Camp Osborn Redevelopment Held Up In Zoning

(Photo by Micromedia Publications)

BRICK – The legal wrangling continues on the redevelopment of Camp Osborn, which was a barrier island community of bungalows that mostly burned to the ground in a gas line-fueled fire during Superstorm Sandy.

During a recent Board of Adjustment meeting scheduled to hear an application by RTS IV LLC, who owns a section of Camp Osborn located adjacent to The Ocean Club condominium complex (formerly the Thunderbird Hotel), attorneys hired by an oceanfront owner at 107 Lyndhurst Drive stalled the application with legal minutiae.

There was barely mention during the three-hour meeting of the applicant’s proposal for a preliminary major subdivision for seven homes at the site.

A 2016 application for 14 homes was approved by the Board of Adjustment, but a lawsuit was filed by the Lyndhurst Drive neighbor, JStar LLC, whose attorneys argued the plan did not abide by current zoning laws. A superior court judge agreed, which led to this new application.

What is commonly referred to as Camp Osborn is actually three entities: the application is for the parcel that was owned by Robert Osborn, who had a lease agreement with the homeowners. After the fire, the residents had no rights to the land. (Robert Osborn has since died and the property was sold to the developer.)

Osborn Sea-Bay Condo Association (property that was originally owned by Jack and Carol Osborn) had 76 detached homes and two empty lots. The residents own their homes and the footprint of their house.

And lastly, Camp Osborn Association, formed in 1989, included nine detached houses. Those residents own their homes, footprint and land.

During the Jan. 31 Board of Adjustment meeting, attorney John Jackson, who was representing the developer of what was previously Robert Osborn’s property, countered the attorney for JStar LLC, Robert C. Shea, on numerous issues, including detail of the legal notice of the Board of Adjustment meeting itself; notice to homeowners surrounding the proposed development; the jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment, infrastructure concerns, and much more.

Citing case law, Shea argued with Jackson and with Board of Adjustment attorney John Miller, who cited other case law decisions.

At one point, Board of Adjustment Chair Harvey Langer had board members vote that they would stand by any legal decisions made by board attorney Miller.

Jackson said that Shea was arguing “non-issues,” and said that JStar LLC was a sophisticated businessman who owns ocean front property and does not want anyone living next to him and blocking the view.

“They’re pulling out all the stops. I’m surprised they’re not contesting the validity of the Revolution,” Jackson said. “This whole thing is to delay and filibuster and selfishly trying to shut down everything, and it’s disgraceful.”

With minutes left in the meeting, Miller said the application could proceed; Shea said he still wanted to discuss a notice of appeal interpretation.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” asked Harvey Langer. “The application will pass or not pass on its own merits. That’s my opinion,” he said. “We’re not gonna be done until 2021.”

The application is expected to continue on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.