[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Woodbury 3-10-1998 by Ord. No. 1849-98. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Usage of certain words. Whenever the words "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "flat," "semidetached house," "hotel," "motel," "rooming unit," "boardinghouse" and "premises" are used in this chapter, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation of this chapter:
- That portion of a building located partly underground but having half or more than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height above the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- A room which has a floor area, including fixtures, of at least 35 square feet and which contains a minimum of one flush water closet, one washbasin and one tub or shower stall.
- Any private dwelling or dwelling unit where the owner, tenant or operator thereof is engaged in keeping one or more roomers or boarders who are not the husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother of the owner, tenant or operator or of the spouse of the owner, tenant or operator and engaged in serving food to some or all of such lodgers, for a part of a day or longer period, under expressed contract or rate of payment.
- Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenance belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- That portion of a building located partly or wholly underground and having more than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- The condition or appearance of a building or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- Partial ruin or decay because of neglect.
- The state of needing repair.
- Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for toilet and bathing needs, living, sleeping and cooking by human occupants.
- DWELLING UNIT, APARTMENT, FLAT OR LIVING UNIT (or other similar designation)
- Any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling or building and forming a single habitable housekeeping unit for one or more persons for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking and toilet and bathing needs.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Mayor and City Council, or whenever action is taken hereunder by resolution, such term shall mean the City Council.
- The presence within or around a building and/or dwelling of any insects, rodents or other pests.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING OR APARTMENT HOUSE
- Any dwelling containing more than two dwelling units.
- Any person over one year of age living, sleeping, cooking or eating in or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a building or part thereof in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
- (1) Shall have legal title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, hotel, motel, rooming house, rooming unit or boardinghouse, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
- (2) Shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling, dwelling unit, hotel, motel, rooming house, rooming unit, commercial building or boardinghouse as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner, designated by him by name and address, shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto to the same extent as if he were the owner. An owner who is a nonresident shall indicate the person responsible for acceptance of notice or orders, listing the name and address of such persons with the partnership or corporation, and shall list such persons with the public officer.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individual, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- Includes any individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership or other entity.
- Includes all of the following supplied piping, facilities and equipment: the house sewer from the septic tank, cesspool, curb or property line to the building foundation; the water service from the curb or property line to the building foundation, or from the well to the building foundation; the system of soil, vent and waste pipes from their connection at the foundation to the house sewer, to their connections to the various plumbing fixtures and to their termination through the roof; all hot- and cold-water lines in the dwelling or building; every plumbing fixture, trap, floor drain or any fixture directly or indirectly connected to the plumbing system; the gas piping from the gas meter to the connections to the various gas appliances; and any other similar supplied fixtures, together with all connections to water, sewer or gas lines.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the City, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the City.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer, officers, party or body who is or who are authorized by this chapter or by any resolution adopted hereunder to exercise the powers prescribed by such laws and by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 to 40:48-2.12, inclusive.
- ROOMING HOUSE
- Any dwelling or part of any dwelling containing one or more rooming units in which space is let by the operator to one or more persons who are not the husband and wife, son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother of the owner or operator or of the spouse of the owner, tenant or operator.
- ROOMING UNIT
- A room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping and having a private bathroom or the use of a common bathroom with other rooming units in the same building within the meaning of this chapter, but such rooming units shall not be used for cooking or eating purposes.
- Combustible and noncombustible waste material, including boxes, barrels, sticks, stones, bricks, bottles, cans, metal drums, iron pipe, old sheet metal, old furniture, unused motor vehicles and boats, auto parts, tires, unused bicycles and bicycle parts, filth, junk, trash, debris, old lumber or firewood unless such lumber or firewood is neatly stacked and not more than five feet in height or piled on supports or a platform at least eight inches above the ground. It shall also include weeds or grass that has attained a growth of more than 10 inches in height. It shall also include diverse or sundry articles which the public officer in his judgment shall declare to be "rubbish."
- Paid for, furnished or provided by or under the control of the owner or operator.
The public officer or officers charged with the enforcement of this chapter may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or 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 City. Such conditions shall be deemed to include the following (without limiting the generality of the foregoing):
Defects increasing the hazard of fire, accident or other calamities.
Lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities.
Dilapidation and disrepair.
Any other condition or conditions deemed inimical to the welfare of the occupants or residents of the City of Woodbury.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to place any limitations upon the Council in establishing additional standards to guide the public officer in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use. Such additional standards may be established whenever circumstances seem to require the same, by resolution of the Council duly adopted under the provisions of this chapter.
Whenever the Building Inspector or the Fire Marshal of the City finds and determines that there exists in the City any buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use due to conditions as set forth in the preceding section or due to other conditions rendering such building or part thereof unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the occupants or the residents of the City, the City shall proceed to exercise its police powers to repair, close or demolish or to cause or require the repairing, closing or demolition of such building or part thereof in the manner provided in this chapter.
The Building Inspector of the City is hereby designated to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter; provided, however, that the City Council may, by resolution duly adopted at any time subsequent to the passage of this chapter, designate or appoint one or more public officers to aid the Building Inspector or to act in his stead for the better enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the City, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the public offer on his own motion that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion, the public officer shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner or a party in interest in any such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer or his designated agent at a place therein fixed at not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after serving the complaint.
Service of complaints and orders. Complaints or orders issued by a public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once in a newspaper printed or published in the City of Woodbury, or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the County of Gloucester and circulating in the City of Woodbury. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the building is located.
The owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint provided for in the preceding section 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 the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer 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 of such building and parties in interest an order:
To repair the building. Repairs, alterations or improvements of the building are to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order, or at his option the owner may vacate or have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
To demolish the building. 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 the building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
If the owner of a dangerous building 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 public officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The public officer 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 public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition of the building after advertisement for and receipt of bids for such project.
The amount of the costs of the filing of any legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the City, and the cost of any repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount of the balance 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 City lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. All matters relating to the cost of repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, shall be controlled strictly by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.(f).
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed six months or by community service, or by both such fine, imprisonment and/or community service. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
Should any portion of this chapter be declared invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidation shall not affect the remaining portions of this chapter if severable therefrom.