The Brick Township Council this week unanimously voted to formally adopt an ordinance that will bring Mayor John Ducey’s plan to waive permit fees for small businesses occupying vacant spaces to fruition. The plan waives permit fees for businesses that move into a storefront location that is under 5,000 feet in area and has been vacant for a year or longer.
“It’s going to make the town look better, filling the storefronts, and it’s going to help our community as a whole,” Ducey said this week.
Some residents have said that the plan doesn’t go far enough, or will not have the impact that township officials are hoping for. In reality, it is impossible to predict how successful the fee waivers will be in attracting businesses to Brick because it is the first time such a plan has been tried in New Jersey.
“It really will not be a determining factor,” said Charles Bacon, a Republican candidate for township council who spoke at the meeting Tuesday. “How fast businesses will open is the biggest issue and [the question of], ‘will business thrive in the town afterward.'”
Bacon suggested the township hire an employee in the building department who could solely focus on business applications and approvals so new businesses could get up and running quickly. He also suggested Brick officials hold a meeting with prospective business owners and walk them through the process to iron out any issues and speed up a grand opening. The practice, he said, is used in Point Pleasant Borough, where he and his wife own a store.
“They walked us through the code process, we had to meet with the building department and it really helped us,” he said.
We’d like to hear from our Brick Shorebeat readers what ways the township could become more business-friendly. Vote in our poll below and write your own ideas in the comments section.