Seaside Heights officials have finalized an agreement with the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention to serve as the enforcement agency for violations, as the two towns get ready to double down on their partnership to eliminate quality-of-life issues in the borough.
Seaside Heights will pay Toms River for its services through a shared services agreement rather than the county, but the partnership goes beyond fire code enforcement. With the help of Toms River officials, who created a similar task force there that has been successful in shutting down multiple motels and crime hot spots, Seaside Heights is planning to introduce several new measures to make its own enforcement more strict when it comes to property owners whose activities require excessive use of the police department and other agencies. About two weeks ago, Mayor Anthony Vaz, along with Police Chief Tommy Boyd, two council members and the township attorney met with their counterparts in Toms River to map out a plan for the task force.
“We talked about what we can and can’t do, and we looked at some new policies,” said Vaz. “Within the next month we’ll have policies drawn up about violations, the numbers and how we can penalize violators.”
Vaz said the task force will primarily focus on rental properties and motels that house problem occupants. In Toms River, strict enforcement led to the shut down of the notorious Red Carpet Inn on Water Street, which produced hundreds of calls for police service every year until it was condemned and torn down by the township. Seaside Heights officials have tasked Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani with reviewing regulations in neighboring towns, especially Toms River, and making recommendations to the governing body.
“She’ll be reviewing what they did, reading everything, and finding out what we can implement that will be positive,” said Vaz.
While there have been calls for crackdowns on noise, drugs and other illicit activities in motels, the task force will be keeping tabs on properties in all zones.
“It’s not just motels, but houses too,” said Vaz. “They’re not immune; there are a number of apartments that cause us a great deal of headaches.”