[HISTORY: Adopted by the Bloomfield Council as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 2-7-1983 (Ch. 203, Art. I, of the 1987 Code)]
It is hereby declared that there exist in the Township of Bloomfield structures used for commercial, business, industrial and nonresidential purposes which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance and, further, that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance and appearance of the exterior of premises, infestation, lack of essential heating, plumbing, storage or refrigeration equipment, lack of maintenance or upkeep of essential utilities and facilities, existence of fire hazards, inadequate provisions for light and air and unsanitary conditions, constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Township of Bloomfield. It is further declared that, by reason of lack of maintenance and progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect of causing blight and initiating slums, that, if the same are not curtailed or removed, such conditions may grow and spread and necessitate in time the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same and that, by the adoption of the regulations and restrictions herein contained, slums and blight may be prevented and neighborhood and property values may be maintained and upgraded, nonresidential uses and neighborhoods may be better maintained and the public health, safety and welfare may be protected and fostered.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish minimum standards governing the conditions, maintenance and appearance of buildings and premises in the Township of Bloomfield used or intended to be used for commercial, business, industrial or any other nonresidential occupancy; to establish minimum standards governing utilities, facilities and other physical equipment essential to make the aforesaid buildings and premises safe and sanitary; to fix responsibilities and duties of owners and occupants of buildings; to authorize the inspection of buildings and premises; and to fix penalties for violations.
The provisions of the chapter shall constitute the standards to guide the enforcement officer in determining whether the premises are being maintained in such condition as to constitute and produce a blighting effect upon neighboring properties and to cause a progressive deterioration and downgrading of neighborhood properties with an accompanying diminution of neighborhood property values.
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any enclosed space which contains a water closet and shall also contain one or more of the following: bathtub, shower, lavatory or fixtures serving similar purposes.
- Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outbuildings and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually utilized in connection therewith.
- The condition of a building or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other substantial evidence of physical decay, neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive wear.
- ENFORCEMENT OR ENFORCING OFFICER
- The Director of Community Development and Inspections or his designee.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises or part thereof which may be lawfully viewed by the public or any member thereof from a sidewalk, street, alleyway or parking lot or from any adjoining or neighboring premises.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents and vermin, whether by eliminating their harborage places or by removing or making inaccessible material that may serve as their food or by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or any other legal means of pest elimination.
- The animal and vegetable matter or other organic waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food or other products.
- Includes but is not limited to the following:
- (1) Natural growth: dead and dying trees, limbs and other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, are or may be dangerous to persons in the vicinity thereof.
- (2) Overhangs: loose, overhanging and projecting objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger to persons in the vicinity thereof.
- (3) Ground surface conditions: holes, excavations, breaks, heaps of material, ungraded fill, projections, traps and obstructions on paths, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the exterior of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons having access to such premises.
- (4) Recurring accumulation of stormwater: inadequate running off or recurrent accumulations of stormwater due to lack of or improper installation or maintenance of drains.
- (5) Sources of infestation: conditions conducive to the breeding or harboring of insects, rodents, vermin or pests.
- (6) Defective foundation walls: holes, breaks, deterioration, undermining or any damage in foundation walls rendering the same incapable of safely bearing all imposed loads placed thereon or of excluding weather, vermin and other pests.
- (7) Defective chimneys, flues and vent attachments thereto: chimneys, flues and vent attachments not structurally sound or free from defects, or inadequately designed, attached or maintained, so as to perform capably at all times the functions for which they were designed and constructed; chimneys, flues, gas vents and other draft-producing equipment which do not provide sufficient draft to develop the rated output of the connected equipment or are not structurally safe, durable, smoke-tight or capable of withstanding the action of flue gases.
- (8) Defective exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes: exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes which are not provided with banisters or railings properly designed, not structurally sound or maintained in good repair, painted or not otherwise provided with a protective treatment to prevent deterioration.
- The presence on or within premises of insects, rodents, vermin or pests.
- Includes, but without limitation, discarded, windblown, deposited, dropped or strewn paper wrappings, cardboard, bottles, cans, boxes and broken glass and all foreign materials defacing the surface of premises subject thereto.
- MIXED OCCUPANCY
- The use of any building for both residential and nonresidential purposes.
- (1) Any public nuisance known at common law or as defined by the statutes of the State of New Jersey or by the ordinances of the Township of Bloomfield.
