Township of Lower, NJ
Cape May County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Lower as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and debris — See Ch. 185.
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 206.
Private campgrounds — See Ch. 213.
Construction sites — See Ch. 242.
Housing standards — See Ch. 380.
Littering — See Ch. 419.
Inoperable or unlicensed vehicles — See Ch. 633.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 99-10 (Ch. XXI of the 1975 Code); amended by Ord. No. 91-16, Ord. No. 91-31, and Ord. No. 97-26]
[Amended by Ord. No. 99-10]
A certain document, three copies of which are on file in the office of the Township Clerk of the Township of Lower, being marked and designated as "The International Property Maintenance Code, First Edition, 1998," as published by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc., the International Conference of Building Officials, and the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., and as revised by the Township Council of the Township of Lower, shall be and is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Lower, County of Cape May, State of New Jersey (hereinafter referred to as the "Lower Township Property Maintenance Code"); for the control of buildings and structures as herein provided; and each and all of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of said Lower Township Property Maintenance Code are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof, as if fully set out in this article.
A. 
The following sections of the International Property Maintenance Code, First Edition, 1998, are hereby revised as follows and set forth on the copies which are on file with the Township Clerk:
(1) 
Section 101.1. "Township of Lower" is inserted as the name of the jurisdiction.
(2) 
Section 101.2. The following language is added at the beginning of the first sentence: "Except as otherwise set forth in Chapter 4 below,..."
(3) 
Section 103.2 is revised to read as follows:
The Code Official shall be appointed by the chief appointing authority of the jurisdiction. In accordance with the prescribed procedures of this jurisdiction, the appointing authority shall have the authority to appoint a Deputy Code Official, other related technical officers, inspectors and other employees.
(4) 
Section 103.6 is deleted.
(5) 
Section 104.2. The words "to adopt and promulgate rules and procedures" are deleted.
(6) 
Section 106.5. The following sentence is inserted at the end: "Furthermore, if permitted by state statute, the notice may provide that the code official will abate the violation if not done so by the property owner or occupant within the time provided by state statute, and shall certify the cost thereof to the Township Council, which shall then examine the certificate and, if found correct, shall cause the cost thereof to be charged as a lien against such buildings, structures or premises. An administrative lien fee in the amount of $500 shall be imposed in conjunction with the creation of a lien."
[Amended 10-4-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-10]
(7) 
Section 107.2 is hereby amended as follows:
100.1
Form. Such notice prescribed in Section 107.1 shall:
1.
Be in writing;
2.
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification;
3.
Include a statement of the violation or violations and why the notice is being issued;
4.
Include a correction order allowing 72 hours (in connection with violations whereby solid waste is in such a manner that it is accessible and likely to be strewn about by animals) and 10 days (for all other violations) to make the repairs and improvements required to bring the dwelling unit or structure into compliance with the provisions of this code;
5.
That the notice shall remain valid for 60 days from the date of service such that, in the event a violation is corrected and the same or substantially similar violation then recurs within said 60 days, no additional notice shall be required for prosecution of said violation; and
6.
If required by state statute, inform the property owner of the right to appeal.
(8) 
Section 107.3. The words "first class" are deleted from Subsection 2; the following language is added at the end of Subsection 3: "...and, if required by state statute, filed with the county recording office and advertised with the Township's official newspaper."
(9) 
Section 107.5 shall read as follows:
107.5. Continued Validity of Notice. Each notice issued pursuant to this Section 107 shall remain valid for a period of 60 days from the date of service. In the event that any violation for which a notice is served is corrected and the same or substantially similar violation then recurs within said 60 days, no additional notice shall be required for prosecution of said violation.
(9.1) 
Section 107.6 shall read as follows:
[Added 7-1-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-15]
107.6. Notices and Orders. No prior notice is required for violations of Chapter 3 of the Property Maintenance Code. All property owners in the Township of Lower are deemed to be on notice that it is their responsibility and duty to monitor and keep their properties in compliance with this article. Therefore, no prior notice of violations need be given by the Code Enforcement Officer prior to issuing a summons for any violations thereof.
(10) 
Section 111. The words "board of appeals" are replaced with the "Township Manager or such other Township official required by state statute."
(11) 
Section 111.1. The words "If required by State statute" are added at the beginning of the first sentence.
(12) 
Section 111.2 is deleted.
(13) 
Section 111.3 is revised to read as follows:
The Township Manager or such other Township official as required by state statute shall set the date and time of the hearing, which shall be not sooner than 10 days and not later than 30 days from the filing of the appeal.
(14) 
Section 111.4. The last sentence and all of subsection 111.4.1 are deleted.
(15) 
Section 111.5 is deleted.
(16) 
Section 111.6 is replaced with the following: "After hearing all of the evidence, the Township Manager or such other Township official required by state statute shall decide whether to uphold or reverse the Code Official."
(17) 
Section 111.7. The words "If required by state statute" are added at the beginning of the first sentence.
(18) 
Section 202 is hereby amended by adding the following as a definition of solid waste:
Solid Waste: Any garbage, refuse and other discarded materials resulting from industrial, commercial and agricultural operations, and from domestic and community activities, and all other waste and materials, including liquids.
(19) 
Section 302.2. The words "thereon, or" are deleted.
(19.1) 
Section 302.4 shall read as follows:
[Added 7-1-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-13]
302.4. Weeds. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches (254 millimeters). All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs; provided, however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens so long as said cultivated growth does not encroach, trespass or interfere with an adjoining property.
