The township was advised to give the parties involved more time for negotiations as a way to avoid any more legal bills. The extension means the vacated, blighted shopping center could be around for at another six months.
Last fall, pre-demolition work on the battered buildings in the dilapidated center on Route 9 South began. The township received payments from the interested redevelopers, M&M Realty and Lennar Corp. The funds were placed in an escrow account.
The two companies were named the redevelopers of record for the site earlier last year. The Beachwood Shopping Center is the Town Center portion of the township's massive redevelopment plan.
Lennar and M&M Realty have been in negotiations with owner Priscilla Oughton over the remediation of the site, which has environmental problems.
Oughton - who lives in Fort Lauderdale By-the Sea in Florida, has accrued fines for the condition of the shopping center since Superstorm Sandy slammed into Berkeley more than a year ago.
Metals and asbestos in the buildings has to be removed. Only a state-certified asbestos remediation firm can do the work, township officials have said.
So far, the township has collected at least $65,000 in fines from Oughton. She inherited the shopping center from her father, the late James Johnson. He built the plaza decades ago and named it the "Beachwood Shopping Center" even though the site is in Berkeley, after a tiff with township officials.
The fines began when Township Fire Official Jack Wiegartner ordered a number of corrective actions be taken after a vacant store in the battered strip mall caught fire during the height of Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012.
Shortly after the storm, he ordered Oughton to take a number of corrective actions immediately, including vacating the shopping center, removing the structures, demolishing the structures and removing all debris.Wiegartner found eight violations. Oughton was notified she would be fined $5,000 a day for each one.