- (2) Any inadequately protected well, shaft, basement, excavation, abandoned motor vehicle, appliance or equipment, structurally unsound fence or building, building materials, trash, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, or other substance or any condition which is or may be detrimental to the safety or health of persons.
- (3) Any hazard, as defined herein, which is dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the hazard exists.
- (4) Fire hazards, as defined by the Fire Prevention Code of the Township of Bloomfield as revised from time to time.
- OCCUPANCY UNIT
- Any room or group of rooms or part thereof forming a single usable unit, used or intended to be used or designed to be used for nonresidential purposes, and located within a building used or intended to be used or designed to be used, in whole or in part, for other than residential occupancy.
- Any person or persons, including the owner, in actual possession of and using an entire building or an occupancy unit in a building.
- Any person, including the owner, who has care or control of the premises or any part thereof.
- The holder or holders of all or part of the title to the premises.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building or premises and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- Any individual, firm, corporation or other legal entity, and also a political subdivision of a state or the United States.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, whether or not the same has buildings situated thereon.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- The person or persons who are authorized by the codes and ordinances of the Township of Bloomfield to exercise powers prescribed therein.
- Any rotting or spoiling foodstuffs, fruits or vegetables and all putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes, including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, litter, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and solid market and industrial wastes, brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, trash, rubbish and debris of any description.
- All combustible and noncombustible waste materials except garbage.
- Any assembly of materials forming a construction, including but not limited to buildings, stadiums, gospel and circus tents, reviewing stands, platforms, stagings, observation towers, radio towers, water tanks, trestles, open sheds, bins, shelters, fences and display racks and signs.
- The property of admitting the passage of light but diffusing it so that objects cannot be clearly distinguished.
- Deterioration, decay or damage caused by exposure to the elements.
- An opening in the wall or roof of a building for the admission of light or air, which opening may be closed to the elements by casements or sashes containing glass or other transparent or translucent materials.
- WINDOW DISPLAY AREA
- That area of a building in proximity to the inner surface of a window which is designed or used for the viewing of the interior and the display of items representative of any goods or services pertaining to the business conducted therein.
Meanings of certain words. Whenever, in describing or referring to any person, party, matter or thing, any word importing the singular number or masculine gender is used, the same shall be understood to include and to apply to several persons or parties as well as one person and to females as well as males and to bodies corporate and partnerships as well as individuals and to several matters and things as well as one matter or thing.
Each and every lot and building thereon located in the Township of Bloomfield which is not exclusively residential by virtue of its use, intended use or design shall comply with the provisions of this chapter, whether or not any such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this chapter and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of any such building or premises or for the construction, alteration or repair of equipment or facilities therein or thereon prior to the effective date of this chapter. This chapter establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such buildings and premises and does not replace, modify or lessen standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of such buildings and premises and equipment or facilities contained therein or thereon.
Where there is mixed occupancy of such buildings and premises, the residential and nonresidential uses thereof shall be regulated by and be subject to the applicable provisions of both this chapter and all other ordinances and codes of the Township of Bloomfield.
In any case where a provision of this chapter is found to be in conflict with any provision of any zoning, building, fire, safety or health ordinance or code of the Township as it relates to such buildings and premises, including provisions governing the issuance of licenses and permits, the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of health and safety shall prevail and be applied.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of any department or official of the Township to enforce the provisions of any Township ordinance or regulation or to prevent or punish any violation thereof.
Owner and operator. Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in §§ 423-7, 423-8, 423-9 and 423-10, inclusive, and in the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from such duties or responsibilities by reason of the fact that the other of them or the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Occupant. Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in §§ 423-7A, B, C, D, E, G and H, 423-9, 423-10 and 423-11 and in all regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, and the occupant shall not be relieved of any such duties or responsibilities by reason of the fact that the owner or operator, or both, is or are also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Contract not to alter responsibilities. The respective duties and responsibilities imposed hereunder on the owner, operator and occupant shall not be altered or affected by any agreement or contract to which one or more of them is or are a party or parties.
The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of litter and of all nuisances and hazards to the safety of tenants, occupants, pedestrians and other persons having access to the premises and free of unsanitary conditions. The exterior of the premises shall also reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the standards of the neighborhood, shall meet the standards of this chapter or such higher standards as may be adopted by the Township and shall not constitute a blighting effect upon neighborhood properties. Specifically, but not in limitation of the generalities of the foregoing, the following standards shall be maintained:
Storage. There shall not be stored or used at a location visible from the street, sidewalks or other public areas equipment and materials relating to the commercial or industrial uses unless permitted under the Zoning Ordinance for the premises or unless permitted by Board of Adjustment action.
