Upper Township Committee introduces new rules for rentals ‣ Ocean City Sentinel – Ocean City Sentinel

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PETERSBURG — Township Committee introduced new rules governing short-term property rentals Jan. 22 based on a report by a subcommittee tasked with examining the issue.

Ordinance 1-2024 adds chapter 4-6 to the code of Upper Township.

Deputy Mayor Kim Hayes, who led the subcommittee, said the amendments were created to regulate rentals after a similar effort fell short last year.

“I think this really accomplishes what we wanted to accomplish,”Hayes said Jan. 8. “We are looking to take our residential neighborhoods and protect them from having event houses and parties and transient neighbors coming in and out of those little cul-de-sacs that we all enjoy so much.”

The proposal introduced last spring generated complaints and prompted Township Committee to rethink its plans.

Hayes discussed the committee’s efforts and thanked the members of the public who voiced their concerns about the original proposal. 

“I think we missed the mark on the original ordinance; it wasn’t really the intent of what we are trying to do. It targeted all rental properties rather than honing in on the issues with the short-term rentals,” she said.

Ordinance 8-2023 was intended to protect tenants by ensuring properties are maintained in a safe condition and ensuring that maximum occupancy limits are maintained, and to protect the value of properties nearby by requiring maintenance.

Short-term rentals would have been limited to the Waterfront Town Center, Marmora Town Center, Resort Residential and Resort Commercial zoning districts. Regulations allowed Township Committee to set fees to be paid to offset administrative expenses. Furthermore, they set standards for number of occupants based on square footage.

Township solicitor Tony Monzo said the original ordinance was a lot more restrictive and covered a lot more issues than just short-term rentals.

“This one really is tailored to the problems based on complaints,” he told the Sentinel.

The new ordinance defines short-term rentals as those of 30 days or fewer and divides properties by size, greater or less than 1 acre. Those who own property of 1 acre or less — outside the Waterfront Town Center, Marmora Town Center, Resort Residential and Resort Commercial zones — cannot rent a property for fewer than seven days, while owners of properties greater than 1 acre are allowed to rent for as few as three days. Properties within the listed zones would not be subject to the stay limitations.

He said the idea is that the use on larger properties would not have an adverse effect on neighbors because there is more room for parking and more distance between homes, lessening the possibility of noise issues.

Other restrictions include a maximum of two cars on the premises for homes with as many as three bedrooms, then one additional car for each additional bedroom. 

Occupancy would be limited to two people per bedroom and amplified music would be allowed outdoors only until 9 p.m. All trash would have to be placed in closed containers and put out on the curb the day of pickup.

Violations would be subject to fines and penalties and any owner who had three or more in any calendar year would be prevented from short-term rentals for the remainder of the year and the following year.

Monzo said there would be no licensing requirement but owners would have to register with the township. The annual registration fee is $100 for each rental unit.

In other news, Committeeman Mark Pancoast said the Public Works Department was busy the previous week clearing snow from township streets.

“They were busy the past two weeks, especially with the snowstorm that we had,” Pancoast said.

He said the township used 30 tons of salt, noting it was the first time through an agreement with Corbin City.

“No complaints there and we took care of that town, too,” Pancoast said.

Committeeman Victor Nappen reported that the township held a rabies clinic “over the snowy weekend” and vaccinated 35 cats and 65 dogs. The township also sold 19 dog licenses.

He noted his children were disappointed with the efficiency with which the township removed the snow.

Mayor Jay Newman, noting he was in Florida where “it was almost as cold there as it was here,” said he was informed that snow cleanup “was handled in the most professional way and we appreciate that.” 

Township Administrator Gary DeMarzo said he rates his departments’ work on the number of telephone calls he gets and noted he got none.

“It was a very successful salting,” DeMarzo said.

He said he and the department head worked out the particulars with Corbin City in advance of the storm “and they were satisfied.”

Committeeman Curtis Corson said the year’s first budget workshop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12, ahead of the next meeting.

The township’s new engineer, Ryan MacNeill of CME Associates, who replaces the same firm’s Zachary Jordan, updated Township Committee on several projects.

He said his firm attended a meeting with residents to discuss potential solutions to a problem with stormwater pumps in Strathmere. He said they would be “going back to revise plans to address the concerns and the additional survey work” and was expecting updated plans within two weeks. He noted the contract extends through March 25 and believes that should be enough time but said the situation would have to be reevaluated as the deadline nears.

MacNeill said a project to create a living shoreline in Strathmere is 90 percent complete and that ACT Engineers, who is designing the project, was waiting for a final field test report before submitting it to the state Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approval.

MacNeill said he and Corson had visited the site of the recent beach replenishment project for a final walkthrough.

“Everything looked in good shape,” he said.

The beach fill and dune work is complete, leaving only the beach crossovers to be finished. He said the DEP indicated it would need three to four weeks before Public Works could start construction. The crossovers will include gravel, split-rail fencing and sand fencing.

New grandmother Janice Connell, president of the Strathmere Improvement Association, thanked Township Committee for all of the work that had taken place last year and said she would looking forward to continuing to work together.

Finally, MacNeill said there has been progress on installing new lights at Caldwell Park, noting wiring has been run to all bases and conduits and the township is awaiting Atlantic City Electric to connect. He said a crane is being used to install the poles, which he estimated would take about two weeks.

Under new business, Newman noted the township agreed to participate in the annual Upper Township Guide produced by the Sentinel newspaper group.

By CRAIG D. SCHENCK/Sentinel staff

This post was originally published on this site

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