overflow stacked in front of the Casino carousel house.
Joe Gruschecky fans parked as close as they could get to the Stone Pony which meant whatever was available down First, Second, Third and Fourth Avenues, along Kingsley and along Ocean Avenue to Fifth.
But the real surprise that brought back memories began at Sunset Avenue.
The Paramount Theater and Convention Hall was double-booked. In one, the Metro Lyric Opera sang "Carmen"; in the other was a salsa extravaganza according to the logos on the tour buses parked on Ocean Avenue. Cars lined the block around the Berkeley; filled the old Monterey Hotel property, spilled into the Net Lane's lot, lined Sixth Avenue and back out on to Kingsley. There wasn't a space to be had next door to the Adriatic restaurant on Kingsley and Sunset.
It was positive proof that the right marketing mix will bring people to Asbury Park to spend money on music.
But where will they park in the future?
As the City Council works to codify the redevelopment plans, it's not too late to think about underground parking. Particularly as Oceanfront Acquisitions is offering to lay new sewer pipes in preparation for new residential construction. The sewer plant, itself, is three stories deep.
Historic Military Park in Newark -- with its statues, walkways and landscaping -- saw the successful installation of a multi-level underground garage as part of that city's revitalization that included construction of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center at the park's northern end.
The same could be true for at least two blocks of Sunset Lake Park from Ocean Avenue east. And Founder James Bradley's statue could still remain at the head of his dream for a City Beautiful.
Helen Pike, Eatontown
REDEVELOPMENT IN ASBURY PARK
Asbury on the Move
We had a unanimous vote from the Council - 5-0 for the Ordinance. As we proceed it's up to the citizens to be sure that things don't wander or get out of hand. We'll continue to use this source for postings - Just email to restore881FM@AOL.com
Stay abreast of events affecting Asbury Park's restoration on Restore by the Shore and follow all the news on AsburyPark.net. Restore will do our part by bringing you lots of pictures of this changing scene and the people making it happen!! Just check in with this page!!
Following: The Great Debate Leading up to the Vote on the ordinance 6/5/02:
(most recent items are first- scroll all the way down for how this debate started)
With Wednesday's Council Meeting (6/5) and vote on the Waterfront Redevelopment Ordinance coming up, Asbury's characteristic skepticism is heating up. And that's how it should be. We should argue like hell for what we want now and support the council after.
LAST MINUTE RESPONSE FROM KATE TO PETE, READ BEFORE YOU GO TO MEETING TONIGHT 7:30!!!:
Greetings: [received around 5 pm 6/5/02]
This afternoon, I noticed the following statement in a story posted on
“The (Asbury Park Planning) board made approximately 64 recommendations to
the council. The council adopted nine of the suggestions in full, and four
of them in part. Two of the recommendations adopted called for compliance
with existing federal and state laws on historic buildings.”
After reading these bleak figures, I sat down with the Planning Board’s
report to try and do my own quick analysis.
The first part of the plan (“Inconsistencies between the proposed
waterfront redevelopment plan and the master plan of the city of Asbury
Park”) included 26 recommendations (by my count), and this section
comprised all of the required parts of the Planning Board’s report to the
By my count, the city council actually accepted 20 of these 26
recommendations in full (several of these items were already included in
the plan), and we also accepted parts of two other suggestions. All of
these recommendations were also accepted by the redevelopers in our
We accepted one other recommendation in full among ourselves, but could
only win half of it in our negotiation sessions with the redeveloper.
Only two of these recommendations were totally rejected, and an additional
one was considered and modified.
Quite frankly, I consider this exercise to be sort of a dangerous party
game, but I wanted to make the point that counting recommendations is not a
clear-cut game. Also, not every recommendation was of equal importance
and, as I noted, some were already included in the original plan, which may
have led to the differing counts.
In addition to this first section with 26 recommendations, the Planning
Board also included an optional section called “Planning Board
recommendations relevant to the proposed Waterfront Redevelopment Plan”.
(This is where the total of 64 recommendations came from on asburypark.net.)
Here, I wasn’t even willing to take a stab at guessing percentages. First
off, this section is written in a different format, and I wasn’t sure how
to count the total number of individual recommendations. Also, some items
overlapped with recommendations included in the first section of the
report, while others were totally new suggestions. Furthermore, many of
the items in this section -- whether embraced by the council or not -- were
outside the scope of the redevelopment plan in our opinion, and we
therefore did not include them in the ordinance.
