I’M PISSED: READ WHY I SUPPORT MARY’S PLACE (IT’S CRAZY I HAVE TO EVEN SAY THAT) + FACTS
I’m pissed because it seems like there are too many people with too much extra time in Ocean Grove and they have chosen the wrong cause to get fixated on. In a clear case of no good deed goes unpunished…
Under the guise of being concerned for the town’s aesthetic, an Ocean Grove blog purporting to deliver “news” has been bitching about Mary’s Place (a retreat for women with / survivors of cancer) receiving administrative zoning approval from the town for the new facility it plans to build on Main Street.
The latest post in the series, written by the blog’s editor (many of the other posts on this topic have no byline / accountability), questions specifically whether town officials followed zoning rules for that residential block by giving the non-profit approval to build the 10-bedroom retreat. And calls for citizens to band together to rally and fight.
Seriously… too much time.
This is the issue: The “controversy” as the editor dramatically calls it – his sole point and issue – lies in the fact that in literal terms the new facility does not fall into one of the specific exceptions listed in the state’s zoning statute #40:55D-66.1, which reads:
“Community residences for the developmentally disabled, community shelters for victims of domestic violence, community residences for the terminally ill, community residences for persons with head injuries, and adult family care homes for elderly persons and physically disabled adults shall be a permitted use in all residential districts of a municipality…”
This the fact: TheBPlot spoke at length with an area zoning official familiar with the plans for Mary’s Place. He explained, “The argument that the facility does not meet the definition of a community residence is not correct. The state’s definition is a guideline or example and is not considered comprehensive or the only. A use similar to the definition is permitted without question – which is what we are talking about here. If the community wants to be literal about that ordinance, a home for recovering sex offenders or drug addicts is approved use. What would they prefer?”
It seems this editor’s (he’s also a physician, FYI) goal is to delay helping more sick women – and the Ocean Grove community – with a legal ping-pong match.
He was invited to meet with representatives from Mary’s Place to learn the facts but flatly declined the invite via email. If he chose to invest the time he would have learned about everything that led up to the town’s ultimate approval, including: the six months of dialogue between Mary’s Place and town officials, three aesthetic architectural revisions and the community impact study conducted by the charity.
Instead of putting his listening ears on, the editor chose to scare and manipulate readers with the title “Mary’s Place: What’s Next?” and continuing:
“This project, if allowed to go forward, threatens the town of Ocean Grove, because it indicates that our town values are open to compromise and are not trustworthy. This translates into potential effects on town pride, real estate values, and future similar projects that will point to this precedent as reason for their own projects to be approved.”
Wow. Really? Read that again. That’s embarrassingly dramatic (even for me). He is giving Mary’s Place a lot of credit while overlooking the simple fact that the founders and volunteers – along with their families – live in the area and love Ocean Grove. These are not people that bleep where they sleep, friends!
Hopefully, the blog’s rallying cry will shift to one of support for a charity that’s helped more than 3500 women… or at least find a new hobby to take up their extra time. It’s time to change this dialogue and prove a good deed can truly go unpunished.
What do you think? Comment below or email me: Richard@TheBPlot.com. NOTE: I hear the Ocean Grove blog is censoring comments. TheBPlot is the area’s only site with unmoderated free speech.