[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater 9-18-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 303, Property Maintenance, which consisted of Art. I, Adoption of Standards (1981 BOCA), adopted 5-19-1981 by Ord. No. 81-6, and Art. II, Adoption of Standards (BOCA, Current Edition), adopted 4-2-1991 by Ord. No. 91-11.
This article shall be known as the "Commercial Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Stillwater" and is hereinafter referred to as "this code."
The purpose of this code is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards for the maintenance of commercial premises; to fix responsibilities and duties upon owners, operators and occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of such premises; to fix penalties for violations of this code; and to provide for the right of access to permit repairs when necessary. This code is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that this code be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes as stated herein.
The following terms, whenever used herein, shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- COMMERCIAL PREMISES
- A lot or tract of land, including all buildings, structures and improvements, on which or on any part of which commercial activity takes place and is the principal use thereon. Commercial activity shall include all nonresidential uses, excluding home occupations and governmental, quasi-governmental, and not-for-profit uses. Commercial premises also includes multifamily residential uses, whether owner- occupied or not, and single-family residential uses that are not owner-occupied. Properties owned and operated by nonprofit organizations are hereby expressly exempt from the provisions of this article.
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- Those portions of a building or structure which are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building or structure erected thereon.
- Any condition, man-made or natural, which affords a breeding place or hiding place for rodents, insects or other pests.
- Includes, but is not limited to:
- A. Any common-law nuisance or as provided by the laws of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Township of Stillwater.
- B. Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building or upon a lot. This includes but is not limited to any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, poison sumac or poison oak, which may prove a hazard to children.
- C. Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises on which the condition exists.
- D. Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of the laws of the State of New Jersey or ordinances of the Township of Stillwater.
- E. Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
- F. Fire hazards.
- Any person having actual possession of the premises or part thereof.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any commercial premises with or without accompanying actual possession thereof or shall have charge, care or control of any commercial premises as owner or agent of the owner or as a fiduciary, including but not limited to executor, administrator, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate, or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or reassigning any part or all of any commercial premises shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
- An individual or entity.
- SHOPPING AREA
- One or more buildings or parts thereof designed as a unit to be occupied by one or more businesses for the conduct of business and conducted as an integrated planned area development.
Every commercial premises and any building situated thereon in the Township of Stillwater used or intended to be used for commercial occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code. This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such commercial premises and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of such commercial buildings or premises contained herein.
In any case where the standards established by this code differ from those of the State of New Jersey or other ordinances of the Township of Stillwater in any material degree, the higher standard shall prevail.
Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in §§ 303-13 through 303-16 of this code, and the occupant shall not be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the owner or operator is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, guests, tenants, invitees, customers, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner or operator. It shall be the duty of the owner or operator to keep the premises free of hazards, which include but are not limited to the following:
Refuse, including but not limited to broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
Natural growth, including, but not limited to, brush, weeds, ragweeds, stumps, roots and obnoxious growths and dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of deteriorating or rotting conditions or storm damage, constitutes a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned to prevent such conditions.
Overhangings: 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.
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions, including, but not limited to, holes, broken or missing pavement, loose stone excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, ice, uncleared snow and excretions of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by the persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps shall be repaired and other conditions shall be removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon discovery thereof. It shall be the responsibility of owners and operators to take reasonable steps to discover such hazards or unsanitary conditions which may exist on their premises.
Recurring accumulations of stormwater. Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
Sources of infestation.
Premises shall be kept landscaped, and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and from becoming overgrown. Plantings required by site plan approval shall be replaced whenever the same have died.
All signs, pavement markings and printed matter and pictures or illustrations contained thereon, permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use, shall be maintained in good repair.
In order to preserve property value and eliminate safety hazards and protect adjacent properties and the neighborhood from blighting influences, the exterior of every building, improvement, structure or accessory structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted and whitewashed where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance, free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick or excessive peeling paint.
Unsafe exterior facilities. Unsafe exterior facilities, including but not limited to exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes, all of which shall be kept structurally sound and in good repair and shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed and maintained.
Signs and billboards. All permanent signs and billboards exposed to public view permitted by the Land Development Ordinance and regulated by the Construction Code or other ordinances, regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair. Any sign or billboard which has weathered excessively or faded or the paint on which has excessively peeled or cracked shall, with its supporting members, be removed forthwith or put into a state of good repair. All nonoperative or broken electrical signs shall be repaired or shall, with their supporting members, be removed forthwith.
Windows exposed to public view. All windows exposed to public view shall be kept clean and free of cracks, missing glass, marks and foreign substances and be unbroken.
Awnings or marquees. Any awning or marquee and its accompanying structural members which extend over any street, sidewalk or other portion of the premises shall be so maintained as not to constitute a nuisance or safety hazard. In the event that any such awning or marquee is not properly maintained in accordance with the foregoing, it shall, together with its supporting members, be removed forthwith. In the event that any such awning or marquee is made of cloth, plastic or of 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 any awning, marquee or its structural members on streets, sidewalks or other parts of the public domain.
