Borough of Westville, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 117.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 123.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 142.
Housing standards — See Ch. 197.
Land use and development — See Ch. 205.
Littering — See Ch. 221.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 258.
Solid waste — See Ch. 318.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 400.
[Adopted 10-11-2000 (Ch. 47, Art. I, of the 1974 Code)]

§ 137-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this article shall be to regulate maintenance of commercial properties within the Borough of Westville and to provide conditions and restrictions thereon.

§ 137-2 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Commercial Maintenance Code of the Borough of Westville" and is referred to in this article in the short form as "this code."

§ 137-3 Purpose.

The purpose of this code is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards for the maintenance of such premises; to fix responsibilities and duties upon owners, operators and occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of commercial premises; to fix penalties for the violations of this code; and to provide for the right of access to permit repairs when necessary. This code is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that this code be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose as stated herein.

§ 137-4 Standards. [1]

A. 
The following are established as standards to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings and buildings in this Borough are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and/or rental:
(1) 
The Uniform Construction Code, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.
(2) 
N.J.A.C. 5:23-1 et seq.
(3) 
The Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq.
B. 
In addition, the Borough hereby adopts by reference the BOCA National Property Maintenance Code (1996) as an additional standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings and buildings in this Borough are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and/or rental. At least three copies of this code have been placed on file in the office of the Borough Clerk and are available for inspection to all persons desiring to use and examine same.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-5 Definitions.

The following terms, wherever used herein, shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY
Includes but is not limited to gasoline stations; parking lots; retail sales; professional activities, including but not limited to medical, dental, legal, architectural, accounting, etc.; personal services, including real estate, insurance, barbershops, hairdressers, etc.; repair shops of all kinds; and amusements, including but not limited to movies, skating rinks, bowling alleys, etc., whether part of a shopping area or not.
COMMERCIAL PREMISES
A lot or tract of land, including buildings thereon, on which, or on any part of which, commercial, professional or industrial activity of any kind takes place, other than residential or governmental.
EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
Those portions of a building which are exposed to public view, and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.[1]
A. 
Any common law nuisance or as provided by the laws of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Borough of Westville.[2]
B. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children or other persons, whether in a building or upon a lot. This includes but is not limited to any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, which may prove a hazard for inquisitive persons.
C. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or property or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
D. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything unreasonably offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this code.
E. 
Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
F. 
Fire or other hazards.
G. 
Any condition, man-made or natural, which affords a breeding place or hiding place for rodents, insects or other pests.[3]
OCCUPANT
Any person or entity having actual use, possession or control of the premises or any part thereof.
OPERATOR
Any person who has charge, care or control of the commercial premises or any part thereof, whether with or without the consent of the owner.
OWNER
Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any commercial premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or shall have charge, care or control of any commercial premises as owner or agent of the owner or as fiduciary, including but not limited to executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or reassigning any part or all of any commercial premises shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
SHOPPING AREA
One or more buildings or parts thereof designed as a unit to be occupied by one or more businesses for the conduct of business and conducted as an integrated planned area development.
[1]
Editor's Note: The definition of “harborage,” which immediately followed this section, was deleted at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). See now the definition of "nuisance," Subsection G.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 400, Nuisances, Public Health.
[3]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-6 Scope and application.

A. 
Every commercial premises and any building situated thereon in the Borough of Westville used or intended to be used for commercial occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code. This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such commercial buildings and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of such commercial buildings or premises contained therein. Where there is mixed occupancy with commercial and other uses on the same premises, all such uses shall be nevertheless regulated by and subject to the provisions of this code.
B. 
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than is set forth in any other ordinances of the Borough of Westville or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any other ordinances of the Borough of Westville or the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any other such ordinance or law shall prevail.

§ 137-7 Liability of owner.

Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge or violation thereof by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.

§ 137-8 Liability of occupant.

Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in §§ 137-13 through 137-18 of this article, and the occupant shall not be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the owner or operator is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.

§ 137-9 Premises to be maintained free of hazards; hazards enumerated.

The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner or operator. It shall be the duty of the owner or operator to keep the premises free of hazards, which include but are not limited to the following:
A. 
Refuse. Broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
B. 
Natural growth. Brush, weeds, ragweeds, stumps, roots and obnoxious growths and dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
C. 
Overhangings. Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
D. 
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions. Holes; broken or missing pavement; loose stone excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, ice, uncleared snow; and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps shall be repaired, and other conditions shall be removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery. It shall be the responsibility of owners and operators to take reasonable steps to discover any such hazards or unsanitary conditions which may exist on their premises.
E. 
Recurring accumulations of stormwater. Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
F. 
Sources of infestation.

