Township of Hillsborough, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hillsborough 10-8-1985 by Ord. No. 85-16 (Ch. 71 of the 1977 Code); amended in its entirety 5-27-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 124.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 132.
Littering — See Ch. 197.
Surface water runoff — See Ch. 262.
Solid waste — See Ch. 255.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 309.

§ 232-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to protect the public health, safety, morals and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of nonresidential premises and multifamily dwellings by establishing standards governing facilities and conditions of said facilities and fixing penalties for the violation of this article.

§ 232-2 Definitions.

The following terms, wherever used herein, shall have the following meanings:
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTIES
A building or buildings or any part thereof and the lot or tract of land upon which the building or buildings are situated, where commercial and/or industrial activity of any kind takes place.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Township Enforcement Officer shall be defined as the Zoning Officer, Health Officer, Chief Construction Official, Township Engineer or any other Township officials so designated by the Township Committee to enforce the provisions of this article. Nothing herein shall preclude any Township employee engaged in the enforcement of laws and ordinances from enforcing the provisions hereof.
EXTERIOR OF THE 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.
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING
This means any building or structure and any land appurtenant thereto and any portion thereof, in which three or more dwelling units are occupied or intended to be occupied by three or more persons living independently of each other. Multifamily dwelling also means any group of 10 or more buildings on a single parcel of land or on contiguous parcels under common ownership, in each of which two dwelling units are occupied or intended to be occupied by two persons or households living independently of each other, and any land appurtenant thereto, and any portion thereof.

§ 232-3 Exterior maintenance standards.

A. 
Landscaping. All commercial, industrial and multifamily dwelling properties shall be kept landscaped in accordance with or equal to the original landscape site plan as approved by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment. Bushes, lawns, hedges and all other features included in the approved landscape plan shall be maintained and kept from becoming overgrown and unsightly or in any form of neglect or disrepair. Landscaping violation complaints may be brought by any resident or the Township Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Parking lots. All parking lots shall be maintained, where applicable, according to the original site plan or any amendments thereto. The surface of the pavement shall be kept in a good state of repair, free from pot holes, defects, debris, rubbish, rocks and litter. Parking lot violation complaints may be brought by an resident or the Township Enforcement Officer.
C. 
Lighting. Lighting requirements shall be in accordance with Chapter 188, § 188-57, of the Hillsborough Township Municipal Code, or as indicated in an approved site plan.
D. 
Refuse and natural growth. The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances, unsanitary conditions and any hazards to the safety or health of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and any of the foregoing conditions shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner/operator. It shall be the duty of the owner/operator to keep the premises free of such conditions which include, but are not limited to, the following:
[Amended 11-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
(1) 
Brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash, refuse and debris.
(2) 
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.
(3) 
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.
(4) 
Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, litter, icy conditions, uncleared snow and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises. Holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired. Walks and steps replaced and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery.
(5) 
Accumulations of water, vegetation or other matter which might serve as a source of food or as a harboring or breeding place for infestation.
(6) 
Walks, courts and other paved areas shall be kept clean of litter, dirt, mud or other conditions hazardous to pedestrians.
E. 
Stormwater facilities.
[Added 11-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
(1) 
All parts of the premises shall be graded and, where necessary, provided with runoff drains and other means to carry off and dispose of surface water in such a manner as to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulations of stormwater on the premises, without causing excessive accumulations of water on adjoining properties.
(2) 
All parts of the premises shall drain within 24 hours of the cessation of any storm.
(3) 
The property owner is responsible to maintain all stormwater facilities on site. The property owner must submit an annual inspection report prepared by a professional engineer or New Jersey certified stormwater inspector to the Hillsborough Engineering Department by June 30 of each year. The inspection report must reference review all stormwater facilities on site, including retention/detention systems, stormwater catch basins, drainage ditches/swales, stormwater pipe systems and porous pavement. The inspection report must reference whether the stormwater facilities are in good working order and whether any repairs or maintenance are required. All repairs and maintenance referenced in the inspection report must be completed by October 1 of each year. Failure to comply may result in the issuance of a notice of violation and the imposition of the penalties set forth herein.

