This is the Only Town in New Jersey Where You Can’t Sleep in Your Car
The next time you think about sleeping in your car, you better double-check exactly where in New Jersey you are because you could be fined $2,000 or even go to jail for 90 days.
Yes, I know that it is not illegal to sleep in your car in the state of New Jersey, but one area of South Jersey has become the exception. The "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance passed by Dennis Township now prohibits a list of activities to occur on any Quasi-Public Property. According to the new law, the definition is:
“Private or publicly owned property utilized for proprietary or business uses which invites patronage by the public or which invites public ingress and egress.”
This new ordinance bans sleeping in cars, sleeping in public areas, and changing clothes in a car in any "Quasi-Public Places" day or night along with prohibiting loitering at night on any township property at night. The "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance also has banned any form of activity that would be considered “revel, quarrel, brawl, disport” in any Public or Quasi-Public Places along with dress or undressing and it is illegal to defecate, urinate, or committing any nuisance in these areas of the township.
Along with no sleeping or changing of clothes in Public Places, the new ordinance also bans trespassing on private property or entering any lodging areas without permission for any personal reasons. Also, anyone under 18 years old found loitering on Public or Quasi-Public will be presumed to be doing so without the permission of their parent or guardian so they will be handled accordingly.
Now so much of this seems like Common Sense to the average, law-abiding citizen and I was under the impression that some of these restrictions were already laws everywhere in New Jersey. But the difference is now there are new punishments for the violations of these activities that would be considered Public Disorderly Conduct in most municipalities.
After the passage of this new ordinance, those convicted of any of the Public Nuisance violations under the "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance, everyone is subject to a $2,000 fine or 90 days in Jail or up to 90 Days of Community service OR a combination of all three types of punishment.
Even though Dennis Township is not as large in terms of acres as its neighbors to the North (Upper Township) and to the South (Middle Township), many people are probably unfamiliar with where the Municipal Boundaries are located. For example, Route 9 drivers who travel south will cross from Upper to Dennis to Middle Townships without any overtly clear delineation aside from some signs that you could easily miss while driving. Also, Route 47 travelers will pass through Middle and Dennis Townships too.
Plus, Dennis Township also reaches west of the city of Woodbine and no rational person would blame you for not knowing where the Municipal Boundaries are at since County Roads like Route 550 seamlessly cross those municipal lines.
So the next time you feel the need to take a nap instead of keep driving to your destination, double-check where you are in Cape May County because you could be fined $2,000 or worse!
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