NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - City officials on Monday released the first list of nine abandoned properties targeted for forfeiture by New Brunswick, the result of a two-year effort to remove dozens of blighted buildings and redevelop lots for and new housing.
City council members two years ago passed two ordinances calling for the creation of a list of properties considered abandoned or vacant as a result of unpaid taxes and failure to make repairs and maintenance.
One law was aimed at abandoned property rehabilitation and the other to develop a register of vacant properties, which required owners register a property with the city within 60 days of it becoming vacant or within 30 days of assuming ownership of a vacant property. Owners of the vacant houses were also charged a fee while the buildings were vacant.
Both this local laws were intended to motivate owners to fix residential properties.
Since these measures were adopted, city employees reviewed dozens of properties where it appeared that owners either failed to maintained or fail to keep up tax payments.
Since June 2017, city officials said, approximately 110 properties were placed on the vacant properties registration list, generating $152,000 in fees paid to the City of New Brunswick.
City officials now say that of the 110 lots on the vacant properties list, owners of 40 properties either rented to new tenants or have begun work to rehabilitate the homes.
There are 70 remaining registered vacant properties and those are in various stages of the foreclosure process, the city said.
Last month, the city council established a committee of city officials to commence legal action needed acquire the lots, and hired the law firm of McManimon, Scotland & Baumann of Newark to provide legal services for the committee under a contract allocating up to $25,000.
On Monday, the city released addresses of the list of the first addresses it will seek to legally acquire for redevelopment.
Officials said they sent notices to the property owners via certified mai, and published in the list in city’s official newspaper.
Property owners or lien holders can may appeal placement of a property on the list by submitting a plan of action to rehabilitate their properties.
If the plan is approved, and the owner posts a bond to cover the projected rehabilitation costs, that lot can be removed from the list.
However, if there is no appeal, the city proceed to take lot.
New Brunswick will regenerate the list every six months, monitoring properties for lengthy periods of vacancy or arrears on taxes.
The addresses of the nine properties on this first list are:
- 84 Jersey Ave
- 310 Townsend St.
- 164 Commercial Ave.
- 53 Remsen Ave.
- 147 Remsen Ave.
- 42 Joyce Kilmer Ave.
- 109 Howard St.
- 69 Handy St.
- 377 Lee Ave.