§ 232-4 Structural soundness.

With respect to every industrial, commercial and multifamily dwelling property and accessory structures related thereto:
A. 
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, fence or other improvement on the premises shall be kept in good repair and all exposed surfaces subject to deterioration shall be protected against weathering or deterioration by a protective coating appropriate for the particular material involved as needed.
B. 
All exterior windows and window frames shall be painted with at least one coat of suitable exterior paint or other preservative as needed, except where constructed of an approved atmospheric corrosion/resistant metal or other equivalent material.
C. 
All exposed surfaces susceptible to decay shall be kept at all times painted or otherwise provided with a protective coating sufficient to prevent deterioration. Damage to materials must be repaired or replaced. Places showing signs of rot, leakage, deterioration or corrosion, weathering or seepage are to be restored and protected.
D. 
The exterior surfaces shall be maintained to eliminate conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance such as broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick or excessive peeling of paint.
E. 
The exterior of the buildings shall be free of loose material that may create a hazard by falling on persons utilizing the premises.
F. 
All exterior walls, roofs, windows, window frames, doors, door frames, sky lights, foundations and other parts of the structure shall be maintained as to keep water from entering the structure to prevent excessive drafts or heat loss during cold or inclement weather and to provide a barrier against infestation. Damaged or badly worn materials shall be repaired or replaced and places showing signs of rot, leakage or deterioration or corrosion shall be treated or restored to prevent weathering or seepage.
G. 
Leaders and drain pipes shall be securely fastened to the building and maintained in good condition free of leaks, kept clean and free of obstructions and shall direct storm waters in to draining systems and away from the foundation walls of the structure.

§ 232-5 Waste disposal.

A. 
Except where an alternative method providing equivalent health and safety methods is utilized, such as incineration or compaction, there shall be provided for each commercial, industrial and multifamily dwelling property, noncorrosive, impervious and noncombustible receptacles sufficient in size and number to contain waste accumulated in each separate building, pending collection, either in conformance with the municipal collection schedule, or, in the absence thereof, twice weekly. The receptacle shall be so constructed as to hold their contents without leakage and shall be provided with tight fitting covers and handles.
B. 
Receptacles for the collection of garbage shall be located so as not to constitute a hazard and located so as to be accessible to the collection agency.
C. 
Garbage collection receptacles shall be kept covered, shall be maintained in good repair and shall be kept in the area designated for storage of such receptacles. All such receptacles shall be cleaned and disinfected at least once a week.

§ 232-6 Notice of violation.

The Township Enforcement Officer upon becoming aware of a violation of the standards set forth herein, shall immediately post a notice of the violation with the property owner or leave said notice in a noticeable place on the property. Said notice shall advise the owner that the violation is to be removed within 10 days and shall indicate that, upon failing same, a municipal official may see to said removal at the owner's expense.

§ 232-7 Applicability and conflict with other laws.

With respect to multifamily dwelling properties, this article is intended to supplement that section of the New Jersey Administrative Code entitled "Regulations Per Maintenance of Hotels and Multifamily Dwellings" as promulgated by the State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs, Division of Housing. The owners of multifamily dwellings are to understand that they are required to comply with both the state code with respect to multifamily dwellings and the regulations contained within this article. In any case where the provisions of this article impose a higher standard than as set forth in the Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multifamily Dwellings, the standards set forth herein shall prevail but, if the provisions of this article impose a lower standard than the state code with respect to multifamily dwellings, then the higher standard contained in the state regulations are to apply.

§ 232-8 Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,250 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.

§ 232-9 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to protect the public health, safety, morals and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of vacant and abandoned properties by establishing standards governing facilities and conditions of said facilities and fixing penalties for the violation of this article.