At this point, I plan to step outside the continuing debate over whether we
did or did not ignore the Planning Board’s report (I certainly don’t think
so!) and I hope we can all move on. (Besides it’s time to start ironing a
dress for tonight’s council meeting.....!)
Thanks for listening,
From Frank D'Allesandro - 6/4/02 11:53 AM
First let me say that I know that Kate is working her heart out for the people of Asbury Park. No one in this city works harder or gets more grief for her tireless efforts than Kate. She will get grief from her friends as well as her enemies, although the motivations for that grief will be different, which is probably small comfort for Kate. My concern for the parks is that "the devil is in the details." And the only detailed plan out there is the Duany "butcher Bradley and Atlantic Parks" and make them parking lots plan. As late as two weeks ago in Ellen Carroll's Coaster article, the developer does not seem to have gotten the message that this plan will not fly and that a much more "temporary" and "nearly invisible" plan for "overflow parking" is in the works. I have several concerns with ANY encroachment upon public parks, no matter how temporary (supposedly three years while parking garages are being built) or invisible (undergirding the parks so that overflow parking for special events only will not damage the lawn). My first question, without actually seeing detailed plans which may or may not be available, is: overflow from what? At the height of Asbury's popularity, when tens of thousands of people came here on a typical weekend, there was never a need for overflow parking. I know that times have changed and that people hate to be "inconvenienced", but in the year 2002, where is Belmar's overflow parking? Do they permit parking on their parks? Secondly, how will this undergirding be accomplished? Will the lawn need to be removed and replaced? Seems like a lot of unnecessary work for a temporary solution to a non-existant problem. Third, if this is only meant to be a three-year proposition, that puts it beyond the reach of this council, which I trust to do the right thing, and into the hands of the next one which may suggest that parking on the park has been SO convenient, and the undergirding is there anyway, and that it would cost too much to remove it and return to the status quo ante, etc., etc. I am not willing to see a "temporary" situation become a permanent one because Kate or someone else is no longer there to guarantee it. The founder gave these parklands to the people of Asbury Park to be used in perpetuity as public land. He wisely also stipulated that if they were not used for the purpose for which they were given, the rights to those lands revert to his heirs. He did not not give the land to the council or to be used for the BENEFIT of any developer. So my bottom line is that any encroachment on land that belongs to you and me must and will result in litigation.
On a related matter, it is shocking that the Arthur Pryor Bandshell is being vetoed, for all practical purposes, by the developer. For well over 100 years (just look at the circa 1885 map of Asbury Park), there has always been a place AT THE BEACHFRONT for the municipal band. It must be the council that calls the shots on this one and insists that one way or another, there will always be a place at the beachfront for the band, regardless of how that somehow conflicts with the developers' vision for a new and more bedroomed city. I know that Kate believes that it is necessary to retain a bandshell there and that people have not been outspoken enough on the subject. Hopefully that is about to change.
Forgive me for lecturing, but it is the council's duty to keep what is good in the city and change only the bad, and God knows there's enough out there that's bad to keep Kate busy for several lifetimes. There are many of us who are not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater--and who are willing to take that message into a courtroom if necessary.
Latest: Councilman John Loffredo weighs in:
an excellent job in responding and as far as C-8 goes, I am still advocating for
it to come down!! Now on another note, is it me, or are some people negative
just for the sake of being so?
Well, O.K. it gets a bit frustrating when you work so hard to do what is right and people are negative no matter what. Do you know I actually had a woman tell me nothing was going to happen??!! I said, LOOK AROUND!! It's already happening. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of positive people out there, and we have gotten mostly encouragement. But there are those who just look or want or need for something to be wrong. Nothing is perfect, we don't profess to be, but we are getting a lot for the City, and we have worked hard for it. And I am trying to get that C-8 building down!!! John L.
COUNCILPERSON MELLINA RESPONDS TO CAROL TORRE
6/3/02 4:50 pm
Carol, Maureen, and all --
I read Carol's questions, and I'm going to pass them on to some of our city
experts to help me get complete answers in time for Wednesday's meeting.
