Ocean City Smart Growth Group Recruits Volunteers

first_imgHelen Plourde McSweeny speaks about efforts to preserve open space in Ocean City, NJ at a meeting of the new Ocean City Smarth Growth group on Thursday, April 30.About 27 people gathered Thursday to share ideas on how to curb development in Ocean City at a meeting of the new Ocean City Smart Growth group.The group was formed in early April and is advocating for decreased development density, increased single-family homes and protection of the environment in Ocean City.Ocean City Smart Growth invited anybody who was interested in the group’s mission to attend a meeting April 30 at the Ocean City Free Public Library. They promised a 30-minute event and they delivered.“We’re here for the long haul,” Smart Growth co-founder Phyllis Coletta said.She said the group would remain true to the three C’s in its efforts to advocate for change: collaborative, creative and civil.The primary objective of the meeting was to recruit volunteers in the following areas: talkers (to speak at City Council and other meetings), writers (to pen letters to editors), neighborhood activists, creatives (to help with social media and YouTube initiatives), connectors and thinkers (Coletta says she wants to talk to the developers whom she’s told run the city), a political team (Smart Growth wants to replace the existing City Council with members friendly to its mission), the Green Team (group co-f0under Helen Plourde McSweeny will lead a push for open space) and the Real Estate Team.Coletta said the group’s first objective will be to oppose a May 6 Planning Board application to build seven duplexes at the site of the vacant Palermo’s Family Market at Fourth Street and Asbury Avenue.If the site plan were not approved, the tract could be subject to a new abandoned properties ordinance.She said other commercial properties on the group’s radar include: the Perry Egan car dealership at 16th Street and Simpson Avenue, a commercial property on Sixth Street across from the Ocean City Primary School, the site of the former Bellevue Hotel at Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue and the site of Bakley’s Delicatessen at Fourth Street and Ocean Avenue.The meeting attracted Ocean City residents like Thelma and John Trego. Thelma, a 1975 Ocean City High School graduate, said she grew up at homes on 10th Street and 13th Street.Even in those downtown locations, there was at least a bit of open space around single-family home, she said.“Every time they take away a place, they take away a yard,” Trego said of the trend for denser development in Ocean City.last_img read more