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Township Orders Owner of Beachwood Shopping Center To Demolish Eyesore Immediately

Dilapidated plaza has numerous code violations


The frightening fire that broke out at the Beachwood Shopping Center at the height of Hurricane Sandy was a blaze that Bayville Volunteer Fire Company members would like to forget.

Transformers exploded and blew. The wind funneled the flames away from the water. Firefighters couldn't get too close because of metal and debris whirling through the air. They had to lay fire hoses from the Roy Rogers restaurant across Route 9.

"That wind was coming across so hard," said Township Council President James J. Byrnes, who was on the scene. "Debris was flying all over the place. I got the hell out of there."

Although plans had been in the works to condemn the property, the fire was apparently the last straw for Fire Official Jack Wiegartner.

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.

Eight fire code violations found

Oughton - the daughter of the late James E. Johnson, who built the plaza decades ago - can appeal the violations with the Ocean County Construction Board of Appeals, Byrnes said.

"She has the right to appeal just like anybody else," Byrnes said. "She can rebuild it and bring it up to code, but that's not going to happen."

So far, township officials have not heard from Oughton, who lives in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Florida, he said.

If she does not notify Berkeley of any plans to appeal the violations or correct them, she will face up to $5,000 a day in fines, according to Wiegartner's letter.

"You are hearby ordered by the fire official to correct the violations listed on the accompanying "Violations Report" with the time, or by the date specified," he said in the letter to Oughton.

Oughton will also be liable for the costs of any fire suppression, if a violation directly or indirectly results in a fire, the letter states.

"The building was unsafe to enter," Bayville Volunteer Fire Company Chief Kenneth Anderson said shortly after the fire. "It looked like the Fourth of July."

Wiegartner outlines eight violations of the Uniform Fire Code in the letter. They include:

• Ceiling roof collapse on the entire premises

• Openings in walls ready to collapse.

• Broken glass in front of all the stores.

• Entire front of structure falling down

• Sinkholes in shopping center parking lot.

• Building is not secured

• Abandon premises, building declared unsafe and abated by demolition.

• Hazardous electrical conditions arising from improperly used electrical wiring.

Berkeley officials rejoiced in July when the State Planning Commission gave its long-sought okay to the township's massive redevelopment plan.

The plan approval meant that Donato Donofrio - the redeveloper of record - was free to iron out a cleanup agreement with the owner of the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center and get started on the redevelopment.

But nothing materialized after the state approval.

Estimates to clean up the asphalt plant behind the defunct shopping center, remove asbestos from the buildings and raze the site have ranged as high as $50 million, Amato said.

