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More Than Seven Years After Sandy, 67 Units Proposed for Camp Osborn Rebuild

Camp Osborn, Brick, N.J., in the days following Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Camp Osborn, Brick, N.J., in the days following Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

More than seven years after blocks of homes were destroyed by fire in a scene that garnered international attention during Superstorm Sandy, the largest portion of Brick Township’s Camp Osborn community is ready to rebuild.

Sources have told Shorebeat that disagreements between residents of the bungalow community – which was slowly expanding into larger homes and more of a year-round presence at the time of the storm – over the nature of the rebuilding effort stalled it for years. But on Feb. 26, the township’s planning board has scheduled a hearing on a rebuilding effort that will seek to restore nearly all of the residences lost in the storm.

A desolate landscape at Camp Osborn, Oct. 28, 2014 (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A desolate landscape at Camp Osborn. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

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According to planning documents obtained by Shorebeat, the Osborn Sea-Bay Condominium Association will propose to construct 64 duplex dwelling units and three detached single family homes for a total of 67 residential units on four parcels of land.

The construction is being proposed as a conditional use under the Beach Cottage Community Zone, put in place by ordinance before the storm to allow existing homeowners to improve their properties. If the application is opposed by any neighboring residents, however, the hearing could be controversial. The township’s zoning board, once before, debated the status of the BCC overlay zone and decided against considering it under a separate, previous application. The underlying zone is R7.5, which calls for single-family homes to be built on 7,500 square foot lots. Still, the BCC overlay zone remains intact under township ordinances.

If there are no objectors, the board could approve the development outright, but an objector could conceivably argue that multifamily housing is not allowed in the underlying zone. A single neighbor who owns a large home on nearby Lyndhurst Drive was successful in litigating against a proposal for 13 homes to be constructed on another portion of Camp Osborn, and is still fighting the construction of seven homes that were approved by the planning board last month.

Still, according to a public notice on the application: “The proposed uses are permitted under the current zoning ordinance.”

Homes in Brick Township's Camp Osborn section are demolished in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (Photo Credit: FEMA)

Homes in Brick Township’s Camp Osborn section are demolished in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (Photo Credit: FEMA)

The plan calls for Cummins Street to be built by an adjacent property owner.

The applicant believes there is no variance relief required for the Board to approve the application,” the notice said, however attorneys for Osborn Sea-Bay will still come armed with arguments in favor of various waivers and alternatives to setback, sidewalk and shade tree requirements.

The hearing will be held Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the township municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road.