Advocates for Airbnb in Jersey City submitted approximately 20,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office in hopes of changing new short-term rental rules that were approved by the council last month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The petition we are delivering today is just the start of our fight — we’re calling on Mayor Fulop and the City Council to hear the voices of 20,000 Jersey City residents and find a real path forward for the short-term rental community,” short-term rental community members Nadia Sexton, Dmitri Ivanou, Andrew Elkins, Jeff Marino and Jeffrey Hauta said in a statement.
“By sharing our properties, our community has not only supported our own families, but we have also shared the benefits of the tourism economy with every corner of our city — lifting up the cleaners and property managers who we employ, local small business owners and countless others. Today, we stand together to demand that our government protect the opportunities we have created over the past four years.”
The petition drop this morning comes as no surprise, given that Airbnb announced in a conference call earlier this month that they would continue to push for a referendum question that would potentially leave short-term rental changes up to the voters this fall.
However, assuming at least 6,714 petitions are certified by City Clerk Robert Byrne, the city council will have an opportunity to vote again on the ordinance that was voted into law back on June 26th.
Some of the provisions of the new law, sponsored by Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, including instituting a 60-day cap for short-term rental properties if the owner is not on site, semi-regular inspections and providing guest logs to the city upon request.
“Our short-term rental community launched this referendum about three weeks ago because they this process by which this ordinance was passed was overtly political, deeply opaque, did not really have enough input from the short-term rental community that is going to be so deeply impacted by this ordinance and they wanted to bring it out to the people of Jersey City,” Liz DeBold Fusco said on this afternoon’s episode of Hudson County View Live and Uncut.
While it seems likely that the ballot question will be approved, Solomon told HCV that he is “eager to let the voters decide” and doesn’t think Airbnb supporters will ultimately prevail in this fight.
“I’m eager to let the voters decide. I think Big Tech’s money won’t win; voters will choose to uphold sensible reform that lowers rent and strengthens neighborhoods.”
Additionally, Jersey City NAACP President Nathaniel Legay said pushing back against the new ordinance was a necessary step “for Jersey City residents and its communities of color.”
In June, a group of pro-Airbnb proponents hired Expedition Strategies to conduct a poll to gauge residents feelings on short-term rentals and 54 percent of residents polled said they oppose the city’s new regulations.