Commissioners to consider address changes for corner properties
LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners is considering a residents’ requests to change their street address from Atlantic or Ventnor avenues to numbered avenues.
Current regulations require property owners to have an address along the shortest frontage of their lot, Solicitor Pacifico “Pat” Agnellini said, and in the past, the municipality has denied address change requests.
Officials say it its logical to have the address where the front door is located, but for corner properties, it could be confusing for emergency responders to find the home in an emergency, especially on one-way streets. According to Commissioner Dan Lawler, the Post Office will deliver the mail no matter where the mailbox is located.
Mayor Nicholas Russo asked Agnellini to research the borough’s existing ordinance, put it into historical perspective, and write a letter requesting the Planning Board to review the ordinance before making a recommendation to the commission.
Commissioners inch toward limiting short-term rentals
Borough commissioners are seeking more information before acting to limit short-term rentals, such as those secured through HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb.
Agnellini said he needs more direction from the commissioners on how to proceed with an ordinance revision. Currently, the borough requires a rental certificate of occupancy to ensure properties have smoke and CO2 detectors.
Local real estate agents who rent out properties on behalf of property owners are diligent about obtaining occupancy certificates when a new tenant moves in, but homeowners renting their properties through online vacation rental sites, may not be aware of the requirement. The rental certificate fee is $75 and the penalty for non-compliance is $500.
Agnellini said he always thought rentals in Longport were limited to 30-day occupancies, however, the ordinance does not recite a time limit. Airbnb and other vacation rental sites sometimes rent out large homes for parties on weekends, which could cause noise and parking problems.
“How often do we want to have these properties inspected? Every rental seems extreme, especially if it’s a weekly rental,” he said.
Mayor Nicholas Russo said he would like the borough to be pro-active in preventing problems with short-term rentals in the normally quite hamlet, but he is concerned about infringing on the constitutional rights of property owners.
The municipality should decide if it will impose a time limit for rentals and decide if it will ramp up its inspection process, Agnellini said.
Commissioners may appoint a sub-committee to further investigate the issue.
No land available for affordable housing
Longport is short on available land that would allow the borough to comply with Council on Affordable Housing requirements, officials said.
Engineer Richard Carter recommended the borough hire a consultant to do a vacant land analysis to prove to COAH that there is no need to develop more housing in Longport.
The commission is likely to award a contract to a Galloway Township consultant at the next meeting, he said.
Borough to discuss capital and utility bond issues
The borough could soon be issuing a bond to finance capital improvements at borough buildings and a second utility bond to cover the cost of installing a new well.
Auditors from Ford Scott & Associates, LLC of Ocean City will attend the next workshop meeting 9 a.m. Thursday, April 4 to discuss the impact the bonds may or may not have on water and sewer rates.
According to Carter, water and sewer rates have not been raised for more than 10 years.