Vote on Worst Abandoned Homes in Highlands

I decided that I would post pictures of some of the abandoned homes in Highlands, we can then vote on which ones are the worst.  If you have an Abandoned home in your neighborhood that you would like to nominate please send to

HOUSE 1: Sea Drift Ave

SeaDrifthouseI honestly don’t know how the two houses being raised and fell where deemed hazardous but this one isn’t? – At least the lawn is mowed.

This was a primary residence that had issues before Sandy, according to neighbors.

House 2: Barberie Ave

racoonhouse2 The Raccoons LOVE this house.

This was a primary residence. The owner gutted but hasn’t come back.

House 3: Waterwitch Ave

WWhouse This is actually a summer house. According to neighbors, it has been gutted and treated for mold. And after being notified that it made the list, I’ve been informed the owners are planning on cleaning the yard up.


54 thoughts on “Vote on Worst Abandoned Homes in Highlands

  1. highlander

    there are many other homes in town as bad as this. may i ask a question, i was looking on and i saw ppl in union beach keansburg getting help from a place called rebuild by design. now i know that there are so many groups that have come down or are coming down to the shore area to help ppl, how come no one except the church groups and a few habitat for humanity groups come into this town? is it the town does not apply for help? thank you again for having this blog and keeping ppl informed


  2. Carolyn

    I’m going with the raccoon house from this array.  There are quite a few on Miller.  I’ll snap some pics tomorrow for you.


  3. NoLongerNew

    I’d like to know the process for condemned houses. As you come into town and stop at Waterwitch and Bay Ave there’s a white house on the left which has been condemned since I’ve moved in and those gray boarded up ones on the right. Maybe we can plant some tall shrubbery and hide them from visitors. It’s not exactly the best first impression.


    1. Jen

      Much like the first impression everyone on the ferry gets as we go by what is left of Paradise Park.

      I have no issues in general with trailers, but those, especially the two on the end, are nothing but eyesores and wildlife habitats at this point.

      Want to encourage the ferry riders to actually stop in town? That might be a good first step.


  4. rockemsockem

    I don’t believe the town administrator has ability to handle the situation regarding the homes rotting in this town. I know that in dealing wit Fema myself their first response is “no because” and just cannot accept that. These homes are not only dangerous due to mold but because of the old electrical that was submerged in salt water and the with winter winds coming these weakened structures may begin to collapse and catch fire. With the devastating fire in Seaside that should be ammunition to as to the danger of these homes to the safety of town and other residents.


    1. Not Just A Resident

      What is needed is an ordinance that clearly spells out the steps of the process the owner/bank is required to go through to deal with a property that is a health hazard including a timeline required to mitigate and repercussions for failure to act. I am sure the borough attorney can whip a new ordinance up in no time!


  5. Barbara Iannucci

    Any way you can include some structural information? And if they are primary homes or rentals? That would help determine which homes are indeed a tear down based on structural code vs. an eyesore that could potentially be rebuilt to meet codes (at less cost) if placed in the right hands.


  6. rockemsockem

    I can tell you that one of the homes on Waterwitch (not pictured) is Mayor’s foreclosed home that has been untouched and been walked away from along with a commercial budget truck parked on Cheerful Place right outside his home for months which is also against law. The police know but will not do anything since Mayor.
    Is this seriously the person we should entrust with our future? It just sickens me that this man believes that laws,codes or just common decency to others just does not apply to him while others on Waterwitch who are trying to rebuild have been fined for their grass not being mowed. N0-LAN


    1. NJ01

      “It just sickens me that this man believes that laws,codes or just common decency to others just does not apply to him…” TRUE DAT


    2. Not Just A Resident

      If the mayor has no intention to remain a resident of the town then, I believe, he does not qualify to run for mayor again.


    3. NoLongerNew

      I don’t he’s leaving Highlands. He’s probably just moving up the hill so he doesn’t have to climb 14 steps to get into his house.


    4. Stacy

      They should tow when the registration expires… we had one on our block that sat for years and the day after its sticker was expired it disappeared. If they don’t call the county, maybe the sheriff’s department has jurisdiction.

      The mayor has probably been upside down in his mortgage for years and is doing what most do in his position, walk away. It is his right to do that whether anyone likes it or not and he does not need to defend that position. He could choose to speak about it but who would really want to go on record for that? There are plenty of people who spend years living in homes without paying their mortgage, it just so happens he is a mayor and almost everyone else who does it is not.

