Eatontown Council Looks To Demolish Vacant, 'Unsafe' Lewis Street Home

Council fears home's proximity to park is a danger


A vacant home on Lewis Street in Eatontown is scheduled to be demolished after the borough has deemed it an unsafe structure.

The home, located at 104 Lewis Street, is owned by Leon Smock/Smock Enterprises, a 71-year-old borough resident who owns other homes in town.

During Thursday night's Eatontown Council meeting, Eatontown Construction Code Official Django Wiegers said the building has major cracks in its foundation and could "give out at any moment."

Wiegers said the building has been surrounded by fencing to keep people away from it, but that its close proximity to the park is a concern if it should collapse.

Wiegers said Smock is facing $364,000 in fines for the property and that he is recommending that the building be demolished.

Smock said he can no longer afford to fix or demolish the building, which has been vacant for over 15 years.

"I’m 71 years old, I’ve been on Social Security since I was 62 and I have Parkinson’s," Smock said.

The borough council agreed to go out to bid for a contractor to demolish the building, a process that could take about two weeks, Borough Attorney Gene Anthony said. Anthony explained that the borough can pay for the demolition and then place a lien for the cost of the property.

Anthony said the only thing that could stop the demolition is if one the property's current lien holders wishes to file an injunction.

"They would have to demonstrate that their needs outweigh the borough's and that the building will not collapse," Anthony said.

One of the lien holders has expressed interest in sending an engineer to look at the property to see if it is able to be saved. If so, the lien holder would pay the fines and have the building renovated.

Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said the council would award a contract for the demolition at the its next regular meeting on Oct. 10, and that if the lien holder wishes to do so, he must make his intentions known before then.

Smock said he will not fight the borough's plan to demolish the house, and that he would like to see what the lien holder's engineer report states.

“It’s been a headache for me and I’m sure it’s been a headache for the town," Smock said.

Dominick Palermo September 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Hell ----- Leon gets his "headache" relived by the citizens of the Boro ??? He should at least buy me a beer


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