§ 232-10 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Township Enforcement Officer shall be defined as the Zoning Officer, Health Officer, Construction Official, Township Engineer or any other Township officials so designated by the Township Committee to enforce the provisions of this article. Nothing herein shall preclude any Township employee engaged in the enforcement of laws and ordinances from enforcing the provisions hereof. The Construction Official shall be responsible for enforcement of violations of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.
EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
Those portions of a residential structure or accessory structure on residential property which are exposed to public view and the surrounding open space.
NUISANCES AND HAZARDS
The following shall be considered nuisances and hazards for the purposes of this article:
A. 
Any residential structure or accessory structure in disrepair by reason of deteriorating conditions or storm damage;
B. 
Out-of-service swimming pools in disrepair by reason of deteriorating conditions or storm damage;
C. 
Dead, rotting or diseased trees;
D. 
Loose and overhanging tree limbs;
E. 
Accumulated junk, litter or debris;
F. 
Accumulated hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials; and
G. 
Overgrown or neglected lawns, bushes, trees, shrubbery and landscaping.
RESPONSIBLE PARTY
The title owner of a vacant and abandoned property or a creditor responsible for the maintenance of a property pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51.
STREET ADDRESS
An address at which a natural person who is the responsible party or an authorized agent actually resides or actively uses for business purposes, and shall include a street name or rural delivery route.
VACANT AND ABANDONED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Any improved residential property which is not physically occupied by a title owner, title owner's family member, title owner's relative or a tenant of the title owner and at which at least three of the following conditions exist at the property:
A. 
Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
B. 
The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, or mail on the property;
C. 
Disconnected gas, electric or water utility services to the property;
D. 
The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
E. 
The accumulation of junk, litter, trash, or debris on the property;
F. 
The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains, or shutters;
G. 
The absence of furnishings and personal items;
H. 
Statements of neighbors, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the property is vacant and abandoned;
I. 
Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off, or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken, and unrepaired;
J. 
Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
K. 
A risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the public or any adjoining or adjacent property owners due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or physical destruction or deterioration of the property;
L. 
An uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing, or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied;
M. 
The mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing;
N. 
A written statement issued by mortgagee expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property; or
O. 
Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
YARD
An open space extending between the closest point of any building and a lot line or street line, excluding those portions of the yard that are critical areas as defined in § 188-3 and/or subject to conservation restrictions.

§ 232-11 Registration of vacant and abandoned residential properties.

A. 
Registration. The responsible party for a vacant and abandoned residential property shall file a certificate of registration with the Township Clerk within 90 days after receipt of notice, pursuant to § 232-14, that the property has been determined to be vacant and abandoned, or within 30 days after the responsible party assumes ownership of or responsibility for a property already determined to be vacant and abandoned, whichever is later. A certificate of registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of issuance and shall be renewed on an annual basis if the property remains vacant and abandoned.
B. 
Form of certificate of registration. The certificate of registration shall be filed on forms prescribed by the Township Clerk and shall contain:
(1) 
The name, street address, and telephone number of a person who resides or maintains an office within the state and who is either the responsible party or an authorized agent designated by the responsible party to receive notices and complaints of property maintenance and code violations on behalf of the responsible party;
(2) 
The name, street address, and telephone number of the person responsible for maintaining the property, if different; and
(3) 
A certificate from a licensed insurance provider evidencing the liability insurance coverage on the vacant and abandoned residential property as required by § 232-12.
C. 
Certificate of registration amendments. A responsible party for a vacant and abandoned residential property shall file an amended certificate of registration within 30 days after any change in the information required to be included thereon.
D. 
Certificate of registration fees. The following fees for a certificate of registration shall be paid by the responsible party:
(1) 
For the initial registration fee: $250.
(2) 
For all annual renewals of the registration where there are no outstanding property maintenance or code violations at the time of renewal: $250; and
(3) 
For annual renewal of the registration where there are outstanding property maintenance or code violations at the time of renewal: $500.

