[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Laurel 8-7-1978 by Ord. No. 1978-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Board of Recreation Commissioners — See Ch. 50.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish rules and regulations governing the use of public parks and recreation areas in the Township of Mount Laurel. Rules of acceptable conduct are established herein for all persons using public park facilities, as well as prohibited activities and procedures for obtaining use permits.
While in a public park or recreational area, all persons shall conduct themselves in a proper and orderly manner, and, in particular, all persons shall obey the following regulations:
All areas and facilities shall be available on a "first come, first served" basis unless the Township has authorized the use of such facilities or areas for specific designated times by written permission as provided for herein. Township officials shall have the authority to regulate activities and use of facilities in such areas to prevent congestion and to secure maximum use for the comfort and enjoyment of all. Visitors shall comply with any directives given for this purpose. The use of any facility shall be reasonable and in lengths of time in relation to the number of persons desiring to use such facilities. No person shall arbitrarily or unreasonably exclude or prevent other persons from using such facilities.
No person shall utilize any facility or area of a park or recreational area for other than the designated use of said facility or area. Participating in or abetting the playing of any games involving thrown or otherwise propelled objects such as balls, stones, arrows, horseshoes, quoits or model airplanes shall be in those areas set apart for such forms of recreation. The playing of rough or potentially injurious games such as football, baseball, lacrosse and hockey shall be allowed only on the fields, courts or areas specifically provided for these uses. Roller skating and skateboarding, if allowed shall be confined to those areas specifically designed for such activities.
General regulations. All persons shall:
Properly maintain all picnic areas by placing all trash, refuse, garbage and debris in designated disposal receptacles where provided. If no trash receptacles are available, or if available but full, then trash shall be carried away from the park area by the picnicker, to be properly disposed of elsewhere.
Maintain all rest rooms and washrooms in a neat and sanitary condition.
Swim, bathe or wade only in public bodies of water specifically designated for such activities. No person shall use any waters customarily designated for the purpose of swimming when such activities are prohibited by the Township.
Obey all regulations where fishing is permitted.
Appear at any park in only proper clothing, and no person shall dress or undress in any place, vehicle or structure except those structures provided and designated by posted notice for such purpose.
Be responsible for preventing the entry of dogs or other domestic animals into areas clearly marked "Domestic Animals Prohibited in This Area." In areas where they are permitted, all pets and animals shall be restrained at all times on adequate leashes not greater than six feet in length. Dogs shall not be permitted to run at large. The riding of horses shall be on designated bridle trails where permitted. Horses shall be thoroughly broken and ridden with due care and shall not be allowed to graze or go unattended, nor shall horses be hitched to any rock, tree or shrub. Where domestic animals are permitted, proper cleanup shall be completed by the responsible person.
Boat only in those waters and at such times as are designated for such purposes by the Township. Any person navigating, directing or handling any boat shall do so in a manner so as to not unjustifiably or unnecessarily annoy, frighten or endanger the occupant of any other boat.
Ride all bicycles with all reasonable regard to the safety of others. Bicycling shall be confined to areas so designated for such activity. Bicycles shall be parked in bicycle racks or other areas when such facilities are provided.
Operate, drive and park vehicles only on roads and parking areas so designated by the Township and only during the times set forth by said Township. Vehicles shall be driven in accordance with posted directions or at the direction of any authorized attendant who may be present.
No person in a public park or recreation area shall:
Willfully mark, deface, disfigure, injure, tamper with, displace or remove any buildings, bridges, tables, fences, benches, fireplaces, grills, paving or paving materials, water lines, public utilities or parts of appurtenances thereof, signs, notices or placards, whether temporary or permanent, monuments, stakes, posts or other boundary markers or other structures, facilities, park property or appurtenances whatever, either real or personal.
Construct or erect any building or structure of whatever kind, whether permanent or temporary, or run or string any public-service utility into, upon, under or across such lands, except by special written permit issued hereunder.
Dig or remove any soil, rock, sand, stones, wood or wood materials or make any excavation by tool, equipment, blasting or other means except with written authorization of the Township.
Damage, cut, carve, transplant or remove any tree or plant or injure the bark, pick flowers or seeds of any plants or tree, dig in or otherwise disturb grass areas or in any other way injure the plant life.
Climb any tree or walk, stand or sit on monuments, planters, fountains, railings, fences or upon any other property not designated or customarily used for such purposes.
Tie or hitch any animal to any tree or plant.
Hunt, molest, harm, frighten, kill, trap, pursue, chase, tease, shoot or throw missiles at any animal, wildlife, reptile or bird, nor shall any person remove or have in his/her possession the young of any wild animals or the eggs or nest or young of any reptile or bird. Exception to the foregoing shall be made in case of self-defense against poisonous snakes.
