[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Port Republic 9-15-2005 by Ord. No. 11-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall apply where it is found that there exists in the City of Port Republic premises which are or may become substandard with respect to the site, structure, equipment or maintenance or, further, that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance, deteriorating appearance of the structure or premises, infestation and existence of fire or other hazards, are generally a menace to health, safety and the general welfare, so that property values are thereby maintained, the desirability and amenities enhanced and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, condition and occupancy of real property; to fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners, operators and occupants; to authorize procedures for the inspection of real property; to fix penalties for the violation of this chapter; to provide for the right of access across adjoining premises to permit repairs; and to provide for the repair of premises unfit for occupancy or use. This chapter is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest.
The following terms, wherever used in this chapter, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the content:
- ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
- A structure, the use of which is incidental to that of the main building and which is located on the same lot.
- A portion of a building located partly underground but having less than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- A combination of materials to form a construction adapted to permanent or continuous occupancy or use.
- A portion of a building located partly or wholly underground and having half or more than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises, or any part thereof, or any building or part thereof which may be lawfully viewed by the public from a sidewalk, street or alleyway or from any adjoining or neighboring premises.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- Open space on the premises outside of any building therein.
- The control or elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as food or by any other recognized and legal pest-elimination methods approved by the Health Officer.
- FIRE HAZARD
- Any device or condition likely to cause fire and which is so located as to endanger either persons or property; the creation, maintenance or continuance of any physical condition through which there exists a use, accumulation or storage of combustible or explosive material sufficient in amount or so located or in such a manner as to put in jeopardy, in event of ignition, either persons or property.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
- As defined under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control
Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11.b.[Added 7-13-2018 by Ord. No. 03-2018]
- The presence of any insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
- Any public annoyance known at public law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the State of New Jersey or in the ordinances of the City of Port Republic, including the following:
- A. Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the premises or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes but is not limited to abandoned wells, shafts, basements or excavations; abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators or motor vehicles; any structurally unsound fences or structures; lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors.
- B. Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
- C. Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of any code of the City of Port Republic.
- D. Fire hazards.
- The Building Code Enforcement Officer as appointed by City Council.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a building or a part thereof.
- Any person who, alone, jointly or severally with others, shall have the legal title to any property, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or shall have charge, care or control of any property 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 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.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon.
- Any combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, including the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, grass trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust.
- An assembly of materials forming a construction for occupancy or use, including, among others, buildings, stadiums, gospel and circus tents, reviewing stands, platforms, stagings, observation towers, radio towers, water tanks, trestles, piers, wharves, open sheds, coal bins, shelters, fences and display signs.
- Deterioration, decay or damage caused by exposure to the elements.
Whenever the words "accessory structure," "building," "premises," "room," "rooming unit" or "structure" are used in this chapter, they shall be construed, unless expressly stated to the contrary, to include the plurals of these words and as if they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
The word "shall" shall be applied retroactively as well as prospectively.
Compliance required. Every premises situated in the City, whether used or intended to be used for residential, commercial, or industrial occupancy, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this chapter, and irrespective of any permits, certificates of occupancy or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the building or premises and for the construction or repair of equipment or facilities 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 does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the building, equipment or facilities contained herein, except as provided in Subsection B.
Higher standard to prevail in case of conflict with other laws or ordinances. In any case where the provisions of this chapter impose a higher standard than set forth in any other ordinances of the City or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standard as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this chapter impose a lower standard than any other ordinances of the City or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail.
Issuance and renewal of other permits and licenses. After the date of enactment hereof, all licenses and permits, wherever applicable, shall be issued upon compliance with this chapter as well as compliance with the ordinances under which licenses and permits are granted.
Enforcement of and compliance with other ordinances. No license or permit or other certification of compliance with this chapter shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other ordinance of the City applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner, operator or occupant from complying with any such other provision nor any official of the City from enforcing any such other provision.
Owner and operator. Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed herein and in the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, 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.
Occupant. Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed herein and in all the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, 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.
Contract not to alter responsibilities. Unless expressly provided to the contrary in this chapter, the respective obligations and responsibilities of the owner and operator on one hand, and the occupant on the other, shall not be altered or affected by any agreement or contract by and between any of the aforesaid or between them and other parties.