      His walking away from his mortgage would never be a deciding factor in why I’ll never vote for him. His actions on everything else clinched that a long, long time ago.


    5. rocktweety

      i’m with you on that one and after the comment he had town workers clean up his yard and who pocket the money from the hurricane my friend was to recive a bed and the day of the pick up they took the bed back after she was sleeping on a floor for weeks


  7. Cleanuphighlands

    The house on Seadrift has looked lke that for 7 years with 8 people living in a 600 sqaare foot house. The police have been there numerous times in the past 2 years.


    1. Highlandsresidentforover20years

      I don’t know what it has to do with this topic but saying the police have been there numerous times is completely false. It’s funny how people are one way to your face & next thing you know, your “neighbors” are spreading lies. Just another reason to stay out of that town. Highlands would be better off without you in it!


  8. rockemsockem

    Well guess who cleaned their yard today. I guess that makes the count :
    Social Media 1 Nolan 0
    @Stacy Its your choose to vote or never vote for him but a person who lacks financial or social responsibility says a lot about a them. If a person can’t handle their own finances ignores codes and laws that you are sworn to uphold I don’t think they should have honor of being a Mayor. Particularly in a town that is in trouble and needs leadership to help our financial issues, code enforcement and laws.


    1. rockemsockem

      Sorry I meant Social Media 2 Nolan 0 and thanks for info regarding commercial vehicle Stacy I will check registration sticker and call sheriffs office. Its on a bad corner that if you turn and don’t know its there can be dangerous.


  9. Duncan McLeod

    AT this point the wildlife is not only invaded the abandoned houses, but they are invading the homes that people are living in as well! The close proximity of these animals to humans, represents a serious health and public safety issue. So, if the town can immediately tear down a house that collapses while being raised, why cant the town do anything about these places?


  10. gfhq2002

    If you’re just walking around town taking pictures of houses, and then posting them on the internet to draw out the no doubt humiliated homeowners before you get any background on them, how do you know that you’re truly photographing an abandoned house? What is your criteria for targeting a house? Looks like some of them have uncut lawns, missing shingles and gutter segments, but did you ever think that maybe the people in the houses you’re posting about are still trying to make their interiors livable before turning their attentions to their yards? I can see venting your frustration about the officials of this town and their lack of communication/ineffective leadership, but I think its pretty terrible of you to potentially, publicly embarrass honest hardworking people who are still trying to deal with the mess their homes have become. Now, I’m not an owner of any of the pictured houses, but my yard isn’t looking too great, and to be honest, I’m more concerned with getting my kitchen and living room in better shape than I am with replacing my destroyed lawnmower. I know I, and other people in a similar position, seeing their homes posted on here and being ridiculed and bashed by bitter neighbors would be mortified, and its just cruel. How can you complain that the town isn’t doing enough to assist with the lingering effects of this disaster and then help kick your fellow community members when they’re down?


    1. rockemsockem

      I dont believe intent here is to hurt or embarrass anyone in the community trying to get back on their feet but for the homeowners that are just derelict… mostly everyone on this blog has been what you have been through and get it. But there are people who have just walked away and do not plan on ever fixing their homes and wild animals along with squator’s are taking over homes. The town has been asked to identify homes that are abandoned that are mold ridden and dangerous to the rest of the residents including you. I feel for you and truly wish you all the best!


    2. Highlandsresidentforover20years

      You are absolutely right!! I cannot believe our “neighbors” can sit here & bash us. Not everyone has received assistance yet & we’re all struggling to keep our families together! I am absolutely disgusted by this!


  11. NJ01

    I agree with gfhq2002 to some extent. That is why I posted a link to the article on the status of Paradise Park, since a lot of folks don’t know what is going on between the landowner and the association. Highlandsblog, aren’t you able to obtain a list of condemned/severely damaged homes from the town officials, before posting pictures? I think the burden is on the town officials to move things quickly, the homeowner may not necessarily have the money or resources at this time to fix everything.


