Saving Brigantine Auto at Lighthouse Circle. Local Builder Readies Bulldozer?

Brigantine Lighthouse Circle

With the popular and sorely missed L’aragosta Restaurant in Brigantine now just a dirt lot, what business is next to face the bulldozer? To answer that question, look no further than Brigantine Auto owned by Dave Tefankjian, also situated on the Lighthouse Circle in Brigantine. It’s also, now, an eyesore supposedly affecting the sale of 3 new McMansions squeezed into a lot across the street.

Tefankjian’s business offers auto repair and a gas station, and it has one particular developer salivating: Mike Snyder of Brig Circle Investors LLC. After a failed attempt to shut down the Fishfinder, Snyder is now setting his sights on other businesses around that area….including Tefankjian’s Brigantine Auto. Is the laundromat next after that?

Brigantine Auto is under pressure to vacate. Selective enforcement of laws is the weapon of choice for The City of Brigantine.

Previously, Snyder successfully acquired the old, contaminated Gulf Gas station next to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. While most on the island wanted to keep that lot an ‘open space’ and grow a small business district, and/or allow the MMSC to expand, Brigantine Councilman Simpson preferred to support Snyder’s efforts to reduce amenities on the island. Councilman Simpson, along with Brigantine City Manager Ed Stinson, even provided public workers to help connect Snyder’s water and sewage pipes to the city’s main line.

Brigantine Lighthouse
Brigantine Lighthouse

Brigantine Rumor Mill:

  • Could Kenny’s Auto be under pressure from Councilman Simpson (Kenny’s landlord)…… to pay a much higher rent…..or vacate the property? We think so.
  • Could Mad Dog Morgan’s eatery be forced out to make way for MORE homes in that space that once housed a WAWA?
  • Did the illegal wedding reception / open bar on the beach last week, force the city to issue a court summons?
  • Will Brigantine Republicans SWEEP November elections except for 4th ward? We think so.
  • Brigantine Real Estate agents and brokers quietly seethe at how Guenther/Simpson/Stinson are managing island.

Brigantine Letters to the Editor:

From Fran Chambers: Over the years I’ve heard the Brigantine City Council state how they’re trying to make things better for local business, help them grow and take care of our Islanders. How is getting rid of the last old building at the Circle, and those valuable businesses, making things better?

I’ve heard someone state…’s an eyesore with that ugly Army truck there. Really? Maybe you shouldn’t have built your mansion right across the street.

I’ve known Dave for a number of years. He’s helped out so many on this island. His equipment, that some think is so hard to look at, has helped many during storms. If not for Dave’s equipment, we wouldn’t have a platform to run the Polar Bear plunge…..which is growing….due in part to Dave’s generosity.

Then, there’s the issue of codes and zoning violations. They’ll be overlooked (and not enforced) for (Snyder’s) new restaurants to be built across the street from Brigantine Auto. The City is giving Snyder a pass….but the City is strictly enforcing all regulations on Dave’s Brigantine Auto property. How does that work? Different rules for different people?

If Brigantine Auto gets forced off the island, then you’re forcing all of us off, who need his service. This really stinks and is so unfair. People will remember all of this. You can hear the talk around the island. They will vote for change in November.

Fran Chambers

From Robert M. Connor: I know the owner of the station, Dave Tefankjian, on a personal and professional level quite well. I have been able to turn to Dave not only to buy gas at a fair price, but to get my vehicles serviced and repaired for the past 15 years. He and his employees are always very courteous.

I remember the “old” Brigantine with many older businesses like Dave’s. Most of the other places have been torn down. This town, this island, was a charming community, a beautiful quaint little town. Now, it’s hard for anybody to move here to live unless they’re very wealthy. Is that really what Brigantine, “the new Brigantine,” is all about?

I find the new construction and extravagant houses bothersome as the old Brigantine is being lost. I remember when Hurricane Sandy hit the island. Dave had his equipment out there in the deep water helping move people who had decided to stay, trapped in their homes to shelters. And of course he is more than willing to help people when their vehicle is stuck in the sand on the beach.

To put Dave out of business would be unfair and unjust to him, his employees and the community. I think people who feel that this gas station needs to be torn down need to check themselves on this issue. Dave and his employees have families to feed and need to work. Suggesting he can no longer be located in the circle because his business “is an eyesore” is ridiculous.

