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
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.
9 thoughts on “Killing Brigantine Business. Overbuilding Accelerates Real Estate Price Declines.”
You guys (BrigantineNOW) are a breath of fresh air, long needed and greatly appreciated. We had a home in Brigantine for many years, until it became too much even for 45-year veterans. The taxes and fees, all funding a corrupt and non-functioning government, broke us. We are gone now but retain roots in the island, and a sense of glee that justice is now being served. Schadenfreude, it’s called. THANK YOU.
We would support the gas station, if they would stop using neighboring streets for a place for parking cars (a lot of cars) And the city hall has looked the other way for years.
Beautiful Island, Ugly politics……
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves run the place.
We agree with the above. We have been renting on the beautiful island since our child was 4 . He is now 16 . We all look forward to coming down every summer and we were considering a purchase. But the constant nonsense and political crap and trying to drive out business that is needed, is ridiculous . Whrre are the permanent homeowners and the short term( rentals) going to go for a service once all the business is forced out for new homes.
We also agree with the above. Its time for our politicians, councilmen/women and present administration step up to the plate and stop this nonsense. Lets stop the bleeding and really evaluate all the options before something is approved. They have to do what’s right for Brigantine not be pushed around by the builders or another agenda There are plenty of new houses and used ones for sale. Seems to me that the local builders won’t give up until they confiscate every available piece of land. We need the gas station even though theirs one up the street., Competition is necessary as well is the availability of gas for all the City of Brigantine owned vehicles. the fire department, local residents and visitors. Take whatever action is necessary to have him pretty it up if necessary. Its bad enough that Laragastas was demolished, How did that lot survive another three story home? Again a builder will make out but hopefully a decent plan will be approved for that location.
Well doesn’t the wonderful corrupt Mayor own the shell station? If the Gulf is shut down then the Mayor will increase his gas prices so high & they are already $.34 cents a gallon now over the normal price. I think Mayor Guenther is causing a monopoly & “Price fixing”. Corrupt, bully, liar, what other skeletons are in his close ?
is that true that phil guenther owns the shell station?
Was there really no other land left on the island so Mike Snyder thought building million plus homes on the circle was a good idea? I think the reason those home aren’t selling is its on of the worst locations on the island because of constant traffic and its never quite there. Let your kid out on their bikes and they’ll get run over…
If I was buying a house at the beach, I wouldn’t buy one on that circle. As usual, the approvals should never have been given, but we live in a town with no long term vision, just so-called leaders looking to make a fast buck and eventually bail to Florida.
Here’s a question – with all the new big houses going up and 95% are used as second homes, where is the additional tax revenue being spent? Last I looked the island is still running a deficit…..
Comment – Why in gods name would you try to create a “downtown feel” by installing new street lights and putting utility wires underground (all good ideas) and not spend the extra money to install Pavers (JP Henry type stone) instead of concrete? The kind of Pavers, Andy Simpson installed all over his $3 million Bayfront home. That would have made the downtown project really look nice, not more concrete….See my comment above no long term vision cause were all heading sound when its time to cash out……
The most obvious questions of all questions is:
1 – Why do the permanent residents keep voting jackals into office?
2 – Are the permanent residents plain stupid, or are they all benefiting from the trough of corruption/mismanagement largess?
3 – Do they think this can go on forever, or do they think that as long as the 70% of second home suckers are stuck they have perpetual “welfare benefits?”