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Beach Haven Council Members Study Demolition Ordinances

The demolition of a Fairview Avenue home sparked controversy last month

A steady stream of noisy trucks and the installation of pilings for a new home on Fairview Avenue in Beach Haven has Council members investigating what type of ordinances could be put into place to limit demolition projects of this magnitude during peak summer months.

Council President Robert Keeler addressed the issue

"We're still collecting information," Keeler said. "Sometimes, towns go ahead and they put ordinances in play without doing do diligence, and we just want to make sure we're doing all our homework before we introduce anything."

Keeler's comments followed a Beach Haven meeting in August, where several neighbors of the property in question came to complain about the noise and traffic created by the project. A beachfront home was razed and another, larger home is being placed on the property, according to residents there.

Since the homeowner did not need board approval for the project, neighbors were not notified prior to the demolition, catching many by surprise and angering some.

Neighbors, including Bonnie and Don Lenhart, appeared at the Council meeting in August and requested the introduction of an ordinance that would prohibit demolition projects between June and September.

"Builders can schedule their projects," Bonnie Lenhart said. "There is no reason they need to do demolitions during the summer months."

Another neighbor, Tom Sullivan, requested just some type of notice about projects like these, because, he said, the number of trucks and other equipment required for a demolotion can pose a safety issue for young children who play in the neighborhood.

"There are 10 months of the year here where there are probably 1,000 of us living here, and then there are (the summer) months when thousands of people come here to enjoy themselves and not be bothered by construction projects," Sullivan said. "Also, we know that demolitions are going to take place, so there has to be some way to accommodate both."

Another neighbor said he was concerned about his inground pool, as the vibrations that were generated by piling placement for the new house were quite pronounced.

Mayor Charles Maschal, Jr. said he was "very concerned" about the residents' concerns, and he has directed the town's attorney to investigate, what, if any options are available.

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