55+ Enforcement To Change In Berkeley – Jersey Shore Online

1 senior housing crowd
It was standing room only at a Township Council meeting where this ordinance was discussed. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  BERKELEY – The ordinance that will enforce senior housing was altered and re-introduced at the most recent meeting.

  The mayor and council members have previously stated that the goal of the ordinance is to create a local law that gives more teeth to the enforcement of 55 and older communities.

  This is a hot topic in these senior communities, as everyone seems to have a story about an underage person living in one of them. The residents fear real estate flippers and renters that would lower their quality of life. Also, they fear that if too many younger people move in, they might lose their protected status as a senior community.

  However, they also want people to be able to buy a senior home for their parents.

  The Township Council introduced an ordinance during their January meeting that would change the definition of a “Planned Residential Retirement Community.” Mayor Carmen Amato summed up the ordinance, saying that it would codify what the homeowners’ bylaws already have.

1 senior housing camera
Township Business Administrator John Camera explains the meeting regulations for the public. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  The old version was set aside in favor of a new version during their February meeting. Business Administrator John Camera explained that the new version would keep all the parts about 55+. The main difference is that it adds language giving deference to homeowner association bylaws.

  Each community has slightly different bylaws. Instead of creating a township code that overrules them, the council is looking to create a township code that supports them, he said.

  “The homeowners associations wanted home rule as well,” he said.

  The meeting was standing room only. The parking lot was so full that at one point the police chief had to announce that anyone parked on the helipad outside town hall needs to move their car.

1 senior housing resident 1
Residents had a lot of questions about the rule that would restrict home buying in the senior communities to people 55 and older. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  A majority of the residents at the meeting were seniors, and seemed to support the ordinance. Some had questions about how this would impact their specific situation.

  “The ordinance will not change any of the bylaws of the homeowner association in which you live,” township attorney Lauren Staiger said.

  The change was introduced as an ordinance during the council’s February meeting. Ordinances get a second reading, where the public can comment, at another meeting. In this case, it will be on March 29.

  The first version of the ordinance states that “permanent residents of communities which mandate that in accordance with (federal Housing and Urban Development laws) only persons fifty-five (55) years of age and older, along with either their respective spouse or domestic partner, shall purchase a lot or living unit” to assure that the senior community does not have its age-restricted status revoked.

  Another section of the ordinance covers the maintenance of property owned by the association, such as private roadways and recreational areas, basically keeping that under control of the senior community’s own board.

1 senior housing alegre
Michael Alegre, president of Holiday City at Berkeley, speaks to the governing body about the ordinance. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  It also states that this would not be altered or revoked without a resolution from the Berkeley Township Council. If a resolution were to be drafted, the person proposing the change would have to provide notice to all owners of property in the senior community.

  Furthermore, any new senior developments in the town would have to follow all of the above rules.