I'm not sure I totally understood the first situation she described
involving the original (1984?) RFQ, and I don't want to step all over my
tongue here, so let me get more information on both issues.
Carol is correct in her second statement: The Redeveloper's Agreement
(which we'll start negotiating immediately and which will also involve
public meetings) will contain all the redevelopment schedules, etc., but
this is *not* the Redeveloper's Agreement we're negotiating now -- it's the
Beachfront Redevelopment Plan. (Does your hair hurt yet?)
Basically, the document we're discussing on Wednesday -- the Plan --
describes the "what" of redevelopment: i.e., what uses will go where, which
buildings will be preserved, etc. Once that document is approved, we will
negotiate a separate Redeveloper's Agreement which provides all the who,
whats, whens, thinly veiled threats, etc.
For example, if the developers take over Convention Hall by purchase or
lease (still to be determined), the Redeveloper's Agreement will say (for
example) that it must be restored with historical accuracy, how fast it
must be restored, what uses are allowable there, how many free days the
city gets to use it, etc. It would also include a reverter clause so that
we could get it back if they mis-used it, failed to restore it, tried to
turn it into condos, etc.
So yes -- there's much, much more to come!
I wish I knew what to do about Carol's (and apparently some other people's)
feelings of cynicism -- i.e., her quote that "we (or at least I) all know
talk in Asbury Park means nothing...", but all we can do is to keep
plugging ahead and, like she said, let you see what we do -- not only on
the beachfront, but in every other area.
I'm certainly not working more than 40 hours a week (at $5,000 a year!)
because I want to be known in 30 years as the woman who wrecked the city.
At the same time, there's so much broken here (the budget, beachfront,
crime, infrastructure, etc., etc., etc.), that only a fool would claim she
could fix it all, or fix it to everyone's satisfaction, with nary a mishap.
All I ask is this: please talk to us if you have issues. I was more than
a little un-nerved when some people this weekend accused us of ignoring the
Planning Board recommendations because I know how many hours we spent
fighting for them -- and I was personally pleased by the concessions we won
as a result of them. (Some of them were things we'd been unsuccessfully
fighting for for months.)
We can't always get to everything immediately (and here I'm talking about
more than the beachfront), because we are dealing with an overwhelming
number of issues, but that's all the more reason why we need to talk -- and
then collaborate. Six people (the council and city manager) will just
never be able to do it alone, and we've already been able to accomplish
quite a bit these past 11 months by working with interested community members.
Anyway, I'd better end here before I turn this into the length of one of my
Once again, please call me at home (774-7871) and leave any specific
questions you might have about the beachfront plan. I probably won't be
able to respond publicly or privately before Wednesday night's meeting, but
I'll do my best to obtain the answer and bring it to the meeting with me.
And, by the way, I left two copies of the updated (May 22) plan at the city
library today. (The only changes should correspond to
those that were listed in our May 15 ordinance, already on asburypark.net.)
From Carol Torre: CAROL'S COMMENTS ARE IN RESPONSE TO KATE'S IMMEDIATELY BELOW CAROL'S [YOU DO FOLLOW, RIGHT?]
Please do not think that I am negative about this Redeveloper or the plan. I'm just not sure about what is actually going on. AND, the extra time spent dotting our "i's" now will prevent us from spending years trying to get out of a plan that doesn't match our hope and vision for the beachfront.
I was impressed with Kate Mellina's response but as we (or at
least I) all know talk in
Asbury Park means nothing...
Let's see what they do... My issues:
1. If the redeveloper doesn't want to do the bandshell, then lets find someone else to do it! Again, in the originial RFQ (request for qualifications or the BID specs), the only boardwalk properties included were those that connected with the western adjacent block after Ocean Ave. was closed and became part of a larger parcel... That no longer is the case; therefore, there is no need for the redeveloper to own or control the boardwalk pavillions... I haven't seen anything yet that even shows what the redeveloper intends to do with the pavillions... For my 2 cents worth, the redeveloper can buy Convention Hall and the Casino and let the City retain ownership and control of the Boardwalk Pavillions... (Afterall, according to the planners they are worthless!)
