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But Is It Legal?

Ehmann says NO!

Comments, Concerns and Recommendations Regarding the Mayor’s “ Redevelopment Committee Report 2015″

By Ted Ehmann, Belmar, NJ

After the release of the report there are critical questions that must be answered by the Mayor and Council:

Was the committee charged with creating new redevelopment areas in Belmar and not just review the existing area as charged?

Was the committee led to believe that the current Belmar Redevelopment Authority could make recommendations for redevelopment outside of the parcels designated for the Seaport Redevelopment Area?

Why is redevelopment being used in an area already legally designated as a rehabilitation area two years ago?

NJ Redevelopment Law, 40A:12A-6. states NO area of a municipality SHALL be determined a redevelopment area unless the governing body of the municipality, by resolution, authorizes the planning board to overtake the preliminary investigation…. It further states that “ such determination SHALL be made after public notice and public hearings.” Section 5 of PL1992c.79.

There were NO public notices of the 12 meetings open to the public, time and date memorialized in the committee report.

Therefore, under NJ Law, this is a nice visionary proposal, a “ what if “ look at possible redevelopment lacking any authority, proper investigation and referencing to the existing master plan.

Therefore, if the mayor and council wish to move in this direction, they MUST pass an resolution to request that the planning board (without prejudice) investigate specific areas for redevelopment using the legal designations and not the aesthetic wishes of a few with little experience and no law background and on a strictly advisory committee.

Historically, Belmar government and the planning board have fallen into liberal definitions of redevelopment needs under the advice of our planner and redevelopment attorney. It costed the taxpayers in court on appeals plenty. The most recent was the Beachfront Redevelopment decision just 9 month ago. If much of what is in this committee study is to be used to redevelop, there would be untold lawsuits and the continued waste of money on PLANNERS, ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS AND ATTORNEYS. But judging from experience, I believe that is what this is truly all about. The courts are growing weary of attempts to redefine urban blight to apply to “redeveloping” properties that are properly maintained, occupied or rented and paying their taxes.

My Background:

In 2002, I retired from teaching and rented a large victorian in downtown Jamesburg, Middlesex County, NJ. It was a quaint victorian town with a dying downtown, I invested in starting a gallery and custom picturing framing business. The entire surrounding area was being developed into rich retirement communities.

 The town of Jamesburg had the railroad literally dividing the downtown business district. Working with the elected and appointed officials and key upscale business, I started the Jamesburg Revitalization Coalition in 2006. Without spending a single dime, we enlisted the help of the NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, Main Street NJ division. DCA helped us get The Rutgers Blaustein School of Public Policy and Planning to have a complete rehabilitation study done of our downtown.

When I applied to Belmar Mayor Doherty to serve on the Belmar Committee, he knew this and my other credentials. My assessment is not sour grapes. But should the Borough of Belmar proceed to spend money for architects, planners , engineers and attorneys to make real what is legally impossible, I will be an ardent opponent.

Sources: Google: Jamesburg Redevelopment Coalition, History

Exceeding their mandate?

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 6.53.01 PM

“for the purpose of discussing ideas regarding the Belmar Seaport Redevelopment Plan”


  1. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    This whole idea of “Redevelopment” is a bunch of baloney. Having said that, I think it was very mean of Matt to have that sadsack come and sit and torture everybody for over a half hour with his dumb talk at the last meeting.

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  2. guest wrote:

    I moved to Belmar because I like Belmar in its current state. It does not need to be re-developed. It is beautiful the way it is.

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  3. Just Passing Through wrote:

    The redevelopment project makes as much sense as someone with a rundown house building a new state of the art garage. Look at the Vacancies, find out why and try to fix that first, how about using common sense!!!

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink
  4. Sigh wrote:

    How about getting some strong retail businesses to come into town that are not bars!

    Belmar is a quaint town. However, it needs a supermarket (Aldi would be great), a movie theater, and more places to buy healthy food.

    Stop wasting money on redevelopment plans and woo some good businesses here.

    A trade joe’s would be great too.

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  5. Missy wrote:

    Add to #4….how about a cheese shop, a combo book and video store with area for coffee…

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Just Passing Through wrote:

    #4 Sigh sorry Aldi or any other supermarket would never take Plaza Space the traffic count is way too low, the nearest Aldi is on a Highway 35 they need lots of cars passing by and rents with parking that makes sense to their survival. Look at Food town, Aldi, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Shop Rite.

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  7. sweetiepieface wrote:

    Parking at BeerHaus in Asbury last weekend was none existing. Over 100 people waiting on lines outside even in freezing temperatures. Much like a larger Porta. No parking for Moonstruck customers, so sad. Watch what happens Live in Bmar this spring.

