Seaside Heights considers age restriction for hotel rentals

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS -

Seaside Heights officials say that they are considering an ordinance that would set restrictions on how old someone needs to be to rent a hotel or motel room.

The leaders say that this would be a way to combat underage drinking and other nuisances the summer. But local business owners say that the restrictions could hurt their bottom line.

“It will affect us a lot, because primarily we are a seasonal hotel,” says an Aztec Ocean Resort Motel receptionist who asked to be identified only as Joanne.

Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz says that he wants to prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from renting a room unless they are accompanied by a legal guardian or have proof of emancipation. There is currently no age limit law for renting in the town.

Workers at the Aztec say that they do crack down on underage drinking. They say that the restrictions would cause them to lose business as renters under 21 will seek rooms elsewhere.

“I’ve never seen security like we have, walking around with walkie-talkies constantly,” Joanne says. “The kids are really good. They’re here to have fun. They’re at the beach doing their thing. They’re not here to sit in this hotel and drink.”

Nick Dionisio, owner of Park Seafood, says that he supports the measure. But also says that parents need to get involved.

“If the parents are really for them coming here, then maybe they should book two rooms. One for the parents, one for the kids,” he says.

Potential renters under 18 say that the idea of not being able to book a room on prom night and graduation day to combat underage drinking is irrational and unrealistic.

“You’re not going to be able to stop it regardless, and these hotels have to make their money,” says Dennis Krouney, who is against the plan.

Officials expected to start discussing the proposal as early as next week. News 12 New Jersey reached out to them for comment, but did not hear back.

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