2. I've looked and haven't been able to find a schedule of redevelopment or a schedule of acquisition of properties... In addition, the documents I read state that property owners cannot develop their own properties ... So what happens to all these properties? The property owners holds onto them and then sometime in the next 30 years when the redeveloper decides to get around to them, he takes them at 2001 prices??? Meanwhile, they sit falling to pieces because no one will buy them because they can't develop them... Does that make sense? I'm sure the properties between Kingsley and Ocean and along Wesley Lake will be developed right away, but what about the properties west of Kingsley? The Redeveloper Agreement should/MUST have a schedule! And the Agreement MUST state where and how the Redeveloper is considered in default and the consequences of the default...
Maybe Councilwoman Mellina could clarify these issues... So far, I see out of town planners (theirs and ours), out of town lawyers, and out of town advisers calling the shots when WE should be doing so... After all, WE are the ones who have the benefit of and have lived through the last collapsed redevelopment... I've learned what went wrong -- has anyone else?
1. If the
proposed ordinance is passed, does that establish the Redevelopment Plan only or
does it also appoint MD Sass as the Redeveloper... Does the MOU become the
Redevelopment Agreement and, if so, where are the changes to the MOU? If there
is a new Redevelopement Agreement to replace the MOU, where is it?
2. According to the plan, we know what color the exterior of building will be (7 shades of white) and what kinds of plants and trees will be planted but do we know what's inside the walls? What kind of commerical entities? Massage parlors, ice cream parlors, MacDonalds flea markets, Saks 5th Avenue? Is there a theme?
Is there any language to prevent Ocean Avenue from having blocks of MacDonalds, Burger Kings, Blimpie, etc.? Either I haven't been thorough enough or the plan is just a shell...
3. Has anyone considered that with 3000+ new residential units, there might actually be some households with children (not that likely in the high/low rise beachfront units but a possibility in the Wesley Lake townhouses)... It is probably unlikely that they will go to Asbury Park schools but what if, by some fluke, they do... Could someone direct me to the section of the plan that addresses that?
Everytime I read the documents, all I come up with is more questions, not answers...
Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the original RFQ (request for qualifications/original redevelopment plan) and the original redeveloper agreement between the City and Carabetta/Vaccarro with 1991 amendments? You would think it would be around somewhere since it is the basis for the entire current plan and agreements...
COUNCILPERSON MELLINA'S RESPONSE TO OUR INITIAL QUESTIONS FOLLOWS:
Hi, Maureen --
It may be that I’m still in La-La Land after spending two (delightful!) weeks driving through Arizona and New Mexico, but I was more than a little taken aback when I saw your comments about the council and the redevelopment plan on www.restoreradio.com this morning.
Actually, I thought we negotiated some pretty substantial improvements to the plan on the basis of the Planning Board’s recommendations before I left (it’s documents like theirs that give us more negotiating edge!), so I thought I’d take a few minutes to respond.
The council and city manager held two marathon negotiation sessions after the Planning Board report came out. (In fact, the last one packed more
developers, planners, technical experts and -- particularly -- lawyers into one room than I knew existed -- a sign that we were doing some pretty
The upshot of it all (and here I’m working partly from memory, so please forgive me if I leave anything major out), is that, among other things:
-- The Planning Board recommended that we not chop up Bradley Park for parking and (after seeing a scale drawing of what Duany’s suggestion would
have done to the greenery), we heartily agreed. The new plan calls for a less invasive (and largely invisible) solution that can only be used for
overflow parking and only for a maximum of three years, as recommended by the Planning Board. (I gotta’ admit -- I’m still kind of fond of the concept of giving Mr. Bradley a spot of honor in the center of Kingsley Avenue, but that’s just me -- details of any park improvements such landscaping, lighting, etc., will be publicly discussed at a future date --
and Mr. Bradley’s advocate, Frank D’Alessandro, definitely has my ear!)
-- The Planning Board asked for additional parking along the beachfront (one of my on-going personal concerns!), and we negotiated for a substantial new parking deck behind the Empress Hotel
-- The Board asked that no residential units be allowed on the east (boardwalk) side of Ocean Avenue, and we insisted that the plan be modified
to include this. (By the way, this is something that we’ve been insisting on since Day 1. We were surprised to see it included in the version that
went to the public and the Planning Board)
-- The Board asked us to rehabilitate -- not totally remove -- the current beachfront pavilions, and that has been our intention since Day 1
-- The Board asked that all state and federal statutes be followed with regard to buildings protected by historic designations. This is something that the city has insisted on since the beginning, and the details will properly be spelled out in the follow-up to this plan -- in a document that will be known as the Redevelopers Agreement. (Believe me, I haven’t done
all that yelling about the Palace Amusements for nothing!)
