Suddenly, family-oriented weekly rentals are illegal in Atlantic City. After more than 170 years of local tradition, things changed overnight. But there is news of another change.
Location: Atlantic City
Labor Day weekend 2010, my sister rented a large beach house for extended family, gathering for our niece’s wedding in nearby Charleston, SC. Other family members on both sides rented homes also.
Between houses and hotels, over 200 guests stayed in the area and contributed to the local economy.
The month before, this same niece rented a home in Atlantic City’s Inlet section. Families visiting families in rented homes at the beach joined together time honored traditions at their best.
Suddenly, this type of family oriented weekly rental is illegal in Atlantic City. After more than 170 years of local tradition, things changed overnight.
Ordinance 49 was signed into law July 14, 2011, and prohibits a Transient Vacation Rental of less than 90 days in the 1-R and 2 – RF (Single Family Detached) Districts, and 3-RF (Single Family Attached District) and the RM-1 and the RM-2 (Residential Multi Family) Districts, with fines up to $1,000 daily for non-compliance.
Historically, Atlantic City grew as families built homes and established neighborhoods.
Many would rent rooms; some would move into ground-floor apartments and house guests upstairs. This lifestyle has changed; renting to visitors has not.
My family has been renting and selling seashore real estate for over 60 years. Rental commission has always been a part of our income. Many of these renters return to buy their own rental properties and vacation homes. Some decide to eventually move to the Jersey shore.
Go to Atlantic City’s own Web site to directly touch a piece of this history, where it also states:
“Jeremiah [Leeds] and his family were the first official residents of Atlantic City. Their home and farm was called Leeds Plantation, and Leeds grew corn and rye and raised cattle. A year after Leeds death in 1838, his second wife Millicent got a license to operate a tavern called Aunt Millie’s Boarding House, located at Baltic and Massachusetts Ave. Thus, the first business in Atlantic City was born.
“By the census of 1900, there were over 27,000 residents in Atlantic City, up from a mere 250 just 45 years before.”
Ordinance 49 hurts today’s time-constrained families, stopping any who want to rent a house or condo from spending their money here in Atlantic City.
It hurts those property owners who use the extra rent money to afford second homes, investment properties, and future retirement homes.
It further affects the already tough residential real estate market in Atlantic City. Most importantly, it hurts a town whose very lifeblood is the tourist dollar.
PHOTO: Atlantic City's first hotel. Click here for things have vanished in Atlantic City over its 150-plus years.
We are spending millions of dollars telling folks to DO AC. We can’t welcome them to town by telling them they are doing it illegally.
Atlantic City is at the bottom of an economic heap, trying to dig herself out of a hole where underemployment and unemployment is well over 25 percent. We live in a county where 35 percent of the work force is tied to the casino industry in a town that has reported so many declines in gambling revenue the state had to step in and take over.
Nothing about real estate is like it should be, but it’s better than you might think.
As I read through the close to 100 posted comments, thoughts came to mind about our responsibility as citizens, Atlantic City residents, and Americans.
There's a well known chinese proverb that could be used as our mantra for this issue: "Consider the past and you shall know the future." As Atlantic City celebrates the 150th anniversary of its official incorporation in 1854, it's easy to get caught up in reflections of the past. After all, Atlantic City's past has been so very colorful. But just as the organizers of Sunday's 150th Birthday Party (see "Pinky's Corner," page 6) considered the present and future in theming the event "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," so should all who might have a tendency to get lost in memories on such an auspicious occasion. I know, I know ... we haven't helped the cause by including three great articles about Atlantic City's fabled yesterdays in this issue. But we focus on the area's "today and tomorrow" throughout the rest of the issue. So for now, let's "consider the past" ... You can start on page 8 with Jeff Schwachter's piece on Absecon Island's early days leading up to, and immediately following the establishment of the "Queen of Resorts." In this story you'll learn about Dr. Jonathan Pitney, why he was such a visionary and how this Jack of all trades managed...
As far as major New Jersey cities go, you could say Atlantic City was a bit of a late bloomer. Incorporated in 1854, several years after places like Trenton (1789), Camden (1828) and Newark (1836), the city was for many years considered to be a no-man's land by the early settlers. Historians will tell you that the Lenni-Lenape Indians made use of the near-inaccessible strip of land for thousands of years as their summer home. But with the coming of the European settlers in the 1600s, the Lenape population began to drastically decrease. By the 1840s there were only about 2,000 Lenape (which translates roughly to "original people") left in the New Jersey region. Today, one of the few things that remain locally of this Native American tribe is the name they gave to the island, Absecon. The word, a sort of Europeanized take on their word "Absegami," means "little water." Although the city wasn't officially deemed so by the state until 1854, there was a bit of activity here dating back to the late 1600s. Thomas Budd, an Englishman, purchased acres upon acres of land in Atlantic County at that time and is considered by many to be the first...
The long ride south on King's Highway took its toll on the young man. He rode many dusty miles on horseback down this former Indian trail (later to be renamed Shore Road) from his home in Mendham to ...
From the cupola atop his three-story house in the village of Absecon, the doctor could see the barrier island thick with bugs and bayberry bushes across the beachfront. Earlier in the day, he had mad...
From the cupola atop his three-story house in the village of Absecon, the doctor could see the barrier island thick with bugs and bayberry bushes across the beachfront. Earlier in the day, he had made an infrequent visit there, calling on the island's seven residences to attend to any medical needs. Now, as streaks of orange-rimmed dark blue clouds across the twilight sky, he gazed at the horizon from his lofty vantage point. From there, he could reach out and touch the future. What Jonathan Pitney saw in 1850 was the still undeveloped island that the Lenape Indians had named Absegami ("Little Sea Water"), but what he envisioned was a city by the sea, the queen of resort towns. Cape May was already a well-established destination. Why not Absecon Island? The M.D. had ambition beyond dressing wounds and delivering babies; he owned 500 inland acres and wasn't averse to speeding his return on investment. He had been born in Morris County, NJ in 1797 and arrived on horseback in Absecon at age 21, in retrospect an almost mythical figure, tall and angular with penetrating eyes, a flowing mane, and saddlebags stuffed with medical supplies. The area needed a sawbones, and Pitney soon...
Inside the Columbus Hotel
I Do… You Can’t.
The Gay-Fil-A Controversy
Out and About - Love Is in the Air
Underwear Over the Rainbow