Controlling Short Term Rentals in Ocean Grove Raises Concerns

 

By DON STINE

Controlling short-term rentals, like Airbnbs, in Ocean Grove is on the radar for Neptune officials but some short-term rental owners are urging the governing body not to take any regulations to extremes.

Members of the recently-created Ocean Grove Alliance For Neighborhood Prosperity- a group focused on the cultural and economic impact of short-term rentals in Ocean Grove, made their case at this week’s Township Committee meeting.

Short-term rental landlord Jim Brubaker said that the current regulations are “gruelingly tedious and expensive,” costing about $300 in inspection fees a week and making him miss close to three hours of work each week.

He said the local bed and breakfasts are not held to such stringent standards, something he sees as “a strange double standard.”

Other Alliance members said they rely on the income they make during short-term rentals and that they have been a mainstay in Ocean Grove since it was founded in 1869.

In promotional literature, the Alliance said short-term rentals promote economic opportunities to many people, not just the landlord, while preserving the quality of life in the historic district. They are concerned a new ordinance will prevent Ocean Grove homeowners from having short-term rentals in homes where they are not a primary resident.

There are about 109 homes in Ocean Grove currently available for short-term rentals, with many of these being secondary residences. The group said that the wrong ordinance could “wipe out the short-term rental market in Ocean Grove.”

“It pulls the rug out from under law-abiding, part-time residents,” the promotional literature said.

Alliance members said they are placing Code of Conduct placards in the rentals of its members that informs the renters what is required of them.

Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta said township officials have been working diligently for four or five months in an attempt to come up with a comprehensive ordinance.

“It can be cumbersome…but we are working on language for a comprehensive ordinance. I am confident we will address your concerns,” he said.

He said he hopes that the new ordinance will be completed within the next 60 to 90 days.

Gadaleta said township officials have been following a short-term rental ordinance in Asbury Park that does not allow rentals at homes where they are not a primary resident. The ordinance was challenged with an unsuccessful lawsuit.

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