-- The Board asked us to look at alternatives to selling city-owned properties on the beachfront, and the developers agreed to look into other
options with us. As a result, we took the Convention Hall “sale” clause out of the plan, and we will re-negotiate this aspect for the Redevelopers Agreement. (In all honesty, my personal opinion is that we’ll still decide
to go ahead with the sale of the Pavilions for a variety of financial and non-financial reasons. The developer is very open to discussing long-term
leases and other options on Convention Hall, etc., if there’s a financially viable way to work this out, and Councilman John Hamilton volunteered to
put a report together discussing possible options.)
-- Interestingly enough, the Planning Board did not make any comments on the developers’ offer to build 5% of the units as affordable housing
(although this is actually an area in which they were expected to comment, based on existing city plans).. However -- based on previous public input
-- the council itself removed the 5% figure from the plan (where it didn’t really belong anyway) and will further negotiate this as part of the follow-up Redevelopers Agreement
-- The Board asked the city to update the city’s Master Plan, an enterprise that is estimated to cost over $100,000. If you’ve seen the city’s budget,
you know how hard-pressed we are for cash right now, but City Manager Terrance Weldon is investigating a viable option for financing this, which
he has already shared with Planning Board Chairman Ben Schneider.
(However, we won’t be able to discuss and finalize this option until the city budget is passed. The city budget can’t be passed until the Redevelopers Agreement is passed. The Redevelopers Agreement can’t be passed until the current Redevelopment Plan is passed. Now you know why I’ve scheduled more frequent hair-coloring appointments for the few hairs I have left.....)
-- The Board asked the city to add a new goal to the plan; namely, “spur economic growth through employment opportunities.” That goal has been added
-- The Board asked us to include police and emergency services in the
proposed Eighth Avenue “Fire Station” [sic]. Actually, this proposed facility has *always* been envisioned as an “Emergency Services Building”,
including all three services. (Just ask Terry -- I’ve heard him clarify that at about every meeting I’ve attended!)
-- The Board recommended that the Fifth Avenue Pavilion be fully restored, including the Howard Johnson’s and the Arthur Pryor bandshell. The Howard Johnson’s has always been on the restoration list. Since January, I’ve been urging individuals and groups to mount a public campaign for the bandshell, along the lines of the Save the Palace and Save the Pony campaigns, since I knew this was going to be a hard sell. Unfortunately
(in my mind, at least), no group has stepped up to the plate. As a result, we negotiated hard in our May meetings, but were not successful in getting
the developers to commit to saving the bandshell. The ball is now in the
-- The Board recommended that C-8 (the half-finished high rise) be demolished. I am a bit confused by this request, because I haven’t heard
any public outcry against it since we got the developers to agree to move it off Ocean Avenue and totally redesign the outer shell. Completing this
building will allow us to reduce density and height in other areas of the beachfront. I therefore saw no compelling reason to make this a negotiation point and cause us to lose ground (literally and figuratively) elsewhere
-- The Board asked us to include a provision for jitney service between the beachfront and Transportation Center. While this is a good idea that has been publicly discussed, we did not feel that this was the developer’s responsibility and did not include it in the plan. Rather, we will look
for a private operator when the need becomes apparent
-- The Board asked that the city’s traffic engineer review any safety issues associated with turning Ocean Avenue into a two-way street. This
was done earlier, and there are no apparent safety issues
-- The Board asked that the boundaries of the primary redevelopment area be consistent with those described in the 1991 plan. This was the intent of both the city and the developers, and material will be inserted in the plan to ensure that this is made clear
-- The Board recommended that commercial uses be included along Kingsley Avenue. After lengthy (and tiresome!) debate, we agreed not to *require* the developers to provide a certain amount of commercial space here, but we
mutually agreed to *permit* such uses. Based on the (possibly competing) uses that spring up along the downtown/Cookman Avenue corridor and Ocean Avenue, we believe that developers will want to include commercial uses along Kingsley Avenue if they perceive them as commercially viable -- the only way such businesses can survive, in any case
-- Some of the recommendations made by the Planning Board (for example, that we follow our redevelopment consultant’s recommendations with regard to the Stone Pony, etc.) seemed to be endorsements of what was already in the plan. Therefore, we agreed to agree with ourselves and retain these provisions within the plan
Getting all these concessions was not especially easy, as you can imagine, and there were plenty of raised voices during the May negotiations that
followed the Planning Board’s report (although I do have to give the Oceanfront Acquisitions crew positive points for being willing to work with
Needless to say, I haven’t covered everything in the Planning Board document, but I’ve tried to (hurriedly) touch most of the high points, and
I hope you’ll forgive me if my language is a little (!) wordy and/or I managed to accidentally mis-phrase something here or there. (Payback is
part of vacations, I guess: It’s Saturday morning and I was up ‘til 4 a.m. writing this week’s Coaster column so that I could rush out of here in 15
minutes to head to Trenton.)
