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Victorian? Then Let’s Go All The Way

As has been previously mentioned here and reported on here, the mayor is looking to scrap the borough’s 2003 Seaport Village Redevelopment Plan.  He intends to appoint a committee to create a new plan.  I would like to be on that committee but understand that my efforts would be better spent trying to become the next pope.  (I’m Jewish.)

I have to admit though, that I found the mayor’s comments on the subject to be encouraging from a freedom lover’s point of view:

Mayor Matt Doherty said restrictions in the plan unnecessarily hinder and prolong development in Belmar’s redevelopment zone. He said that modifying it with the help of public input would help streamline future projects in the town.

The boundaries of the plan area are 8th Avenue north to 5th Avenue and from Main Street west to the Belmar Marina.

Among the prohibitions, the current plan doesn’t allow for professional offices to be located on the first floor of a project. Another guideline requires the construction of Victorian-style turrets with new development, the mayor said.

“There are so many things prohibited that it’s more of an anti-development than a development plan,” Doherty said.

I especially like his dig at Victorian-style turrets as I don’t think it’s the business of the town to dictate the architectural style of private property, particularly if it’s Victorian.

I really don’t understand this obsession with Victorian style buildings in this area.  It’s so old hat antiquehat_10and unimaginative.

This what we do now:

We put our young architects through Common Core training so they can design Victorian buildings that look just like every other Victorian building.  The schools are not only gun-free, they are imagination-free as well.

I think that if a building is going to be striking and memorable, the designer must be allowed to take chances.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings are remembered.  Dopey neo-Victorians are not.

Just look at the proposed new restaurant for the marina.  50620578E  This building is so seen-it-before that we don’t even need an artist’s rendering.  It’s just another big Victorian monstrosity.  People will forget it five minutes after they’ve eaten there.

I think the proposal from a couple of years ago was much more interesting and certainly more distinctive.



belmar marina photo



It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but everybody’s cup of tea would be very bland tea indeed.

Now because the marina property is owned by the borough we do have some authority to decide what style any construction might be.  But when you’re addressing private property, as the Seaport Redevelopment Plan does, I believe the owners of the property should decide what their buildings look like.  The committee, which I’m not going to be on, should just stick the basics like the size of the buildings, the distance between them, parking issues, etc.



If the committee, which I’m not going to be on, decides that the area that falls under their jurisdiction needs to look Victorian then we need to go all the way.  Why have the buildings look 19th century when everything around them is 21st century?

So I propose that if the look of the area is to be Victorian then everything in it must be.

We’ll start with how people dress when in that neighborhood.  It must be like this.Mens_Coats_1872_Fashion_Plate

And this.victorianhairstyles01-2


And of course, only Victorian-era cars and bicycles will be allowed to ply our Victorian streets.



One more thing.  No air conditioning or central heat should be permitted.  It just wouldn’t be appropriate.

And one other thing.  Do you think any Victorians said:

“I hate these modern buildings.  Give me a nice Tudor and I’ll be happy.”



  1. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    As an artist, a person that used to teach architectural styles ( in an applied arts curriculum) and an entrepeneur who spawned a town revitalization ( Jamesburg, NJ ), I more than welcome opening this conversation up. I have for some time, been wanting to spearhead a Belmar Historical Commission. If you recall the movie and Book Farenheit 451, Cal me romantic but I would be hanging out with the “book people”. Unlike our surroundig neighbors on the Jersey Shore, very little of the best of all periods has survived in Belmar. I can give you a million reasons why Victorian-Style architecture would not only benefit Belmar going forward but would be good for the soul. As a Jew you should know that the oldest Synagogue in Monmouth Cty is in Belmar. Last year, for my own entertainment I redesigned the Taylor Pavillion an eight sided hall with satelight eight-sided gazebos attached to it by boardwalk. OH! if only we could imagine.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    I’m all for preserving actual relics from the past be it cars or buildings or whatever. But just like I don’t like retro styled cars like the PT Cruiser or HHR, I don’t like buildings that look like something that they’re not. It just seems kind of phony. I think what we build now should reflect the aesthetics of our time.

    Of course I believe that people or towns can build whatever they want on their own property, be it contemporary, Victorian or neolithic. But I really love the look of F.L. Wright houses.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    We have the love of F.L.Wright in common. Ever see his synagogue in Abbington, PA? I am ready to discuss, the aethetics of the time. Hell, just want to have a meaningful dialoge. You bring copy is phony. The history of design and architecture is the history of copying unless you have the big bucks to hire a visionary. So far your focus is on the specific lot and or building. It needs to live in “relationship” to other buildings, the climate, the natural local materials and on and on. Falling Water could never evolve in a Jersey Shore environment. But I would at least ask the questions. Do you think that the 4″ X 8′ prefab, cost crunching chronies of municipalities ask these questions, or even give a damn.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  4. admin wrote:

    Well I cede some of your points, but unfortunately I don’t think there’s been much number crunching going on in this town for several years. For what we are spending for some of these buildings we could have hired Wright.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

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