LTHS class of '86 November 17, 2012 at 08:27 PM
For those who refuse to educate themselves: 1) It's "couldn't care less". "Could care less" means there are other things you care less about. 2) WRITING IN CAPS TELLS EVERYONE THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE DOING. WHY WOULD WE LISTEN TO YOU IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOUR CAPS LOCK BUTTON IS LOCATED? Enjoy.
Lenny Forgione November 17, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Why don't all you yuppies get a life and stop pointing fingers. Yea... Shes guilty of doing nothing and should be held accountable. Force her to tear it down and sell the property that will be useful to the community. Bringing jobs and tax revenues to elevate the burden of the middle class family. I agree, a Loews or some other kind of successful buisness that can afford to higher those in need of a job. Mayor..... Move your ass!!!!!
almuzer November 17, 2012 at 09:46 PM
riding through the 'center' of Beachwood is, for the most part, a pretty depressing trip through what looks like the low-rent areas outside of Elizabeth or Newark... Most of the entire length of Route 9 is pretty ugly, but Beachwood is the worst...
JerseyVet November 17, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Sell the property and put a Home Depot or a Super Wall Mart, Costco or somthing. their.. And I dont want to hear about the how traffic will be slow.. It be a chance to force the widing of RT . 9. part of the road got messed up with Sandy, It could bring in better drainage.
carol November 17, 2012 at 10:43 PM
It's about time, but until I see bulldozers tearing down the eye sore I won't hold my breath. Are you kidding a fire would have been an improvement! At least we could have said " Oh that shopping center had a fire and was destroyed" it would have been easier to explain. The good news is more people think it is in Beachwood, and not Bayville..sorry for the folks in Beachwood. Once again it is a symbol of how local and state government cant work. It will be years and many mayors to see progress....how sad. Well for sure its a real model for our great government at work..pointing fingers and never coming together for even as simple a thing as demolition of a useless, unsafe fire trap shopping center. Are you for real a fire hazard??? Its been that and more for many years, more than I can say. Sorry for the firemen that had to come to put out the flames...but really it would have been better left to burn. The very least Berkeley could do is put up a fence, a very high fence....and then in about twenty years from now surprise us with its completion.
Beachweird November 18, 2012 at 03:53 AM
LOL carol...best idea yet, A SURPRISE! drape all around it and then have a big unveiling ceremony! But will the roach coach still be there? LOL
Irving Bernstien November 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Word on the street is, Its you know what kind of lightning hit that night! I heard from reliable resorces that lady's trying to collect insurance money on that beautifull place.
Mary Ricciuti November 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Can't something like "Eminant domain" happen here? They're able to force people out of there homes for redevelopement. The twsp keeps waiting for a response from the owner...who shows no sign of caring about what's happenning with her property! I think we should take it, demo the whole thing and put up someting useful in that space. It semed good place for a bowling alley, and maybe a restaurant. A place where families could go, instead of retail shops. Just a thought!
Lenny Forgione November 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
If she sells.... I'll buy it!!!! I welcome your ideas on what to put there.
john e November 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Not right. The Wunder Weiner has been the bright spot there for years. Wonderful family with a small town business.
Irina November 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Sounds real good in print, but will it actually happen.....NO FREAKEN WAY. This stingey rich witch will lawyer up and drag this through the court for a few more decades.
not playing the game November 20, 2012 at 02:31 AM
i wish we would make it like a small town the way street look like its a wonderful life. ,We could have, the town hall with small shops wide streets in the middle half way to northern a huge circle with a gazebo in the middle . The street lights like Stafford has in their new strip mall by target.IT would give the town charm ,and make people want to visit and spend money. Some nice restaurants like Allentown. Who wants highways widen and huge retail stores like everyone else. some small outlets.
not playing the game November 20, 2012 at 02:33 AM
wish they would make a road from Beachwood to northern with quaint shops small restaurants wide streets.Trees on both sides maybe some outlets stores. Then half way to northern in the middle a huge circle with gazebo in the middle for special events 25 mile a hour speed limit and street lights like in Stafford park by target in Manahawkin . Maybe ice skating pond and a bowling alley again . maybe people would love to come here then and spend time and money . This could bring in revenue. instead of huge ugly retail building that you need to widen the road and they take up too much space.That plaza is the start of Berkeley not the center .Lets have a town we all can be proud of and stand out
Jersey'd out... November 20, 2012 at 01:26 PM
LTHS...Get a life. I think they wrote in capital letters for a reason...Stop being a DORK!!! Bravo to you and your grammer...You probably have a pen saver in your shirt pocket and tape holding your glasses together...Hahahaha
Jersey'd out... November 20, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Jersey Vet...I like the Costco Idea I work for Costco and that would be a lot closer for me lol
Jersey'd out... November 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mary, I like the Idea of another bowling alley and a family center...We have enough Strip malls and Dollar stores, Banks, Sub Shops etc...Skate Board Park would be nice for the kids. So they have somewhere to go...I saw that in California they had lights at night for them...It was landscaped etc...So, I would like to see a Skateboard park with nice landscaping and a bowling alley there...
not playing the game November 21, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Helen Listen web . This town long ago use to be a nice area. You self righteous Idiot . How is that for Grammar? Sounds like your a young snot nose, as we old folks use to call people like you .
not playing the game November 21, 2012 at 02:01 PM
By the way we have a skate park at Veterans Park DORK
not playing the game November 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Research what happen to the women in Monmouth county with Eminent domain and a school . It was not pretty you would not like your home taken. I do agree people should keep up there property to some degree.
Jersey'd out... November 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM
not playing the game... I am not a snot nose...I just frown on people who feel they need to criticize others...Like your so perfect. You NERD!!! And for your info I am 53...If anyones a self righteous idiot I would have to nominate you..
not playing the game November 21, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I agree so we should't listen to you. I guess those who write lol ,omg, or abbreviates words . People like you might be better with a pen to some degree but answer stupid to simple questions and no common sense.
Jersey'd out... November 21, 2012 at 02:20 PM
not playing... I know we have a skate park at Veterans Park...Your so GAY. We can have 2 can't we...OMG you really need to get a life old man...We have plenty of strip malls and outlets...
Jersey'd out... November 21, 2012 at 02:31 PM
OMG...LOL not playing, YOU TRULY ARE A DORK hahaha. Most would agree. As for this town ever being nice...I lived here all my life and I never remember this area being nice. Not even years ago...It's always been an eye sore...It's a hick town!!!
Keeping whats mine November 21, 2012 at 09:42 PM
And these are just a few of the many reasons why you have NO friends
George November 22, 2012 at 04:13 AM
You mean a one horse town like the "old folks " called it.
Jersey'd out... November 22, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Hahaha you know it George...You could probably count how many teeth on one hand...I go to get my coffee in the morning and I look around and cringe, when I see what walks in the door..Disheveled, dirty, people. Some wearing their flannel pajama bottoms that look worn and filthy. Whats up with that?? Others need to brush their teeth, whats left of them and a shower wouldn't hurt either...I say to myself, what the heck am I doing here? Another common factor here is obesity...Come on now enough already...Let's restore and make a clean sweep in this area...Maybe then hopefully, the right people will move here and we can get rid of the riff raff...I am not rich, I am a single woman that works hard just to survive...You don't need a lot of money to be clean and presentable...It's just pure laziness.
George November 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Wow I only wore my Jet PJ bottoms out once
LTHS class of '86 November 23, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Stuck in Beat Bayville: It's "you're", as in YOU ARE. Not "your", as in IT'S YOURS. Learn the basics before you argue online or else no one takes you seriously.
Jersey'd out... November 24, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Bite me LTHS...You are, as in (you're) still the biggest DORK. No matter how I say it, type it etc... You're probably one of those hicks I am talking about...So take a shower, brush your tooth and call it a day!!!~
BWII November 25, 2012 at 03:54 AM
yeah I remember the banana splits at woolworths


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