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Brick Neighborhood Gets Relief from Fee Woes

Camp Osborne residents had to jump through hoops under previous zoning laws

Camp Osborne is a unique neighborhood in town – and not just because of its quiet, skinny streets that run from the ocean to the bay.

The neighborhood, just south of Bayview Park and Brick Beach III, is a cooperative, meaning residents own their homes, but not necessarily the land on which they are built. The arrangement works out just fine – until, however, a homeowner wants to make repairs or renovations to their home.

Under long-standing township zoning laws, residents often had to endure an arduous regulatory process to make the simplest of upgrades, such as replacing windows, Councilman Michael Thulen said recently.

"To get a permit, you had to jump through so many hoops, it wasn't funny," said Thulen.

Even worse, when a site survey was required to make a renovation, the entire neighborhood was required to be surveyed, causing financial hardships for many residents.

"It's no big deal if it's your own house or your own lot ... but when it's 100 houses, it's a big cost," said Councilman Dan Toth.

But a new zoning ordinance introduced Nov. 22 aims to make things easier.

The ordinance takes into account a full survey conducted on the entire neighborhood, the cost of which was assessed to the local homeowners. So when one resident seeks to modify his or her home, the township will already have a full survey document on file.

"It may not be perfect, but we're going to try and see how it works, and we'll get more feedback," said Toth. "It's a living document, so we'll be able to add to it."

Since the survey has been completed, residents are already seeing benefits, and the ordinance modification will only make things easier.

"WIth the survey that's already been accomplished, over 30 permits have already been put through," Thulen said. "It will be another way to avoid a cost to the homeowner to get a permit."

The revised ordinance is expected to be approved on second reading at the council's December meeting.

Betty Ann February 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Oscar, this is the most unique community in Brick. Its history goes back to the 1920's. Those of us who have the opportunity to live here as summer and/or full time families have very fond and historical memories. Withouth going into its history that is noted in the book of Brick Township as well as the Brick Historical Society, currently there are now 3 entities that comprise this community that extend from the Ocean to the Bay. There is one condominium association of 9 detached homes, and another condominium association that consists of 78 detached homes/units. All of those members of the two associations pay their own taxes to Brick Twp. The third entity, which is still owned by a son of one of the original Osborn's has approximately 31 tenants with homes on his leased land. He pays the taxes to Brick, and charges back taxes and other fees to his tenants. What he charges is between him and the tenants. There is no question that all of us who call this home always need to upgrade their homes like everyone else in this town. Why wouldn't any of us NOT want to upgrade our homes as needed, regardless of whether one owns their land or not. Hope that answers your questions.
Susan Shufelt February 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
I have spoken to the Township (Zoing/Building) about adding an approximately 4 !/2 by 14 addition to my Camp Osborn house. There is over 21-feet between my house and the next house on the side I want to build the addition. In addition I have space for 3 cars in front of my house. The Township tells me I can build my addition only if I move my house diagonally-- a few feet east and a few feet north--because of the new setback requirements. Also the addition would have to be a few feet higher than the existing house, or I can raise the whole house. Moving my house as the Township requires would eliminate parking spaces and would require the addition to have stairs (thus, be larger). I discussed the issue with a builder who said under these conditions the addition makes no sense: considering the costs involved, for a little more money I could tear down my house and build a new 2-story 2 bedroom house on the lot. However, I try to imagine walking the mostly narrow Camp Osborn streets lined with new 28-foot-tall houses, and it doesn’t seem like a pleasant experience. We would lose a lot of light and air. I really don’t want to contribute to that kind of change to the community and I don’t want to tear down my house--but I am very reluctantly considering it…I am not happy about my choices!!! Am I missing something???
Betty Ann February 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM
@ Susan. Hopefully when you met with twp officials they showed you the survey that was provided to the owners. If you did see it, there is a line in the center of each road. That is the dead center portion of each street. All streets must be 20' wide for safety purposes. If a home is within that area, whatever portion of a home needs to be either moved or cut back in order to make that additional space (i.e., 10' on your side and 10' on your northern or southern neighbor. In addition, did you receive a copy of the ordinance itself? If not, the landlord would have received it. In any case, when you met with twp officials, they showed you the ordinance. There is also a 10' setback from all boundaries (perimiters) of the entire community. The Township professionals are the best people to explain any and all requirements. We have been asked when it was approved that all questions be directed to them, in order to obtain "accurate" information vs hearsay. All homeowners and unit owners have been invited to several meetings. If homeowners are on the leased land, the land owner was provided with a letter as well as a copy of the survey. In the end, everyone is also required to provide a letter from either their association board or land owner giving the OK to do what one wants to do. Osborn Sea Bay Condo Association has a Buildings & Grounds Committee that plans must be submitted to first. Hope that helps you.
Don Smith November 30, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Crazy as it is Bob pays the taxes and gets the deduction on the moneys I pay. Now that the land is cleared and it is new moneys going in likely we will need a more modern arrangement. This was started in 38' when Dad spent $50 on a bungalow. It was a wooden tent in the camp.
Don Smith November 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM
And she would have had to fix all the overhead lines on the Osborn track. Well we got those out of the way.

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