Temporary scaffolding or equipment. No temporary scaffolding or other temporary equipment used for construction, repair or maintenance shall be permitted to remain in place beyond a period necessary to reasonably complete the purpose for which such equipment was intended to be used without permission of the Code Enforcement Officer or Construction Official.
Store fronts. All store fronts shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted when necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. In the event that repairs to a portion of the store front are made, such repairs shall be made with materials identical to or compatible with the materials used in the area not undergoing repair, to the end that the appearance of the store front shall be uniform and attractive and shall not constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining properties.
Unoccupied buildings. All unoccupied buildings, including those areas visible by the public from the public street or sidewalk, must be maintained in broom-clean fashion and free from litter.
Outside storage or display of merchandise or equipment shall be forbidden. However, this section shall not apply to outside storage of motor vehicles, trailers, campers, boats, horticulture or agricultural products or equipment, utility sheds, outdoor furniture or other similar merchandise held for retail sale. This section shall apply, but not be limited to storage of merchandise or equipment in trailers, motor vehicles, shacks, sheds or other outside containers, unless specifically approved by the Township Planning Board or Board of Adjustment.
Parking lots or areas, including the entrances and exits thereto, shall be kept in a good state of repair and maintained so as to comply with § 303-7 of this code. Signs indicating ownership and use restrictions shall be maintained in good repair, clearly visible to potential parkers. Striping, where appropriate, shall indicate spaces, direction of flow and entrances and exits and be maintained so as to assure visibility.
The owner, operator and occupant shall have the duty and responsibility of removing refuse and garbage at least twice per week, but if twice-weekly pickup is not sufficient to remove all garbage that accumulates, more frequent removal shall be required. The same requirement applies to recyclable materials, however the frequency of removal shall be once per week, and if once per week is not sufficient, then more frequent removal shall be required.
All parts of the premises under the control of the occupant shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, and the occupant shall refrain from performing any acts which would render other parts of the premises unclean or unsanitary or which would obstruct the owner or operator from performing any duty required hereunder or maintaining the premises in a clean and sanitary condition.
Every operator and occupant shall be responsible for the elimination of infestation in and on the premises subject to his control.
No person shall deposit any litter on the ground in or about any commercial premises.
The owner and operator of every shopping area shall be responsible for providing, maintaining and policing the following:
Means of ingress and egress shall be clearly marked by signs.
Parking spaces shall be clearly marked by painted lines.
Arrows shall be painted at each end of a lane indicating the appropriate direction for the flow of traffic.
A trash basket with at least a twenty-gallon capacity shall be provided for each 150 feet of store frontage in the shopping area. These baskets shall be placed in the walking area or pedestrian area and shall be provided with tight-fitting covers fitted with hinged doors and shall not be allowed to overflow.
Fire zones should be kept clear of all vehicular traffic and parking, as designated by the Fire Prevention Official of the Township of Stillwater.
It shall be the duty of owners and operators, where parking spaces and lanes are provided for their customers, to see that all parking is done in conformity with the spaces provided and that the flow of traffic conforms to the directional arrows painted in the lanes between the parking spaces.
Where violation(s) exist on the premises, the Code Enforcement Officer, Construction Official, State Police or Health Officer may order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within the period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the measures necessary to remove the hazard; and, upon the failure of the owner, operator or occupant to correct said violation or condition, the Code Enforcement Officer, Construction Official, State Police or Health Officer shall have the right to abate the same. Any abatement by the Township of Stillwater shall be subject to approval by the Township Committee, appropriation of funds by the Township Committee and confirmation of available funds.
Where abatement of any nuisance, as defined herein, or correction of a defect on the premises or the maintenance of the premises in a proper condition to conform to applicable ordinances of the Township of Stillwater or the laws of the State of New Jersey requires expenditure of the Township of Stillwater's money therefor, the Code Enforcement Officer, Construction Official, State Police or Health Officer shall present a report of the work accomplished to the governing body, along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken to secure compliance, including notice served upon owners, operators, occupants or their agents, as the case may be, by certified mail, overnight delivery by a reputable delivery services (including but not limited to the United States Postal Service, Federal Express and United Parcel Service). The governing body shall then approve the expenditures made and assess the same against the premises as a lien, enforceable in the same manner as property taxes and municipal utility charges, and may also be enforceable by all means as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving said expenses shall be certified by the Municipal Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector, who shall be responsible for collection of the lien thereof, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner.
Except as provided in § 303-22 hereof, where violations of this code or the regulations hereunder are found to exist, a written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Construction Official shall be served upon the person or persons responsible for the correction thereof.
Notice shall be served personally or by certified mail, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. In the case of an occupant, notice may be posted upon the main entrance door of the building, and in the case of an owner who does not reside within the corporate limits of the Township of Stillwater, the last known address shall be the address of the owner as shown in the office of the Tax Collector.
The notice shall specify the violation or violations committed, what must be done to correct the same, a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 30 days, to abate the violation.
In the event that the violation is not abated, removed, cured or otherwise fully remedied within the time period prescribed in the initial notice or extended time period as permitted by the Code Enforcement Officer, a summons shall then be issued against such person or persons charged with the violation.
Any person violating any provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof. Each violation of any of the provisions of this article and each day that such offense shall continue shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.