Surf & Stream

The Surf and Stream campground, Manchester, N.J., Jan. 13, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Ocean County, N.J., is considering the purchase of the Surf and Stream Campground near the border of Manchester and Toms River townships, the latest proposal that could see the crime-plagued property depopulated and returned to its natural state beside the upper branches of the Toms River, according to Shorebeat.

The county has negotiated a $7.45 million sale price for the 20.10-acre site on Ridgeway Road in Manchester Township. The sprawling property is currently packed with dirt roads lined with campers, trailers and some tents. It was apparent that most areas of the campground were occupied by residents. Two ambulances were present at the site when a reporter visited the property following a meeting of the Ocean County Commissioners on Wednesday (Jan. 12).

Under the terms of the arrangement being considered by officials, Manchester Township will pay $1.5 million toward the $7.45 million agreed-upon price for the property. The current owner will be obligated to remove the trailers and demolish all structures before closing.

“There are people out there,” said Commissioner Gary Quinn. “We don’t take ownership of the property until all of the work on the site is completed.”

Surf and Stream was purchased by a new owner approximately 12 years ago with plans to redevelop the site, which has been the scene of a high-profile murder and frequent arrests and police activity. Initial plans called for mixed commercial and residential development. It is unclear how many people are living within the campground, however, Barry Bielat, the property’s owner, said in 2018 that there were no residents living there on a permanent basis.

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