Town of Clinton, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Clinton 5-13-1997 by Ord. No. 97-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Land use — See Ch. 88.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 107.

§ 99-1 Legislative findings.

Certain newspaper distributors have been placing vending machines on or along public roadways, streets, sidewalks, ways or places within the Town of Clinton ("town"). The town has conducted a survey of existing newsracks and has determined that they have been placed in a haphazard manner, with no regard for the safety and well being of the town and its residents and the historic character of the town. The Mayor and Council has concluded that the existing placement of these newsracks causes potentially dangerous conditions and obstructions of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on or along public roadways, streets, sidewalks, ways or places and that unchecked proliferation of newsracks interferes with the town's policy of maintaining, encouraging and preserving the aesthetic character of its Historic District.

§ 99-2 Legislative intent.

It is the purpose of this chapter to:
A. 
Provide for pedestrian and driving safety and convenience.
B. 
Restrict unreasonable interference with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including ingress into or egress from any residence or place of business or from the street to the sidewalk by persons exiting or entering parked or standing vehicles.
C. 
Maintain the aesthetic character of the Clinton Historic District.
D. 
Provide reasonable access for the use and maintenance of poles, posts, traffic signs or signals, hydrants and mail boxes and access to locations used for public transportation purposes.
E. 
Relocate and/or replace newsracks which result in visual blight and/or excessive space allocation on the public rights-of-way or which unreasonably detract from the aesthetics of store window displays or adjacent landscaping and other improvements.
F. 
Maintain and protect the values of surrounding properties.
G. 
Reduce unnecessary exposure of the public to personal injury or property damage.
H. 
Treat all newspapers equally regardless of their size, content, circulation or frequency of publication.
I. 
Maintain and preserve freedom of the press.
J. 
Cooperate to the maximum with newspaper distributors.
K. 
Protect, preserve, maintain and encourage the aesthetic character of its Historic District by discouraging the uncontrolled proliferation of newsracks.

§ 99-3 Regulations in Clinton Historic District.

A. 
The Historic District of the Town of Clinton was nominated in 1994 for inclusion on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. After following the federal regulations regarding such nominations, the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, Historic Preservation Office, advised the town on March 21, 1995, that the Clinton Historic District was entered on to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on March 3, 1995. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 13:1B-15.131, designation as an historic place in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places prevents the state, a county or municipality, or any of their agencies or instrumentalities, from undertaking any project that would encroach upon, damage or destroy the property listed without approval from the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, the Clinton Historic District has been entered on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historic District includes 277 historic resources that reflect 18th and 19th century architecture, industries and the quality of life. The Town of Clinton Historic District is shown on a map filed as part of the application for historical district designation with the State of New Jersey and prepared by Studer & McEldowney, last revised September of 1992, on file with and available from the Town of Clinton.
B. 
The Town of Clinton, as evidenced by its support for the designation of the Clinton Historic District and other activities, has shown a significant interest in preserving historic properties within the town and the quality and look of features significant in American history, architecture and culture. It has sought to preserve the integrity of locations, designs, settings, materials, workmanship, feeling and association contained within the Clinton Historic District. The Town of Clinton believes that it is appropriate to discourage and, to the extent allowed by law, regulate structures or commercial activities that would tend to denigrate, undermine or destroy the ambiance, look and feel of the Clinton Historic District. Accordingly, it believes that newsracks should only be allowed in limited areas of the public rights-of-way of the Historic District. It is the goal of the Town of Clinton to consolidate the newsracks in a few locations which allow convenient access to the newsracks but control their unchecked proliferation in the Historic District. The town believes that this policy will strike a fair balance by allowing convenient and ready access to newsracks and other vendors of newspapers, and also, it will control the proliferation of newsracks. The town has limited the number of newsracks allowed at the special locations in the Historic District due to space limitations and to comply with, to the extent reasonable, the legislative intent described in § 99-2.