    If there’s parking a market would work. There are plenty of cars parked year round at the plaza. Is 10th ave burrito trying to move to Main???? As ?Matt?

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
  8. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Forget it! …. supermarkets avoid senior housing …. like the plague.

    Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 6:14 am | Permalink
  9. Just Passing Through wrote:

    Don’t take my word for it folks I know lots are wanting a supermarket it will never happen!! I went to Aldi’s real estate site just to confirm what I know. They must have 20,000 cars passing by. Never happen in Belmar unless you are on35! We are not in the 60’s 70’s or 80’s things in retail have dramatically changed.

    Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  10. Just Passing Through wrote:

    For clarification that’s 20,000 cars a day. There are companies that certify that. The first criteria for retail is Location, traffic count, population, income, and other issues.

    Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  11. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Back on Ted Ehmann’s subject ….
    Inasmuch as the entire Borough was designated as a “Rehabilitation Area” …. two (2) years ago. What is the status of that initiative? …. success or failure? …. statute clocks?
    It seems to me that Belmar Property Owners are entitled to some answers …. Before any new wiz-bang ideas!

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 6:54 am | Permalink
  12. Just Passing Through wrote:

    11 Eugene If defense of these people with these ideas, they are trying to, I think make presently unusable space better and increase tax ratables. Unfortunately the ideas are like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. You have to match the draw and work on that for example Red Bank has Two theatres, that’s the draw most attend unless the weather is dangerous, thus you have restaurants some shops some bars. Belmar’s draw is the Beach and the Fishing Party Boats which are very dependent on good weather and are seasonal, NOT all year round hence the problem of getting any kind of major re development.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  13. OLD MAN wrote:

    I like the old way. Can’t enjoy anything anyway

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  14. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    The “Redevelopment” racket is all malarkey. If businessmen think they can make a profit, they will come here. If not, they won’t the only ones these so-called plans bring in are useless bums (I use that word only in the best way) who smell a buck without doing any work. The borough government should forget all about these dumb schemes and focus only on what they’re supposed to do, such as pick up the garbage, fix pot holes, police up the streets, hiring good looking female lifeguards regardless of their ability to swim, etc.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  15. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    What is vital is to not interchange terms. We have an entire town 100% as an area of rehabilitation. There are programs, like Main Street NJ for improving downtowns. Then there is redevelopment, the taking of blighted areas by the local redevelopment authority. It matters what you are asking for.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  16. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    #12- I agree with your comments regarding the need for a seasonal / year-round business strategy…. before any more redevelopment plans.
    Unfortunately, the motivation of our elected officials may not be what you assume …. Belmar adopted different flavors of redevelopment plans over 20 years and commercial rateables have been in a downward spiral since …. the proposed is just a political redevelopment law power grab attempt…. again.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  17. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    AMEN. The road to hell is always paved with good intentions. An electorate that
    can see through the quest and know the reality of the legal entanglements is preferred.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  18. Guest wrote:

    Dealing with only a “few” vacant businesses with redevelopment is like have a few blemishes and going for years of chemotherapy. The cure will kill you.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  19. Just Passing Through wrote:

    #16 Eugene seems that what you are telling is what they are trying to do is like a dog trying to catch his tail. Without a solid development plan that documents a positive cash flow no one will invest.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
  20. Guest wrote:

    Again: Just Passing Through- there is a RE in front of development. Please research- positive cash flow has as much to deal with redevelopment as dental floss has to do with irritable bowel syndrome.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  21. Just Passing Through wrote:

    #20 no cash flow no pay rent! Redevelopment may be an idea but $$$ talks. If you look at re-development in New Brunswick, Hoboken, Red Bank, parts of NYC they are making money!

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  22. Just Passing Through wrote:

    I meant to add unless you are using real estate as a tax write off you need a positive return on investment to Pay bills

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  23. Cathi wrote:

    #21 true but those cities are hubs with populations, jobs and proximity to NYC that Belmar just doesn’t have. Great place to live if you can handle the 1.5 to 2 hr commute.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  24. Southie wrote:

    We are not Red Bank or Hoboken. We a small beach community largely with seasonal businesses. While a plan to bring diverse new businesses into town sounds okay. Those businesses can find us. In fact they will do their own due diligence to determine if operating in Belmar can be profitable to them. Belmar can only offer support in terms of being open to any problem or issues brought forth through the proper channels such as the planning or zoning boards. A jibby-jabby mess of bars downtown and restaurants that cannot bring in year round patrons serves to scare other viable businesses from coming considering the lack of parking and need for all businesses to befriend (kiss the ass) of Doherty to get anything accomplished. The redevelopment plan should be one line to remove Doherty’s approval, from the equation. Businesses will come. Having to prioritize the needs of a mayor before your business plan is the problem, and it’s a well known problem for businesses in Belmar.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  25. Just Passing Through wrote:

