Residents of the township's Camp Osborn neighborhood were on hand at the Dec. 20 township council meeting to thank elected officials for passing an ordinance on second reading that will allow them to maintain their homes without excessive red tape built in to the process.
The neighborhood, located in the township's barrier island section, south of Brick Beach III and Bayview Park, is a cooperative, meaning residents own their homes, but not necessarily the land on which they are built. Blocks and lot numbers of homes in the neighborhood do not match up with houses – a mere technical eccentricity until a homeowner wishes to perform renovations or even minor work like replacing windows. Under previous ordinances, such work required a trip to the township's planning board or board of adjustment, or even the completion of a site plan that, because of the block and lot number issue, had to be performed on the entire neighborhood at a high cost.
"They are put into a precarious situation there because of the way the land was divided up years and years ago," he said of Camp Osborn residents. "The lot and the blocks there are not just for each house."
Many of those issues have been largely solved by the new ordinance, which was passed on first reading last month. The change in legal language allows for greater latitude when a homeowner wants to improve a piece of property, and when a site plan is required, the township will use a master site plan paid for through a special assessment of residents.
"This ordinance will go a long way toward making our improvement to our homes, for safety, much easier," said Robert Taylor, a Camp Osborn resident who lives on West Marrion Street.
He and Keith Van Arsdale, a summer resident of Brick who lives in Haddonfield, both praised the ordinance. Van Arsdale said he hopes that future tweaks to township zoning laws could make it easier for residents to add duplex style housing to the neighborhood.
"It's what I like to call a living ordinance," said Councilman Dan Toth, of the measure.
Toth said there might be kinks in the new ordinance, but they can be tweaked and worked out as time goes on.