Killing Brigantine Business. Overbuilding Accelerates Real Estate Price Declines.

Brigantine Real Estate Corruption
Brigantine Business Community Beware.

Killing off another Brigantine business to build more un-needed homes? To those who rely on a robust business community, it does look that way. This time, the take down target is Brigantine Auto on the busy lighthouse circle.

Take-down tool being employed by City of Brigantine: force small business owner to hire expensive lawyers in order to defend use of 10yr old storage sheds.

Brigantine Auto is owned by local good guy, Dave Tefankjian. He’s well known for his giant army truck that rescued hundreds from rising Superstorm Sandy waters. But today, after 10 years of service, Tefankjian is deemed a lawbreaker for his use of common storage sheds. As of Monday, Oct 10, the sheds are being removed and the business is prepping for a potential move.

Brigantine Auto became an eyesore to the City and developer Mike Snyder when builders decided to squeeze 3-story vacation homes into business districts and busy traffic spots. Brigantine Auto is now supposedly affecting the sale of Snyder’s 3 new homes built atop the old Gulf gas station across from Tefankjian.

Brigantine Construction Official Rich Stevens was a very effective lead man in this targeted take-down. Stevens made it clear: even if the planning board approved of Brigantine Auto’s operation……. Steven’s construction office would not issue a permit for those structures, and would push for heavy fines.

Selective Enforcement in Brigantine as City Manager Stinson Spins Facts.

Brigantine City Manager, Ed Stinson, posted a report in the Brigantine Times newspaper. Stinson says that 3 un-safe and un-permitted structures were attached to the rear of the Brigantine Auto building/garage. What Stinson conveniently left out of his story:

  • Brigantine can’t find the 10 yr. old shed permit.
  • Brigantine knew of these structures for almost 10 years.
  • A former Brigantine fire chief allegedly assisted in shed installation
  • Brigantine issued auto repair shop a mercantile license each year.
  • Annual fire inspections were performed under guidance of Bill Baldwin; the Mayor’s brother-in-law.

Stinson continues his spin: Once the structures are removed and the violations no longer exist, the auto repair business will be able to continue to operate. We seriously doubt this. With developer Snyder bulldozing and building anywhere he can, this is step #1 in eventual ousting of Brigantine Auto from that circle location.

Recently, The ‘Fish Finder’ business felt heavy heat from developer Mike Snyder. After building a 3 unit mansion next to the 25 year fishing & marine business, Snyder claimed The Fish Finder was an illegal & dangerous business. Snyder was smacked down by public opinion. He caught massive blow-back from the community, and was forced to tuck tail and back off.

The highly popular Laragosta Restaurant was not so lucky in avoiding Snyder’s bulldozer. They were forced off the island to make way for another soon-to-be mega-structure. The old restaurant building has already been dozed and awaits environmental clean-up due to it’s close proximity to 1 current, and 2 past gas stations.

Can Brigantine Auto win a fight against a city hell-bent on building new homes on every square inch of waterfront?

Something called EQUITABLE ESTOPPEL could help Brigantine Auto. It’s a legal strategy that some think could prevent first party (Brigantine) from gaining advantage over second party (Brigantine Auto) if the second party claims injury due to reliance on misrepresentations by the first party. Those misrepresentations could be:

  • Brigantine knew of these structures for almost 10 years.
  • City of Brigantine issued a mercantile license each year
  • City of Brigantine performed annual fire inspections on these structures
  • City can’t find and produce original permit for the structure

According to documents, Brigantine Construction Official; Rick Stevens, lobbied for a $1,000 fine. Stevens wanted Brigantine Auto to remove the sheds by NOV 15 or additional fines, possibly daily penalties, could be levied. If Brigantine Auto is forced to move the 10 yr old sheds/structures, it could mortally cripple the business.

Would the auto repair business re-locate to another Brigantine location? While technically possible, there’s no guarantee that Tefankjian and Brigantine Auto would retain all of it’s customers. We also think the City would make life a living hell for Tefankjian no matter where he set up shop on the island. Even worse, imagine if his landlord was Brigantine Councilman Andy Simpson. Yikes.

Imagine if your business is close to, or situated near waterfront land suitable for multi-million dollar homes. This is why Brigantine is littered with so many empty storefronts, and residential homes values are stuck in the mud.

Brigantine AUTO could be 3rd auto repair / gas station shuttered on the circle in recent years.

Imagine those clean-up costs that lighthouse circle property owners had to deal with over the years. Especially the 3 new homes built on top of the Cumberland Farms owned Gulf gas station. That particular lighthouse circle property was priced aggressively at just $730,000 due to substantial remediation, tank removal & clean-up needed to make the land ‘buildable’. See DEP clean-up sites in Brigantine.  See NJ DEP Remediation website here

NOTE:

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center wanted the old Gulf Gas Station property, in order to expand. The MMSC wanted the land, but costs of environmental clean-up, removal of oil and gas tanks, and other costly issues made the project un-doable. Robert Schoelkopf, the stranding center’s director planned to expand the rescue operations and build an educational facility for visiting school students and tourists. Mr. Snyder’s purchase, supported by both Mayor Guenther & Councilman Simpson stopped that excellent idea dead in it’s tracks.