Jersey City short-term rental advocates turn in petition to challenge ordinance

Members of the Jersey City short-term rental community, backed by Airbnb, turned in a petition with over 20,000 signatures to challenge the ordinance, passed by the Jersey City Council and signed by Mayor Fulop last month, that will severely restrict residents’ ability to share their properties as short-term rentals.

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Short-term rental advocates launched their referendum campaign late last month, claiming the ordinance pushed through by Fulop and the council got no significant input from local residents who rely on short-term rentals for income.

Airbnb officials said the ordinance marks a stark reversal by Mayor Fulop, who championed and welcomed this community into Jersey City after legalizing short-term rentals in 2015.

“By suddenly changing the rules on the short-term rental community, Mayor Fulop is jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of Jersey City residents, potentially making it impossible for them to pay mortgages on their personal property, and placing some in serious risk of bankruptcy or losing their homes,” Airbnb officials said.

The petition requires the city council to revisit the ordinance. If they council chooses not to repeal the ordinance, a question will be put on the November ballot to allow voters to decide.

HCCC hold workforce leadership conference

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has introduced the inaugural class of a new program designed to improve local workforce development efforts and create innovative solutions to the challenges faced by workers and businesses.

The Hudson County Workforce Leadership Academy (HCWLA) is the first in Hudson County, and one of four to be launched this year through the support of JPMorgan Chase, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The academy is the latest in a series of Workforce Leadership Academies hosted in communities across the United States and Canada. It is the first in the nation to be held in partnership with a local community college, and the first public-and-private funded Workforce Leadership Academy. Local funders include the County of Hudson, the LeFrak family and Mack-Cali.

A 12-month fellowship developed through a partnership with the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, the Hudson County Workforce Leadership Academy is designed to strengthen the local network of workforce leaders through a series of retreats and workshops that will acquaint the participating Fellows with new tools and strategies.

City to hold faulty landlords accountable for displaced renters

Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the City Council have announced a tougher approach in holding negligent landlords accountable. The new ordinance, introduced at the July 17 meeting, establishes a revolving Relocation Assistance Fund which will provide the funding for safe housing to eligible tenants whose landlords who fail to correct severe violations of housing and construction codes.

Delinquent landlords who fail to rectify the cited violations and/or pay associated fines within 10 days of the court’s adjudication will now risk a lien on their property.

Once city inspectors identify a property with imminent hazards resulting in multiple violations, the city’s Office of Housing Preservation and the Office of Community Development will work with tenants in need of relocation. Simultaneously, the absentee landlords will be notified that their property is condemned for violations and will be fined. The property owner is responsible to cover all costs associated with finding alternative housing for their tenants, eliminating taxpayer burden.

Jersey City restructures Recreation Department

Jersey City officials announced the restructuring and redirection of Jersey City’s Department of Recreation to become the Department of Youth Development, incorporating youth enrichment beyond athletic programs. The new department will take a more united approach with the community to identify and directly address the overall goal of ensuring the city’s youth (ages 7-24) have access to mentors, skills training, and after school activities that promote healthy and positive development into adulthood.

“With the restructuring of the Department of Youth Development, we want to provide even more resources for our children to positively grow in our community, and are doing this by better coordinating initiatives such as youth summer jobs, youth court, mentoring and much more,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are placing emphasis on ensuring our community has the correct resources in place for all youth in Jersey City. Additionally, we’ll be hiring dedicated experts and continuing to work with parents to understand how we can best serves and expand youth programming for residents with Special Needs.”

The Youth Development Department will be divided into the Division of Recreation and Division of Enrichment, with an added focus on civic engagement and expanded programming for youth development. Additionally, new personnel and resources will be established within the department to focus on children with Special Needs. Coordinating and promoting recreation activities will continue to remain a component of the department.

“The restructuring is to ensure the city is offering the best services and support that it can to our young citizens, treating them as future professionals and capitalizing on the contributions they make to the community now and will make in the future,” said Lucinda McLaughlin, director of Jersey City Youth Counsel. “We want to hear directly from parents and families as to what would be most helpful as we incorporate this feedback into new programming and resources.”

Under the ordinance, the Division of Recreation will oversee the Office of Facilities Management and Coordination and the Office of Sports. The Division of Enrichment will be home to the Office of Community & Professional Development and the Office of Adaptive Programming.


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