[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Hamilton as Ch. 86, § 86-10, of the 1994 Code of Ordinances; amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Whereas, wheeled shopping carts (hereafter "carts") supplied by grocery stores and merchandisers are in common use in the Township of Hamilton, Mercer County, New Jersey; and
Whereas, shoppers, patrons and users sometimes remove from shopping centers, grocery stores, premises and the parking lots the carts provided for shoppers for their own convenience or for other reasons and then abandon them and fail to return them to the premises from which they were taken; and
Whereas, abandoned carts taken off premises can and do create hazards to pedestrians, vehicles and users of the public streets and bike path; are dangerous attractive nuisances to children who find them and climb on them; are unsightly clutter to private and public property where they are left; and are detrimental to the public safety, health and welfare; and
Whereas, Township Council has attempted to encourage volunteer programs designed to alleviate the problems caused by abandonment of carts but with unsatisfactory results; and
Whereas, it is the intent and purpose of this action by Township Council to establish and enact regulations governing the abandonment of carts and to provide penalties for violations;
Whereas the Township Council of the Township of Hamilton wishes to comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.65, enacted in July 2008, regulating shopping carts;
All clauses above are incorporated herein as statements of explanation, purpose and intent.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARKING AREA
- A parking lot or other property provided by a retailer for the use of a customer for parking an automobile or other vehicle. The parking area of a retail mercantile establishment located in a multistore complex or shopping center shall include the entire parking area used by the complex or center.
- SHOPPING CART
- A push cart of the type or types which are commonly provided by grocery stores, drugstores or other retail mercantile establishments for the use of the public in transporting commodities in stores and markets and their parking areas.
All shoppers, patrons and users of carts who remove a cart for their convenience or any other reason from the store, shopping centers, grocery stores, premises or parking lot adjacent to where the cart belongs shall have the affirmative duty and obligation to return the cart forthwith. Any person who does not fulfill that duty and obligation, or who abandons the cart, has violated this chapter.
All owners and operators of stores or other facilities owning and/or supplying carts for the convenience of shoppers, patrons or users shall:
Clearly label, in a visible manner restrictive of removal of same, the name, address and phone number of the store or facility owning or responsible for supplying the carts.
Be responsible for retrieval of any of its carts as soon as possible and not more than three business days from notification by the Township or any official thereof of a request to do so by fax, letter, e-mail or verbal notification. Any that do not do so have violated this chapter.
Create internal procedures to comply with this chapter, which procedures shall be written and in place within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter, and which shall be supplied to the Township when requested by the Township from time to time.
Said procedures shall identify the name of the person, title, address of the store or facility, phone number, fax number and e-mail address where and to whom the Township may send notices.
At its option and expense, create signage on its premises notifying shoppers, patrons and users of the existence of this chapter and the penalties for violations thereof by them in a form substantially the same as that which follows:
Shoppers, patrons and users of shopping carts who remove carts from these premises and do not return them forthwith, or abandon them, shall be subject to a fine not less than $25 for the first conviction and $100 for each subsequent conviction.
The Township shall not impound a shopping cart that has a sign or notice identifying the owner of the cart or the retailer who has written consent from the owner to use the cart, and listing a valid telephone number or address through which the owner or retailer can be contacted, unless the following conditions are met:
The shopping cart is located outside the premises or parking area of a retail mercantile establishment;
The Township will notify the owner or retailer of the location of the cart and allow three business days from the date of such notification for the owner, retailer or an authorized agent to retrieve the shopping cart, unless the immediate removal is necessary to prevent a danger to public safety;
The Township will notify the owner or retailer upon impoundment of a shopping cart and include information as to how the cart may be retrieved;
The Township will hold the impounded shopping cart at a location that is reasonably convenient to the owner, retailer or authorized agent and is open for business at least six hours of each business day;
Any fine imposed upon the owner or retailer for an impounded shopping cart shall not exceed $50 for each occurrence for failure to retrieve shopping carts. An occurrence includes all shopping carts impounded in accordance with this section during a twenty-four-hour period; and
The Township will allow the owner or retailer a minimum of five business days following receipt of notice that a shopping cart has been impounded to retrieve the cart before the Township may sell or otherwise dispose of the cart.
The Township may impound a shopping cart that has a sign or notice identifying the owner of the cart or the retailer who has written consent from the owner to use the cart, and lists a valid telephone number or address through which the owner or retailer can be contacted, without meeting the conditions required by Subsection A(1) through (5) of this section if the Township:
Notifies the owner or retailer within 24 hours of impounding the shopping cart and includes information on how the cart may be retrieved;
Releases the cart to the owner, retailer or authorized agent without any charge or fine whatsoever, if the owner, retailer or authorized agent attempts to retrieve the cart within five business days of notice.
Nothing contained in this section shall preclude or otherwise limit the Township from impounding a shopping cart that does not have a sign or notice identifying the owner of the cart or the retailer who has written consent from the owner to use the cart and lists a valid telephone number or address through which the owner or retailer can be contacted.
A shopper, patron or user of a cart convicted in Municipal Court of a violation of this chapter shall be fined $25 for the first conviction and $100 for each subsequent conviction.
An owner or retailer of an impounded shopping cart convicted in Municipal Court of a violation of this chapter shall be fined $50 for each occurrence for failure to retrieve shopping carts. An occurrence includes all shopping carts impounded in accordance with this chapter during a twenty-four-hour period.