Landscaping. The landscaping of premises shall be maintained in an orderly state, with lawns and bushes trimmed and free from litter. Open areas shall be graded to eliminate holes, depressions, gullies, mounds, accumulations of debris or other unsightly or unsafe conditions.
Signs and billboards. All duly authorized signs and billboards shall be maintained in good repair. Any sign or billboard which has faded or weathered excessively or the paint on which has excessively peeled or cracked shall, with its supporting members, be put into a state of good repair or removed. The responsibilities of an occupant under this subsection shall be limited to signs and billboards erected or used by such occupant.
Window and window display areas. All windows exposed to public view shall be kept clean and free of marks and foreign substances. Except when necessary in the course of changing displays, no storage of materials, stock or inventory shall be permitted in window display areas ordinarily exposed to public view, unless such areas are first screened by drapes, venetian blinds or other means. All screening of interiors shall be maintained in a clean and attractive manner and in a good state of repair.
Signs or advertisements; removal. Any temporary sign or other advertising material glued or otherwise attached to a window or otherwise exposed to public view shall be removed at the expiration of the event or sale for which it was erected or posted.
Repair and painting of exteriors of buildings. All storefronts and the exterior of every building, structure or appurtenance thereto shall be maintained in good repair, and all exterior surfaces thereof shall be kept painted or otherwise provided with a protective treatment where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance and maintained free from broken or cracked glass, loose shingles or siding or crumbling masonry, excessively peeling paint or other conditions indicating deterioration or inadequate maintenance, to the end that the property itself may be preserved, safety and fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties and the neighborhood protected from blighting influence.
Awnings and marquees. Any duly authorized awning or marquee and its accompanying structural members which extend over any street, sidewalk or other portion of the premises shall be maintained in good repair, installed at a sufficient height and so maintained as not to constitute a nuisance or a safety hazard. In the event that any such awning or marquee is made of cloth, plastic or similar materials, said materials, where exposed to public view, shall be maintained in good condition and shall not show evidence of excessive weathering, discoloration, ripping, tearing or other deterioration. Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any encroachment of an awning, marquee or its accompanying structural members on streets, sidewalks or public ways.
Scaffolding. No temporary scaffold or other temporary equipment used for construction, repair, painting or maintenance shall be permitted to remain in place after completion of work beyond a period of one month after the erection or placement thereof without the permission of the Director of Community Development and Inspections.
All roofs shall be maintained in good repair, and, where occupants use or have access to the roof of any building, such roof shall be free from conditions resulting in danger to life or limb by reason of lack of railings, inadequate parapets, loose materials or other dangerous conditions. The enforcing officer, when he finds the existence of the dangerous conditions, may, with the concurrence of the Fire Department, direct the owner or operator of the premises to lock or otherwise bar access to the roof until such dangerous conditions are eliminated.
Floors and supporting structural members shall be maintained in a structurally sound condition, and there shall not be imposed thereon any load which shall constitute a hazard or exceed the safe limits for which said floor was designed.
Bathroom floors shall be surfaced with water-resistant material and shall be kept in a dry, clean and sanitary condition at all times.
In buildings containing not more than four occupancy units, it shall be the responsibility of each of the occupants and, in buildings containing more than four occupancy units, it shall be the responsibility of the owner and operator to furnish such receptacles as are needed for the proper storage of garbage and rubbish until the removal of all garbage and rubbish and to provide for the regular and periodic removal of all garbage and rubbish from the premises.
Storage bins, rooms and areas shall not be used for the storage of accumulated garbage and rubbish unless:
Such rubbish is stored in watertight containers of metal or other material approved by the enforcing officer.
Such storage bins, rooms and areas are of smooth, easily cleanable construction and are kept in a sanitary condition.
Such areas, if located outside a building and visible from any public walk, street or public parking area, are shielded by a method approved by the enforcing officer and constructed in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Uniform Construction Code of the Township of Bloomfield.
Except in compliance with regulations of the Department of Public Works relating to collection procedures, rubbish and garbage shall be placed or kept on the property within the building located thereon or not nearer to the street line than the building line or not nearer to the street line than the face of the building, whichever distance from the street line is the greater.
