Brick officials are moving forward with plans to demolish three more derelict homes in the township.
The township council voted unanimously to solicit bids for the demolition of three properties – 73 Tall Timber Drive, 412 North Lake Shore Drive and 533 Central Avenue – at a recent meeting. All of the properties are in poor condition and have no one living in them, and each have been the subject of hearings before the Property Maintenance Board, which recommended their demolition to the council.
The owner of of the properties – 73 Tall Timber Drive – is opposing the demolition because a neighbor may be willing to buy the home and rehabilitate it, said John Jackson, an attorney for the potential buyer.
“The dilemma that they face is that my client cannot get assurances from the Building Department that he will be able to rehabilitate this house,” Jackson said, explaining that the neighbor wishes to buy the home for his son. “A non-conforming structure, if it falls into a state of disrepair, may need to go before the Board of Adjustment.”
Going before the Board of Adjustment would add another $15,000 to the $7,000 the buyer has already spent on the property, Jackson said, so the sale may not go through if Sean Kinneavy, the township’s zoning officer, does not allow repairs without board permission.
Jackson asked for additional time to be provided so he could work with the township to see if repairing the home is feasible.
“He’s here representing somebody who is a contract purchaser who may not buy the property,” said Charles D. Bauer, attorney for the property maintenance board. “The township will then have to spend more money to re-notice everybody of a new hearing.”
Bauer recommended the council approve the bid solicitation, since the bureaucratic process would likely provide Jackson about 120 days of time before it came before the council for an award and final hearing before demolition.
“The house is crumbling from the outside-in, and something needs to be done,” said Bauer. “The township has to take into consideration what happens if Mr. Kinneavy says, ‘no, it cannot be rebuilt in its current form.’”
“This is just one step in the whole process,” said Council President Paul Mummolo. “By us accepting this tonight, we’re not taking the house down. This is to go out to bid and get the cost of taking the house down.”
There were no objections on the remaining two properties, which were both bank-owned. An attorney representing the bank which is foreclosing upon the North Lake Shore Drive property said the bank itself may relinquish its claim to the home, leaving it to the former owner, who now lives out of state.
“At this point, we’re waiting to see how expensive it would be for the township to do it, so we could release the lien,” said Kaitlynn Donnelly, the attorney.
The third property, on Central Avenue, was bank-owned before the bank went forward in walking away from the property. Attempts to the contact the former – and now current – owner by the township were unsuccessful.
Bauer said bids authorized by the council previously to demolish an abandoned home on South Beverly Drive have not yet come back.