    23 &24 you missed my point see 12 I am not saying we are New Brunswick or Hoboken or Red Bank I was merely using them examples of successful projects, they matched the draw to the redevelopment, they have people going there all round. The problem with Belmar is very dependent on the weather and the seasonality! I was merely saying it will be very tough to redevelop successfully. Look at Main St, vacancies and some stores have limited hours. Someone had a comment that if Belmar were a good place to make a buck there would be no vacancies or limited hours.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  26. Bill McKim wrote:

    Belmar needs more year around homeowners and the best way to get that is by improving the schools, talking about how great our students are doing. longtime Belmar resident Joel Waldman’s son went to Belmar Elementary from there He went to one of the top tech Monmouth county high schools, then University of Penn, and He is now in the grad program at Harvard. That kind of story,helps attract people who will put down roots in town, knowing We have a good school system.Belmar focuses much of its energy on tourism.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
  27. Just Passing Through wrote:

    26 Bill You are correct sir!!I have noticed mostly on new home and renovations are NOT primary residences. One reason is we are attracting folks that don’t want to pay 3 million plus in Spring Lake.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  28. Bill Straus wrote:

    Bill M You had better go to and look at the report card for Belmar ele. compared to the schools around us. If a home buyer does their homework and looks into it no one would ever move here based on our schools performance, it is so bad.
    Go look at it.

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
  29. Just Passing Through wrote:

    #28 Bill its not all the towns fault, if you were a top notch teacher you would go to a school system where the pay is top notch. Slowly the home ownership in Belmar is a second home these homeowners could care less about the school there kids go to the primary town.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  30. Just Passing Throuh wrote:

    Yes,,, I need to back to school on the typo sorry should be their kids go to the primary town.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  31. South Side wrote:

    26 Bill,
    Most of the new, property owning full time residents are older and will never have children in the system.
    Many other longtime residents’ kids are in the upper grades and are aging out.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  32. Guest wrote:

    The school is close to being considered a failing district! It has nothing to do with teacher’s salaries…from the teachers I have spoke to in town, there biggest issue is students do not speak English, and they live in seasonal rentals. In turn they start school late and end early, they are not finishing grades, no one is speaking English in the home, and there is little the highest paid teachers in the state could do with that.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  33. Tulip wrote:

    Every thing mentioned is a reason the town has problems. However the main one is 30 years ago or so we had an election where a strong mayor weak council was put into effect and has been in effect all the years since. Not too smart as you can see what government has caused. There are many small towns with a lot less money coming in that is in a lot better shape than we are. Do the math. Maybe it’s time for a change.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  34. Belmar Teacher wrote:

    It has nothing to do with salary. When I graduated, I and everyone I knew in college would have been happy to get a job. It is about vocation and commitment. Belmar is not the only school in the State or in Monmouth County that is ( you say failing) the state measures us as lagging. It is not about money or redistributing tax dollars based on social justice, socio -economics inequities. It is about top-down implementation. Let a teacher do, Let a parent do…what they know is best and there would be no failure.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  35. Just Passing Through wrote:

    #30 Tulip I understand what you are saying but the mayors and councilmen and women were voted in whose fault is that???

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  36. South Side wrote:

    please see #32 above from GUEST.

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  37. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    #32, What’s going on in effect is two systems are at work in the school building. The one working for the taxpayers children and the one working for the children of people who pay no taxes at all. So yes, a child can get a fair education. But the mass of children (60+%) who are either illegal aliens themselves, or the children of illegal aliens are just taking up space, and oh yes, eating breakfast and lunch on the taxpayers dime. Obviously, I understand you don’t want to get into a discussion about that. Take care and have a good day.

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  38. Belmar Teacher wrote:

    Dear South Side:
    I did read it. The School and teachers are not responsible for the lack of disregard for families who immigration status is questionable. The situation is compounded by certain central American cultures who have less than adequate cognitive stimuli for pre-school age children. There are multiple and reputable studies on this from very esteemed and liberal universities. In Belmar, we are not alone. The educational outcomes given the NEW challenges ( Belmar only has 500 students and we are not Perth Amboy) can be addressed.
    Teaching is not rocket science. Teaching is not not educating. If you are a taxpayer than you may want to look at the school board. Just saying.
    From my experience, all the supposed critics and or concerned residents do not want to get their hands dirty.

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  39. South Side wrote:

    It is not the fault of the teachers, school board, mayor, administration, etc. It is a sad, factual statement of why most new, full time, tax paying, property owning residents do not have school age children.

    Friday, February 27, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

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