Flammable or combustible liquids or other materials shall not be stored on the premises unless they are of a type approved for storage by the Fire Department and then only in such quantities as may be prescribed by applicable Fire Department directives or regulations.
Every occupant of an occupancy unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests therein or on the premises. In addition to the foregoing provision of this subsection, whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner or operator to maintain any such building in a reasonably pestproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner and operator.
Every building shall be provided with electric service, where required, in accordance with the applicable codes from time to time adopted by the Township.
Every bathroom shall be provided with permanently installed and operating artificial lighting fixtures with switches and wall plates so located and maintained that there is no danger of electric shock from a simultaneous contact with a water-supply fixture.
Maximum fuse or circuit breaker sizes are specified by the National Electrical Code, as amended from time to time, and shall be posted conspicuously on the inside cover of all fuse or circuit breaker boxes, and no fuse or circuit breaker shall be installed therein in excess of the stated maximum. Owners and operators shall not be held responsible for violations in fuse and circuit breaker sizes where the correct maximum size is stated and the fuse or circuit breaker box is located within any part of the building which is in the exclusive possession of an occupant or occupants other than the owner.
Upon discovery by an occupant of any condition on the premises which constitutes a violation of this chapter, the occupant shall report the same to the Director of Community Development and Inspections.
All parts of the premises under the control of an occupant shall be kept in a clean, sanitary and safe condition by the occupant, and the occupant shall refrain from performing any acts which would render other parts of the premises unclean, unsafe or unsanitary or which would prevent the owner or operator from performing any duty required hereunder.
The Director of Community Development and Inspections is hereby designated and appointed to enforce the provisions of this chapter. The Director of Community Development and Inspections may authorize members of his Department to make inspections, prepare and serve notices and orders and take all action necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The Director of Community Development and Inspections shall seek and receive the cooperation of all other Township departments having concurrent jurisdiction over the matters covered by this chapter.
All premises within the Township of Bloomfield covered by this chapter shall be subject to inspection from time to time by the Director of Community Development and Inspections or his designee to determine the condition thereof in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the persons occupying and using the same and of the general public.
For the purpose of making such inspections, the enforcing officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey, at all reasonable times, all such premises; provided, however, that such entries are made in such a manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession. The owner, operator and persons occupying the same shall give the enforcing officer free access to the same at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspections. Every person occupying such premises shall give the owner and operator thereof access to that portion of the premises occupied by or in the possession of such person at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs, alterations or corrections as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rules or regulations adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Where violations of the provisions of this chapter are brought to the attention of the enforcing officer, such officer or his duly authorized representative shall prepare a notice, in writing, setting forth all violations and shall order that the same be eliminated within no less than seven days and no more than 30 days.
[Amended 6-21-1993; 4-3-2006 by Ord. No. 06-16]
Such notice and order shall be delivered to the occupant or owner or operator or any or all of them, as the case may be, personally or by leaving the same with any person in charge of the premises.
In the event that no such person is found upon the premises, service of notice and order shall be made by affixing a copy thereof in a conspicuous place on the door to the entrance of the premises and by mailing a copy thereof to the owner, operator or occupant at his last known post office address.
Where the enforcing officer makes a preliminary finding that conditions on the premises constitute an immediate and substantial threat to the safety or health of occupants of or persons in proximity to the premises, he may order and direct that the premises be vacated immediately and that signs or notices be posted prohibiting occupancy thereof.
[Amended 11-2-1987; 5-5-2008 by Ord. No. 08-18; 9-21-2020 by Ord. No. 20-41]
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this article, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as listed below:
For a first offense: a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum fine not exceeding $500.
For a second offense: a minimum fine of $600 and a maximum fine not exceeding $1,250.
For a third or subsequent offense: a minimum fine of $1,350 and a maximum fine not exceeding $2,000. For a third or subsequent offense, the Township shall provide a thirty-day period for the owner to cure or abate the condition and shall also afford the owner the opportunity for a hearing before the Township Municipal Court for an independent determination concerning the violation.
[Adopted 3-15-2004 by Ord. No. 04-14 (Ch. 203, Art. II, of the 1987 Code)]
This Chapter 423 of the Code of the Township of Bloomfield is hereby amended by adopting the International Property Maintenance Code, which reads as follows.
Editor's Note: Copies of the International Property Maintenance Code, which was compiled and published by the International Code Council and designed to be adopted by reference by municipalities, are on file and available for inspection in Township offices.