Duties and responsibilities of owner and operator. The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all graffiti, nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, 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: brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash, refuse and debris.
Natural growth: dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth in rotting or deteriorating condition or storm-damaged which constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof.
Sources of infestation.
No motor vehicle designed to store and/or transport an excess of 1,000 gallons of hazardous substances shall be permitted to park on any residential property between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. or for more than five consecutive hours.
[Added 7-13-2018 by Ord. No. 03-2018]
Appearance of exterior of premises and structures.
The exterior of the premises and the condition of all structures shall be so maintained that their appearance shall reflect a high level of maintenance, a standard physical condition and shall not constitute a blighting influence on adjoining property owners nor any element leading to the deterioration and downgrading of the neighborhood or the reduction of property values.
Where the premises are landscaped, lawns, hedges, bushes, planter tubs or other containers shall be kept trimmed, free from becoming overgrown and unsightly and generally in a healthy, attractive condition. Ten inches is the maximum height for grass.
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences and storefronts, shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. All surfaces shall be maintained free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick, excessive peeling paint or other conditions reflective of 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 influences.
All reconstruction of walls and sidings shall be of standard quality as permitted by the City's Building Code and of an appearance commensurate with the character of the properties in the same block and on both sides of the street on which the premises fronts, such that the materials used will not be of a kind that their appearance under prevailing appraisal practices and standards will depreciate the values of neighboring and adjoining premises as aforesaid.
All parts of the premises shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition so as to prevent infestation, be free of nuisance and be free of hazards to health, safety and fire.
Removal of garbage or rubbish shall be the duty of the owner and operator.
All premises shall be properly connected to and provided with electrical power through safety-insulated conductors conforming to the requirements of the City of Port Republic.
It shall be the duty of the owner, tenant or person in possession of any land in the City to maintain and keep living trees in the road right-of-way of any road in the City in a manner so as to keep the right-of-way safe to preserve the public health, safety and general welfare and to remove dead or dying trees and/or branches.
If any condition exists that violates this chapter, the Officer or his/her designee shall notify the owner, tenant or other person in possession of the property of such condition or conditions, in writing, by regular mail or personal delivery. The owner, tenant or person in possession of the property shall have 14 days from the date of such written notice to correct the condition or conditions so noticed. The Building Code Enforcement Officer shall reinspect the lands in question after the fourteen-day period has expired to determine if the condition or conditions have been abated or remedied.
If the owner, tenant or person in possession of the lands in question fails to abate or remediate the condition or conditions noticed by the Officer within 14 days of the notice, the following shall occur:
A complaint shall be issued by the Officer for the violation or violations of this chapter, which complaint shall be brought before the Municipal Court of the City of Port Republic.
If it is necessary to preserve the public health, safety or general welfare of the City, the Officer shall cause the condition or conditions complained about to be abated or remedied and shall certify the cost of abatement or remediation to the Council of the City of Port Republic. The amount of such abatement or remediation shall be paid by the owner, tenant or person in possession within 10 days of the date of the mailing by which the invoice is sent to the aforesaid person.
If the said invoice is not so paid, the amount so charged shall be added to and become a part of the taxes next to be assessed upon the lands in question and shall bear interest at the same rate as municipal real estate taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officer and in the same manner as delinquent taxes.
For each day the condition or conditions complained of continue to exist after the fourteen-day period has expired, the tenant, owner or person in possession shall be subject to one or more of the following: a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, imprisonment for a period not to exceed 90 days or a period of community service not to exceed 90 days for each and every day the condition or conditions exist.
Building Code Enforcement Officer to be inspecting officer. The Building Code Enforcement Officer is hereby designated to serve as the inspecting officer hereunder, and all inspections, regulations, enforcement and hearings on violations of the provisions of this chapter, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under his direction and supervision. He may appoint or designate such other public officials or employees of the City to perform duties as may be necessary to the enforcement of this chapter, including the making of inspections and holding of hearings.
