A group of Sandy Island Drive residents in Brick say a long-abandoned home on their street, made worse by the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, should be demolished.
The house at 101 Sandy Island Drive has also caught the attention of township officials, who say that while they recognize there is a problem at the property, the outside condition of the home does not warrant a deeper interior inspection under the law, rendering them unable to take an addition step to order the home be demolished.
“The home has been unoccupied for five years,” said Gary Chapman, who lives in a neighboring home. “It’s been occupied by rodents, raccoons, skunks and mold is evident.”
Chapman said he believes the lagoon-front home, which is under foreclosure by multiple banks, “will never be sold” and should be demolished. The home, he said, also filled with water during Superstorm Sandy and is beyond repair.
“I know there are 500 homes in Brick that are still not livable because of Sandy, but this is different, this is five years,” Chapman told the township council last week. “We do not need any eyesores present; it distracts from the area and affects property values.”
Joanne Bergin, the township’s administrator, said building inspectors have been to the house three times and two summonses were issued during an inspection last Tuesday. But inspectors still cannot enter the premises.
“It is a situation we will continue to look into, but it hasn’t risen to the occasion where he has the right to enter the interior of the property,” said Bergin. “The exterior doesn’t call for that.”
“It’s apparent that there was definitely water in it,” said Carol Mancuso, another neighbor. “The health issues really disturb me.”
“The township, as a government entity, cannot just go in and tear down homes it considers to be in disrepair,” said Township Attorney Kevin Starkey. “When a house is put into foreclosure, there are steps we can take make sure the bank takes care of the property, or else there will be penalties.”
While inspectors still cannot enter the property, relief may be on the way for residents independent of the township’s actions. Starkey said a writ of execution on the foreclosure was recorded last month.
“That tells me that, at least, the foreclosure process is nearing an end,” he said.