Mt. Laurel Council passes ordinance restricting length of occupancy for motel guests

The ordinance limits the length of time motels within Mt. Laurel may rent to guests to a period of time no shorter than 24 hours and no longer than 14 days.

Mt. Laurel Council has taken steps intended to deter criminal activity in motels by passing an ordinance placing limits on the length of time motels may rent rooms to guests.

Council passed the ordinance at this week’s meeting, which limits the length of time motels within Mt. Laurel may rent to guests to no shorter than 24 hours and no longer than 14 days.

According to the ordinance, it had recently come to the township’s attention that some individuals have been residing in motels on a permanent basis, and as a result, the Mt. Laurel Township Police Department had been alerted to an increase in criminal activity there.

Upon council’s introduction of the ordinance at a meeting several weeks ago, township solicitor Tyler Prime said Mt. Laurel previously had no rules regulating the length of time guests could stay in motels, and the new rules were consistent with what the state allows.

“The ordinance is intended to curb long-term occupancy in township motels,” Prime said. “They were neither designed nor intended for that, so the ordinance switches the current [language], which was vague and doesn’t provide any timing. Now, no rentals can be less than 24 hours or more than 14 days.”

With the new ordinance, motels within Mt. Laurel will also be required to maintain a complete register of all rentals and the true identification and correct dates of occupancy for each person using any rooms on the premises.

In addition to the time limits, the ordinance states the occupancy period for the purpose of these new rules would continue even if the guest were to move to another room in the same motel.

Prime and acting township manager Meredith Tomczyk said motels who fail to follow the ordinance once it has been sent to all such businesses in town could face citations.

In other news:

This week’s meeting took place in a new location, as council gathered in the bay of the fire station on Church Road.

The move was part of a new initiative taken by council this year to hold several meetings throughout the year at locations outside of council’s normal meeting location of the courtroom in the municipal building.

Mayor Dennis Riley said changing locations was an attempt by council to bring meetings to residents in different areas of the town who might decide to attend if the meeting was closer to their homes.

With last week’s meeting, Riley thanked the Mt. Laurel Fire Department and the fire district commissioners for allowing council to use their space.

“This is wonderful to be coming out into the areas of Mt. Laurel,” Riley said.

The next meeting of the Mt. Laurel Township Council set to take place outside of the municipal courtroom is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 23, at the Mt. Laurel EMS building at 201 Masonville Road.

As with other regular council meetings, the meeting will start at 7 p.m., and the agenda will be posted online in advance.