[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hillsborough as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-16-1978 by Ord. No. 78-5; amended 7-25-1995 by Ord. No. 95-28 (Ch. 69, Art. I, of the 1977 Code)]
The Construction Official of the Township of Hillsborough is hereby designated and appointed to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Official by a public authority or by at least five residents of the municipality, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Construction Official (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Construction Official shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner or the parties in interest in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Construction Official or his designated agent, at a place therein fixed, not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the service of said complaint.
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 give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint.
The Construction Official may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the Township of Hillsborough.
If, after notice and hearing as set forth in § 132-2A and B, the Construction Official determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said building to be made by the owner within a reasonable period of time as established by the Construction Official, but not to exceed 30 days, or permitting the owner, at his option, to vacate or have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
If the building is in such a 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 improve said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish said building within a reasonable period of time as established by the Construction Official, but not to exceed 30 days, as specified in the order of removal.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The Construction Official may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed, a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
The amount of the cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this act determined in favor of the municipality and such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing 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 shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred.
If the building is removed or demolished by the Construction Official, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof, the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building.
If there are no such credits set forth in Subsection B above 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 registered mail.
If the total of the credits exceed such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Construction Official and 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, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise.
Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate set forth in Subsection A above, 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.
The Construction Official for the Township of Hillsborough is hereby authorized 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 powers in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the municipality in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entry shall be made in such a manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
[Adopted 7-25-1995 by Ord. No. 95-28 (Ch. 69, Art. II, of the 1977 Code)]
Authority. This article is enacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12(a) which authorizes the governing body of a municipality to make an ordinance to regulate buildings and structures and their use and occupation to prevent and abate conditions therein harmful to the health and safety of the occupants of said buildings and structures and the general public in the municipality:
Inspection. Authority to conduct inspections of buildings, under this article, to insure the health, safety and welfare of the municipality and its residents is as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12(a)1.
Article as supplement to other authorities. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12(b), the authority conferred by this article shall be in addition to authorities heretofore or hereafter conferred on the governing bodies of municipalities with respect to the construction and maintenance of buildings and structures, local health ordinances and the removal or destruction of buildings and structures and parts thereof endangering the public health and safety.
The Township Committee, by resolution of its governing body, may abate a nuisance, correct a defect or put the premises in proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of any municipal ordinance or state law applicable thereto, at the cost of the owner or lessor, and expend municipal funds for such purpose and charge the same against the premises, and the amount thereof as determined by the governing body of the municipality shall be a lien against the premises.
Services of notices under this chapter shall be made upon the owner, lessor or agent. In the event of inability to serve the owner, lessor or agent after reasonable effort, sufficient notice shall be deemed to have been given if such notice is posted upon the premises in a conspicuous place.
Prior to the public meeting at which the Township Committee may adopt a resolution pursuant to § 132-10 hereinabove, notice shall be provided to the owner, lessor or agent as to the action which may be taken by the Township Committee. Said owner, lessor or agent shall be given the opportunity to appear at that meeting and present any and all arguments in opposition to the proposed resolution.
[Amended 8-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-13]
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,250 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both. A separate offense shall be deemed committed for each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
The Township Committee may appoint a custodian of any such building or structure who may be either an officer of the municipality or any other person specially designated to enter into and take charge of the premises and supervise the abatement of the nuisance, the correction of the defective condition or the maintenance of the premises in a proper condition so as to conform to the requirements of municipal ordinances and state laws applicable thereto. In any case, reasonable compensation shall be paid to the custodian, and the cost and expenses shall be collectable as provided in § 132-10 hereinabove.
The within article is intended to apply with respect to nuisances, defects, etc. involving the use, storage, sale and disposal of inflammable or combustible materials so that the protection of life and property from fire, explosions and other dangers is provided for. Inspection to assure such protection shall involve buildings, warehouses and other places and premises where goods and materials are contained.
The enforcement officer for the article shall be the Township Construction Official, Township Engineer, Public Health Officer, Zoning Officer or such other municipal official as may be designated by resolution of the Township Committee.