§ 232-12 Security; notification; liability insurance.

Within 45 days after the property has been determined to be vacant and abandoned and until the property is reoccupied, the responsible party for a vacant and abandoned residential property shall:
A. 
Enclose and secure the property against unauthorized entry;
B. 
Post a sign affixed to the inside of the property and visible to the public indicating the name, address, and telephone number of the responsible party, any authorized agent designated by the responsible party for the purpose of receiving service of process, and the person responsible for maintaining the property if different from the responsible party or authorized agent; and
C. 
Acquire and otherwise maintain liability insurance by procuring a vacancy policy, covering any damage to any person or any property caused by any physical condition of the property.

§ 232-13 Maintenance standards for vacant and abandoned residential properties.

Vacant and abandoned residential properties shall be maintained in accordance with the following standards:
A. 
The property shall be kept free of all nuisances and hazards, litter and debris.
B. 
The property shall be kept free of accumulations of water, vegetation or other matter which might serve as a source of food or as a harboring or breeding place for infestation.
C. 
Grass in the yard area shall be cut and maintained so as to prevent the grass from growing to seed or exceeding 14 inches in height.
D. 
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, or other improvement on the premises shall be kept in good repair and all exposed surfaces subject to deterioration shall be protected against weathering or deterioration by a protective coating appropriate for the particular material involved as needed.
E. 
The exterior of the buildings shall be free of loose material that may create a hazard by falling on persons utilizing the premises.
F. 
All exterior walls, roofs, windows, window frames, doors, door frames, sky lights, foundations and other parts of the structure shall be maintained to keep water from entering the structure and to prevent excessive drafts or heat loss during cold or inclement weather and to provide a barrier against infestation. Damaged or badly worn materials shall be repaired or replaced and places showing signs of rot, leakage or deterioration or corrosion shall be treated or restored to prevent weathering or seepage.
G. 
Leaders and drain pipes shall be securely fastened to the building and maintained in good condition free of leaks and free of obstructions and shall direct stormwater into draining systems or away from the foundation walls of the structure.

§ 232-14 Notice of vacancy and abandonment.

Upon determination of the enforcement officer that a residential property is vacant and abandoned, the enforcement officer shall notify the responsible party by personal service, registered mail or posting of notice in a noticeable place on the property of the determination and the requirements of this article.

§ 232-15 Notice of violation.

The enforcement officer upon determination of any violation of the provisions of this article, or any other applicable ordinances, statutes or regulations, shall serve a notice of such violation on the responsible party by personal service, registered mail or posting of notice in a noticeable place on the property. The notice shall advise the responsible party of the violation and the obligation to remedy the same within 10 days from the date of the notice. If the violation is not remedied to the satisfaction of the enforcement officer within said 10 days, the enforcement officer may issue a summons to the responsible party and request the governing body to adopt a resolution authorizing the municipality to abate the violation and place the property in compliance with the provisions of this article and any other applicable ordinances, statutes or regulations at the responsible party's sole cost and expense and impose a lien on the property for all costs and fees associated therewith.

§ 232-16 Abatement by municipality; Costs as lien.

Upon adoption of a resolution by the governing body, the municipality may abate any nuisance, hazard or violation and place the property in compliance with the provisions of this article and any other applicable ordinances, statutes or regulations. The enforcement officer shall certify the costs thereof to the governing body. The governing body shall review the certificate of costs and, if found acceptable, authorize a lien be placed against the property. The amount of the lien shall be added to the taxes to be assessed and levied upon the property. The amount of the lien shall also bear interest at the same rate as taxes and be collected in the same manner as any other taxes assessed and levied upon the property.

§ 232-17 Violations and penalties.

Any person or entity that violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not less than $500 nor more than $1,000. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense. Any penalty imposed pursuant to this section shall be recoverable by a summary proceeding under the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999, P.L. 1999, c. 274 (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et seq.). The Superior Court, Law Division, or the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce such penalty.