§ 137-10 Landscaping.

Premises shall be kept landscaped, and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and kept from becoming overgrown. Plantings required by site plan approval shall be replaced when the same have died.

§ 137-11 Signs.

All signs, pavement markings and printed matter and pictures or illustrations contained thereon, permitted by reasons of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use, shall be maintained in good repair.

§ 137-12 Maintenance of exterior of buildings.

In order to preserve property value and eliminate safety hazards and protect adjacent properties and the neighborhood from negative impact influences, the exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted and whitewashed where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance, free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick or excessive peeling paint.
A. 
Unsafe exterior facilities. Unsafe exterior facilities include exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes, all of which shall be kept structurally sound and in good repair and shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed and maintained.
B. 
Signs and billboards. All permanent signs and billboards exposed to public view permitted by Chapter 205, Land Use and Development, and regulated by the Housing Code or other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use, shall be maintained in good repair. Any sign or billboard which has weathered excessively or faded or the paint on which has excessively peeled or cracked shall, with its supporting members, be removed forthwith or put into a state of good repair. Nonoperative or broken electrical signs shall be repaired or shall, with their supporting members, be removed forthwith.
C. 
Windows exposed to public view. All windows exposed to public view shall be kept clean and free of marks and foreign substances and be unbroken. Except when necessary in the course of changing displays, no storage of materials, stocks or inventory shall be permitted in window display areas ordinarily exposed to public view unless such areas are first screened from view by draperies, venetian blinds or other means. All screening of interiors shall be maintained in a clean and attractive manner and in a good state of repair.
D. 
Awnings or marquees. Any awning or marquee and its accompanying structural members which extend over any street, sidewalk or other portion of the premises shall be so maintained as to not constitute a nuisance or safety hazard. In the event any such awning or marquee is not properly maintained in accordance with the foregoing, it shall, together with its supporting members, be removed forthwith. In the event any such awning or marquee is made of cloth, plastic, wood or of similar materials, said materials, where exposed to public view, shall be maintained in good condition and shall not show evidence of excessive weathering, discoloration, ripping, tearing or other deterioration. Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any encroachment of an awning, marquee or its accompanying structural members on streets, sidewalks or other parts into the public domain.
E. 
Temporary scaffolding or equipment. No scaffolding or other temporary equipment used for construction, repair or maintenance shall be permitted to remain in place beyond a period necessary to reasonably complete the purpose for which such equipment was intended to be used without permission of the public officer.
F. 
Store fronts. All store fronts shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted when necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. In the event repairs to a portion of a store front are made, such repairs shall be performed with materials identical or compatible with the materials used in the area not undergoing repair, to the end that the appearance of the store front shall be uniform and attractive and shall not constitute a negative impact depreciating adjoining properties.
G. 
Unoccupied buildings. All unoccupied buildings, including those areas visible by the public from the public street or sidewalk, must be maintained in broom-clean condition and free of litter.

§ 137-13 Outside storage; waiver.

A. 
Outside storage or display of merchandise or commercial or industrial material or equipment shall be forbidden. However, this section shall not apply to outside storage of motor vehicles, trailers, campers, boats, horticulture or agricultural products or equipment or other similar merchandise held for retail sale upon the approval of the appropriate Borough board. This section shall apply but not be limited to storage of merchandise or equipment in trailers, motor vehicles, shacks, sheds or other outside containers.
B. 
Waiver of this provision may be applied for by written request to the Borough Council and granted based upon the size and kind of merchandise or equipment, duration and location of the outside storage and the purpose of this code.

§ 137-14 Maintenance of parking lots or areas.

Parking lots or parking areas, including the entrances and exits thereto, shall be kept in a good state of repair and maintained so as to comply with § 137-9 hereof. Signage of ownership and use restrictions shall be maintained in good repair, clearly visible to potential parkers. Striping, where appropriate, shall indicate spaces, direction of flow and entrances and exits and be maintained so as to assure visibility.

§ 137-15 Removal of garbage and refuse.

The owner, operator and occupant shall have the duty and responsibility of removing refuse and garbage at least twice per week, but if twice weekly pickup is not sufficient to remove all garbage that accumulates, removal more often shall be required.

§ 137-16 Maintenance of sidewalks.

Every day that the premises is open for business, the occupant shall be responsible for removing litter from the sidewalk or other pedestrian areas, if any, in front of the occupant's commercial premises. The area shall be swept as often as necessary to maintain it free of litter, spillage and other debris.

§ 137-17 Occupant to report violations.

