The meter is running.
Beachwood Shopping Center owner Priscilla Oughton is now facing fines of $40,000 a day for the condition of the battered plaza on Route 9 South in Bayville.
The entire perimeter of the shopping center is now fenced in, so vehicles and pedestrians cannot get near the battered stores and parking lot with sinkholes.
"There's a lot of challenges presented by that particular structure," Township Attorney Lauren Staiger said after a resident asked about the status of the shopping center.
The shopping center - a longtime eyesore off the busy highway - has been vacant for years. Township Fire Official Jack Wiegartner ordered a number of corrective actions be taken after a vacant store in the strip mall caught fire during the height of Hurricane Sandy.
He ordered owner Priscilla Oughton to take a number of corrective actions immediately, including vacating the shopping center, removing the structures, demolishing the structures and removing all debris.
There were eight violations in total. Oughton is being fined $5,000 a day for each one, Township Council President James J. Byrnes said after the Dec. 27 council meeting.
Oughton is the daughter of the late James E. Johnson, who built the shopping center decades ago. She lives in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Florida.
Oughton's attorney, Michael J. McCalley, countered with a Nov. 21 letter to township officials
"As you are well aware, Ocean County was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy," McCalley said in the Nov. 21 letter to township officials. "The damage referred to in the cover letter to the Notice of Violation appears to be a direct consequence of the storm."
McCalley said granting a hearing and giving Beachwood Mall LLC more time to assess the storm damage is "both necessary and appropriate."
Byrnes said after the council meeting that Oughton can appeal the violations and the fines before the Ocean County Construction Board of Appeals.
The Beachwood Shopping Center is ground zero in the township's massive redevelopment plan, which was approved by the state Planning Commission early last July.
But Donato Donofrio, the redeveloper of record, informed township officials earlier this month he was no longer interested in developing the site because of the poor economy.
The news was a blow to ratable-poor Berkeley and the redevelopment plan. Amato has said the township's primary focus on the site will be code enforcement for the near future, until another redeveloper can be found.