Family-conscious Seaside Height bans ‘Jersey Shore’ house rentals until fall
The Jersey Shore house in Seaside Heights will stay closed this summer as part of a settlement between the borough an its owner because of a late-summer event with YouTube stars the Nelk Boys.
The house featured on the MTV show for several seasons cannot be rented out as part of a settlement between Danny Merk and the borough over a large gathering on Sept. 14, which drew 2,500 to a car show and the unveiling of new basketball and baseball jerseys by the group known for its digital pranks.
"They can't rent that facility until October 2021, so that was a penalty. That's a loss of revenue for them. They have provided us with $5,000 to cover the cost of our police and legal fees and they have to reapply for a mercantile license to get approval," Mayor Anthony Vaz told New Jersey 101.5.
Vaz said the incident was compounded by the pandemic and their violation of Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order limiting outdoor gatherings to 500 at the time. It was also disrespectful of Seaside Heights' efforts to present a more family friendly image, according to the mayor.
"We've worked hard as a governing to change our image from the days of Snooki and that group. Not only that, we have a family resort. All of a sudden we've got the pandemic and our reputation is changing and we're getting families and they display this kind of rental," Vaz said.
Merk afterwards told Vaz he had "concerns" about what the Nelk Boys were up to but went through with the rental anyway. He later came to Vaz and took full responsibility for what happened.
"We were very stern and said, 'we can't have this. We can't have people following you in the years to come and say they got away with this why can't we?' So we had to be firm. We stood our ground and he agreed to it," Vaz said.
Merk appeared on "Jersey Shore" when members of the cast worked at his boardwalk T-shirt shop the Shore Store.