Public Recommendation for Ventnor Plaza Challenges

Ventnor Plaza

Residents waking up to non-compliant, some say sloppy work by Ventnor’s Planning Board.

Lawfully required notifications were not sent out in regards to Ventnor Plaza development plans.

Only 11 of 33 required notifications to local neighbors were sent properly.

Ventnor Commissioner Lance Landgraf admits the error, but refuses to ‘re-notify’ as required by law.

Only 33% of neighbors within 200ft of project were notified. Meaning, a majority of neighbors were kept from providing project feedback, as required by law.

Here’s a helpful public comment from someone who knows Jersey shore development.

Real Estate developer FRANNIE G says:

I concur, all neighbors within 200′ should have been notified. Unfortunately, the improper process will be grounds for a legal challenge, if one or more of the neighbors with standing want to challenge the ruling by the Ventnor planning board.

This will delay the work, may reverse the decision all together and create a project failure, which would be a real shame based on the previous owners lack of interest in the property.

Being involved previously in several smaller developments in NJ myself, I know there are definite paths one must follow.

Being part timers, as we are, but loving Ventnor as much as my family does, I agree that there is no good reason not to allow these meetings to occur on line, so anyone with a personal and financial interest in Ventnor can observe and participate.

Unfortunately, there has always been a bitterness by local officials in Ventnor and many other island towns, not to accommodate part timers by allowing electronic access to these meetings.

And there is little fear of repercussions, since none of us have a vote. I often say the state motto should be, “shut up, don’t visit and just pay your taxes!”

I have worked with hundreds of “bar-restaurants”, owned several myself and have worked with large and small breweries (several in Jersey) for more than 25 years and on this point I must disagree with Mr. Gober.

The establishments in Ventnor are “bar-restaurants” or “restaurant-bars”, meaning they have both food and alcohol. Straight bars do not carry any significant food menu. So the licensed establishments in Ventnor are doing nothing wrong, because they all have more than ample menus.

And separation of bar and restaurant are a good idea because some folks like one atmosphere more than another and a young family is happy to sit in the eating area, where a 50 something couple might like having a drink and bite at the bar.

Locations like these typically don’t stay open past 11pm. or midnight and I’ll bet they have brought very little trouble to the City. It always boils down to the operators of the establishments. How good or bad they are and what they will and will not tolerate from their customers.

But a brewery is different in Jersey, which have some of the most restrictive laws on microbreweries in America. They cannot carry everything like the licensed establishments can.

It’s nearly impossible for a true brewery to carry spirits of any kind and only with very limited exceptions wine of any sort any typically need to bring food in from another source.

And with Murphy’s new laws taking affect a while back, has made it even harder for them.

And if you believe they are getting their license for free, then you have never been involved in building a brewery, not even a small one.

That equipment is so much more expensive than anything a typical licensed establishment needs to buy, that they will be much more invested in their sales per drink than any of the licensees in Ventnor will ever be.

Even a small brewery can demand $500K – $1.5M in just processing equipment, not including the rest of the build out. Brew masters take their craft very seriously and the last thing they are looking for is an old western saloon.

Being a frequent visitor of the Plaza, I’m very happy to see this new development group take the risk and do what is needed to make it better.

Sometimes Jersey towns forget that if there isn’t enough commercial activity in the area that eventually the residential portion falters because there isn’t enough convenience to sustain it.

That area is a low lying area, it has its problems and always will, so it’s only logical that grading and some revisions will need to take place. And no matter how much topographical work is allowed, it will never be perfect.

This is where the City needs to be responsible, reasonable and fair to both sides, the developers and the neighbors.

That strip has been an eye sore and half vacant for years and years. It needs help and as residents we can all benefit from it succeeding.

The neighbors need to be reasonable in their demands and the developers need to be reasonable also.

But if either side becomes unreasonable then respectfully, the Ventnor officials need to be true leaders and bring them to common ground, even if they loose a vote or two, next time around.

They need to allow both to coexist and prosper as residents and a business. They need to be thankful to some degree that a local who loves Ventnor thought enough of that area to invest his money.

It could have been some out of state developer that could care less.

But first the officials need to show they even know what proper procedure is!

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