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Asbury Park Deputy Clerk Retires After 20 Years

  By DON STINE Asbury Park Deputy City Clerk Kiki Tomek (above; Facebook profile photo), who issued the first gay marriage license in the history of New Jersey, has retired from her job after 20 years. In what has been called “guerrilla clerkship,” on March 8, 2004, and for the next three days, Tomek processed applications for marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Asbury Park. Her action resulted in the first gay marriage in New Jersey. The action was short-lived, however, after the state Attorney General’s Office faxed a letter to city officials three hours later stating it would invalidate…

Neptune Neighbors Oppose 312 Rental Units

  By DON STINE A proposal to build 312 residential rental units in Neptune near Jumping Brook Road and Route 66 in Neptune is expected to receive opposition at an upcoming Board of Adjustment meeting. Hovsons Inc., based in Tinton Falls, is seeking a use variance and site plan approval to build Victoria Gardens, which consists of 312 residential units ranging from one to three bedrooms. The project also includes 10,000 square-feet of commercial space. The project, to be built on just over 40 acres, is located west of the current AIG building. The development fronts on Hovchild Boulevard, formerly…

Tax Abatement Under Review in Asbury Park

  By DON STINE A controversial proposal to renew a five-year tax abatement plan in Asbury Park was tabled by the City Council at last week’s meeting but a vote is expected soon on the matter. First enacted about 10 years ago and renewed in 2008, the tax exemption ordinance allows city property owners to apply for tax abatements for improvements made to existing structures and new construction. The current ordinance expired at the end of last year. The tax abatement plan allows home improvements or new construction projects to receive a 30 percent reduction on property taxes over a…

City Official Outraged at $2 Million in Uncollected Funds

  By DON STINE At least $2 million in court fines, payments in place of taxes, and special event fees is owed to Asbury Park – money that should have been collected long ago, according to one city councilman. “The past administration did a terrible job collecting this money and every taxpayer suffers,” Councilman John Moor said at the Jan. 29 City Council meeting. Moor said the current council has “inherited major mistakes” regarding money owed to the city and, if it was collected last year, it could have been applied to the 2014 municipal budget. He estimates the money…

Allenhurst/Loch Arbour Merger Proposal Derailed After Vote Reversal

  By DON STINE A proposal to consolidate neighboring Loch Arbour and Allenhurst was derailed Tuesday night after a member of the Allenhurst Board of Commissioners changed his vote. The proposal as it stands now will not be officially submitted to state officials for review and possible approval. Allenhurst Commissioner Christoper McLoughlin said at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting he was reversing his previous vote after contacting state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) officials and getting no concrete answers to questions he posed about the possible merger, especially on issues about creating a special tax district in Loch Arbour and…

Asbury Park Downtown District, Church Nominated for Historic Registers

  By DON STINE Asbury Park’s downtown business district has been nominated to be placed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, as has the Trinity Church on Grand Avenue. The Asbury Park Commercial Historic District and Trinity Church, at 503 Grand Ave., will be considered by the New Jersey State Review Board for Historic Sites for nomination to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places and a public meeting will be held in Asbury Park on Friday, Feb. 14 to discuss the downtown district’s application. A community meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m.…

Alleged “Ocean Grove” burglar caught

  By Don Stine Neptune police arrested an alleged burglar Thursday night that they believe has been a major source in a rash of recent break-ins in Ocean Grove. Police report that Neptune resident Thomas Lockhart, 54, was arrested around 8 p.m. Thursday night after leading police on a foot chase to apprehend him. In addition to suspicion of burglary, Lockhart was also arrested on other active warrants and is now also charged with resisting arrest and receiving stolen property. Property found by police in Lockhart’s possession has been traced to a recent burglary in Ocean Grove. He has been…

Neptune Seeks $80,000 Grant to Fight Marijuana Use by Teens

  By DON STINE Marijuana is the most common illegal drug being used by Neptune teenagers today and the township’s Municipal Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse is seeking an $80,000 grant to help combat the problem. Alliance coordinator Dawn Thompson told the Township Committee Monday night that the alliance hopes to fight the problem and has applied for an $80,000 grant from the Governor’s Council On Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which is funded through fines imposed when people are arrested for impaired driving. “We put together a pretty intense package that is pretty comprehensive, it outlines some of…

New City Manager Looks Forward to Taking Post February 1

  By DON STINE John “Jack” Kelly, the former Jersey City business administrator and soon to be the new Asbury Park City Manager, said he wants “to hit the ground running” when he takes over on Feb. 1. Kelly was unanimously appointed to the job at the City Council meeting two weeks ago and he will replace Acting-City Manager Tony Nuccio, who heads the human services department. Kelly, who was also worked in the Orange finance office for 21 years, replaces Terence Reidy who held the job for 10 years and left the post Oct. 31. “I want to try…

Upstage Club for Sale

  By DON STINE The legendary Upstage Club in downtown Asbury Park, where rock ‘n roll icons like Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny Lyon got their musical start as teenagers, is up for sale. Current owner, antique dealer Richard Yorkowitz, called his decision to sell the building “heartbreaking.” “There is no one specific person or town to blame- it’s overall personal circumstances that led to my decision,” he said. Yorkowitz said it his decision to put the building up for sale was made “with much deliberation” and that he hopes whoever buys it will continue with his vision to reopen…

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