(20) 
Section 302.9. The following language is added at the end of the last sentence: "....unless otherwise set forth in a court order."
(21) 
Section 303.2. Everything after the first sentence is deleted.
(22) 
Section 303.7. The words "and free from obstructions" are deleted from the third sentence.
(23) 
Section 303.8 is deleted.
(24) 
Section 303.9. The second sentence is deleted.
(25) 
Section 303.12. The second sentence is deleted.
(26) 
Section 303.14. Subsections 303.14.1 and 303.14.2 are deleted.
(27) 
Section 303.15 is deleted.
(28) 
Section 304.3. The second sentence is deleted.
(29) 
Section 402.1 is deleted.
(30) 
Section 404.8. A new section is added to read as follows:
Existing structures. The provisions of this Chapter 4 shall not apply to existing structures unless improvements with a value of at least 25% of the then-assessed value of the structure are undertaken.
(31) 
Section 602.3. "October 1" is inserted as the first date and "April 30" is inserted as the second date.
(32) 
Section 602.4. "October 1" is inserted as the first date and "April 30" is inserted as the second date.
(33) 
Chapter 7 is deleted.
(34) 
Chapter 8. Insert "BOCA National Building Code" and "BOCA National Fire Prevention Code." Delete "International Zoning Code." Change "ICC International Plumbing Code" to "National Plumbing Code" and change "ICC International Mechanical Code" to "BOCA Mechanical Code."
[Amended by Ord. No. 99-10; Ord. No. 2001-05]
[Amended by Ord. No. 99-10]
The penalties for each offense shall be as follows:
A. 
First offense: a fine of not more than $300;
B. 
Second offense: a fine of not more than $500;
C. 
Third offense: a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a term of not to exceed 20 days, or both.
[Adopted 5-1-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-06]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
OWNER
Shall include the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17, as amended by P.L. 2009, c. 296), or any other entity determined by the Township of Lower to have authority to act with respect to the property.
VACANT PROPERTY
Any real property located in Lower Township, whether vacant or occupied, that is the subject of a foreclosure judgment; or is in default on a mortgage; or has had a lis pendens filed against it by a lender holding a mortgage on the property; or is subject to any ongoing foreclosure action by a lender; or is subject to an application for a tax deed or pending tax assessor's lien sale; or has been transferred to a lender under a deed in lieu of foreclosure; or that meets the definition of abandoned property under N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73, N.J.S.A. 55:19-80 et seq. or any other New Jersey statute defining "vacant" or "abandoned" property. The designation of a property as "vacant" shall continue until the property is sold or transferred to a new owner, the foreclosure action has been dismissed and any default on the mortgage has been cured.
A. 
Effective immediately, the owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall, within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant property, or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality (failure to receive notice by the municipality shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property), file a registration statement for such vacant property with the Township Clerk's office on forms provided by the Township or its contractor.
B. 
The owners of property that is vacant on the effective date of this article shall have 30 days to register that property as set forth herein:
(1) 
Each property having a separate block and lot number as designated in official records of the municipality shall be registered separately.
(2) 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of a person 21 years or older designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code; and the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firm's individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour per day, seven-day per week basis. The two entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey.
(3) 
The registration shall remain valid for 12 months from the date of registration. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains a vacant property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in § 500-8 of this article for each vacant property registered.
(4) 
The annual renewal shall be completed within 15 days of the prior year's registration form's expiration date. A notice and invoice will be sent 30 days in advance of the renewal due date.
(5) 
The owner shall notify the Township Clerk's office within 30 days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement.
(6) 
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements contained therein in any administrative enforcement or court proceeding instituted by the Township against the building owner.
The owner of any vacant property registered under this article shall provide access to the Township to conduct exterior and interior inspections of the building to determine compliance with municipal codes, upon reasonable notice to the property owner or the designated agent. Such inspections shall be carried out on weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or such other time as may be mutually agreed upon between the owner and the Township.
A. 
An owner may designate an agent or individual responsible for maintaining the property.
B. 
By designating an authorized agent under this section, the owner agrees that service on the agent of any notices of code violations and all process concerning the registered vacant property constitutes service on the owner. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies Lower Township in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
C. 
Any owner who fails to register vacant property under this article shall be deemed to consent to service of notices or process by the posting of same in plain view on the building or by regular and certified mail service at the owner's last known address on record with Lower Township.
The initial registration fee for each building shall be $500. Registrations must be renewed every year for an additional fee of $500.
The owner of any building that has become vacant, and any person operating or collecting rent for any such building, shall, within 30 days thereof:
A. 
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Township Code.
B. 
Post a sign on the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner and/or the owner's agent for the purpose of service of process, as well as the name, address and phone number of the person responsible for day-to-day management of the building. The sign shall be at least eight inches by 10 inches in size and shall be legible from the nearest street or sidewalk.
C. 
Secure the building and maintain the same until the building is again legally occupied, demolished, or repair is complete.
D. 
Ensure that the exterior grounds of the structure are well-maintained and free from trash, debris, litter and grass and weed growth.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this article or of the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this article shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
B. 
Failure to file a registration statement within 30 calendar days after a building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of a vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality; failure to provide correct information on the registration statement; or failure to comply with the provisions of such provisions contained herein shall be deemed to be violations of this article.