Cherry Hill Township Introduces Restrictions on Short-term Rentals
[CHERRY HILL, NJ] – In an effort to protect the quality of life for the residents of Cherry Hill and to uphold the integrity of its zoning laws, Cherry Hill Township Council introduced an ordinance on Monday night that would prohibit short-term rentals of less than thirty consecutive days.
The initiative comes after the Township received a series of complaints from residents throughout town about the disruptive nature of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods. These include excessive noise, traffic and parking congestion, vandalism, overcrowding, neighborhood uncertainty, high occupant turnover and diminution of neighborhood character.
According to Mayor Chuck Cahn, “We are at a point where we have an obligation to manage the impact that these short-term rentals are having on our neighborhoods, while balancing and respecting the property rights of our residents to rent out their homes. This ordinance is designed to safeguard the peace, safety, and general welfare of our residents and neighborhoods.”
Cherry Hill has been thrust into the spotlight recently after the former home of boxing legend Muhammad Ali was dubbed a “top airbnb rental” in the Philadelphia region. The Township contends that the Ali home is being rented out for commercial use, such as parties, fundraisers, weddings, and other large-scale events, which is in clear violation of the Township’s zoning laws.
The Township has stressed, however, that this regulation is not solely in response to the issues at the former Ali mansion. “The consistent parties and noise complaints occurring at that home are just highlighting, on a grand scale, the issues that these short-term rentals can bring to a community,” Cahn stated. “Guests staying in short-term rentals are using the properties as hotels and have no stake in the neighborhood. The residential zone is designed for people to “reside” in. The simple fact remains that short-term rentals compromise the integrity of that purpose.”
The ordinance also recognizes the fact that the number of individuals occupying short-term rentals has the potential to exceed standards for the design capacity of residential structures and to cause health and safety risks for the occupants, neighbors and nearby properties. This is especially true when properties are rented-out for parties or large events, which become neighborhood nuisances, creating conditions that endanger the safety or health of the occupants, neighbors and community as a whole.
Council President David Fleisher went on to comment that, “we have crafted this ordinance in an effort to protect the character, charm, and quality of life for our residents. On balance, we have found that concerns regarding loud music, traffic and congestion, and excessive trash, as well as public safety concerns, require us to take this action.”
The Township’s Ordinance carries with it a fine of up to $2000 per day and up to 90 days in jail.
If approved on Monday night, the Ordinance will be considered for adoption at its second reading on Monday, September 23, 2019 at the regularly scheduled Township Council meeting. If adopted, the Ordinance will become effective November 1, 2019.