A pair of Brick Township homes that have long been abandoned will face demolition after a ruling by the Property Maintenance Board.
The township council last week authorized officials to receive bids to demolish and secure the properties at 49 Bay Way and 28 Cross Trees Road. Once bids are received, the council will vote to award a contract and the homes will be razed and the property secured.
Wesley S. Stevenson, an attorney from the firm of Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia, appeared at the meeting to object to the demolition of the Bay Way property, which neighbors have said has been vacant and deteriorating for about seven years. Stevenson said she represents Citi Mortgage, which took ownership of the property through foreclosure, and did not receive notices of the board meeting where the demolition order was approved.
“Since learning of the issues in September of 2017, Citi Mortgage secured the property,” said Stevenson. “I went over there tonight to take a peak at it, and it didn’t look like there was any debris. There were no weeds in front of the house.”
She requested the decision be staid.
“It is unnecessary to demolish the property if it’s brought up to code,” Stevenson said.
Township Attorney Kevin Starkey disagreed, advising the council to go ahead with the solicitation of bids for demolition of the lagoon-front home.
“The Property Maintenance Board here acts very diligently and does give the notice that is required,” Starkey told council members. “I understand the bank may have concerns, but my suggestion is that you keep this process moving forward.”
Multiple neighbors have asked the council to act on the Bay Way home, which they say is a safety hazard that has been bringing down property values.
“This house has been in the same condition for a very long time,” said George Scott, a neighboring resident. “There is a car that has been sitting in the same spot forever – since before Sandy. There was a boat that had to be removed at the cost of the township.”
“It’s not that these things get to this point in a very short time,” he continued. “It’s year after year of neglect … and it’s not good for the neighborhood or the ratables.”
Before demolition can occur, bids must be received and reviewed by township officials and a recommendation to award a bid must be presented to the council. At that point, the council would vote on whether to award a contract and schedule the demolition.
A state law allowed Brick to form the volunteer Property Maintenance Board, which hears cases along with an attorney and determines whether violations rise to the level where demolition is required. Brick received a no-interest $300,000 loan from the state to finance the demolition costs, which generally cost more than private demolitions due to state prevailing wage laws.