Personal trainers and other small business owners who operate their businesses in Mahwah parks may soon be out of a workspace. The town council discussed last week a new law that would prohibit residents from conducting for-profit businesses on township property.
According to Business Administrator Brian Campion, the township has received several noise complaints from neighbors of and fields about personal trainers conducting classes at the parks and making a lot of noise, often early in the morning. “We have not received many complaints saying that people operating businesses at the parks are prohibiting others’ enjoyment of the parks, so that seems to be a lesser problem,” he said.
Council members questioned whether or not small businesses, like personal trainers, should be allowed to use public property to make money. Campion said that currently, the township has “no specific ordinance prohibiting it,” so trainers are not violating any laws by operating at the fields.
While many on the council expressed a feeling that this practice should not be allowed, Councilman Harry Williams asked what the ramifications of a law prohibiting for-profit businesses from operating at parks would be to travel and other sports teams that use the facilities regularly.
“Our parks are constantly used by travel sports teams, and those sports organizations make money,” Williams said. “How can we prohibit personal trainers, but not soccer trainers?”
Other council members brought up concerns about liability in the event that a customer of one of the businesses gets hurt during a session at the park. Campion said the town could be sued in that case, however “anyone who gets injured at a public place could file a suit. That’s not unique to this.”
The council rejected the idea of having business owners lease space at public facilities.
The governing body decided Thursday to seek legal counsel for input on what type of law, if any, would be appropriate to address this issue. It also said it would look to related laws in nearby towns before making a decision at a future meeting.
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