Township of East Amwell, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of East Amwell 3-12-2015 by Ord. No. 15-04. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 61.

§ 61-1 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.
MAYOR AND COMMITTEE
The Mayor and Committee of the Township of East Amwell; however, no reference to the "Mayor and Committee" shall be construed as to confer any additional powers on the Mayor other than those conferred on him/her as a member of the Committee.
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.

§ 61-2 Enforcement and administration.

A. 
The Construction Code Official, the Mayor and Committee, and the Township Administrator are hereby designated as the officers to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter and as pertaining to the New Jersey adopted International Building Code (IBC) requirements and shall serve in their respective capacities without any additional salary. The Construction Code Official shall have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to the interpretation and application of the Uniform Construction Code.
B. 
The Mayor and Committee, as an agency of the Township or its designee, are authorized to administer this chapter, and the words "administrative authority" as used in this chapter shall refer to the Mayor and Committee of the Township of East Amwell.

§ 61-3 Determination of unsafety and unfitness.

For the purpose of this chapter, the Construction Code Official may determine that a building is unsafe and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use if the Construction Code Official finds that conditions exist therein which are noncompliant with applicable construction codes and present a potential hazard to the health or safety of occupants or users of such building, the occupants or users of neighboring buildings or other residents or visitors of the Township. Such conditions may include the following, without limiting the generality of the foregoing: defects therein posing an unreasonable risk of fire, accident or other calamities to the occupants or users of such building; lack of adequate ventilation, heat, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair, structural defects; noncompliance with New Jersey State Housing Code.

§ 61-4 Complaints.

Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Code Official by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 or by at least five residents of the Township, charging that any building is unsafe and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Construction Code Official (on his own motion) that any building is unsafe and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing shall be held before the Construction Code Official or his/her designated agent at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint. At the request of the Construction Code Official, and with the permission of the Mayor and Committee, the Township Attorney and Township Administrator may attend such hearing to provide legal advice on behalf of the Township. 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 time and place fixed in the complaint. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings pursuant to this chapter.

§ 61-5 Order to abate or demolish.

A. 
If after notice and hearing, as provided above, the Construction Code Official determines that the building under consideration is unsafe and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he/she shall state in writing the findings of fact in support of such determination, state which conditions render the building unsafe and unfit, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
(1) 
Requiring the repair, alteration, or mitigation of conditions identified by the Construction Code Official that make said building unsafe and unfit for human habitation, occupancy, or usage to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or have the building vacated and secured against further entry within the time set forth in the order.
(2) 
If the building is in such 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 mitigate the identified conditions within the time specified in the order, the owner shall remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
B. 
The Construction Code Official or his/her designee shall monitor the progress of compliance with an order issued pursuant to this chapter; and, if the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or mitigate the identified conditions, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and secure the building against unauthorized entry, or to remove or demolish the building; the Construction Code Official shall post on the main entrance of any building so secured a placard with the following words: "This building is unsafe and unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
C. 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to mitigate certain conditions, remove or demolish the building, the Mayor and Committee, by resolution and in accordance with Township procedures, may direct such conditions to be mitigated, or the building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the mitigation of certain conditions, or removal or demolition of the building after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
D. 
If the unsafe and unfit conditions are mitigated, or the building is removed or demolished by order of the Mayor and Committee, issued pursuant to a resolution of the Township Committee, the salvage materials of such building may be sold. There shall be credited against the cost of mitigation, removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the mitigation of certain conditions, 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 Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by certified mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court, 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 that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the Township to define and declare nuisances, safety threats and to cause their mitigation, removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise. Any owner or party in interest may, within 30 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.

§ 61-6 Costs to become lien.

The following costs shall become a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred:
A. 
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witness fees, search fees, advertising charges, and other administrative costs incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the Township; and
B. 
The cost of such repairs or alterations needed to mitigate the conditions identified hereunder or of vacating and securing 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.

§ 61-7 Service of complaints or orders.

Complaints or orders issued by the Construction Code Official or the Mayor and Committee pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by certified mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and cannot be ascertained by the Construction Code Official or Mayor and Committee in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Construction Code Official or Mayor and Committee makes an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing it once in the Township's designated notification newspaper(s). A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order and copy shall be recorded or lodged for record with the Hunterdon County recording officer.

§ 61-8 Powers of Construction Code Official, Mayor and Committee, and Township Administrator.

In accordance with applicable law, the Construction Code Official, Mayor and Committee, and Township Administrator are authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following, in addition to others herein granted:
A. 
Based upon complaint or observation, the Construction Code Official is authorized and empowered to investigate the dwelling conditions or use of structures in the Township in order to determine fitness and safeness for human habitation or use.
B. 
The Construction Code Official or his designee is authorized and empowered to administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
The Construction Code Official is authorized and empowered to enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided that entry is made upon reasonable notice to the owner and in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession and entry is lawful.
D. 
The Construction Code Official and Mayor and Committee, or their delegates, are authorized and empowered to appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as they deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

§ 61-9 Demolition permit required.

The owner of any building located within the limits of the Township who desires to demolish it pursuant to an order issued under this chapter shall first obtain a permit for that purpose from the Construction Code Official and pay a fee as provided for in Chapter 66, Construction Codes, Uniform, for each building or structure to be demolished. The fee shall be paid prior to the issuance of any such permit.