Brick Township Agrees To Demo Houses, But Are They Empty?

80 West Granada Drive looks like a normal home right now, but it sat without siding for some time and faces demolition. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – The Township Property Maintenance Board has recommended to proceed with demolition orders for five properties that have been found in default after failing to make repairs or perform other work to secure the properties, said Council President Vincent Minichino during the most recent Township Council meeting.

  The governing body passed a resolution authorizing the receipt of bids to secure the properties and approve the demotion process for 80 West Granada Drive, 24 Adair Drive, 478 East End Avenue, 204 Winchester Drive, and 357 Kelly Avenue.

  “Owners still have time to be in compliance with the Board’s orders while the township proceeds with the preparation of bid specs and completes the bidding process,” Minichino said.

  If the properties remain in their current state without adherence to the Board’s orders, demolition contracts would be awarded, he said.

Mayor John Ducey discusses township issues at a recent meeting. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  The owner of 80 West Granada Drive, Anthony Frisina, attended the council meeting and spoke during public comment.

  “You voted to knock my house down – my house, my home where all my personal effects are,” he said. “I understand that I have to follow the maintenance, and I’m gonna do my best to work with [the Property Maintenance Board], but this gets painted with a broad stroke that they’ve been fighting us for three years, and they haven’t.”

  Frisina said the contractor they hired to raise their house took their money and left. The family was then advised by the attorney general not to do anything more to the house, pending an investigation.

  “Meanwhile, I guess the neighbors got annoyed because it was under construction,” he said. “We did clean up. The big thing I did do was I put siding on the house, and then I got fined for doing work without a permit.”

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  He has since received a permit, but Frisina said he was not made aware of a certified letter that was sent to the house saying that the house was on the demolition list.

  No one was living at the house, so he missed the Property Maintenance meeting, he said.

  “I will do my best to work with the Board,” Frisina said. “I’m doing the best I can.”

  Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said Frisina’s case was first heard before the Property Maintenance Board in July 2020 – and it underwent a long process before it got to the Board, she added. It was heard again in December 2020 and again in December 2021, Bergin said.

  “We generally do exercise patience, we want willing participation…and tonight does not mean that the demolition trucks are going to show up tomorrow, but it does mean we take this very seriously on behalf of the residents and neighbors that want to see the property improved,” Bergin said.

Business Administrator Joanne Bergin explains the process for demolishing abandoned properties at a recent Township Council meeting. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  After the meeting, Bergin said that most of the homes scheduled to be demolished, and end up on the township’s abandoned property list, are vacant.

  The definition of abandoned property is any property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months and meets one other of four criteria: The property is in need of rehabilitation and none has taken place in the last six months; construction was started and stopped for at least six months; one quarter property tax payment is delinquent; and/or the property is considered a nuisance by the township construction official.

  “We look forward to having the matter resolved,” Bergin said to Frisina.

  The next council meeting will be on Tuesday March 8 at 7 p.m.