Declining Brigantine Attractions? Fish Finder Squeezed

Hard to believe. At one time, Brigantine Beach was chock full of marinas like ‘The Fishfinder’. Started 20 years ago by Joe Fumo, The Fishfinder Marina and Party Boat business might be feeling a bit claustrophobic as of late. New construction now towers over this popular tourist attraction from both sides. Some suggest that one particular neighbor might find the boat yard & fishing boat view….. ‘not so appealing’.

Motels, restaurants, stores, …even a bowling alley and a world famous haunted castle. Brigantine Beach had them all at one time.

Somewhere in the mid-90’s, Brigantine leadership decided to open the floodgates, throw out smart zoning rules, and allow far-too-easy conversion of commercial/mixed use buildings into luxury homes and condos. Almost no attention was paid to potential ramifications of those moves.

Did Brigantine city planners think is was no longer necessary to preserve and nurture commercial areas along our shores?

Fast-paced home construction took off. Builders thrived and scrambled to keep up with demand.

What’s better for Brigantine? A prudent mix of residential, commercial and attraction based properties? Or will Brigantine Beach be better off evolving into a upscale residential community with limited tourist & destination based businesses?

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.

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13 thoughts on “Declining Brigantine Attractions? Fish Finder Squeezed”

  1. There’s nothing but homes…no attractions no nothing, there’s nothing for the kids to do either. I grew up going to jersey state marina right next to the rowers club. I’m having trouble find a slip next year because of the lack of marinas. It’s getting ridiculous

  2. Where is the Master Plan from the city? I thought both parties were at the council meeting a few weeks ago agreeing to work together?

    People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. City hasn’t had a plan in a long time. Would have been nice if the property being developed was also commercial , maybe a little pier with raw bar and a liquor license..similar to Smittys in Somers Point on Bay ave…a working waterfront?

    Seafood , fishing boats and maybe a boat rental. Same thing at the circle where the gas station was located.

    1. I could not agree more. I have enjoyed Brig for 15+ years with my family, mostly for the beaches with I think are the best in NJ. What is see is a massive situation of potential unfulfilled. It’s clear that Brigantine could stand out as family oriented, “quaint” shore location with a town center, some attractions, great restaurants, and marine attractions. What is has is a haphazard pattern of housing going up in strange places (lighthouse), a completely fumbled economic plan (nice job on the 2 CVSs), no real “epicenter” for attraction. Why not undertake a master plan to buy depressed property and redevelop as open space or new attractions? Why not simply mow down houses irreparably damaged by Sandy? Why not create an environment for business? Do not get me started on the realtors who may be as delusional as the politicians.

      1. Maureen Jamgochian

        I agree. All we have are high priced “mansions” going up – I guess they are looking for the higher taxes these homes will bring.

        We don’t eat n Brigantine. We go to Absecon, Linwood or Ocean City, where they have better restaurants with better food and less money.

  3. The FishFinder is an asset to Brigantine…. I am the property owner next to Joe and we do not have any issues with their business.

    There is a floating dock that is on the City street between my property ……and Joe was agreeable to us sharing the dock with us to keep the open water behind my property free of transient boats.

    Thank you Joe for being a great neighbor….

  4. Rosemarie Fuller Lombardi

    Are u kidding me? That’s a very nice place. Great people & very helpful. If it was not for Joe, my husband bought a boat and did not know all the in and outs of it and he work with him and showed him how to bring it in.

    And Joe knows I was not a boater. Joe made sure he showed Mike all he needed to do to keep us safe. The place is always clean. Kim does a great job with the landscape out front. Joe and Kim are very much an asset to Brigantine.

    That developer needs to kiss their ass and thank god they are their neighbor.

    We had scum bag next to our home and not one thing we could do about it.

    Rose

  5. I call the ‘new’ homes/condos ‘vertical shoeboxes’ built on tiny lots, they go up 4 or 5 stories….and we are down to 2 gas stations, a ton of sub shops, and lots of empty bldgs..

  6. I don’t unstand the reasoning behind using the Fish Finder Marine business as an example for your article. Mr. Fumo operates a business without required parking.If you look at the picture with your article you can see that his business occupies his property to the right and the property of the City of Brigantine. The gravel area to the left that abuts the builders property is actually a publicly owned street that Fish Finder Marine has been using as its own for many years. So if anyone thinks that Michael Snyder should be criticized by you, Mr. Fumo or anyone else for his development you are mistaken. Mr. Snyder has single handedly created more commercial development than any other builder on the island (Cellar 32 and Steak 38 project still under construction) .
    Additionally, if you check with the city you will find that Mr.Fumo a few years ago applied for and was granted a change of use so he could build a home and still operate his business from that property. My guess is as good as yours what Mr. Fumo had in mind. Mike Snyder has made concessions, so Fish Finder Marine can continue to exist. I am sure this negative review of residential development is not coming from Mr. Fumo and Fish Finder Marine

    1. Brigantine Taxpayer

      This article was written to highlight how the City of Brigantine, especially past leadership, had no rhyme or reason as to it’s zoning & commercial development plans. This is not about “fumo vs snyder.” Rather, it’s about poor city planning & lack of solid commercial development and tourism strategy. Placing a 2nd CVS right in the middle of the Lighthouse district is just one glaring example of short-sighted moves by those in charge at that time (2008-2011). Ask Mike Brennan. He was part of the “mixed use committee”, charged with looking at potential mixed use of that prime area. He was kept in the dark, while council members moved quietly to put a 2nd & unneeded CVS into that Lighthouse area.

  7. As homeowners we’d all like to see property grow, but not at the expense of local businesses that bring in tourism, promote family fun and nurture the taste & feel of Brigantine. Squeezing these folks out to build homes that block out views and access to our beautiful waterways is not the way to go.

  8. People Please, Take your heads out of the sand ! Brigantine and its population cannot support the kind of commercial development that other towns can. The fact is most of Brigantine’s population disappears 8 months out of the year and those left can’t or won’t possibly fully support local businesses. In order to survive til the next summer many businesses must shutter their doors to cut costs so they can open in the Spring. For example is L, Argosta Italian Restaurant, whose dining rooms are always filled in season must close in the winter for lack of business and the cost of overhead. Aversa’s Bakery, one of the largest and most successful commercial establishments on the island, survives the winter because it’s other locations in towns with stable populations. You talk of the need for commercial development, but there are thousands of square feet lying vacant in the ACME shopping area including a closed Burger King ( it’s pretty bad if BBK can’t make a go of it.)
    I would like to make the following points, You complain about builders building luxury homes along our waterways, but these homes do attract affluent buyers who increase the tax base and hopefully spend their money here. AS far as blocking views what is the difference between a commercial building and a residential building. Lastly, regarding the new CVS, it was built to replace the existing CVS in the future. but in the mean time they paying Real Estate taxes at both locations. The location of the new CVS was always commercial. Remember the gas station, Circle Tavern, Garden Center, Block Buster video, Lighthouse Deli and Island Diner?
    Expansion and development is a fact of life and available to all. Get over it!

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