§ 99-4 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DISTRIBUTOR
The person responsible for placing and maintaining a newsrack on or along a public sidewalk, roadway, way, place or street.
HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Historic District of the Town of Clinton as described in § 99-3 of this chapter.
NEWSPAPER
Any newspaper of general circulation, as defined by general law, any newspaper duly entered with the Post Office Department of the United States, in accordance with federal statute or regulation, and any newspaper filed and recorded with any recording officer, as provided by general law, and any other periodical used for advertising or news.
NEWSRACK
Any type of unmanned device for the vending or free distribution of newspaper or news periodicals of any kind.
PERSON
Any corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership or individual.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any public street, highway, sidewalk, parkway or alley.

§ 99-5 Certificate of compliance required.

No person shall place, affix, erect, construct or maintain a newsrack within public rights-of-way of the Town of Clinton without first obtaining a one-time-only certificate of compliance for each newsrack in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 99-6 Placement and maintenance requirements; duties of distributor.

A. 
General placement of newsracks. Subject to the prohibitions set forth in § 99-12 of this chapter, the nearest portion of a newsrack shall be no more than 18 inches from a building or a curb or the edge of the street where there is no curb.
B. 
Installation and maintenance.
(1) 
A newsrack shall be securely placed so as to prevent its being blown down or around and to reasonably prevent personal injury or property damage due to tilting, tipping or overturning. If the newspaper determines that the newsrack should be chained, bolted or otherwise permanently affixed, no newsrack shall be chained, bolted or otherwise attached to any public fixture, including but not limited to official signs, sign supports, guide rails, traffic signal supports, highway lighting supports, controller boxes, fire hydrants or bus shelters. A distributor shall be responsible for repair of the area, leaving no holes or projections in the mounting surface, including but not limited to the sidewalk and/or curb affected by the removal of any newsrack placed on a public right-of-way. Said repairs shall be made within 30 days of removal, unless the removal has caused a danger to public safety in which case the repairs shall be done upon removal. In the case the repairs are not commenced within this period, the town may repair the affected area(s) and bill the distributor for all costs connected thereto or charge such amounts against the bond required by § 99-9.
(2) 
Newsracks may be placed next to each other, provided that no group of newsracks extends for a distance of more than six feet along a curb. Newsracks may be chained or otherwise attached to one another; however, no more than two newsracks may be joined together in this manner. A space of no less than 10 feet shall separate individual newsracks or each group of newsracks so attached or placed next to each other.
(3) 
Each newsrack shall be equipped with a coin-return mechanism to permit a person using the machine to secure an immediate refund in the event that said person is unable to receive the newspaper or periodical for which payment was made. The coin mechanism shall be maintained in good working order at all times. However, newsracks for free newspapers may omit a coin box and may have the pull bar welded to the door.
(4) 
Newsracks shall be maintained in good working order at all times, with unbroken hoods and structural parts, and shall be reasonably free of paint that is chipped, faded, peeling and cracked and of rust or corrosion.
(5) 
The name, address and telephone number of a responsible person who may be contacted, at any time, concerning the newsrack shall be displayed prominently on the newsrack in such a manner as to be readily visible and readable to a prospective customer thereof.
(6) 
The distributor shall remove all snow and ice accumulating on its newsracks and an area two feet to each side of its newsracks within 12 hours of daylight after the same shall fall, be formed or accumulate.
(7) 
No newsracks shall exceed 50 inches in height, 36 inches in width or 24 inches in depth.

§ 99-7 Application, issuance and denial of certificate of compliance; additional certificates.

