Remedy for abandoned Neptune Motor Lodge NJ sought by neighbors

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NEPTUNE — Residents of the Shark River Island section of the township want the township to do something about an abandoned, storm-damaged motel that has become an eyesore in the community.

In March 2021, a powerful storm ripped off parts of the roof of the Route 35 motel, damage caused by straight-line winds between 60 and 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

Soaked insulation, wood, tar paper and other motel pieces were stripped from the building and strewn across the highway and surrounding properties in the aftermath of the storm. That debris has been cleared away, but 16 months later, residents still stare at the derelict building once known as Neptune Motor Lodge.

On Thursday, more than two dozen residents gathered in the street outside the abandoned property with representatives from State Sen. Vin Gopal’s office and reporters to highlight the issue.

“Since (the storm), the building has remained vacant with boarded up windows, unsecured fences, non-existent doors in the building, and other visible signs of neglect and security issues, such as unsecured locks, exposed cables and broken concrete,” resident Steve Roberts said.

Rodents, attracted by a growing pile of trash on the site, are also a growing problem, and trespassers have occasionally been seen on the property, Roberts said.

Roberts said he and his neighbors reached out to Mayor Nicholas Williams and other members of the township government looking for a solution.

“We as a community, the Shark River Island community, feel that after 16 months it is more than enough time for the township and owners to come to an agreement that benefits us all,” Roberts said.

Neighbors said that although they called or left messages for township officials, they received no “concrete information” about what the township is doing to get rid of the motel.

“It’s very disappointing that 16 months after the storm damaged the motel, nothing has been done. Our neighbours, as well as myself, are wondering what will be done – will it be demolished, repaired, sold – and no one gives us answers to it. Our elected officials have not been helpful and it is very upsetting. Resident Ellen M. Kudlacik said, “

Every day when Kudlacik sits at her kitchen table, watches TV, or sits on her patio, she can see the motel.

“What do I see? A horrifying view of a decrepit concrete structure. I sit and wonder what might be going on inside the motel as it continues to decline. Are there any squatters and undesirables sneaking in to stay? How bad is the mold growing? is the roof safe if we have another storm? Again, we have no answers,” she said.

Resident Toby Husserl added that he saw “hypodermic needles laying nearby” and “often there are homeless or near-homeless people sitting around the corner…It’s definitely dangerous for the community”.

He echoed the sentiments of his neighbors, but went further and said he wanted to see the building demolished.

“Repeated attempts to involve the township have been unsuccessful. It’s been going on for over a year, maybe two, and even when it was open it was a habitat for illegal activity,” Husserl said.

Resident Jim Stowe agreed that he would rather see it demolished than repaired.

“The hotel has been a hotbed of trouble for the neighborhood for years and even though it’s now closed, there are still transient guests occupying the property,” Stowe said.

Several residents said that prior to the company’s conviction, the motel was used to house parolees and homeless tenants.

He added that the Shark River Island community believes something would have already been done if the building was located elsewhere.

“I wonder how the owners or the mayor would feel if they were living like we should, in the same neighborhood as this collapsing building. I’m sure they wouldn’t be so happy if their kids or family had to deal with what we dealt with,” Roberts said.

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, “The township has been working to facilitate improvements to the property and to ensure the property is properly maintained. After initially working closely with our code enforcement and building departments to resolve the initial safety issues, the township had to resort to issuing violations to the owner. To date, the owner has received four (4) violations from the Township’s Code Enforcement Department. In addition, our Department of Construction has issued several Notices of Violation, some have been resolved and others remain pending an appeals process, the owner is expected to be in court next week to remedy some of the violations.

The press release also mentions that demolition is possible.

“All members of the governing body are aware of the issues with the hotel and are doing everything legally permitted to remedy the conditions. The hotel is among several properties in this area that have been designated as in need of The township has been actively communicating with the owners to move the redevelopment process forward, which would include the demolition of the hotel.”

However, the statement adds that the city was not aware of any significant issues with the debris and there were no reports of debris from the motel in the water.

The hotel has been placed on the Township’s Abandoned Property List, which requires compliance with state and local regulations regarding property maintenance.

Charles Daye is the Underground Reporter for Asbury Park and Neptune, with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. @CharlesDayeAPP Contact him: [email protected]

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