Township of Toms River, NJ
Ocean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Township Council of the Township of Toms River 12-9-2008 by Ord. No. 4168-08.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 252.
Fire prevention and protection — See Ch. 308.
Housing and rental property standards — See Ch. 335.
Health nuisances — See Ch. 542.
Plumbing — See Ch. 558.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Ch. 228, Buildings, Unfit and Unsafe, adopted 11-27-1973 by Ord. No. 1378 as Ch. 66 of the 1973 Code; amended in its entirety 7-22-2003 by Ord. No. 3812-03.

§ 228-1 Conditions requiring correction.

It is hereby found and declared that the existence or occupation of any building or buildings or parts thereof in this municipality which are so old, dilapidated or have become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use is inimical to the welfare and dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the people of this municipality and this state and that a public necessity exists for the repair, closing or demolition of such building or buildings or parts thereof.

§ 228-2 Exercise of powers to correct violations.

It is hereby further found and declared that there exists in this municipality building or buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such building or buildings or part thereof unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety, or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of this municipality, and that this municipality shall hereafter exercise its police powers to repair, close or demolish, or cause or require the repairing, closing or demolition of, such building or buildings or part thereof, as hereinafter set forth.

§ 228-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.
GOVERNING BODY
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.
OWNER
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.
PARTIES IN INTEREST
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.
PUBLIC AUTHORITY
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The same definition as is set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 for said term.

§ 228-4 Enforcement and hearing officers.

A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer of this municipality be and is hereby designated as the public officer to exercise all the complaint and enforcement powers prescribed by this chapter and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 et seq.
B. 
The Township Council is designated as the public officer to conduct all hearing and issue findings and determinations of unfitness prescribed by this chapter and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 et seq.

§ 228-5 Petition by residents; preliminary investigation; notice to owner of hearing.

[Amended 9-24-2013 by Ord. No. 4410-13]
Whenever a petition is filed with the Code Enforcement Officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the municipality, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Code Enforcement Officer on his or her own motion that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Code Enforcement Officer shall, if his or her preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner or parties in interest in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Township Council, at a place therein fixed, not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the service of said complaint, that the owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint, and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings. The Township Council may designate one of the Township Attorneys to conduct the hearing.

§ 228-6 Statement of determination of unfitness; notice to correct; noncompliance procedures.

A. 
If, after such notice and hearing, the Township Council or its designee determines that a building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, it shall state in writing its findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
(1) 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the said building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or have the said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
(2) 
If the building is in such a condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
B. 
If an owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building, the Code Enforcement Officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupancy of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
D. 
If the owner of any building fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Code Enforcement Officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof, after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
E. 
The amount of the cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the municipality; and such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount of the balance thereof remaining after deduction of the sum, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition thereof, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Code Enforcement Officer, he or she shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Municipal Tax Collector and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court of New Jersey by the Code Enforcement Officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise. Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court of New Jersey to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.

§ 228-7 Conditions constituting unfitness.

The Township Council and/or Code Enforcement Officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if they find that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of this municipality; such conditions may include the following (without limiting the generality of the foregoing): defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects; uncleanliness and such other conditions as may render the building unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.

§ 228-8 Service of complaints and orders.

Complaints or orders issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail; but, if the whereabouts of such persons are unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the Code Enforcement Officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Code Enforcement Officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon said persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed or published in the Township of Toms River. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the County Clerk of the County of Ocean.

§ 228-9 Action for injunctive relief by aggrieved person.

Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Township Council under this chapter may, within 60 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief. The court may proceed in the action in a summary matter or otherwise. The remedy herein provided shall be exclusive, and no person affected by an order of the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Township Council shall be entitled to recover any damages for action taken pursuant hereto or because of noncompliance by any person with any order of the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Township Council.

§ 228-10 Authority for Township Council and Code Enforcement Officer to exercise powers.

The Code Enforcement Officer and Township Council are hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter; and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law.