Owner ordered to clean up boat yard


It looks like the last voyage for the old Rapp’s boatyard.

Since the yard – which hugs the Passaic River shoreline off N. Midland Ave. – fell into disuse years ago, the property has declined with the business.

The boathouse began to rot, an old crane was left to rust and several boats left for storage or repair either drifted into the river or were marooned in the mudflats.

Ultimately, the property was declared abandoned, put up for sale and, recently, a lien on the property was picked up – sight unseen – by a California-based real estate investor, listed in town records as ABJ, LLC, of San Jose, Calif.

On April 3, inspectors from the town Construction Office and Fire Department went to 701 Passaic Ave. to check out the layout and the result was the issuance of a “notice of unsafe structure” on April 10.

“Take notice that as result of the inspections conducted by this agency … an unsafe condition has been found to exist ….. The building or structure, or portion thereof, deemed an unsafe condition as follows: Abandoned property. Kearny Fire Department has had all utilities disconnected. Building must be secured and maintenance issues must be resolved immediately,” the owner was advised.

“You are hereby ordered to vacate structure by 4/4/2017. Demolish the above structure by 4/30/2017, or correct the above noted unsafe conditions by no later than 4/24/2017.”

Failure to comply “will result in this matter being forwarded to legal counsel for prosecution and assessment of penalties up to $2,000 per week per violation….”

The order was signed by Tony Chisari, the town’s construction code official.

As of last week the building was still standing and, when asked about it, Chisari said the owner had contacted him and reported that she had reached out to professionals to get a cost estimate on what it would take to clean up the site.

Recently, a contractor’s representatives were spotted at the boatyard doing an apparent field inspection.

Chisari said he anticipated that the owner would follow through and deliver on her pledge to take care of the property.

Chisari said there may still be fuel tanks – above or below ground – on the site, probably old pump equipment and traces of motor oil related to the old boat repair business.

“There are solvents of some kind washing around and they probably migrated out with the tide at some point,” he said.

The boathouse itself is “significantly damaged – the walls and foundation – the whole building is leaning,” Chisari added.

Fire Chief Steve Dyl echoed Chisari’s concerns, saying that there are “cracks in the foundation, the walls are bulging out and leaning. The sill plate that supports the concrete structure is cracked. The roof is sagging. We’re not going to take the risk of fighting fires in there, unless there’s a person trapped inside.” 

Learn more about the writer ...