November 7, 2013
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff,
WESLEY MCKENZIE, Defendant-Appellant.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 30, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Municipal Appeal No. 34-11.
Wesley McKenzie, appellant pro se.
R. Louis Gallagher, II, attorney for respondent City of Burlington.
Before Judges Espinosa and Hoffman.
Defendant appeals from his conviction for violating Burlington City ordinance 16.28.050.o, now codified as Burlington, N.J., Code § 207-71(o) (2013), which prohibits rooming house and boardinghouse uses within the City. We affirm.
The following facts were admitted by defendant. He advertised a room for rent in the Burlington County Times and showed it to several persons. Because the rent was not included in the advertisement, the people who called or visited inquired about the rent. An undercover police officer called him in response to the advertisement. This call was followed by a visit to defendant's premises by the City's Chief Code Enforcement Officer who posed as her brother. Defendant admittedly showed the furnished room to the Code Enforcement Officer and told him the rent for the room was $500 per month.
"Boardinghouse" is defined in the ordinance as a "building arranged or used for lodging, with or without meals, for compensation, for one or not more than 20 individuals." Id. § 195-12(a). The ordinance defines "rooming house" as any dwelling "used for sleeping and living, but not for dwelling, containing one or more rooming units in which space is let by the owner or operator to one or more persons who are not husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother of the owner or operator." Ibid.
Defendant argued at trial before the municipal court and the Superior Court judges that he had not violated the ordinance because no one actually moved into the room and he did not enter into a binding contract with anyone for the room. Neither judge found this fatal to the proof that defendant violated the ordinance. Neither do we.