Barnegat Settles with County Over Menk Homes
Ocean County to pay $250,000 for cost of inspections of hundreds of Four Seasons at Mirage homes
Barnegat Township has settled a long-running lawsuit with the county over home inspections in the Four Seasons at Mirage development, though officials say ongoing litigation with the developer responsible for the flawed construction may continue for some time.
The township will receive a $250,000 cash settlement and “other considerations” from Ocean County, ending a 2010 lawsuit over who was responsible for Uniform Construction Code inspections of Mirage homes that had a number of structural issues. Barnegat also filed suit with developer Menk Corporation, which built the homes with what the township said were UCC violations.
By 2006, many Mirage residents in Menk-built homes were complaining of leaky crawl spaces and other problems. Then and current mayor Al Cirulli and Committeeman Jeff Melchiondo promised the issues would be fixed, said township administrator David Breeden.
Ultimately, 467 homes had UCC violations, which were remedied, said Breeden. But the issue of who would pay for the fixes still wasn’t resolved by 2010.
“The initial goal of the effort was to abate the UCC violations,” Breeden said. “Having safe homes along with a deserving quality of life for the Menk homeowners was the priority, and once that was accomplished, then the township could turn its attention to seeking reimbursement from responsible parties.”
Barnegat maintained that it was the county that was responsible for conducting the UCC inspections, and should have picked up the tab. The settlement resolves that issue, Breeden said.
But reaching a settlement with Menk could be a long road, officials said.
“Menk looks like it will go all the way through with litigation,” said Cirulli. “Luckily the county did the right thing."
“Even though Menk has made the needed repairs required to abate the UCC violations, the Township is of the position that Menk has an obligation to reimburse Barnegat taxpayers for cost associated with forcing Menk to render necessary repairs,” said Breeden. "Barnegat is pleased that we were able to reach a resolution with the county. The Township strongly believes this agreement will re energize our relationship with the county which will be beneficial for Barnegat residents. We appreciate the willingness of the county to work with the Township and resolve this matter."