Anyway, I hope I’ve reassured you and your readers/listeners that the council *does* care, *does* take the Planning Board seriously, and *is*
trying to get the best deal for city residents, whether you agree with our reasoning in every case or not.
Please tell people that they can give me a call (774-7871) if there’s some
specific question they want me to clarify before Wednesday night’s public session. (Just leave the specific question on my answering machine if I’m
not at home, and I’ll root around for the answer before Wednesday night.
Thanks for allowing me to respond,
(Councilwoman) Kate Mellina
RESIDENTS RESPOND -
Frank D'Allesandro Responds - Read
CLICK HERE TO READ CAROL TORRE'S LINGERING CONCERNS AFTER SHE READ COUNCILPERSON KATE MELLINA'S FIRST RESPONSE. CAROL RAISES GOOD POINTS. SEE KATE'S REPLY ON THE LEFT.
KATE HAS INVITED PEOPLE TO VOICE CONCERNS ABOUT THE PLAN IF THEY HAVE THEM. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO ANSWER EVERYONE INDIVIDUALLY AND SO IT MIGHT BE BEST TO POST SOME OF THEM HERE. INQUIRING AHEAD OF TIME, EITHER HERE, VIA EMAIL TO US OR KATE, WILL FREE HER AND THE COUNCIL TO RESEARCH THEIR ANSWERS FOR WEDNES NIGHT. POSTING HERE MAY ALSO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF REDUNDANT STATEMENTS/QUESTIONS. Email us
WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT -
THE COUNCIL VOTES THIS WED. 6/5 ON THE ORDINANCE THAT SETS THE NEXT STAGE FOR ASBURY'S WATER FRONT REDEVELOPMENT.
RESTORE RAISED Q'S AND GOT SOME A'S:
DID THE CITY COUNCIL THROW OUT THE PLANNING BOARD'S RECOMMENDED CHANGES TO THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN?? (I changed this to more of a question than a statement after speaking with Kate, who assures me the council met again with developers, lawyers, etc. after the planning board's recommendations were digested. In the end, we have to decide if the plan contains what we want. Kate says our opinions still count! Please read her reply!)
SHOULD THE REDEVELOPER HAVE 20 YRS+10 yr pos. extension TO DO THE JOB?? (Kate is checking on this. There may be deadlines within these periods. But do we want an outside of 20 or possibly 30 yrs??) PARKING ON OUR PARKS? (Kate says parking will be done with a special grid to allow grass to grow thru, so when overflow doesn't exist, park will look unchanged.)
SOME PEOPLE ARE MAD AS HELL!! WILL ASBURY LOSE CONTROL OF HER DESTINY?
TAKE BACK CONTROL - STEP ONE:
READ THE RESOLUTION THE COUNCIL PLANS TO APPROVE WEDNESDAY NIGHT - CLICK HERE AND READ KATE'S REPLY ON THE LEFT.
STEP TWO: READ PETE WALTON'S STORY AND THE PLANNING BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
STEP THREE: VOICE YOUR OWN OPINION ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT CITY HALL IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS
We're all grown ups here. We know developers and builders have to make a profit. We all make a profit whenever we can. But in order to have a fair deal, both sides have to have an even playing field - the residents of AP and the developers. It's up to us to be sure our side was represented. (It's not a done deal. The council will consider rational criticism. Don't roll over and play dead!)
