Jackson Township, N.J., is joining a growing list of cities across the country that are working to abolish year-round camping – or permanent residency – in RV parks.
Though the New Jersey district has long had an ordinance prohibiting individuals from occupying a campsite for more than 15 consecutive days between Nov. 1 and March 1, it wasn’t until Nov. 1 of this year that the city began enforcing the ordinance.
“A campground is not a place where you can establish residency 365 days a year,” Mayor Michael Broderick told the Ashbury Park Press of Neptune.
However, many do camp year-round. In fact, Jackson Township’s decision to enforce the ordinance is similar to recent efforts by Lake County, Ill. and the city of Hitchcock, Texas, to restrict long-term camping in their jurisdictions.
In New Jersey, the Rev. Steven A. Brigham said he distributes donated food several times a month to about 120 people living at six campgrounds in the Jackson Township area. They live there, Brigham said, because that’s all they can afford.
“If I leave here, I’m going to have to go to a motel or something,” said retiree Charlie Erving, explaining that he has lived at Maple Lake Campground “on and off” for five years. Two-thirds of Erving’s $700 per month Social Security check goes toward rent, he said.
Young people are living at the same campground, according to the Ashbury Park Press, including Carl Schlatmann, 18, who said he pays $445 per month for a site to park his trailer, which he shares with his 10-month-old son. “My mom told me about this place,” he said. “She said it was cheap and a good place to start.”
Campground owners could face a fine of $25 per day per person for each violation.