[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. XXI, of the Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee, 1978, adopted 3-1-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Asbestos — See Ch. 149.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 155.
Demolition of buildings — See Ch. 166.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 174.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 216.
Hazardous materials — See Ch. 241.
Housing standards — See Ch. 246.
Landscapers and snowplowing contractors — See Ch. 258.
Solid waste — See Ch. 356.
This chapter shall be known as "The Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Fort Lee" and may be referred to in this chapter as the "Property Maintenance Code" or as "this code."
Pursuant to the authority granted by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2, the purposes of this code are hereby stated to be:
To provide for the public health, safety and welfare.
To avoid, prevent and eliminate the maintenance or creation of hazards to the public health or safety.
To avoid, prevent and eliminate conditions which, if permitted to exist or continue, will depreciate or tend to depreciate the value of adjacent or surrounding properties.
To prevent the creation, continuation, extension or aggravation of blight.
To preserve property values in the borough.
To prevent the physical deterioration or progressive downgrading of the quality of housing facilities in the borough.
To maintain the value and economic health of the commercial properties and businesses that serve and help to support the borough and its citizens.
To prevent and eliminate physical conditions in or on property which constitute nuisances and are thereby potentially dangerous or hazardous to the life, health or safety of persons on or near the premises where such conditions exist.
To establish minimum standards governing the maintenance and condition of land, buildings, structures and premises in the borough.
To fix responsibilities and duties thereof upon owners, lessees, operators and occupants of property.
To provide for administration and enforcement.
To fix penalties for the violation of this code.
For the purposes of this code, the following terms, whenever used herein or referred to in this code, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them hereunder unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- Those portions of a building or structure which are exposed to public view or are visible from adjoining or adjacent lots, including all outside surfaces and appurtenances thereto; and the open land space of any premises outside of any building or structure erected thereon.
- A. Any public or private condition that would constitute a nuisance according to the statutes, laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey, its governmental agencies or the ordinances of the borough.
- B. Any physical condition existing in or on the exterior of any premises which is potentially dangerous, detrimental or hazardous to the life, health or safety of persons on, near or passing within the proximity of premises where said condition exists.
- Any person residing, living or sleeping in or on the premises or having actual possession, use or occupancy of a dwelling premises or rooming unit, or any person or entity in possession of or using any premises, or part thereof, whether or not the owner thereof and regardless of the duration of time of such possession, use or occupancy.
- Any person, persons or entity not the owner, who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises, or a part thereof, with or without the knowledge, consent or authority of the owner.
- Any person, persons or entity who shall have legal or equitable title in any form whatsoever to any premises or part thereof with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or who shall have charge, care or control of any lot, premises, building, structure or part thereof, as owner or agent of the owner, or as a fiduciary, trustee, receiver, guardian, lessee or mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person, group of persons or entity who is a lessee, sublessee or assignee of a lessee of any part or all of any building, structure or land shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor for the purposes of this chapter and shall have responsibility over the portion of the premises so sublet, leased or assigned.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, right-of-way or multiples thereof, including the building or structure thereon.
- REFUSE or RUBBISH
- All discarded, useless, unusable, unused or worthless solid waste matter or materials, combustible or noncombustible, including but not limited to garbage, trash, ashes, paper, paper goods and products, wrappings, cans, bottles, containers, yard clippings, garden waste, debris, junk, glass, boxes, crockery, wood, mineral matter, plastic, rubber, leather, furniture household goods, appliances, bedding, scrap lumber, scrap metal, construction material, inoperable machinery or parts thereof, garden or farming implements and supplies, dead or rotting vegetation, tires, abandoned, inoperative or unusable automobiles and vehicles, and solid commercial or industrial waste.
Every residential and nonresidential building, structure, lot and the premises or part of the premises on which it is situated in the borough previously or presently used or intended to be used for dwelling, commercial, business, recreational, service, transportation, institutional, religious, charitable, quasi-public, professional or industrial occupancy and use accessory thereto shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not any such building or structure shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code, and irrespective of any permits or licenses which may have been issued for the use or occupancy of such building or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to the effective date of this code. Vacant lots, lands and premises are also required to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher or stricter standard than set forth in any other ordinance or regulation of the borough, or under the laws or regulations of the State of New Jersey or any of its agencies, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower or lesser standard than any other regulation or ordinance of the borough or the laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey, or any of its agencies, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance, regulation or law shall prevail.
Compliance with this code shall not constitute a defense against any violation of any other ordinance of the borough applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any one act of compliance constitute a defense against any subsequent or other violation of this code.
Owners, operators and occupants shall have all the duties, obligations and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no such person or entity shall be relieved of any such duty, obligation or responsibility hereunder, nor be entitled to assert as a defense against any charge made against him or them for violation of this code the fact that another owner, operator or occupant or any other third person or entity is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Any alterations to building, structures or appurtenances thereto, or changes of use therein, which may be caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this code shall be done in accordance with all applicable sections of the Building Code of the borough.
Nothing contained in the code or any requirement of this code or any requirement of compliance herewith shall be deemed to alter, impair or affect the application of the Zoning Ordinance or zoning laws of the borough.
Nothing in this code shall be deemed to abolish or impair existing remedies of the borough or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or demolition of any buildings or structures which are deemed to be dangerous, unsafe or unsanitary.
In furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, it shall be the duty and responsibility of the owner, operator or occupant of premises to comply with any or all of the requirements and standards of this chapter, to keep the premises free of conditions which constitute violations hereof and to promptly remove, prevent or abate such conditions.
The exterior of all premises shall be kept free of the following matter, materials or conditions:
Refuse, as hereinabove defined.
Rubbish, as hereinabove defined.
Abandoned, uncovered or structurally unsound walls, shafts, towers, exterior cellar openings, basement hatchways, foundations or excavations.
Abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, boilers, hot-water heaters, television sets and other similar major appliances.
Structurally unsafe or unsound buildings, structure or fences.
Rodents, vermin, pest infestations or rodent harborages.
Stagnant surface water or groundwater accumulations which create or are likely to create mosquito or other insect breeding areas.
Nuisances, as hereinabove defined.
Vehicles or parts thereof, including boats and trailers, motorized or not, licensed or unlicensed, registered or unregistered, which vehicles or parts thereof are to have been junked, abandoned or dismantled.
Without limitation by the foregoing, it shall also be the duty and responsibility of owners, occupants or operators to keep all exposed surfaces susceptible to decay at all times painted or otherwise provided with a protective coating sufficient to prevent deterioration and the exterior of all premises, structurally sound, in good general repair and sufficiently maintained, to an extent so as to prevent and avoid conditions that violate the purposes of this chapter, as hereinabove set forth in § 312-2.
This chapter may be enforced by the Building Inspector or his staff designee, and such officer shall, in pursuance of his or her duties herein, be deemed, for purposes of this chapter, the enforcement officer.
Whenever the enforcement officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall give notice of such violation to the person, persons or entities responsible therefor under this chapter. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for its issuance. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly and sufficiently served if a copy thereof is sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the most recent tax lists of the borough, or a copy thereof handed to the person or persons or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of the person or persons or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of the persons or entities. Notice shall be given as aforesaid within or without the Borough of Fort Lee. The notice shall also state that unless the violation is abated, removed, cured, prevented or desisted from within 10 days of the date of service of such notice (exclusive of the date of service), a summons shall issue for such violation. The enforcement officer may, at the time he issues the notice, extend the period for correction of the violation stated in the notice for a period in excess of the aforesaid 10 days if, in his judgment, the abatement, removal, prevention, cessation of or cure of the condition violated cannot reasonably be effected within the ten-day period; and in such cases the enforcement officer shall state such reasonably required extended period in the notice, which shall then be applicable instead of the aforesaid 10 days. In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured, prevented or desisted from or otherwise fully remedied within the ten-day period or within such extended period as set forth in the notice, pursuant to the foregoing, a summons shall then issue against the person, persons, entity or entities so notified.
Whenever the enforcement officer finds that an emergency condition in violation of this chapter exists, which condition requires immediate attention in order to protect the public health or safety, he may issue an order by service of notice as set forth in § 312-15 reciting the existence of such an emergency condition and requiring that such action be taken by the violator as soon as is reasonably necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such an order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon objection in writing to the enforcement officer any such person shall be afforded a hearing before the Board of Health of the borough as soon as is reasonably possible. After such a hearing and decision by the Board of Health as to the existence or nonexistence of the emergency condition, the Board of Health may continue such order in effect, or modify or withdraw it, subject to issuance of a summons for violation thereof, if such order is continued.
Any person or entity who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any order promulgated hereunder shall, after a summons is issued under the terms hereof, upon conviction, be punishable as follows:
For a first offense, by a fine not to exceed $50.
For a second offense, by a fine not to exceed $200.
For a third offense or any subsequent offenses, by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day that each such violation shall continue shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
In addition to the foregoing and all other remedies available to the borough, the Borough Treasurer, upon appropriate notification from the Mayor and Council (after appropriate certification from the enforcement officer), shall place a lien on any property determined by the enforcement officer to be in violation of the provisions of this code in the amount of any and all administrative expenses and any and all actual expenditures for work necessary in order to maintain the property and/or abate the violation. The lien placed upon such lands shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon said lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes.
In any case where a provision of this code is found to be in conflict with or inconsistent with a provision of any other ordinance or code of this municipality which establishes a lower standard for the promotion and protection of the safety, health and welfare of the people, the provisions of this code shall prevail, and such other ordinances or codes or parts thereof are hereby declared to be repealed to the extent that they may be so found to be in conflict with this code.
This code shall not apply to the placement of refuse, rubbish or trash for collection by the borough pursuant to other existing ordinances of the borough as heretofore or hereafter amended or supplemented.
The owner of any tree growing on private property which shall be deemed by the enforcement officer to constitute a danger to public health or property shall, upon 10 days' written notice, directed to the owner at the owner's last known mailing address, cause the tree to be removed or properly pruned or cut back as directed by the enforcement officer. In the event the owner of the tree shall fail to comply with the notice and the instructions therein, the enforcement officers shall be authorized under this section to effect the removal or pruning of the tree and the cost for the removal or pruning shall be charged against the property involved and shall be collected by the borough in the same manner as taxes assessed against the property. This provision shall be in addition to all other penalties herein set forth for the violation of the provision of this chapter.