A new ordinance will require motels in Toms River to collect and keep on site proper identification from guests before they can check in.
The ordinance, introduced Tuesday night, comes after the township filed numerous actions against the Red Carpet Inn following 750 police calls to the establishment since 2015.
Based on a similar ordinance in Wall Township, which for years has battled prostitution and criminal activity at several motels along Route 35 there, the Toms River measure will require hotels and motels to collect, in legible writing, the names and addresses of guests upon check-in. All guests, or at least the head of the party occupying a room, must also submit a government-issued identification, or at least two forms of other identification. Guests will also be required to submit the state license plate number of any motor vehicle then being used by or operated by the registrant including the make, model and color of the vehicle.
The registration information will be available to both code enforcement officials and police officers, Township Administrator Paul Shives said.
“It’s much easier, if we get into an enforcement issue, to easily identify who’s staying there,” Shives said. “It was permitted by [state] statute, but it wasn’t something we had in our ordinance.”
Shives said some establishments in town already collect such information upon check-in, while others do not.
The highest-profile troubled motel is Red Carpet Inn on Water Street. According to police records, officers have responded to over 750 incidents at the location since 2015, many of which involved serious offenses including narcotics, weapons and theft, township officials said. The township’s legal action could result in the closure of the motel for one year, unless there is evidence the illegal activity that occurs there will cease.
The ordinance requires a public hearing and second vote before final passage, which will likely occur at the next council meeting. No one from the public spoke in favor of, or against, the measure Tuesday after it was introduced.