Upon discovery by an occupant of any condition of the premises which constitutes a violation of this article by the owner or operator, the occupant shall report same to the Police Department, Construction Official or Health Officer, who shall be responsible for enforcement of the provisions of this article.

§ 137-18 Occupant to maintain premises.

All parts of the premises under the control of the occupant shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, and the occupant shall refrain from performing any acts which would render other parts of the premises unclean or unsanitary or which would obstruct the owner or operator from performing any duty required hereunder or maintaining the premises in a clean and sanitary condition.

§ 137-19 Premises to be kept free of infestation.

Every owner, operator and occupant shall be responsible for the elimination of infestation in and on the premises subject to his or her control.

§ 137-20 Littering prohibited.

No person shall deposit any litter on the ground in or upon any commercial premises.

§ 137-21 Maintenance requirements for shopping areas.

The owner and operator of every shopping area shall be responsible for providing, maintaining and policing the following:
A. 
Means of ingress and egress shall be clearly marked by signs.
B. 
Parking spaces shall be clearly indicated by painted lines.
C. 
Lanes for the movement of traffic in each direction shall be indicated by arrows indicating one-way traffic which shall be painted in these lanes at both ends.
D. 
A trash basket with at least a twenty-gallon capacity shall be provided for each 150 feet of store frontage in the shopping area. These baskets shall be placed in the walking or pedestrian area and shall be provided with tight-fitting covers fitted with hinged doors and shall not be allowed to overflow.
E. 
Fire zones shall be kept clear of all vehicular traffic and parking, as designated by the Fire Official of the Borough of Westville.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-22 Proper parking required.

It shall be the duty of the owners and operators, where parking spaces and lanes are provided for their customers, to see that all parking is done in conformity with the spaces provided and that the flow of traffic conforms to the directional arrows painted in the lanes between the parking spaces.

§ 137-23 Street numbers. [1]

Each structure to which a street number has been assigned shall have such number displayed in a position and of such size as provided in § 123-4 of this Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-24 Inspections.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
All buildings and premises subject to this code are subject to inspection from time to time by the Construction Official, Health Officer, Police Department, Code Enforcement Officer or any other Borough official charged with the duty of enforcing regulations governing any aspects or conduct of the activity housed in said premises. At the time of such inspections, all parts of the premises must be available and accessible for such inspection, and the owner, operator and occupant are required to provide the necessary arrangements to facilitate such inspections. Such inspections shall be made during open hours of the business occupying said premises unless there is reason to believe a violation exists of a character which is an immediate threat to health or safety requiring inspection and abatement without delay.

§ 137-25 Correction of violation; abatement by municipal officers.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Police Department, Construction Official, Code Enforcement Officer or Health Officer may order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within the period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the measures necessary to remove the hazard, and upon the failure of the operator, owner or occupant to correct said conditions, the Police Department, Construction Official, Code Enforcement Officer or Health Officer shall abate said condition immediately thereafter.

§ 137-26 Lien for abatement.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
Where abatement of any nuisance, as defined herein, or correction of a defect on the premises or the maintenance of the premises in a proper condition to conform to applicable ordinances of the Borough of Westville or the laws of the State of New Jersey requires expenditures of the Borough of Westville's money therefor, the Police Department, Construction Official, Code Enforcement Officer or Health Officer shall present a report of the work accomplished to the governing body of the Borough of Westville, along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken to secure compliance, including notice served upon owners, operators, occupants or their agents, as the case may be, by telephone, telegram, etc. The governing body shall then approve the expenditures made and assess the same against the premises collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving said expenses shall be certified by the Borough Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Borough of Westville, who shall be responsible for the collection thereof, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner. Said costs shall be charged as a lien against the subject lands and premises and shall be added to and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands and premises, to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as taxes.

§ 137-27 Procedure upon discovery of violations.

A. 
Except as provided in § 137-25 hereof, where violations of this code or the regulations hereunder are found to exist, a written notice from the investigating Borough official shall be served on the person or persons responsible for the correction thereof.
[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
B. 
Notice shall be served personally or by certified mail, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. In the case of an occupant, notice may be posted upon the main entrance door of the building, and in the case of an owner who does not reside with the Borough of Westville the last known address shall be the address of the owner as shown in the office of the Tax Collector.
[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
C. 
The notice shall specify the violation or violations committed, what must be done to correct the same, a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days, to abate the violation.
[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
D. 
After 10 days of the date of service of a notice, in the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured or otherwise fully remedied within the time period prescribed in the initial notice or extended time period as permitted by the Investigating Borough Official, a Municipal Court summons shall then issue against such person or persons charged with the violation.
[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
E. 
At the hearing provided hereunder, the Construction Official shall hear all parties, and determination shall be made within 10 days from the completion of the hearing. He or she shall then issue an order incorporating the determinations and direction contained in the notice, modifying said notice if he or she so deems necessary. The Construction Official may extend the time for correction of the violations where he or she deems necessary.
F. 
In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured or otherwise fully remedied within the time period prescribed in the initial notice or extended time period as permitted by the Construction Official, a summons shall then issue against such person or persons charged with the violation.

