7 On Your Side
Pavilion lease problem in Avon
AVON-BY-THE-SEA (WABC) -- It's a story that 7 On Your Side first found on Facebook. A quiet seashore town is now the center of a cresting controversy.
At the eye of the storm is an iconic restaurant wrecked by Sandy. The owner's plans to re-open were suddenly scuttled by the town, until we jumped in to save him.
"I have a love affair with the Jersey shore that's second to my wife," Rob Fishman said.
Fishman spent the last 23 year building that love into a landmark, turning a century-old beachfront restaurant into a postcard perfect seaside destination; that is until Sandy's surge a knockout punch.
Now, all that's left is a graveyard of wooden pilings.
Rob's landlord, the borough of Avon-By-The-Sea, gave him a second jolt, suddenly terminating his lease that still had 13 years left on it.
The support went to cyber space and in days more than 17-hundred supporters petitioned against the town online, and then got in the mayor's grill at a midday meeting.
"It has nothing to do with money, as far as I'm concerned," Avon Mayor Robert Mahon said.
No, the Mayor says Rob's 25 year lease - the same one the town wrote and signed - is now illegal.
"A municipality, a borough like ours cannot grant a lease on a beach front property for more than 10 years," he said.
The mayor said he waited until the restaurant was wrecked to terminate the lease.
"I'm not going after him personally," he said.
"I'm hopeful that the commissioner and the mayor will change their mind," Rob said.
And late today, that looks like that might happen. A rep from Avon told us the borough is now negotiating with Rob to come to a solution to the problem and reinstate the lease.
No agreement can be final until it's voted on by the town's board of commissioners, which are scheduled to meet next Monday night. But a town official told vowed to us "this will get done." Definitely a positive sign that you could see a new Pavilion as early as this summer.
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