Borough of South Plainfield, NJ
Middlesex County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of South Plainfield 5-25-1989 by Ord. No. 1151 (Ch. 118 of the 1982 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Hazardous materials cleanup — See Ch. 265.
Littering — See Ch. 288.
Solid waste — See Ch. 389.

§ 272-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a uniform set of procedures for administering the issuance, renewal and revocation of licenses issued for the operation of a junkyard.

§ 272-2 License required.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to maintain, operate or conduct a junk shop or junkyard in or upon which junk, as hereinafter described, shall be purchased, sold, stored, repaired, renovated or restored, within the Borough of South Plainfield, without first having obtained a license for such purpose, as hereinafter provided.

§ 272-3 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions are hereby established:
JUNKYARD
An area, covered or uncovered, used for the purpose of buying, selling, exchanging or storing old or secondhand metals, bottles, glassware, tinware, paper, lumber, plumbing fixtures, dismantled or inoperative automobiles or any other thing which is no longer used or usable for its intended purpose, but which may have value because of the parts or materials it contains.

§ 272-4 Application for license.

All applications for licenses shall be made to the Borough Clerk on forms provided by him and shall contain the following information:
A. 
The name and permanent and local address of the applicant. If the applicant is a corporation, the name and address of its registered agent and the names and addresses of all shareholders.
B. 
A detailed description of where the license is to be used; address, block and lot number; and a site map showing buildings, equipment being utilized and storage areas. The map will also include all measurements of said property.
C. 
If vehicles are to be used in the operation of said junkyard, a description of the vehicles along with serial number and license plate number.
D. 
If the applicant is employed by another, the name and address of the employer, together with credentials establishing the exact relationship.
E. 
The days of the week and the hours of the day during which the junkyard will be in operation.
F. 
A description of the nature of the business and the goods, property or services to be sold, provided or purchased.
G. 
A statement as to whether the applicant has been convicted of any crime or violation of any Borough ordinance other than traffic offenses and, if he has, the date and place of conviction, the nature of the offense, and the punishment or penalty imposed. If the applicant is a corporation, the foregoing shall be provided on all officers of said corporation.
H. 
Applications by partnerships shall be signed by all partners with the information required by this subsection supplied in detail as to each partner, and the applications of corporations shall have attached individual statements containing all the information required by this subsection relating to each employee or agent who shall engage in the license activity and shall be signed by each employee or agent.

§ 272-5 Investigation of applicants.

Each application shall be referred to the Chief of Police or a Police Officer designated by him, who shall immediately institute whatever investigation of the applicant's business responsibility, moral character and ability to properly conduct the licensed activity as he considers necessary for the protection of the public. He shall communicate his findings, in writing, to the Borough Clerk within a reasonable time after the application has been filed. If the investigator determines that the applicant's character, ability or business responsibility is unsatisfactory or that the products, services or activity are not free from fraud, he shall recommend the disapproval of the application, and the Clerk shall refuse to issue the license and shall so notify the applicant. Otherwise, the Clerk shall issue the license immediately, provided that the required license fees and previous year's taxes have been paid and that the Mayor and Council have voted to approve said junkyard license.

§ 272-6 Number of yards; regulations.

The Mayor and Council restricts the number of such premises to be licensed within the Borough of South Plainfield to not more than three and, further, may impose such reasonable regulations and rules with regard to said business so to be conducted, not contrary to law, as the Mayor and Council may deem necessary and proper for the preservation of public health, safety and welfare of the Borough and its inhabitants and as may be necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon the Borough by law.

§ 272-7 License record.

The Borough Clerk shall keep a record of all licenses issued and applications filed under this chapter. It shall also indicate the amount of the fee paid for each license, the date upon which payment was received, the date of the issuance of the license, whether the license is a new license or a renewal and any other information which the Mayor and Council may require by resolution.

§ 272-8 Display of license.

The license shall be prominently displayed at the location, where it is visible to the public and law enforcement authorities.

§ 272-9 Transferability.

Each license shall apply only to the person to whom it was issued and shall not be transferable to another person. The license may not be transferred to another location, unless approved by the Mayor and Council and then only after all provisions of this chapter and subsection have been complied with. (By "person" is meant an individual, corporation or general or limited partnership).

§ 272-10 Expiration; renewal; proration of fees.

A. 
Except where expressly provided otherwise, all licenses shall expire on December 31 of the year of issue at 12:00 midnight. Applications for renewal of licenses shall be made not later than December 1 of the year of issue.
B. 
When an application for a license is made during the course of any calendar year, the fee shall be prorated to the nearest month. Any period of time greater than 1/2 of a month shall be considered a full month for this purpose.

§ 272-11 General regulations.

A. 
None of the secondhand materials, the purchase, sale, exchange or storage of which is regulated in this section, shall be kept on any sidewalk or street of the Borough or outside the fence required to be erected in front of the place of business.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any licenses to permit any of the secondhand materials, the purchase, sale or exchange or storage of which is regulated in this section, to be placed upon the licensed premises in a manner which permits rainwater to collect and remain in and about the premises.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any licensee to stock, pile or place any secondhand materials upon the licensed premises in such manner as to create a fire hazard or to create a place for the harboring or breeding of rats, mice or vermin.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any licensee to cause any secondhand materials which may be inflammable to be destroyed by burning, either on the premises or at any other place within the Borough.
E. 
Any license may be revoked by the Council for good cause shown after five days' notice to the licensee, in writing, and a hearing of the charges presented, and no license so revoked shall be reissued except for good and sufficient reasons shown.

