BRICK – The township will be receiving help with demolishing abandoned structures in town, thanks to a loan from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
In 2016 the township council applied for and received the funding to demolish unsafe, abandoned and dilapidated homes as directed by the township’s Property Maintenance Board, said Council President Art Halloran at the January 24 council meeting. The DCA loan would be $300,000. The township would be able to pay it back over the course of 10 years with no interest.
During the meeting, the governing body passed a $285,000 bond ordinance (minus a $15,000 down payment) to pay for the demolitions since the state requires the township to bond the full amount and then submit reimbursement paperwork once the demolitions are completed, he explained.
The governing body has approved, adopted and published an abandoned properties list which Mayor John G. Ducey said was the first step for the township to “systematically address problems in our town caused by vacant and abandoned property.”
At one time there were 300 abandoned properties on the list. Currently, there are 163.
After the list was published, the property owners were notified and the property was scheduled for code enforcement compliance. A failure to comply results in fines, the mayor said.
The administration’s goal is to remove as many of the properties as possible from the registry, whether by rehabilitation, property sale or by a new occupancy, Ducey said.
Only one property has been demolished so far ‑‑ a waterfront home in the Herbertsville section at 126 South Beverly Dr. – which was abandoned before Superstorm Sandy and was damaged even further by the storm.
After a home is demolished, a lien is placed on the property, so when the property is sold the demolition price would be in the lien, and the township would be paid back first, Ducey said. That money would replenish the ongoing demolition process, he said.
The next one on the list is a waterfront home at 8 Queen Anne Rd. that has received multiple violations for the structure and bulkhead. It was approved for demolition in late 2016 by the Property Maintenance Board and the Township Council.
“The bank has started to do work on it which is creating a complication because their actions are intended to illustrate that the property is not abandoned and is structurally sound,” said Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin after the meeting.
“As a result, the case will need to be revisited by the board at the next meeting,” she said.
A date has not been confirmed for the demolition, but a Property Maintenance Board meeting is planned for February, Bergin said.
The board has also issued demolition orders for 412 North Lake Shore Dr. and 108 Bayview Dr.
In January 2014, the NJDCA created the Unsafe Structure Demolition Program after Superstorm Sandy resulted in substantial damage to the housing sector that the DCA said “continue to pose significant risks to communities and undermine recovery efforts.”
Some $15 million was set aside for the program, which provides funding to be used to address costs related to demolitions.