    1. highlandsblog Post author

      @NJ01 Since its been almost a year, I don’t think that the town officials are going to move quickly. I agree that the homeowner may not necessarily have the money, resources or wherewithall. These houses are being forgotten about. Some are health hazards. It maybe *should* be the towns responsibility to document and prioritize the homes. Figure out who just needs help and which ones they need to go after the bank to step up and make sure they are doing proper mitigation. – but the reality is they aren’t. If the homeowner just need help there enough people around to step up and help. But they need to know who the “just need help” people are. If we just pretend that we’re all put back together, nothing will get done.


  12. Duncan McLeod


    Ya know, I have been hearing for years that every time the town, and it rarely happens, gets on someone for code violations, they are “kicking people around” etc etc etc, cry me a river!!!

    The fact is that we are almost a year post sandy. We all know that people have been working hard to get their homes back in order. If a person cant take 5 minutes to mow a lawn or get out a weed wacker, then thats pretty bad. There is no excuse after all this time that people cant start cleaning up and taking care of the outside of homes.

    I dont believe there is anyting in our ordinances that says that all of them are null and void in case of a storm. The fact is that town has been overly lax when it comes to code violations, past and present.

    Sandy should not be an excuse for the Sanford and Son mentality that has plagued this town for decades to have a field day!

    The sad fact is that many of the abandoned homes in town have become real health hazards. Either they have had no work done on them since the storm and are mold generators, or have become new habitat for wild animals. The downtown is slowly becoming overrun with wild life of all types. These are serious health and public safety issues.

    And lets face it many of the people whos houses look like the ones pictured looked that way even before Sandy. So lets forget about any “embarassment” or “humiliation” because its impoosible to embarass many of these people as they like living that way.

    So, how long after Sandy exactly should the town continue to look the other way, before enforcing codes and issuing fines for these little disasters huh? Its been almost a year now, I think that is enough time!!!

    If you, or these other people dont have a lawnmower because it got killed in Sandy, I suggest you borrow one, or maybe contact the towns solution center. I can tell you residents like myself are tired of dealing with homes like the ones pictured here, before and after Sandy!


  13. Frustrated

    I don’t understand how some homes can sit untouched and other people get fined absurdly. I met a very nice lady a few months ago who told me she was given a citation for debris in her yard. This is the thing, though- the debris was from people working (they were on her property at the time actively working) and it was removed when they were done! But for the couple hours they were there, it was “illegal” to have debris in her yard! She had to go to court and the judge threw it out when no one from the town showed up to argue their case. What a mean thing to do to a nice elderly lady. She shouldn’t have had to go through all that unnecessary trouble for being responsible enough to mitigate her damages.


  14. Mary R

    This is a terrible thing to do – post pictures of peoples’ damaged homes to vote on and make fun of. I know several people in town who are still fighting for insurance money owed to them or awaiting approval of grant money pending backlogged federal home inspectors. Until last week larger grants were only eligible for work not yet done on homes, and local and federal elevation requirements have fluctuated several times. If you are concerned your neighbor’s home is an eye sore or health hazard, contact proper authorities and go up the chain of command. Don’t attempt to publicly shame people into making repairs or clear their property, or worse yet, encourage others to join you in doing so. Shame on you.


  15. Lucille Kane

    I ditto Mary on this.:

    “Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises”.

    Samuel Butler


    1. rockemsockem

      I think the key word here is “abandoned” The Mayor and Council have been asked over and again and are doing nothing regarding the unsafe conditions of these homes and certainly not enforcing codes. Over 50% of housing is rental stock which means not primary resident and no grant money applies. The town has confirmed at council meetigs that a significate amount of these homes are abandoned. So although I sympathise with the few people trying to get back that is not the norm. If you haven’t remediated & home has become base camp for wildlife it’s fair game as its disrespectful to the community as a whole. I’m sure once the few or several return( and I truly hope soon) and live next to one of these homes they will feel differently and be frustrated by lack of response. Most people know their neighbors and who have cut and run and who are working on returning. It is a year later if you care about your home and your community you would at least have remediated and secured your home from wildlife, no?


  16. Duncan McLeod

    Mary and Lucille,

    With all due Respect…….. Blah……..Blah……….Blah……………..

    OK so how long exactly, should the community at large be “understanding” of the plight of those that are obviously lawn mower and week wacker challenged?? huh? Its already been a year, and it doesnt take insurance money to mow a lawn, clip some hedges, pick up some garbage, or clear some debris. As someone who has had to do all of this, I can say that it was not exactly and overwhelming feat.

