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Ortley, Barrier Island Rental Homes Will be Spared From New Regulations

The Ortley Beach water tower. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Ortley Beach water tower. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A new Toms River Township ordinance that dictates how barrier island residents can rent their homes could be changed again, allowing for shorter-term rentals in a larger seasonal window.

Earlier this year, the township council passed a so-called AirBnB ordinance, in response to a Silverton street whose neighbors were complaining of a “flop house” operating via the website AirBnB. The site allows homeowners to rent their home or rooms in a home for overnight or longer stays, and the Silverton residents said it created quality of life issues for them.

After months trying to carve out language that would permit the existing rental economy on the barrier island, the last version of the ordinance passed council muster.

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But at that vote, Councilwoman Maria Maruca, whose ward represents the barrier island, said the short-term rental ordinance still needing tweaking and promised to seek amendments.

The amendments, introduced at the township council meeting April 11 and second for public hearing for May 9, include:

  • Changing the minimum number of days a barrier island home could be rented, from three down to two.
  • Extending the season when rentals can take place. The change would allow for April 1 through November 30 rentals, while the existing version labels the season as April 15  through September, Maruca said.

The other rules in the ordinance prohibit short-term rentals on the mainland for less than a month. In response to issues coming from North Dover neighborhoods, where residents complained homes and pools were being rented for special events, the ordinance prohibits renting or leasing amenities such as pools.

The last debate on the ordinance was mixed, with officials saying it needed to be passed to be in place for the coming tourism season. Councilman Mo Hill voted no, with Maruca concurring it needed work but voting yes along with her council mates. At that meeting, Jeremy Grunin of the Toms River/Ocean County Chamber of Commerce said it would have an adverse effect on the tourism economy and urged the council to vote no. Others who spoke during public comment thanked the council for responding to the Silverton residents’ concerns.

The May 9 meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in town hall.

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