Tag Archives: Abandoned Homes

Election Time 2015, Vote Tomorrow

Last year, I did a blog post on the 2014 elections.  At the time I listed the accomplishments from the incumbents, and thought I would do the same this year, for those in office and running for re-election.

a) Flood mitigation – No then and no now

b) Cut Spending  – No then and no now

c) Brought back business on Bay Ave? – I’ll give them a few businesses opening, Porcini, the T-shirt shop, the Tailor.

d) Limit the time constituents have to speak at council meetings, so they don’t have to hear about not accomplishing important things, – Yes and still in effect.

e) Vote in a Resolution that all volunteers(regardless of when/how they volunteered) must add a disclosure on Facebook as an intimidation tactic so that they don’t have to read about their short comings on Facebook? – Yes, Ms Ryan was suppose to work on rewording the ordinance as to not to include volunteers, but that has not transpired.


f) Web Site Committee – Stalled

g) Newsletter – Stalled

h) Clam Plant Lease, spent money on consultants but no New lease has been signed to date.

i) Borough Hall/PD out of trailers – Nope

j)  Tilt-up Memorial on Snug Harbor Beach – Yup, and without proper notifications to surrounding residents.

k) Community Center – complete as of Sunday, however the end cost of the repairs was at approximately $800,000 and FEMA covered 90%.

I also blogged about what had been accomplished 2 years after Sandy, take a look now we’re 3 years in..

So Tomorrow remember this when you Vote..

TBT – Where the abandoned Properties are?

This is a most improved addition… All three have been touched since 2013:

1. Bay Ave and Miller

miller and bay

2. Miller and Shore

miller and shore

3. Shore by Seastreak

shore drive by ferry


Highlands Targets New Business et al

et containerEver notice the container on the back part of the et al parking lot? I never paid attention to it either.

Apparently someone did though.

In January of this year, the owner Kim Ramin went through the proper channels with the town to get a container that resides on her property and was using for some storage as she was getting her new place together.

You can see the permit here:

et al permit

Note the container removal date is “TBD” – To be determined, meaning no fixed date of when it has to be off premises.

Then on May 6th, we have a council meeting where the building owner, Katie Reed requested that the abandoned properties around her house and around Highlands be addressed. You can see her addressing the issue here:

Then, and here’s the weird part, the next day May 7th, her tenant, Kim Ramin, is issued a summons for illegally having a container on her property – and its mailed (not brought over, but mailed).


So this week she receives the summons that states she has a June 2nd court date for a container she has a permit for and if she doesn’t remove it by *this* Saturday (which is Memorial Day weekend) she will be fined everyday until it’s removed.

Kim called Hecht the container company and surprisingly they couldn’t schedule a pick up within 3 days. She did go and schedule one which unfortunately can’t be until June 14th.

In last night’s council meeting, this was brought up and our town administrator said he knew about it and our code enforcement officer was responding to a complaint about the container.

To which Ms. Reed responded, how is it possible that I’ve been complaining about the same properties for 2 years and not a summons was issued, but “someone” complains about “my” property and a summons was issued within 2 weeks, AND my tenant has a permit? You can listen to the comments here

Welcome to Highlands et al!

TBT Abandoned House Tour – Where Are They Now II

house tour sd dThe small one above is missing a front porch.

house tour bay e

The one above, has been like that since before Sandy and Irene. At one point last year, someone posted a sign with a picture asking the owner “Be a good neighbor“.

house tour sea drift fThis one was lifted last summer, then all construction stopped. Not sure if there were money issues, permit issues, code issues or all of the above.





TBT Abandoned House Tour – Where Are They Now?

house tour sea drift 2015a

Sea Drift Ave

house tour shore b

Shore Drive

Sea Drift/Cheerful

Sea Drift/Cheerful

In July of 2014, Highlands was one of six towns to be awarded monies to cover the costs of razing Sandy-damaged buildings through the Unsafe Structure Demolition Program. To date there doesn’t seem to be may homes that have been razed.

There is an argument that you may lose rateables if you demolish properties, the structures can’t be worth that much, the land retains its value. Plus, you bring down the value of the surrounding homes that are close in proximity to abandon homes.

According to Moneytips  one in 10 Americans want to move.   Poor neighborhood is one of the top reasons for wanting to move. While living in next to abandoned properties might make you want to move, it also makes it harder to sell your house.  The term now for abandoned homes is “Zombie homes.”

Union Beach Puts Law on Books to Tackle Abandoned Home Problem

Bay Ave 2According today’s App.com Union Beach Borough Council recently put a law on the books that requires owners of vacant homes (mostly bank owned and negligent landlords) to register those properties by escalating annual fees that begin at $500 and top out, after three consecutive years, at $5,000.