Why did we crowd into the council chambers, then spill out into the Berkeley Carteret ballroom, meet in churches and stuffy office rooms? IF our opinions count, why did the planning board sit for 12 DAYS debating every aspect of redevelopment only to have their suggestions to the council ignored??? Reply from Council is that they weren't ignored. Make sure that the laws this council passes Wednesday night are what you want. Kate agrees with this. GET THE FACTS AND THEN COME OUT!!! Council members and city manager are welcome to respond here. We'll (continue to) post their comments.
Future of Asbury Park Under Glass
Civic Designer Cindy Cisler, who Enlarged the City's Waterfront Reports, Plans & Maps --detailing the redevelopers' vision for Asbury Park -- and reproduced every page for the Public to pour over, has posted the Council's Resolution here too. Check it out!! WAY TO GO CINDY!!! Go to - Corner of Cookman & Mattison!
Cindy got Pat Fasano to let her use his building at 601 Cookman for display. Check this out!!!
~ ~ ~
Katie McDowell, sponsor announcer, listens intently to her Gram's guest, planner/urban designer John Clarke (FAIA), whose firm drew up the new waterfront redevelopment plan for Ocean Front Asbury. Clarke says the Abandoned "c-8" Building may not stay. Listen and click here to write us about this show/subject. According to a caller - Werner Baumgartener - We are supposed to have a full time planner on staff now. Why don't we??? (See answer below)
Ans. Money. Lack of it. Andres Duany is our planner. Although he's 3,000 miles away in Florida, he did create a highly detailed plan - right down to the awnings and types of trees to plant. Jim Boral oversees all the permits, zoning compliance. So, the reactive job is covered. BUT we still need a department head who'd be responsible for the proactive stuff - should that store be allowed to have a parking lot in front of it? For now, we're very lucky to have a highly qualified volunteer who may be able to do a lot of this work. Sara Anne Towery, a retired architect and member of the UEZ, is dedicating tons of time to this effort. Thanks Sara Anne!!! Sara will guest on Restore on April 25!!
Week of 4/4 - After 6 1/2 hrs of public meetings at the Berkeley Carteret, John Clarke, of the planning group Clarke Caton Hintz/Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kukn Architects, continues the discussion (started last week on Restore) by telling us what he envisions putting in those spaces that Henry Vaccaro has cleared. Clarke's firm works for Oceanfront Asbury, the project of MD Sass and Ocean Front Acquisitions. Did you miss the show? No Problem- Listen to it now!!
Write Katie at TheKatieMc@AOL.com
Henry Vaccaro Told us Which Buildings Went and Which are still here and why...
Developer Henry Vaccaro has the demolition contract from MD Sass/Ocean Front Acquisitions to clear the waterfront lots formerly owned by Joseph Carabetta.
Do you agree with Henry's position on affordable housing in Asbury? It's sure to be a hotly debated issue in months and years to come. Listen to callers' and Henry's takes on it and then email us your opinions. Please note if you want the email posted on this site. Thanks for listening!
Call in 732-775-0821, 732-775-6203 - or email your comments for reading on the air to restore881FM@aol
The Redevelopment Saga continues in Asbury Park! PARTICIPATE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
Saturday, March 9
[Photos by M.
I Dream A City Held its N.E. Neighborhood Meeting
Asbury Park's Lead Developer Talks to Restore
Marie Ortiz, Ocean Grove, 732-774-8252
Larry Fishman, COO of Ocean Front Acquisitions, "master developer" for Asbury Park, giving host Maureen Nevin the everlovin' scoop. Listen to Larry See below for audience reaction.
Then the Roundtable gave it's reactions to what the developer had to say:
Photos: Marie Ortiz, Ocean Grove, 732-774-8252 Listen to Henry Vacarro, Calista Bryant, Vince Baker, Werner Baumgartener, Kerry Butch and Pete Walton - Roundtable Music for the show courtesy of Kokopelli, of Eatontown, and John Cosgrove, of Galway, IR Read the full report of the show as well as up to date reports on the city at Pete Walton's site: asburypark.net