Real estate agents would be banned from going door-to-door in Toms River for up to five years under proposed changes to the Township's "Cease and Desist" ordinance, designating two sections of North Dover off-limits to solicitors.

Toms River Town Hall
Toms River Town Hall (Townsquare Media NJ)

The measure approved late last year, was prompted by a deluge of complaints from residents in the northern area of Toms River where there has been an influx from Lakewood's Orthodox Jewish Community, according to Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher.

"We made it extremely clear that this has got nothing to do with antisemitism at all. It is a policy directed toward harassing, aggravating and intimidating conduct on the part of people attempting to buy property in that general area," said Kelaher. He pointed out, "People's homes are their biggest investment, generally speaking, and to threaten that or to threaten their way of life, we found to be outrageous."

Kelaher noted Toms River's ordinance was modeled after an existing law in a municipality in upstate New York that was dealing with the same issue. He said the ordinance withstood legal challenges, and was upheld by the Federal second-circuit court of appeals in New York as not being unconstitutional.

Toms River's proposal declares two zones off-limits where Kelaher said a determination was made through hearings that determined conduct of harassment and intimidation.

"One zone is bounded by Lakewood and Jackson to the north and northwest, state highway 70 to the south, and Whitesville Road to the west. The other zone is bounded by the Lakewood border to the north, state highway 70 to the northwest, and New Hampshire Avenue to the east and southeast and by Whitesville Road and Riverwood Drive, Route 9 and Silverton Road to the south," said Kelaher.

Kelaher pointed out that in addition to the "Cease and Desist" ordinance, the Township had encouraged residents to sign up for Toms River's No Knock ordinance, to opt out of home solicitations by placing a stick next to their door bell. Both ordinances come with substantial penalties.

"So between the two of them, we're hoping that that will put an end to this type of conduct," Kelaher said. Violation of the "Cease and Desist" ordinance would cost $500.00 per incident, according to Kelaher.

Individual residents can opt-out of the regulations, by notifying the Township clerk.

A public hearing hearing and final vote on proposed amendments to the "Cease and Desist" ordinance is set for Tuesday, February 23, 6 p.m. in Toms River Town Hall.


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