The new ordinance puts strict requirements on owners to maintain the appearance of the property — mowing lawns and picking up trash — and also perform repair or remediation on the interior of the home as well.

Violators are subject to fines up to $1,000 per instance and those penalties can be assessed as liens on the property.

Jennifer Wenson Maier (UB Borough Administrator ) is well aware that many Union Beach families were forced out of their homes after Superstorm Sandy and still are trying to figure out the finances to return. Even though it doesn’t specify what kind of owner these rules can be enforced upon, the borough will not apply it to those people, she said.

Union Beach is not looking to go after homeowners who are looking to go back into their homes, they are specifically targeting bank-owned properties and to negligent landlords.

Some of the dangers reported are: raccoons, skunks, rodents, rats, kids going into them, lower property values for neighboring homes, and because of the high grass, people using them as a dumping ground, and mold in the homes in many cases.

Should Highlands Be Counting Abandoned Houses?

SeaDrifthouseAccording to App.com the Jackson, NJ Council introduced an ordinance that allows local officials to force owners of abandoned homes to register their property. The 130 abandoned or vacant properties in Jackson aren’t necessarily from Sandy, they are mainly due to the downturn in the economy.

“People should not be living next to a home that’s been foreclosed upon where grass is 10 feet tall, there’s a health issue there,” stated Jackson Councilman Martin.

The concerns about abandoned properties include houses collapsing, vermin and potential fires caused by homeless people seeking shelter or vandals.

Apparently Howell, NJ also adopted a Real Property Mortgage Registration ordinance last August that requires mortgage holders to meet stricter maintenance and security standards.

By potentially adopting a similar ordinance, Highlands could more easily identify properties that are truly abandoned from properties where owners are in RREM flux and actually are planning on coming back.

Highlands To Get Grants to Demolish Unsafe Housing

Highlands is one of 6 towns in Monmouth county that have been accepted into a state program to demolish unwanted, unsightly and unsafe housing, according to the NJ DCA.

Highlands has historically had its share of abandoned homes. Hurricane Sandy has compounded the problem.  The issue since Sandy of the down spiraling of property values, rodents, critters, high grass and criminal activity isn’t specific to Highlands but has proven to be problematic all over the bay shore.

Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration made $15 million in federal money available to cover the costs of razing Sandy-damaged buildings through the Unsafe Structure Demolition Program.

This is actually progress. Hopefully the initiative will begin sooner than later, as to alleviate the emotional impact of residents who have to view the abandoned homes day after day.  When properties remain untouched still after Sandy, it gives a feeling of hopelessness to its neighbors who do live there, it’s just a feeling of, “are we ever going to get out of this?”


Highlands House Tour


 House 1: Ocean

55 5th st
House 2: 5th St

this is a 2 for one, some one actually nominated the house behind this one, but I thought they meant this one same address, no upper window.

2nd st house 2

# 3 2nd Ave

If would like to nominate a house in your neighborhood, you can send an email to: highlandsblogged@gmail.com

How other towns are handling the Neglected homes dilemma after Sandy

Almost a year after Sandy destroyed most of the shore, towns are grappling with a new phase of recovery: how to balance the complaints of residents living next to neglected properties against the plight of homeowners who lost everything and have not decided whether to rebuild.

Neglected properties have an effect not only on neighboring property values but also on the spirits of those who have to view the homes day after day.  When properties are untouched, it gives a feeling of hopelessness to its neighbors who do live there, it’s just a feeling of, “are we ever going to get out of this?”

Many owners have yet to repair their homes for many different reasons; they’re either contesting or haven’t received flood insurance reimbursements, they are waiting to receive state or federal grants or didn’t even have flood insurance or are simply too overwhelmed to do anything.
Union Beach that sustained similar damage to Highlands, receives between 30 and 40 complaints a week about damaged properties in the community of mostly year-round homes. Their code guy views the homes and determine what needs to be done. The fixes can range from routine lawn maintenance to demolition. Under normal circumstances, summonses of up to $300 a day would be issued for failing to maintain the property. Instead, the list of homes needing just lawn care is handed over to a member of the Gateway Church of Christ, a Holmdel-based church that has helped the town recover by providing supplies and volunteers.  UB is also also relying on volunteers to demolish about 102 homes that remain from a list of 300 slated to come down.
Toms River waited almost a year to send out letters to neglected home homeowners. When they sent the inspectors out, they discovered everything from overgrown lots infested with vermin to caved-in homes and structures that remain off their foundations.

Sea Bright waited till the end of summer before reaching out to homeowners. They are taking it complaint by complaint and block by block with code enforcement. Today summonses are now being issued after warnings were given.
Highlands needs to put together a game plan of how they are going to handle the similar situation and share it with residents that have come back.  Because doing nothing shouldn’t be an option.