Fix it, Sell it, or Get Out

From the APP:

A tool for targeting the ‘zombie houses’ of Toms River, throughout the Shore

They’re called “zombie houses,” and they can suck the life out of any neighborhood.

Zombie homes are properties whose owners have walked away from them during the foreclosure process. With New Jersey’s foreclosure process one of the longest in the nation – more than 1,000 days – abandoned houses that are in foreclosure often aren’t maintained.

Grass becomes overgrown, roofs collapse, and animals, like raccoons, possums, and even feral cats, can move in.

Just ask JoAnn Petruzel, who owns Barnacle Bill’s Amusements in Ortley Beach with her husband, Bill. Near the amusement arcade are at least two properties that haven’t been repaired since superstorm Sandy struck the beachfront community more than five years ago.

One small house on Route 35 north, shoved off its foundation by Sandy’s surge, is boarded up, its utilities disconnected. Neighbors have heard it’s for sale.

“It’s right on the highway,” Petruzel said of the small house. “It’s a shame, people come through Ortley beach, and yes, the whole landscape has changed a lot. People have built bigger, nicer homes. But when you are driving on the highway and see that, it doesn’t have a good representation.”

Toms River joins other towns, including Asbury Park and Neptune, that have adopted similar ordinances that enforce the state’s Abandoned Property Rehabilitation Act. The measure, signed into law in 2004, expedites a town’s right to intervene when owners fail to maintain their property.

Under a newly adopted ordinance, the township will create a registry of abandoned properties. Owners will be billed a $750 registration fee during the first year; that fee will rise to $2,000 if the property is still abandoned the next year, and $3,000 in the third year.

The idea, according to Township Administrator Don Guardian, is to give property owners an economic incentive to either sell the distressed home or make improvements.

The ordinance enforces the state’s Abandoned Property Rehabilitation Act, a 2004 that makes it easier for towns to intervene when owners fail to maintain their properties. Other towns along the Shore, including Neptune, Asbury Park and Brick, have adopted similiar ordinances.

“If they are going to do something positive with the house, like selling it or fixing it up, these are not the property owners we’re going to target,” Guardian said. “It’s these financial institutions, that are sitting on it for months and years, hoping that the value goes up so they can sell it.”

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21 Responses to Fix it, Sell it, or Get Out

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    Finally rolling bulldozers in Trenton, from the Times of Trenton:

    A revitalized Trenton is no place for these dilapidated buildings

    It was once someone’s home, but now it sits empty and abandoned, sheetrock and peeling wooden slats hanging haphazardly where doors and windows used to be.

    It’s an eyesore, a safety hazard and a blight on the neighborhood – and soon, officials hope, it will be gone.

    More than 100 buildings throughout Trenton are scheduled to be razed in the coming months, targeted by the Urban Blight Reduction Program to help bring new life to the city and its neighborhoods.

    The program represents a $11.5 million partnership among the city, the governor’s office, Greater Trenton, and the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency.

    Its leaders recognize that only by revitalizing these neighborhoods can they hope to bring in the dollars needed for new investment.

    Their goal is to tear down unsafe, vacant and obsolete buildings in the city’s four wards. Only those properties with one to four units that are owned by Trenton and located in the designated strategic area will be targeted.

  3. grim says:

    Too bad the real number is in the thousands, not 100.

  4. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Small schools in this rural part of N.J. are under threat

    Over 100 people sat in folding chairs and at cafeteria lunch tables in the Califon School gym, and when those seats ran out they stood in the back and lined the walls.

    They were there to hear a discussion on the results of a feasibility study that looked at closing the school, one of the smallest in the state, and merging the district with neighboring Lebanon School District.

    The Califon district, which operates a single pre-kindergarten-eighth grade school, has faced declining enrollment over the past several years, and has been evaluating whether or not it is worth it to keep the school open. It has about 89 students enrolled this year.

    The results of the study, released at the beginning of the month, has been the public’s first notice that their school may face closure. The study recommends the school close after the 2018-19 school year.

