Toms River Plans to Destroy Sandy-Abandoned Homes [AUDIO]
Homes left abandoned in Toms River since Sandy will be up for possible demolition by the Township.
Speaking Monday in the storm ravaged Ortley Beach, Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher said 125properties that were severely damaged by the storm and have been left abandoned, are being looked at for the demolitions.
He noted they are making a good faith effort to contact the original homeowners, but many were not able to rebuild.
"People don't have to check with us before walking away, there are a lot of sad stories like that where people just had to throw in the towel," Kelaher said.
He notes the town didn't want to file any formal complaints too quickly after the storm because he knew many people were struggling to get insurance or federal aid, however now the process must go into place.
"Neighbors are saying, for example, 'I haven't seen the guy next to me since the Saturday after the storm, the place is overgrown, I see mice under deck.' We're in the process of doing a survey of those homes now. Some of them you can tell just from looking from the street and some you really have to get up and look into the window and see if there's mold."
Kelaher says they will cite the property with a code violation and the owner will have a time limit to fix it.
"If they don't fix it, we can sign a complaint in municipal court, and eventually depending on the condition of the house, we would be entitled under the law to demolish the home," he explained.
Toms River will be responsible for the cost of demolitions, but Kelaher hopes they can recoup some of the money through leans on the properties.