As expected, the Ocean
Township Council rescinded an ordinance limiting
residential rentals to one per year.
also expected, residents who say their quality of life
has been disrupted by tenants lambasted the council for
allegedly caving in to the landlords.
Attorney Martin Arbus said a federal court judge gave
council no choice: keeping the ordinance would have
opened the township to a lawsuit it likely would have
lost, making it liable for monetary damages and legal
group of landlords whose houses in single-family
residential neighborhoods have been the focus of much
controversy and outcry over the years sued under the
federal Fair Housing Act, saying the township illegally
limited rentals and discriminated against tenants. The
ordinance would have forced landlords to choose between
summer and winter rentals.
living in neighborhoods where Monmouth University
students have damaged property, throwing loud parties
at all hours, racing down streets, trespassing and in
some cases, threatening people, are upset.
Police patrols and rigid code enforcement quelled much
of the disruption, but not enough, residents said.
Samuel of Larchwood Avenue said
has the same ordinance and is fighting in court to keep it.
spent a lot of time and money vetting (the ordinance)
to make sure it was solid,” he said. “Why
is Long Branch continuing and we are not?”
said the judge recommended that both municipalities
drop the laws or face punishment. As it was, the
township’s insurance company, which paid to
defend the township, was forced to pay $30,000 of the
plaintiff’s legal fees.
could not say why Long Branch stayed in, but Ocean
would adopt the ordinance again should the city win. He
also rejected the contention of some that landlords
were running businesses in residential zones.
court likes to see if a property is being used for
residential purposes. That’s not necessarily
commercial,” he said.
William Larkin said the township would continue strict
law enforcement, which is about all it can do under the
circumstances. He said residents should lobby the state
Legislature for help. State Assemblyman Sean Kean,
R-11th, will hold a town meeting in Town Hall at 8 p.m.
as a town have gone as far as we can,” Larkin
said. “Everywhere we turned we were shut off by
Rasp, Oakwood Avenue, said, “You
guys are cowards running scared of Mr. Fox (Gary Fox, the
landlords’ lawyer). You guys are selling us out here
and it stinks. If you lived in our neighborhoods
you’d understand what we’re going
Lekash, Larchwood Avenue, said the rental situation in
his area is so acute there are almost no owner-occupied
houses left. And that damages their property values
because landlords take poor care of their properties.
you wanted to sell you’d have to sell to a
landlord,” he said. “No family would come
praised police efforts, saying officers “have
done a wonderful job.
that’s not the only thing we need. We need our
day in court.”
Council adopted an ordinance
banning feeding waterfowl on public properties, and
another banning the connection of sump pumps to the
drainage system. The latter was to conform to the
federal Clean Water Act.
fall, homeowners will have to put leaves in the street
once a week, just before township crews pick them up.
No more leaving them there for days because the state
says leaves pollute lakes and streams. The township
newsletter will explain all.