To people who have recently moved onto this island, they may not know our island history. They just build a big house that they visit over the summer and decide his business does not fit their ideal. It is simply unjust.

In my opinion, now is the time to come together and pool our resources to help one of our own, Dave Tefankjian, a fine upstanding citizen of our community.

Robert M. Connor

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10 thoughts on “Saving Brigantine Auto at Lighthouse Circle. Local Builder Readies Bulldozer?”

  1. Sandra Rudolph Scholler

    The NEW people move to Brigantine because it is a quaint and quiet family shore town and then they turn it into the place where they moved from, I grew up in Brigantine. When my parents moved there in 1946, there were only 69 children in school from kindergarten to eighth grade. Everyone knew everyone on the island and it didn’t make any difference if they were rich and you were poor. I am one of the lucky ones because the house I grew up In is still there, except for a room that was addied on the back of the house. Someday I would like to meet the people that live in my house and thank them for NOT tearing it down and building a MEGA MC MANSION in its place like so many of my friends houses have become.

  2. Ummmm don’t blame the demise of the Island on those that are buying a beautiful home. Blame it on the Politicians that are allowing OVER BUILDING to fill their own pockets with favors from Builders. It is Brigantine Management in cahoots with Builders that has brought the Island to this current position- Knocking down businesses in exchange for EVEN MORE mega houses. The over-paid employees keep voting the thieves back in. The selfishness of the Island is on the part of the those mentioned, not people of means that are just purchasing a home. BTW- Those 2nd Home Owners have NO Vote.

  3. I would have to agree with some ,but the place looks like a real dump, ,junk yard . Most of the junk is his own play toys. He needs to comply to Federal & State & Municipal laws. You just can’t put a container on your property and attach it.. Fire Codes, ADA.. Residents in the area have to put up with all the cars sitting in front of their property for days. . Plus Dave does not own the b property.. Good luck Dave !! Move on..

  4. When are we going to build high rises or skyscrapers? We need to build a bridge from the North end of Brigantine (wildlife area) to the mainland. We could build beautiful high rise hotels on the land at the Northern part of this island. Think about all the money these builder would make. If we are going to ruin this island, we should do it completely. Think of how many houses could be built on the golf course. We could also build a roof over Brigantine Ave. and build houses on it. Look at the beautiful view the owners of these homes would have of the ocean.

    1. Great Idea……Golf Course Property SECTION 8…

      The Section 8 vouchers program is part of the Housing Choice Voucher program, a federal program for helping low-income families. The program pays a subsidy directly to the landlord, while the tenant pays the balance on the agreed rent payment. Section 8 participant families can search for their own rental unit. The unit must meet certain program requirements, such as safety rules and a fair market rent price, but does not have to be part of a housing project. The participant chooses the location. The Section 8 program provides landlords with tenants and covers a portion of the rent payment. However, the responsibility of screening and selecting tenants lies with the landlord.

      How to Become a Section 8 Landlord in New Jersey

      1. Dave is the best! Had many car problems and thought they were major and Dave found them to be minor. A trustworthy mechanic and businessman is a treasure to this island.
        He has been servicing my cars for 23 years and that is something that I do not have to worry about.

        Brigantine could use a Target or Panera Bread.

        Thank you Dave and your entire team for all you have done for the community!


  5. Big House, Small House , Tiny House , MEGA House, who cares.. Just as long as they are good people, good neighbors, good family.. It’s the bad corrupt politicians that are no good that destroy the island.. there’s no difference between a small house or a big house. The island has changed over the years, so has the people. At one time there used to be a lot of families width between 4 to 8 kids. It’s the corrupt politicians that has never changed and will never change.

  6. I was stranded late one night and left my broken down car near his station. I called the next morning and he graciously got my car, fixed it at a resonable price, did not gouge me being a female by myself and assured me everyhting was ok with the car for my long ride home and for a ride to Atlantic city that I was worried about be stranded ther late at night. It was an older car and I was worried. I cannot thnak him enough for his help and reassurance. I know I must have been a pain because I must have asked 100 times if he was sure that was all it was as I was afraid to go to our dinner reservations that night in AC. Being alone and vulnerable away from home with just my sister was scary with a car not working and he was great. I cant imagine what would happen if my car was left there with no one to pick it up locally and help me the next morning. I have returned yearly with the same car and always feel safe knowing his business is ther. Thnak you once agaion. It is a 1995 3000GT Mitsubitshi which I still love and enjoy driving

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