NORTH WILDWOOD – An emphatic letter by city solicitor William Kauffman left council with no choice but to deny mercantile licenses to condominium owners who received notices of violation from the Joint Construction Office of the Wildwoods , said Mayor Bill Henfey.
The decision was made at the end of a special meeting May 15 in which Kauffman advised council against issuing licenses because it could expose the city to liability.
Additionally approximately 20 property owners that already received licenses will get a notice rescinding the agreement.
“It is a shame that this hurts the people who have done nothing wrong, but we have a responsibility to protect the other taxpayers of the city from potential lawsuits,” said Henfey.
“We can’t even give them an option,” he said and referred to Wildwood, which after a letter from DCA’s supervisor in the Office of Regulatory Affairs Louis Mraw, decided to allow licenses to rent if property owners sign an affidavit agreeing to the following:
Â¥Abate the violation to the satisfaction of the Joint Construction Office of the Wildwoods, JCOW, and/or the state Department of Community Affairs
Â¥Disclose the violations to any tenant or renter, in writing, prior to the execution of a lease or rental agreement. Proof must be provided to the city.
Â¥Agree to hold the city harmless of any liability.
Mraw’s letter states, “the department has no objection to allowing the owners of said properties to continue to enjoy the use of these structures while the code violations are rectified by the builders who created the problem. During the abatement process there is no need to refuse to allow occupancy of the units in question. They are not per say unsafe.”
There’s just no wiggle room in this,” added the mayor.
Henfey said the only way owners will receive the go ahead for mercantile licenses, is to agree to abate their property’s violation.
“The repairs don’t have to be finished, an agreement just has to be in place,” he added.
At a meeting of JCOW, Glenn Callahan, who represents the office, said that progress was continuing in coming to agreements with property owners, developers, builders, and architects.
Currently Callahan said he has completed 45 meetings and approximately 12 agreements have been signed and 25 agreements with proposed fixes have been mailed out.
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