§ 137-28 Higher standard to prevail.

In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than set forth in any other local ordinances or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards that are set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any other local ordinances or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or code shall prevail.

§ 137-29 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article or any order promulgated hereunder shall, upon conviction, be punished as set forth in Chapter 1, Article I, § 1-15, General penalty, and each violation of any of the provisions of this article, and each day that such violation shall continue shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
[Adopted 10-11-2000 (Ch. 47, Art. II, of the 1974 Code)]

§ 137-30 Purpose.

The purpose of this article shall be to establish certificates of continued occupancy for commercial properties within the Borough of Westville and to provide conditions and restrictions thereon.

§ 137-31 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL, PROFESSIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL PURPOSES
All permissible uses of property other than residential or governmental.
INSPECTOR
The Construction Official or Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Westville or his or her designated representative.
[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
OCCUPANCY
Any use, possession or control of real property by persons, entities or personal property.

§ 137-32 Certificate of continued occupancy required.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009[1]]
No person shall occupy or use any building or portion thereof for commercial or industrial purposes after such building or portion thereof has been vacated or ownership, control or possession transferred until he or she shall have applied for and secured a certificate of continued occupancy therefor from the inspector.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-33 Standards. [1]

The standards to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings and buildings in this Borough are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and/or rental shall be those enumerated in § 137-4 of this article.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-34 Inspections and issuance.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
A. 
No certificate of continuing occupancy shall be issued hereunder until an inspection is made by the inspector of the building or portion thereof requiring a certificate of continuing occupancy hereunder to determine whether the building or a portion thereof and the proposed use therefor complies with the applicable provisions of Article I of this chapter, Maintenance; Chapter 205, Land Use and Development; and any other laws pertaining to the use, occupancy or maintenance of said premises.
B. 
The inspector shall cause such inspection to be made within 10 business days of written application and shall issue a certificate of continuing occupancy only after he or she shall have determined that the premises or proposed use therefor complies with all applicable provisions of the aforesaid laws.
C. 
If the inspector shall determine that the premises or the proposed use thereof are not in compliance with the aforesaid laws, he or she shall deliver written notice thereof to the applicant advising of the respects in which the premises or proposed use therefor do not comply with such laws.
D. 
Upon correction of the violations, the owner or registered agent shall notify the inspector of the corrections, and within seven days a reinspection will be made of the required inspections.
E. 
The inspector may issue a temporary certificate of continuing occupancy, notwithstanding a failure to comply with the aforesaid laws, permitting use or occupancy of the premises while corrective action is being taken and upon such further conditions as he or she deems reasonable, provided that no such temporary certificate shall be issued unless the inspector determines that the same will not pose an imminent or substantial danger to the public health, safety or welfare. In no event shall such temporary certificate be valid for a period of more than 90 days unless good cause is shown to the inspector or his or her designee.

§ 137-35 Denial and appeal.

[Amended 11-10-2009 by Ord. No. 16-2009]
Whenever the Inspector shall deny the issuance of a certificate of continuing occupancy by reason of a determination that the premises or proposed use therefor do not comply with the applicable provisions of any law respecting the use, occupancy or maintenance of said premises, the applicant therefore may appeal, within 10 days, said decision to the Construction Official of the Borough of Westville.

§ 137-36 Effect of article.

This article is intended to supplement existing ordinances and other laws pertaining to the use, occupancy and maintenance of premises within the Borough of Westville and shall not be construed to excuse any person from complying with such other laws.

§ 137-37 Higher standard to prevail.

In any case where the provisions of this article impose a higher standard than set forth in any other local ordinances or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards that are set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this article impose a lower standard than any other local ordinances or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or code shall prevail.

§ 137-38 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person convicted of violating any provisions of this article shall be subject to the penalties as provided for in Chapter 1, Article I, § 1-15, General penalty. Each day upon which a violation hereof exists or occurs shall be deemed to be a separate violation.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 137-39 Civil remedies.

In addition to any penalties which may be imposed herein, the provisions of this article may be enforced in an appropriate civil proceeding through injunctive relief or such other relief as the court deem proper.