Throw, discharge or otherwise place or cause to be placed in any body of water, storm sewer or drain flowing into such water, any substance, matter or thing, liquid or solid, which will or may result in the pollution of said waters.
Dump, deposit or leave trash, dirt, bottles, broken glass, refuse, garbage, debris or other waste materials.
Solicit moneys or contributions for any purpose, whether public or private, unless written permission is granted by the Township.
Build, attempt to build or start a fire except in such areas and facilities and under such regulations as may be designated and set forth by the Township. No person shall drop, throw or otherwise scatter lighted matches, burning cigarettes, cigars, tobacco paper or any other flammable material within a park or on any highways, roads or streets abutting or contiguous thereto.
Leave a picnic fire unattended nor leave a picnic area before any fire is completely extinguished.
Have in his/her possession, or set or otherwise cause to explode, discharge or burn, any firecrackers, torpedo rockets or other fireworks and explosives, or discharge or throw said explosives into any such areas from lands or highways adjacent thereto. This prohibition includes any substance, compound, mixture or article that in conjunction with any other substance or compound would be dangerous in terms of flammability and explosion. Upon proper application, the Township may grant permits for conducting properly supervised firework displays in designated park areas.
Carry or possess firearms of any description or air rifles, spring guns, bows and arrows, slings or any other form of weapons dangerous to human safety and wildlife, or any kind of trapping device. Instruments that can be loaded with and fire blank cartridges may be permitted upon application and approval of a special permit in accordance with the standards and regulations set forth herein. Shooting into park areas from beyond park boundaries is forbidden.
Bring alcoholic beverages or drink same at any time in a park or recreational area. This provision shall not apply to properly licensed special events held at the Paws Farm Nature Center, the Mount Laurel Senior/Community Center or the Walton Avenue buildings and shall not apply to Township-sponsored activities in other parks and recreation areas. The service of alcohol is limited to beer and wine only.
[Amended 5-6-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-24; 2-24-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-3]
Gamble or participate in or abet any game of chance except when such game of chance is authorized by permit of the Township.
Paste, glue, tack, nail or otherwise post any sign, placard, advertisement or inscription whatever, nor shall any person erect or cause to be erected any sign whatever on any public lands or highways or roads adjacent to a park.
Disturb or interfere unreasonably with any person or party occupying any area or participating in any activity under the authority of a valid permit.
Expose or offer for sale any article or object, or station or place any stand, cart or vehicle for the transportation, sale or display of any article or object. Exception is hereby made to this subsection in connection with any regularly licensed concessionaire acting by and under the authority and regulation of the Township.
Sleep or protractedly lounge on the seats, benches or other areas of a park or engage in loud, boisterous, threatening, abusive, insulting or indecent language, or engage in any disorderly conduct or behavior tending to breach the public peace and welfare.
Fish in any area where bathing is permitted.
Leave a bicycle lying on the ground or pavement or set against trees or in any other place or position where other persons may trip over or be injured by it.
Go onto the ice except in such areas designated as skating ponds and provided a safety signal is displayed.
Fail to produce and exhibit any permit from the Township he/she claims to have upon request of any Township official who shall desire to inspect the same for the purpose of enforcing compliance with any ordinance or rule.
Occupy any seat or bench or enter into or loiter or remain in any pavilion or any other park structure or section thereof which may be reserved or designated by the Township for the use of a specific group.
Frequent any waters or places designated for the purposes of swimming or bathing, or congregate thereat, except between such hours of the day as shall be designated by the Township for such purposes.
Picnic or lunch in a place other than those places designated for that purpose. Attendants shall have the authority to regulate this activity in such areas when necessary to prevent congestion and to secure the maximum use for the comfort and convenience of all. Visitors shall comply with any regulations to achieve this end.
Cause or permit the vehicle he/she is operating to stand outside of designated parking spaces, except for a reasonable time to receive or discharge passengers or equipment. No motor vehicle shall be parked in said park areas from 1/2 hour after sunset until sunrise, except as otherwise permitted.
[Added 8-16-1982 by Ord. No. 1982-29; amended 9-20-1982 by Ord. No. 1982-32]
The public parks and recreation areas of the Township of Mount Laurel shall operate between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. during the months of May, June, July, August, September and October and from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the remaining months of the calendar year. In addition, special application may be made to the appropriate personnel to extend the hours, said hours to be extended by permit.
Any person present on the public parks or recreation areas before opening time and after closing time shall be deemed to be in violation of this section.
Except for unusual and unforeseen emergencies, all parks shall be open to the public every day of the year during the hours designated by the Township. Any area or facility may be declared closed to the public by the Township at any time and for any interval of time, either temporarily or at regular and stated intervals (daily or otherwise).
Permits for special events or use of particular areas or facilities of a park or recreational area shall be granted by the Township after submission and review of an application in accordance with the following standards and regulations:
The application shall contain the following information:
The name and address of the applicant.