When inspections are to be made. All buildings and premises subject to this chapter are subject to inspections by the enforcing officer. At the time of such inspections, all parts of the premises must be available and accessible for such inspections, and the owner and operator are required to provide the necessary arrangements to enable such inspections. Such inspections shall be made during regular business hours, unless the violation is of an emergency type which requires abatement without delay.
Identification and conduct of inspectors. The Officer shall be supplied with official identification and, upon request, shall exhibit such identification when entering any building, rooming unit or any part of any premises subject to this chapter. The Officer shall conduct himself so as to avoid intentional embarrassment or inconvenience to occupants.
Where entry by Officer is refused.
Penalties. Where the Officer or his agent is refused entry or access or is otherwise impeded or prevented by the owner or operator from conducting an inspection of the premises, such person shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to the penalties hereunder.
Search warrant or access warrant. In addition to the provisions of Subsection D(1), the Officer may, upon affidavit, apply to the Municipal Court of the City of Port Republic, or such other court that may have jurisdiction, for a search warrant, setting forth factually the actual conditions and circumstances that provide a reasonable basis for believing that a nuisance or violation of this chapter exists on the premises, and, if the Judge is satisfied as to the matter set forth in the said affidavit, he shall authorize the issuance of a search warrant permitting access to and inspection of that part of the premises on which the nuisance or violation exists. Warrant for access may be issued by the court having jurisdiction upon affidavit of the Officer establishing grounds thereof.
Except as provided in Subsection H, where a violation of this chapter or the regulations hereunder is found to exist, a written notice from the Officer shall be served on the person or persons responsible for the correction thereof.
Contents of notice. The notice shall specify the violation or violations committed, what must be done to correct same, a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days, to start to correct or abate the violation and a reasonable time period to complete the correction of said violation, the right of the person served to request a hearing and that the notice shall become an order of the public officer five working days after service unless a hearing is requested pursuant to Subsection C.
Service of notice. Notice may be served personally or by certified mail, with postage prepaid, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. In the case of an occupant, notice may be posted upon the door of his dwelling unit or rooming unit. Where it is ascertained that the owner does not reside on the premises, the last known address shall be the address of the owner as shown in the office of the Tax Collector. If the last known address cannot be ascertained, the notice may be posted on the outside front entrance of the building. The Officer shall file and provide notice to any owner, operator or occupant of any violation at any address other than the last known address provided hereunder if such other address is filed with the inspecting official personally or by certified mail addressed to the Officer. Service upon an owner, operator or occupant may also be attained by service of any notice upon a member of the family of the owner, operator or occupant. Date of service of the notice shall be determined, where service is by mail, as the day following the day of mailing for notices to addresses within the City and as the fourth day after the day of mailing for notices to addresses outside the City. Where the day of service would fall upon a Sunday or other day when mail is not ordinarily delivered, then the day of service shall be the next regular delivery day, notwithstanding any other provision herein contained.
Notice to become an order unless hearing requested. Within five working days of the date of service of a notice, the notice shall constitute a final order unless any person affected by the notice requests a hearing thereon by serving a written request within the five-day period in person or by certified mail on the Officer. Such request for a hearing shall set forth briefly the grounds or reasons on which the request for a hearing is based and the factual matters contained in the notice of violation which are to be disputed at the hearing. The Officer, upon receipt of the request, shall, within 30 days therefrom and upon five days' notice to the party aggrieved, set the matter down for hearing.
Determination at hearing. At any hearing provided hereunder, the Officer shall be vested with all the powers provided by law to compel the attendance of witnesses and parties in interest by issuance and service of subpoena, to require by subpoena the production of books, records or other documents at any such hearing which may be pertinent to matters to be determined by him and to enforce any such subpoena or secure any order for the enforcement of any such subpoena as provided by law. Determination shall be made within 10 days of the completion of the hearing. The Officer shall issue an order either incorporating the determinations and directions contained in the notice, modifying the same or withdrawing the notice.
Extensions of time. The Officer may extend the time for correction or abatement of the violations for an additional period of time not to exceed 30 days, except where major capital improvements or renovations are involved, in which instance the time for completion may be extended for a period not to exceed 90 days beyond the expiration date of the original notice.