    Califon is not the only district in Hunterdon County to face such issues. Bloomsbury also considered consolidation last year, and held a meeting to discuss the options of merging their kindergarten-sixth grade school district with neighboring Greenwich Township. The school has about 85 students. The idea was ultimately scrapped.

  5. dentss dunnigan says:

    Wait ,you pay you’re taxes and if the town dosen’t like the way your house looks thety’ll charge you extra ….? nope sorry dosen’t meet the smell test

  6. Ottoman says:

    They should be knocking down all those hideous office and government buildings downtown instead.

    “Finally rolling bulldozers in Trenton,”

  7. grim says:

    As long as it means they are firing government employees, I’m all for it.

    NJ could use a good housecleaning.

  8. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Really good post. I totally missed this. You are dead on, IMO.

    We all should be buying anything we could afford in Newark or jc right now. They are the future of nj. Their locations are way too lucrative.

    To 3b or not 2b says:
    May 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm
    One big reason why the escape to the suburbs might not happens as expected by the Pumpkin dreamers is “White Flight”.

    The original WASP had already escaped from the germans/irish/italians. The big push by ethnic whites (germans/irish/italians out of Jersey City/Newark/Paterson/etc) in the 60’s and 70’s was because “Them” were coming and getting close, best described by Dangerfield’s Easy Money –

    With now everyone being multicultural and let’s called it more understanding times, there is no need to “flee” before “they” get here. And as many ethnic whites that remain behind in JC/Hoboken,etc can attest – once you get the hang of parking is very comfortable to live there.

  9. The Great Pumpkin says:

    We should just hit the reset button and start it all over from square one.

    grim says:
    May 28, 2018 at 9:44 am
    As long as it means they are firing government employees, I’m all for it.

    NJ could use a good housecleaning.

  10. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Anger Over Tourists Swarming Vacation Hot Spots Sparks Global Backlash – The Wall Street Journal

  11. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Caged Migrant Children Photo Goes Viral As Left Rages At Trump; Except It Happened Under Obama

  12. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    YMMV, but when I search for caged children on Google, the top of the page shows three pairs of shoes and above that it says Shop for caged children on Google

  13. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Had the Central A/C cranking on Friday and Saturday, had to turn the heat back on this morning. Crazy.

  14. Fast Eddie says:

    Remember the brave who fought to give soy boys the right to protest and cry like a bunch of little p.ussies.

  15. Phoenix says:

    Remember the brave (John McCain) who fought to give soy boys (Trump the bone spur soy boy) the right to avoid combat and cry like a bunch of little p.ussies.

  16. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Remember the brave (John McCain) who fought crumbled and caved to admit the USA was bad to give soy boys soft boners

  17. Californicator says:

    9:44 In the eight years since London began sharply curtailing support for local governments, the borough of Knowsley, a bedroom community of Liverpool, has seen its budget cut roughly in half. Liverpool itself has suffered a nearly two-thirds cut in funding from the national government — its largest source of discretionary revenue. Communities in much of Britain have seen similar losses.

    For a nation with a storied history of public largess, the protracted campaign of budget cutting, started in 2010 by a government led by the Conservative Party, has delivered a monumental shift in British life. A wave of austerity has yielded a country that has grown accustomed to living with less, even as many measures of social well-being — crime rates, opioid addiction, infant mortality, childhood poverty and homelessness — point to a deteriorating quality of life.

  18. Walking Bye says:

    Interesting that Google celebrates every other day with a doodle commemorating this or that, yet today you would have to search pretty hard to find the smallest little flag and note for memorial day. Hmm

  19. chicagofinance says:

    warm outside => global warming
    cold outside => global warming
    sunny => global warming
    raining => global warming
    soy boy boner => global warming

    The Original NJ ExPat says:
    May 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm
    Had the Central A/C cranking on Friday and Saturday, had to turn the heat back on this morning. Crazy.

  20. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I know it’s not politically correct, but I call it don’t call it global warming. I don’t call it climate change either. I call it weather.

    warm outside => global warming
    cold outside => global warming
    sunny => global warming
    raining => global warming
    soy boy boner => global warming

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