A. 
Approving authority. The approving authority for newsracks shall be the Public Works/Business Administrator. The Public Works/Business Administrator shall be responsible for the following:
(1) 
For determining whether applications for a certificate of compliance meet the specific standards set forth in § 99-12 of this chapter.
(2) 
For ensuring that newsracks are placed only where shown in an application.
(3) 
For enforcement of violations of this chapter.
B. 
Applications. The applicant shall file with the Public Works/Business Administrator a written application for an installation certificate of compliance which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant, who is the owner and/or principal in responsible charge of the newsrack(s).
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the responsible person whom the town may notify or contact, at any time, concerning the applicant's newsrack.
(3) 
The number of newsracks and the proposed location of each shown on a drawing or map provided by the Public Works/Business Administrator.
(4) 
The names of newspapers or periodicals to be contained in each rack.
(5) 
The type or brand of newsrack, including an illustration and description of the newsrack and mount.
C. 
Issuance of a certificate of compliance. Upon a finding by the Public Works/Business Administrator that the applicant is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the Public Works/Business Administrator shall cause to be issued a certificate of compliance for installation by the newspaper publishing company in accordance with the application and the provisions of this chapter. Such issuance shall be made within 10 working days of the town's receipt of the complete application. The Public Works/Business Administrator shall further issue a numbered decal for each newsrack to be maintained under a certificate of compliance. Such decals shall be affixed to each newsrack in a conspicuous manner.
D. 
Denial of a certificate of compliance. If a certificate of compliance for some newsrack locations applied for shall be denied, the applicant shall be notified of the denial within 10 working days of the town's receipt of a completed application. The applicant shall be advised of the specific cause for such denial by the Public Works/Business Administrator, who will suggest alternative locations therefor. The applicant may reapply for substitute or alternative locations at no additional certificate of compliance fee.
E. 
Newsracks for which a certificate of compliance has been granted may be moved to a new location, provided that the Public Works/Business Administrator shall be notified of the location within five calendar days after the move and that a fee of $10 shall be paid within this five days to cover the cost of inspection of the new location by the Public Works/Business Administrator.
F. 
Additional newsrack certificates of compliance. If at any time after the initial application for an installation certificate of compliance an applicant wishes to install additional newsracks, then the above procedure and application subsections are to be repeated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Any amount still on account will be credited against the cumulative returnable bond deposit required under § 99-9, Insurance. Additional certificate(s) of compliance fee(s) shall be in accordance with § 99-10, except that the fifty-dollar distributor's fee is waived if previously paid.

§ 99-8 Enforcement.

This chapter shall be enforced by the Public Works/Business Administrator, Police Department or the Zoning Officer.

§ 99-9 Insurance.

A. 
Prior to the issuance of a certificate of compliance by the Public Works/Business Administrator, the applicant shall furnish to the Public Works/Business Administrator a certificate of public liability insurance with a five-hundred-thousand-dollar combined single limit and, if the newsrack is to be affixed to town property or the sidewalk, a one-time-only returnable bond deposit which shall be maintained by the Public Works/Business Administrator so long as the newsracks remain in the town, unless a charge against the same is taken pursuant to this chapter. Returnable bonding amounts for newsrack installations shall be:
Total Proposed Newsracks
Total Returnable Bond
1 to 4
$150
5 to 10
300
11 to 20
500
21 and up
700
B. 
Reasonable evidence of equivalent self-insurance coverage may be substituted by the applicant for the above certificate of insurance, subject to approval of the Town Attorney. Insurance under this section shall run continuously with the presence of the applicant's newsrack(s) in town rights-of-way, and any termination or lapse of such insurance shall be a violation of this chapter and may be the basis to revoke the certificate of compliance issued to applicant. In the event that a distributor's insurance lapses and/or is terminated, the distributor shall indemnify and hold harmless the town for any liability arising out of and/or resulting from such insurance lapse and/or termination.

§ 99-10 Fees.

There shall be a one-time-only certificate of compliance fee in the amount of a $50 for each distributor, plus $15 per newsrack. Failed inspections are subject to a reinspection fee of $10. All of the above fees will be used to defray administrative expenses related to this chapter.

§ 99-11 Appeals.

