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