Brick's Abandoned Property Ordinance For More Than Just Sandy Cleanup

Ordinance will help rehabilitate 'truly abandoned' properties in town and improve neighborhoods, officials say

When Brick Township first proposed creating an abandoned property ordinance, the thought among many residents was that it would be targeted toward Sandy-damaged properties. But officials say the ordinance should help neighborhoods throughout town, including those affected by foreclosures.

"A lot of people walked away from their homes in the economic downturn of ’08 and ’09," said Kevin Starkey, township attorney.

The ordinance, he said, allows the township to create a list of properties that are "truly abandoned" in order to eventually devise plans to clean them up.

"They cause problems for the township and the neighbors in the neighborhoods they’re in," Starkey said.

A property would have to meet several criteria before being placed on the list, including structural or safety hazards.

"It’s not simply that they just need a good coat of paint, but that they’re falling apart," said Starkey. The list has more to do with the physical condition of a building than whether it's taxes are paid up. In fact, a building with taxes that are paid up can be placed on the list if its condition is poor enough to warrant doing so.

"Taxes are only one criterium of the multiple criteria listed," said Daniel Newman, the township construction code official.

Residents applauded the ordinance's passage at a recent township council meeting, with some speaking about the issues in their own neighborhoods.

"The banks get as far as the sheriff’s sale, and then they keep postponing the sheriff’s sale," said Carol Erickson, a resident of the Greenbriar I community. "We have buildings where gutters are falling off, tarps are on their roofs. Some have to be so filled with mold that they’d have to be totally rehabilitated. The banks do nothing."

Under the ordinance, which passed March 4, the township can use accelerated tax liens or develop rehabilitation plans for properties on the list, Starkey said. Under a tax lien situation, a property could eventually be foreclosed on by a lien holder if its owner does not take action.

"It’s a way to get Brick back on its footing by addressing truly abandoned properties and getting them addressed," he said. "It really gives the town a tool that is much needed in order to get these properties rehabilitated, back in the hands of people who care about them and back on the tax rolls."

A property will not be placed on the list except if it is in a dangerously poor condition for more than six months, with no construction work being completed. Thus, township officials say, it will likely not impact those who are trying to rehabilitate their homes from Sandy. Every property owner whose building is placed on the list will receive notification and can appeal its placement through the township's construction code office.
Sean Conneamhe March 12, 2014 at 10:26 PM
"Keep up the good work..."
Chuck Cumella March 12, 2014 at 10:41 PM
J.JONES March 12, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Much higher level Friends and Family Club . . Dem's and Republicans all play the same game ..
WMS826 March 13, 2014 at 09:11 AM
So AV, this figure head Obama is not to blame for the NSA spying, drone strikes on innocent civilians, or fiscal problems of our country. Obama did not demand all the tax hikes and over spending us into near and complete collapse. He has no power or authority at all, yet he raised the minimum wage and ordered military action on his own,without the senate and congress approval. Caused millions to loose their healthcare and raised the rates for every American out there. Yet when Bush was there people like you blamed him for everything. Even causing Hurricane Katrina.
WMS826 March 13, 2014 at 09:21 AM
Chuck Cumella, your loss from the storm is not the problem of the American people. Stop trying to get us to pay your freight. Democrats have told us for years about global warming and the rise in sea levels and increased major storm occurrences. We are about to enter into a damaging treaty about carbon credits that will raise the electric rate of every American out there via the UN because of it. Yet you demand we pay your bills and without the right to speak up about it as if you are some imperial being, or small business owner tyrant. If global warming is occurring as the democrats tell us then we need to pull back from the coast or tell the people who live there they do so at their own risk. Now would be a good time for that before we rebuild. We need direction from the Federal Giver-ment about their position on global warming. Is it a scam that their friends have made billions off of, or is it real and what FEMA is doing is the right thing. They cannot have it both ways.


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