The name and address of the person, persons, corporation, association or organization; the name and address of the president and secretary of said organization and relationship of applicant to said organization.
The date and time for which permit is desired.
The park or portion thereof for which such permit is desired.
The activity to be undertaken or reason for the application.
The number of persons anticipated to participate.
Any other information which the Township shall find reasonably necessary to make a fair determination as to whether a permit should be issued.
Standards for issuance of a use permit by the Township. Standards may include the following findings:
That the proposed activity or use of the park or recreational area will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the general public enjoyment of the park.
That the proposed activity and use will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the promotion and maintenance of public health, welfare, safety and recreation.
That the proposed activity or uses that are reasonably anticipated will not induce or tend to induce violence, crime or disorderly conduct.
That the proposed activity will not entail extraordinary or burdensome expense or police operation by the Township.
That any fees assessed participants or requests for contributions will be solely for the purpose of offsetting or equaling the organization's reasonable expectation of expenses to be incurred.
That the facilities desired have not been reserved for another use at the date and time requested in the application.
Conditions of issuance. All permits issued shall be on the condition that:
The permittee shall be bound by all park rules and regulations and all applicable ordinances fully as though the same were inserted in the permit.
The person, persons or organization to whom the permit is issued shall be liable for all loss, damage or injury sustained by any person whatever by reason of negligence of the person, persons or organization to whom such permit shall have been issued. The Township shall have the right to require that prior to the issuance of a permit or commencement of the activity, the applicant submit evidence of liability insurance covering injuries to members of the general public arising out of such permitted activities, in such amounts as may be om time to time determined by the Township and which names the Township of Mount Laurel as additional insured. The Township will also require a hold-harmless waiver to be signed by applicant.
[Amended 2-24-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-3]
The permittee shall maintain the park, recreational area or facilities by removing all trash or debris and restoring the area or facilities to a condition equal to or better than its condition prior to the granting of the permit. In the event that special or extraordinary maintenance is required or additional costs are incurred for a proposed use or activity, such costs shall be borne by the applicant.
No structures shall be erected or placed, no utilities installed, run or extended and no alteration of a natural or man-made feature, facility or object shall be allowed unless so authorized in the permit issued by the Township and, when so authorized, in accordance with its requirements for such use and alterations.
No permit shall be valid except for the facilities, area and time expressly set forth therein.
The permittee will obey any other reasonable requirement, condition or restriction which the Township authorizes.
Fees may be charged for a permit and the Township may require a cash deposit or bond in reasonable amount to ensure performance of the terms and conditions of the permit, which deposit shall be refundable after deducting the cost of necessary expenses incurred by the Township in restoring the leased area to the condition the same was in at the time the permit was issued, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
Submission of applications. Applications for permits shall be submitted to the Township or its duly authorized representatives. If a permit is denied, the applicant shall be given written notice setting forth the reasons therefor.
Denial of permit. If a permit is denied by the Township's authorized representative, the applicant shall have the right to appeal said decision to the Township Council by serving written notice thereof on the Municipal Clerk within five days from receipt of notice of denial. A copy of said notice shall also be served on the Township's authorized representatives which denied the permit within the same time and said representative shall immediately forward the application and the reasons for its refusal to the Township Council, which shall consider the application under the standards set forth in this section. The Township Council shall consider such appeal at its next regular meeting or prior thereto at a special meeting, which appeal shall be considered on the record without public hearing. In any event, the Township Council shall affirm, reverse or modify the decision to deny the permit within 30 days from the filing of notice of appeal, in default whereof the appeal shall be considered denied. Written notice of the decision of the Township Council upon any appeal shall be given to the applicant within 10 days thereof.
Revocation of permit. The Township's authorized representative shall have the authority to revoke a permit if the applicant or any person acting in his behalf shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation of the Township or any of the restrictions, terms or conditions under which the permit was issued. In the event of such revocation, the applicant shall have the right to appeal to the Township Council in the same manner and on the same terms set forth above.
[Added 6-1-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-11; amended 10-5-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-17; 9-20-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-14; 3-7-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-1; 2-11-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-2; 2-24-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-3]
The Township or its duly authorized representatives, including the custodians, supervisors and assistants appointed by the Township, or any police officer, shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and shall have authority to eject from any park or recreation area any person or persons acting in violation thereof and shall also have the authority to seize and confiscate any property, thing or device which is being used in a park or recreational area in violation thereof.
Violations. Any person who shall violate any rules, regulations or bylaws duly adopted by the Township may be deemed and adjudged a disorderly person by any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by law.
Penalties. Any person violating any of the provisions hereof, or any rule, regulation or bylaws of the Township shall, upon conviction, be subject to a penalty, either imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both, in the discretion of the court, and the court may also order the replacement, repair or restoration of any property damaged by such person in a park or recreational area.
[Amended 10-1-1984 by Ord. No. 1984-33]