§ 272-12 Revocation and causes.

Any license issued for the operation of a junkyard by the Borough may be revoked by the Mayor and Council after notice and a hearing for any of the following reasons:
A. 
Fraud or misrepresentation in any application for a permit or license.
B. 
Fraud or misrepresentation or other dishonesty in conduct of the licensed activity. This shall include the gathering of persons of unsavory character, illegal gambling or conduct which would violate the laws of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Borough of South Plainfield.
C. 
A violation of any provision of this code.
D. 
Conviction of the licensee for any felony or high misdemeanor or a misdemeanor or disorderly person's offense involving moral turpitude.
E. 
Conduct of the licensed activity, whether by the licensee himself or his agents or employees, in an unlawful manner or in a manner that constitutes a breach of the peace or a menace to the public health, safety or general welfare.

§ 272-13 Notice of hearing.

Notice of a hearing for the revocation of a license or permit shall be given, in writing, by the Borough Clerk. The notice shall specifically set forth the grounds upon which the proposed revocation is based and the time and place of the hearing. It shall be served by mailing a copy to the licensee at his last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing.

§ 272-14 Hearing determination.

At the hearing the licensee shall have the right to appear and be heard, to be represented by an attorney, to present witnesses in his own behalf, to cross-examine opposing witnesses and to have a permanent record made of the proceedings at his own expense. The Council shall revoke or suspend the license if they are satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence that the licensee is guilty of the acts charged.

§ 272-15 Reinstatement of revoked licenses.

The Mayor and Council may issue another license to a person whose license has been revoked or denied if, after hearing, they are satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that the acts which led to the revocation or denial will not occur again; otherwise, no person whose license has been revoked or denied, nor any person acting for him, directly or indirectly, shall be issued another license to carry on the same activity.

§ 272-16 Payment of taxes.

Before any application for a license to conduct said business shall be accepted by the Borough Clerk, there shall be presented to him at the time of the making of said application a paid tax bill or a certification by the Tax Collector of the Borough of South Plainfield, indicating that real estate taxes due from such applicant or owner of the real estate for the licensed premises for the year preceding the year for which the new license is sought have been paid.

§ 272-17 Annual fee.

All persons, firms or corporations receiving such license or licenses shall pay to the Borough of South Plainfield an annual fee as follows:
A. 
Ninety-nine cars or fewer: $50 per year.
B. 
One hundred cars or more: $100 per year.
C. 
No cars: $50 per year.

§ 272-18 Screening.

All junkyards shall be enclosed by a solid wall or fence at least eight feet in height, so constructed that the interior of the junkyard shall not be visible from a public street. The wall or fence shall be painted white, dark green or a similar color and shall be kept in good repair. It shall contain no more than two entrances or exits, each not less than 15 feet nor more than 20 feet wide. In place of a wall or fence, a junkyard may be screened by a planting of dense evergreen screening. In that case, the junkyard shall also be enclosed by a cyclone or chain link fence, erected inside the screening and sufficient to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining entrance. No secondhand materials, the purchase, sale, exchange or storage of which is regulated in this section, shall be piled or placed so as to be visible above the fence. Any advertisement placed or printed on the fence shall be confined solely to the advertisement of the licensee's business.

§ 272-19 Identification numbers on vehicles.

No licensee or his agent shall knowingly buy, sell, receive, dispose of, conceal or have in his possession any motor vehicle from which the manufacturer's serial number or any other number or identification mark has been removed, defaced, altered, covered or destroyed for the purpose of concealing the identity of such vehicle.

§ 272-20 Inspection of premises.

The Mayor or any member of the Council, Board of Health, the Health Officer, the Chief of Police or any authorized agent of the Borough shall have the right at any and all reasonable times to inspect any or all parts of the licensed premises.

§ 272-21 Junkyard operation.

It shall be unlawful for the operators or licensees of junkyards to, in the operation of the junkyard, stack junked automobiles one on top of the other.

§ 272-22 Health or fire hazard.

It shall be unlawful for any licensee to operate junkyard premises when such operation would be in direct violation of the Water Pollution Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.) and the Spill Compensation and Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.) and any amendments or supplements thereto.

§ 272-23 Power to make rules or regulations.

The Council may, by resolution, make rules and regulations which interpret or amplify any provision of this chapter or for the purpose of administering or making more effective the provisions of this chapter. No regulation shall be inconsistent with, alter or amend any provision of this chapter, and no regulation shall impose any requirement which is in addition to or greater than the requirements that are expressly or by implication imposed by any provision of this chapter.

§ 272-24 Violations and penalties.

Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate or fail to comply with any order or regulation made hereunder shall severally, for each and every violation and noncompliance, forfeit and pay a penalty not to exceed the sum of $1,000 or be imprisoned in the Middlesex County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or both. The imposition of a penalty for a violation of this chapter shall not excuse the violation or permit it to continue; such violation shall be remedied within a reasonable time, and each 10 days that such violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense. The application of the above penalty shall not be held to prevent the enforced removal of prohibited conditions.