Home Government Ocean County to Lead Effort to Demolish Abandoned Gas Stations

Ocean County to Lead Effort to Demolish Abandoned Gas Stations

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The site of a former Exxon station in Brick, N.J. that could reopen. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The site of a former Exxon station in Brick, N.J. that could reopen. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Abandoned gas stations are eyesores that pose environmental hazards to the community and should be demolished, said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari, announcing an effort to have the abandoned filling stations razed.

Vicari is planning to make a proposal to state officials to enact a law requiring the owners of gas stations that have been abandoned for more than two years to demolish the buildings, which often fall into disrepair. For its part, the county Department of Consumer Affairs is currently compiling a list of all the abandoned gas stations in the county and preparing to take whatever action it can under current laws.

“In some cases, these buildings have stood, overgrown with weeds, for 10 years or more,” Vicari said. “We can’t allow this to continue.”

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In Brick, abandoned gas stations, particularly on Route 88, is an issue frequently brought up by residents at public meetings. But the township has little power to force a gas station owner to demolish a building or the fuel-dispensing infrastructure. In many cases, the issue is further complicated by environmental issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In addition to Route 88, Vicari said there are similar concerns about abandoned stations on Hooper Avenue and Fischer Boulevard in Toms River, and Route 72 in Stafford Township. Competition from larger gas stations which also offer full convenience stores, such as Wawa and QuickChek, was cited as the reason many standalone gas stations have shut down over the past decade.

Vicari said that in many instances, the abandoned properties are still owned by large oil companies.

“With all the money they take in, it is more than appropriate that they pay the cost of demolishing these dilapidated buildings and invest in the communities from which they have long profited,” he said.

In Brick, an abandoned former Exxon station on Route 88 may be looking to reopen, officials said earlier this year.


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  • Frank Rizzo

    Demolish these buildings and make it easier for the land to be reused. These regulations that require remediation are put in place by companies that do that type of work and prevent the land from being reused until someone pays the high cost of remediation. Exxon is leaving the retail business. Let companies like Wawa do this who hire American workers and do not send their profits overseas to India or Pakistan without paying taxes on their earrings.

  • Mac

    Hey Vicari, stop taking on more than you’re capable of again. How’s the Beachwood Shopping Center eyesore progressing? I believe it has stood vacate and decaying longer than it was in service, kind of like your Board of Freeholders for the past three decades.

    • Frank Rizzo

      Stand by for many may more retail or commercial properties to go abandoned as Amazon takes over and more types of business are eliminated.

    • JW

      These freeholders always bite off more than they can chew because their role is so truly insignificant thanks to NJ home rule.. The results of this county-wide project may be a mixed bag if history is any indicator.

      • Mac

        home rule = good old boy public welfare

      • JW

        I’d say feudalism, but that’s just me.