Any applicant who has been denied a certificate of compliance pursuant to the provisions of this chapter may file an appeal with the Town Council by requesting, in writing, to the Town Clerk an appearance before the Council to review said denial. The appeal shall be heard by the Council by 30 days within the filing of the appeal or at the next scheduled regular meeting, whichever is sooner. The decision of the Council on an appeal is subject to judicial review as provided by the laws of the State of New Jersey.

§ 99-12 Prohibitions.

No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:
A. 
Within five feet of any marked or unmarked crosswalks.
B. 
Within 10 feet of any fire hydrant, trash/recycling unit or other emergency facility.
C. 
Within five feet of any driveway.
D. 
Within 10 feet to the rear of any sign marking a designated bus stop, measured along the pavement.
E. 
Within three feet of any bus bench or plaza bench.
F. 
At any location where the clear space for the passageway of pedestrians is reduced to less than six feet, except if there is less than six feet in width of sidewalk, one newsrack or group of up to two newsracks may be located every 250 feet.
G. 
Within 12 inches of any area improved with lawn or hedges or within three feet of flowers, trees or other landscaping.
H. 
Within five feet of a building entrance.
I. 
Within a curb return (from point of tangency to point of tangency).
J. 
Anywhere in the Town of Clinton Historic District, except up to six newsracks may be placed on the sidewalk immediately adjacent to the west side of the building located at Block 10, Lot 9 on the Tax Maps of the Town of Clinton (Lower Center Street) in an area located not less than 14 feet from the northerly curbline of Main Street and a point 17 feet northerly thereof; up to six newsracks may be placed in the area between the curb and the sidewalk in front of the post office on East Main Street (Block 12, Lot 8 on the Tax Maps of the Town of Clinton) in the area located not less than 30 feet from the westerly curbline of New Street and a point 25 feet westerly thereof; and four newsracks may be placed immediately adjacent to each other along the north side of the driveway entrance to the Municipal Parking Lot located adjacent to the Municipal Building in a location to be designated by the Public Works/Business Administrator in consultation with any newspapers wishing to place newsracks in this location. Use of these specially designated locations for newsracks in the Historic District shall be on a first-come-first-served basis. In the event that there is more demand than there is space to serve newspapers in these locations, the Public Works/Business Administrator shall maintain a record of all applicants for such space and shall allocate available spots based on the oldest application on record. Newsracks may be placed in the special locations described in this subsection notwithstanding the other prohibitions described in this section of this chapter.
K. 
In an area parallel to any no-parking zone and within 10 feet of the curb or street edge in such zone, except that otherwise permissible locations in front of existing multiple-dwelling complexes of 10 units or more may be utilized for newsracks if the front of the newsrack is facing away from the street edge or curb.
L. 
In front of any churches or other houses of religious worship.
M. 
In such a manner as to cover any portion of a display window of a business establishment.

§ 99-13 Violations and penalties.

Penalties for violations of this chapter shall be as provided in § 1-15 of the Code of the Town of Clinton.

§ 99-14 Nonconforming newsracks.

From 90 days after this chapter becomes effective and at any time thereafter, any newsrack placed in a public right-of-way before the effective date of this chapter shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter unless a certificate of compliance is obtained.

§ 99-15 Abandonment.

A. 
A newsrack shall be deemed abandoned and may be designated as the same by the Public Works/Business Administrator when no publication is in the newsrack for a period of more than seven consecutive days, absent a strike or other event beyond the control of the distributor. Upon the designation of abandonment, the Public Works/Business Administrator shall notify the distributor within five working days, at which time the distributor shall have 30 days to remove any such newsrack(s), subject to the provisions set forth in § 99-6B(1) of this chapter.
B. 
In the event that a newspaper publishing company or its distributor decides to voluntarily abandon a newsrack location, said distributor shall notify the Public Works/Business Administrator, completely remove the newsrack and mount and restore the public right-of-way to safe conditions as set forth in § 99-6B(1) hereof. Said restoration shall be made within 30 days of removal; however, in the event that the repairs are not commenced within this period, the town may repair the affected area(s) and bill the distributor or charge its bond for all costs connected thereto.