Summary abatement in emergency; notice and hearing not required. Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Officer may either abate the violation or condition immediately or order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within a period of time not to exceed three days, and, upon failure to do so, the Officer shall abate the condition immediately thereafter.
Referral of violations. Any violation of any related ordinance other than this chapter discovered by an inspector shall be reported to the Officer, who shall refer the alleged violation to the official or agency responsible for the enforcement of such other ordinance.
Where the Officer, after hearing, shall determine that there was a violation, and a notice was served upon the owner, operator or occupant, whether or not said violation was abated prior to the issuance of an order, if thereafter, within the space of one year, there shall be a second violation by the same owner, operator or occupant of the same provision of this chapter discovered on the same premises, the offender may be prosecuted on the second violation without the Officer first giving notice and opportunity for a hearing to the owner, operator or occupant by the filing of a complaint by the Officer in the Municipal Court. Where the Officer has on two different occasions found violations by the same owner, operator or occupant on the same premises and has issued notices on each and has held at least one hearing and issued an order thereon, upon discovering a third or subsequent violation by the same owner, operator or occupant on the same premises within the space of one year, whether of the same sections or of any other sections of this chapter, he may thereupon prosecute the offender by filing a complaint in the Municipal Court for the said third or subsequent violation occurring within the said period of one year without first providing notice and opportunity for a hearing by the Officer.
Effect of notice on owner. For the purposes of enforcement of this chapter, the service of a notice on an owner, whether or not the owner is also the operator, shall constitute notice of violations set forth therein until said violations are abated in conformity with this chapter and the other applicable ordinances of the City of Port Republic.
Fines for violations. A violator of any section or subsection of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 or 90 days in jail, at the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court, for each violation committed hereunder.
Meaning of "each violation." Each violation of a section or subsection of this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct violation independent of any other section or subsection. Each day's failure to comply with any such section or subsection shall constitute a separate violation.
The repeal of any provisions of any other ordinances by this chapter shall not affect any action for prosecution or abatement under any such ordinance or any notice, complaint or order issued by any officer or agency of the City prior to the effective date hereof or concerning which any prosecution or other steps of enforcement have been taken or are being taken within any administrative agency or in the Municipal Court for enforcement thereof.
Adoption of rules and regulations by Officer. The Officer is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such written rules and regulations as may be necessary for the proper interpretation and administration of the provisions of this chapter, provided that such rules and regulations do not conflict with this chapter and conform to the general standards prescribed by this chapter. The Officer shall file copies of such rules and regulations with the City Clerk, City Engineer and Fire Chief and shall make available in the Officer's office a copy for inspection by members of the public during regular business hours. Such rules and regulations shall have the approval of the City Engineer and Fire Chief, respectively, where the provisions thereof relate to matters which are also in the jurisdiction of and supervision of each officer. In case of conflict, the rule or regulation may be promulgated by direction of the Mayor. Such rules and regulations shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this chapter, and the violations thereof shall be enforced as violations of the express provisions of this chapter, as herein provided.
Annual review of chapter provisions and related activity. The Officer shall, in the month of December of each year, review with the Fire Chief, City Engineer and the City Counsel the procedure and operation of this chapter and report to the Mayor and City Council on or before January 1:
Any recommended amendment, addition or modification of provisions of this chapter consonant with the field experience of the personnel charged with enforcement.
A summary of the enforcement experience, indicating number of violations abated, number of cases processed in the Municipal Court, number of inspections made and such other and further pertinent information as will provide the Mayor and City Council with an annual account of progress in securing the standards required by this chapter.
Any further recommendation as to how this chapter and the procedure and operations thereunder can be improved.
[Added 8-11-2020 by Ord. No. 07-2020]
It is determined that certain types of the bamboo plant are invasive and often difficult to control, and such bamboo can and has caused significant damage to properties in the City of Port Republic. The purposes of this section are to preserve and protect private and public property from the damaging spread of bamboo, to protect indigenous and other plant materials from the invasive spread of bamboo, and to maintain the general welfare of the residents of the City of Port Republic.