    How hard is it for someone to properly secure a property? To make it secure, and so that it doesnt become a huge mold generator or a new home for wild animals?

    So, please excuse me for not falling for the “woe is me” arguement. Other people have managed to clean up and start to recover. So, if they can do it why cant others, and it has nothing to do with getting insurance money or not.

    What I think is unfair and ridiculous is for an entire community to suffer for the lack of responsibitlty for derelict property owners with no regards for anyone else.

    So the real shame is on them isnt it? Because if they were doing the right thing, there wouldnt be a problem would there be?

    Also, one other observation, it seems to me that many properties most of them belonging to local democrats or those with connections to those running the town, seem to get a “pass” when it comes to property maintainance altogether!


  17. drcrimson3

    I think the original intent was to point out how “abandoned homes” can sit here for months yet the minute a house being raised falls over it’s demolished and cleaned up within hours. Why is that? The conflict seems to be that the anger towards the governing body has been transferred to the homeowner. And reading through these posts maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for those who didn’t lose a lawnmower and weedwacker to offer help to those who did. I’ve been pulling weeds by hand and using scissors all summer. It sucks. But back to the original issue. Just make sure the property is truly abandoned before you post it here.


  18. KJ

    Don’t you have anything better to do with your time??!! Do you honestly think that the families who owned these homes want to leave them like this!!! I know one of the owners personally and believe me they would rather be living in it!!! But of course the insurance co and FEMA can’t get their acts together!! How about you leave these people alone and get a life!!!


  19. rockemsockem

    You know it’s funny how people who have Nothing to contribute to this blog are now coming out of wood work? Your timing is questionable as to the truth of your statements?


    1. gfhq2002

      I think this blog has a lot more followers than can be attested by the number of people who post. I can only speak for myself when I say that I admire this blogger, read the blog frequently, and think that she is doing a great thing by putting focus on the failings of this town’s administration in properly addressing our Sandy problems. It’s important for the people to have a voice and this a great way to unify the people in Highlands who feel their voices aren’t be heard by those in Borough hall, and I follow only religiously even if I don’t post comments. I’m more of a Facebook “sharer”. That being said, this topic is a contentious one because, as someone already stated, it seems like the frustration with the Mayor and his council has boiled over and is now being directed at certain homeowners. I know that it was not the intention of the blogger or any of the commentators to harm anyone, it’s just very likely that should this continue, people who don’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as the people who abandoned their homes to their fate, will be. We started this conversation because there was concern over which homes were abandoned and have since become health hazards, but in subsequent debate, it became about which homes were eyesores. I realize that no one likes a mess, and that neat and orderly is always best, but unfortunately, some people truly do not have the luxury of perfecting the exterior of their property, even a year later (which is waaay more frustrating for us than you, I might add). I’m not even referring to the “Sanford and Son” yards, as an earlier poster so eloquently put it, I’m talking about the properties that have people living there, and that are trying to do the best they can with the resources that they have. Many people are in situations that they wish they weren’t and so when they read internet posts that hit close to home, they’re more inclined to comment and express their opinion, for fear that they’ll be featured next week under the scrutiny and criticism of their neighbors. It does not make theirs, or my, statements any less valid. Regardless of what was earlier stated, most people do not LIKE living like this. They don’t like having sloppy yards, or messed up roofs, or ragged fences. They have no choice right now. There are priorities, and they are working on them first. I realize that this may be hard to understand for those who have already mitigated these areas of their Sandy recovery, but it is still a reality for many citizens that, a year later, their nightmare is not yet over. I also realize it’s unfair that you must deal with the “inconvenience” of neighborhood eyesores and that it isn’t fair, but really, nothing about this “little disaster” was fair. We all faced the same storm, but we all have very different lives and very different resources, so I only ask that this be considered when pictures are taken and then posted on here for judgement by all of the followers of Highlands Blog. We aren’t all the same, many of us didn’t abandon our homes, we responsibly addressed all health concerns even while having not addressed certain cosmetics just yet, and just like books, shouldn’t be judged by our covers.


