By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – After several public hearings Thursday, May 11, the Board of Commissioners adopted three public nuisance ordinances that raise the penalties for infractions.
It also introduced ordinances governing the operation of vehicles on the boardwalk, contractor littering and lead-based paint inspections of rental properties. And following numerous public hearings, it has finally introduced its long-awaited short-term rental ordinance, which limits lengths of stays depending on the size of the units.
The board approved Ordinances 2023-06, 07 and 08, which raises the penalties for operating a motorized bicycle on the boardwalk, having animals on the boardwalk and having unleashed animals anywhere in the city.
Although Ordinance 2023-06 specifically prohibited motorized bicycles on the boardwalk, several residents questioned what other types of vehicles would be banned on the boardwalk.
Police Chief Joseph Fussner recommended the board introduce a new ordinance revising guidelines in Chapter 79, which restricts vehicular access on the boardwalk, except for emergency vehicles.
The code defines “vehicle” as “automobile, bicycle, motor bike, motor tricycle, motor scooter, motorcycle, tricycle, omnibus, taxi or rolling chair, including any motorized rolling chair, truck, trackless train, tractor or trailer.”
The change to Section 7 of Chapter 79 would institute the same $200, $500 and $1,500 penalties as in the previously adopted ordinance banning motorized bicycles on the boardwalk.
Also at the meeting, the board introduced Ordinance 2023-10, which would require contractors to erect a 2-foot solid wood fence around construction sites. It also requires them to store all materials, machinery and portable toilets within the perimeter of the fence. Any containers for refuse should be secured to prevent trash or debris from blowing out of the container, and that they should be emptied in a manner and frequency to prevent spillage.
The board also introduced Ordinance 2023-11, which will codify new state regulations regarding the inspection of rental units for lead-based paints. Owners of single family or two-family properties rented for longer than six months will be required to provide the Code Enforcement Department with a certified lead-based paint inspection report prepared by a qualified contractor at the time of a tenant turnover. Should the report indicate a lead-based paint hazard exists, the owner will be required to remediate the hazard and have it re-inspected.
In the event there are no lead-based paint hazards detected during the initial inspection, the city will certify to the NJ Department of Community Affairs that the rental unit is lead-safe. The certification must also be provided to the tenant.
Homes built after 1978, when lead-based paints were outlawed, are exempt. The DCA is responsible for inspecting multiple dwellings of three or more units every 10 years.
Mayor Lance Landgraf said the city may investigate a shared services agreement with Atlantic County government to perform the inspections.
And after months of discussions and input from residents and short-term rental operators, the board has finally introduced an ordinance that limits short-term rental stays to a one-night minimum for studios and one-bedroom units; two nights for two-bedroom units; and five nights for three-bedrooms or more.
The annual mercantile fee for rentals will be $500 for a studio or one-bedroom unit; $750 for a two-bedroom unit; and $1,000 for a three-bedroom or more unit. All units will be required to be inspected within 30 days of applying for a mercantile license.
The ordinance establishes occupancy limits based on the International Property Maintenance Code, which shall be prominently displayed at the main entrance of the rental unit. If the owner is not a local resident, the owner will identify and provide contact information for a local caretaker who will be available 24-7 should a problem arise. Rentals are restricted to those over age 21 with government issued identification, and tenants are required to abide by all local ordinances governing noise, trash and parking.
Failure to adhere to the requirements could result in the loss of the operator’s mercantile license.
Public hearings on the ordinances will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25.
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