Barnegat Signs Off on ‘Nuisance’ Ordinance

Oct 10, 2018

Property owners in Barnegat Township whose buildings are subject to frequent calls by police will get lighter in the wallet, according to an ordinance adopted by the township committee Oct. 2. The “Excessive Consumption of Municipal Services,” or nuisance ordinance, says owners would not start feeling any financial effects until they accrue beyond a certain number of “qualifying calls” prescribed in the measure.

“Qualifying calls” cover numerous offenses, including disorderly conduct, excessive noise, damage to property, possession and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, public urination, criminal activity and prostitution, among other violations.

For example, residential properties of one through four dwelling units would be declared a nuisance if they received more than five qualifying police responses over a 60-day period. For multi-family dwelling and hotel/motel uses, the limit is 10 qualifying calls for those with five to 40 dwelling units.

For properties with 41 to 80 units, the limit is 20. The limit for those with 81 to 200 units and more than 200 units is 30 and 40 calls, respectively.

Convenience, grocery, liquor or retail stores have a limit of 10 calls. For restaurants, bars and entertainment establishments, the number is 30.

“But we want to make sure that if the caller to police is a victim of domestic violence or some other crime,  that they don’t get charged for a qualifying call,” said Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli.

Cirulli said the main purpose of this ordinance is to go after locations where there is drug dealing and other illegal activities going on.

“We’re going to drive out all drug dealers,” he said. “When people move to Barnegat, we want to make sure that they are enjoying a safe community.”

According to the ordinance, homeowners would be fined only after an officer issues a complaint and summons to a resident, homeowner or business owner and a “nuisance” hearing is held about the property. After a hearing, the property could be placed on probationary nuisance status for 12 months. During that time, a user-fee of $300 per call to the municipal government or police would be imposed. They could also be assessed with a $100 administrative fee. E.E.

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