    2. highlandsblog Post author

      gfhq2002 this isn’t about going after “certain” homeowners. this is about the huge amount of homes that *have* been walked away from. from all different times, some are gutted, some haven’t even been gutted and are health hazards just regarding the mold factor. The pictured above in house #1 only had the top portion of their front porch now. how safe could that possibly be? The first house that fell was deemed unsafe within in hours demolished, the no front porch house hasn’t had a front porch since Sandy and that’s okay? We’ve had 2 homes fallen over the raising process, its only going to be a matter of time before a storm passes through and some of the abandoned homes fall too.

      Some of the homes that were walked away from have mowed lawns, I’m assuming the banks or the other neighbors are doing it to try to keep the facade of normalcy up. I asked the neighbors to send me pictures, because most likely if they are on the street, they would know best which houses are walked away from and which ones are some where in the recovery process.

      I’ll again put it out there, if you need help with your lawn, I’ll either come to help you out or I can get people to help you. Also, just food for thought, I lent my mower to my next door neighbor because his was underwater till he got a new one. I bet if you asked any of your neighbors they would be more then willing to lend your theirs or even do it for you when they do their house.


    3. Cleanuphighlands

      Unfortunately you aren’t living next door to one of these eyesores otherwise you would feel differently. These houses still have gas and electric connected as the homeowners have not followed through and had the gas turned off from the street (which requires digging the street up so you can tell by driving by that it hasn’t been done)or the electric wires are cut at the pole (which you can also see when you drive by). Each one of those houses are a huge liability to their neighbors so unless you live next door to one please don’t criticize those that want to protect their own homes by getting vocal about these houses and any others the blog posts. Highlandsblog KEEP IT UP for those of us that care for our homes. You have a LOT of people on YOUR SIDE..


  20. NoLongerNew

    I hope this Friday post of abandoned homes continues. We need to clean up this town. If you own a home that you think might be a candidate for the weekly post, then clean it up, patch it up, board it up. If you need help, ASK FOR IT.

    The survey showed that people got the most help from their neighbors. We are still here and still willing to help. But I can’t just walk on your property and mow your lawn or patch that hole in your roof. That’s called trespassing. If you ask for help and give people permission you will get the help you need.


  21. Angus

    I hope you put my house up. 65 Shrewsbury. It says climate change on it. I love watching tourist rubbernecker s absorb the meaning of the words. It was the best 5(spray paint) I ever spent on the place.

    Anyway…. I own a 2 family that they want me to make a 1 family because I am grandfathered… I see the insiders get their way and many others meet intense roadblocks from many angles. Since sandy I have paid nearly 10k in taxes and sewer for an un occupiable home. I was looted twice once over Christmas. When the town finally picked up the pile of dry way and sandy debris they ripped the stairs off of my house. Someone is living in an Rv on the st with an extension cord running across the st to the backyard.( apparently the Rv occupant isn’t even a neighbor but someone from the otherside of town) . The street (north) is and has been pre sandy collapsing… they fake fixed a whole a small child could fall into the sewer with some scrap rebar and a bag of cement… another hole is growing currently the size of a bagel guaranteed to grow to a child within 2 years.


  22. Duncan McLeod

    I cant believe that Angus……….Angus for crying out loud would have the nerve to post of this blog!!! First of all he terrorized anyone not agreeing with him on the Atlantic Highlands Herald, and will probably do the same here if allowed to.

    That being said, Angus’ house was a mess, and one of the biggest pig pens before Sandy, and now pretty much looks the same. As with many of the other problem houses he has decided to just let the place sit there looking as bad as ever! And for what so everyone can look as the spray painted message on the side of the house? Cut me a break! This is just another one of the properties that are a problem and make the town look like total garbage!


  23. highlander

    to all you who think this is not right to point these houses our remember this. i would not have purchased my house if my neighbors were sanford and son. bc of ppl who dont take care of their property i have personally had 5 mice killed by my attack cat outside my house last night. take care of your lot to the rodents and wildlife leave. its gross and it affects my quality of life. take care of YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!


    1. Jen

      Be glad it’s only mice. I’ve heard stories of very determined raccoons winning the war against a window screen from more than one person. Doesn’t seem to even matter if there are people or dogs inside — they still try to get in and often succeed.

      Just because a house isn’t structurally damaged doesn’t mean it isn’t hazardous. I’d argue that we have more potential danger from the homes with mold and open crawl spaces. And there are more of those.


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