Prohibition. No owner, tenant or occupant of a property, or person, corporation or other entity, shall plant, install, cultivate, grow or cause or permit the planting or installation of plant species commonly known as "running bamboo" including, but not limited to, any bamboo in the genus Phyllostachys, including Phyllostachys aureosulcata, upon any property located within the City of Port Republic. For purposes of this section, "running bamboo" means any monopodial bamboo that spreads variously, sending out underground runners (rhizomes) which sometimes range far from the parent plant. The definition refers to all parts of the bamboo including the above ground plant, its roots and rhizomes. For the purpose of enforcement of this section, running bamboo shall be identified by the structure of growth and need not be by biological identification.
Duty to confine. In the event any species commonly known as "running bamboo" is located upon any property within the City of Port Republic, prior to the effective date of this prohibition, the owner and/or occupant of said property shall jointly and severally be required to confine such species to prevent the encroachment, spread, invasion or intrusion of same onto any other private or public property or public right-of-way. In lieu of confining the species, the property owner and/or occupant may elect to totally remove the bamboo from the property and all affected properties. Failure to properly confine such bamboo shall require removal as set forth below. The cost of said removal shall be at the bamboo property owner's and/or occupant's expense. This duty to confine shall not apply if the property owner and/or occupant can establish to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer that the bamboo which is on his/her property at the time of the adoption of this section originated on another property.
In the event running bamboo is present on the effective date of this prohibition and a complaint is received by the City regarding an encroachment of any bamboo plant or root, and the Code Enforcement Officer of the City, after observation and/or inspection, determines that there is an encroachment or invasion on any adjoining/neighboring private or public property or public right-of-way (hereinafter, "the affected property"), the City shall serve notice to the bamboo property owner, in writing, that the bamboo has invaded other private or public properties or public rights-of-way and demand remediation of the encroachment and/or removal of the bamboo from the affected property, and demand approved confinement against future encroachment. Notice shall be provided to the bamboo property owner, as well as to the owner of the affected property, by certified, return-receipt-requested mail and regular mail. Within 20 days of receipt of such notice, the bamboo property owner shall submit to the Code Enforcement Officer of the City, with a copy to the owner of the affected property, a plan for the remediation of the encroachment of the bamboo from the affected property, which plan shall include restoration of the affected property after remediation of the encroachment. Within 45 days of receipt of the Code Enforcement Officer's approval of the plan of remediation and restoration, the remediation and restoration shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer of the City.
Nothing herein shall be interpreted as limiting the rights of a private property owner to seek civil relief through a court of proper jurisdiction, nor the institution of civil proceedings against the proper parties.
When an encroachment is upon public property or a public right-of-way and the bamboo property owner and/or occupant has not complied with the written notice provided as set forth above, the City of Port Republic, at its discretion, may remove or contract for the removal of such bamboo from the City property or public right-of-way. The cost of such removal shall be the responsibility of the bamboo property owner and occupant and shall be paid or assessed as a lien against the property on which the bamboo growth originated. The cost of said removal from the City-owned property and/or public right-of-way shall include the installation of an appropriate barrier to prevent future bamboo invasion.
Upon complaint or visual observation by Code Enforcement Officer of any running bamboo already in existence on any property within the City limits, to include private property, the property owner and/or occupant shall take the necessary measures to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer to ensure that the encroachment of the bamboo and root system is prevented from encroaching on adjoining properties.
Whether planted or growing in a container or contained within a barrier, all bamboo plants shall be located, trimmed, and maintained so that no part of the plant (including stalks, branches, leaves, and/or roots) shall extend nearer than 40 feet to any adjoining or neighboring property, curb, sidewalk, roadway, cartway, street, highway, right-of-way, storm sewer, sanitary, sewer, septic system, or sources of water. The property owner and/or occupant shall remove and abate the growth of the bamboo within 40 feet of any adjoining or neighboring property, curb, sidewalk, roadway, cartway, street, highway, right-of-way, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, septic system, or sources of water within the City of Port Republic.
Replanting prohibited. Any running bamboo either planted or caused to be planted or existing on the effective date of this regulation may not be replanted or replaced once such bamboo is or has become dead, destroyed, uprooted, or otherwise removed.