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Howell looks to punish 'nuisance property' owners with $300 fines

APP.com (Asbury Park, NJ) logo APP.com (Asbury Park, NJ) 3/10/2021 Alex N. Gecan, Asbury Park Press
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HOWELL - If you own a property where people are causing trouble, you could be on the hook for $300 per call to township police, according to a proposed ordinance before the Township Council.

The ordinance is supposed to claw back public resources while curtailing problem drinking and drugs, nuisance behavior and animals and some criminal activity, according to the proposed language.

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Nearby towns have adopted similar regulations in recent years. Toms River enacted a nuisance ordinance, also with a $300 fee, in 2018. And so-called "animal house" ordinances are common in Shore towns as a deterrent against renters using beach houses to party out of control.

Howell's proposed ordinance came about because there are properties in Howell "which have resulted in the excessive consumption of municipal services," and "the cost of the excessive consumption of municipal services relating directly to these nuisance properties should be paid by the property owner and not through general tax revenues," according to the proposal.

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Too many calls to a single property within 60 days gets that property on a yearlong "probation," according to the proposed ordinance.

If a property owner goes on probation, its owner or owners would be on the hook for any calls for service for:

  • Drinking or alcohol sales
  • Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, littering or excessive noise
  • Property damage or personal injury
  • Improper parking or moving violations
  • Loud, biting or dangerous animals
  • Drug use, possession or distribution
  • Prostitution
  • Public urination or defecation or indecent exposure
  • Criminal or juvenile activity

If repeated calls involve a single tenant or occupant, "this fee may be apportioned between the owner and the tenant (or) occupant," according to the proposed ordinance.

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The threshold for calls would be five for one- to four-unit residential properties, 10 for residences and hotels with five to 40 unites, 20 for 41-80 units, 30 for 81-200 units and 40 for over 400 units. Community residences would go on probation after five calls, stores after 10 and bars, restaurants and entertainment venues after 30.

The council introduced the ordinance Tuesday and has scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance for March 23.

Alex N. Gecan: 732-547-1365; agecan@gannettnj.com; @GeeksterTweets

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Howell looks to punish 'nuisance property' owners with $300 fines

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