[Added 2-15-2017 by Ord. No. MC 3599]
Whenever used in this article, the terms listed below shall be defined as follows unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority established under Section 5 of L. 1984, c. 218 (N.J.S.A. 5:12-153).
- Any building, structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or not. The term includes any structures ancillary to a building.
- CASINO LICENSEE
- Any casino licensed under the Casino Control Act, L. 1977, c. 110 (N.J.S.A. 5:12-1 et seq.).
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Council of the Township of Irvington.
- The holder or holders of title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- Any individuals, associations or corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in possession of it.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Official by a public authority or by at least five residents of the municipality charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the Construction Official that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Construction Official shall, if a preliminary investigation supports these charges, serve upon the owner and parties in interest a complaint stating the charges and a notice that a hearing will be held before the Construction Official (or a designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than seven nor more than 30 days after service of the complaint. The complaint shall also provide that the owner and parties in interest may file an answer and appear in person, or otherwise, to give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Construction Official.
If after notice and hearing the Construction Official determines that the building is unfit for habitation or occupancy or use, the Construction Official shall state, in writing, findings of fact in support of such determination and shall serve upon the owner and parties in interest an order as follows:
The order shall require the owner to repair, alter or improve the building within a reasonable time set forth in the order or at the option of the owner vacate and close the building within the time specified in the order.
If the building is in a condition dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near it and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the building within the time specified, the order shall require the owner to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time specified in the order.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building, the order shall specify that the Construction Official may post on the main entrance of any building so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Construction Official may cause the building to be removed or demolished or may contract for its removal or demolition after advertisement for, and receipt of, bids therefor.
The amount of:
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this article determined in favor of the municipality; and
The cost of repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount of the balance thereof remaining after deduction of the sum, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which the cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Construction Official, he or she shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the costs and the amount due shall be filed with the Tax Collector or other custodian of records of tax liens and a copy shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of the credits exceeds the costs, the balance shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Construction Official, shall be secured in a manner directed by the court and disbursed according to the order of the court to the persons entitled thereto. Any owner or party in interest may, within 30 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness or accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posed by the threatened collapse of any fire damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the Construction Official may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for its demolition (Superior Court - OTSC).
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise, nor is anything in this article intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Official under the State Uniform Construction Code Act, L. 1975, c. 217 (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.) or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.
Any building or buildings, or parts thereof, which have come into a state of disrepair through neglect, lack of maintenance or use, fire, accident or other calamities or through any other act rendering the building or buildings, or parts thereof, in a state of disrepair to the extent that the building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, shall be deemed inimical to the welfare of the residents of the municipality wherein it is located, and a Construction Official appointed pursuant to the provisions of L. 1942, c. 112 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.) may exercise his or her powers to repair or demolish the building or buildings, or parts thereof, pursuant to the provisions of Section 5 of L. 1992, c. 89 [N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5(b)].
Pursuant to L. 1992, c. 89 [N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5(b)] the Township of Irvington, to finance the costs of accomplishing the purpose of this article, shall have the power to accept gifts or grants from private or public agencies or to accept donations from or enter into loan agreements with any casino licensee or the authority under any legal terms and conditions, including agreements which obligate such municipality to repay any such loan over a period not in excess of one year, which the Construction Official determines will be beneficial to the purposes of L. 1942, c. 112 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.). If the Construction Official accepts or borrows any funds from any casino licensee or the authority for which the casino licensee seeks authorization for an investment tax credit in accordance with Section 3 of L. 1984, c. 218 (N.J.S.A. 5:12-144.1), the authority is authorized to approve an investment tax credit in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of L. 1984, c. 218 (N.J.S.A. 5:12-144.1) and the authority's rules.
All funds received pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall be placed in a separate municipal fund designated as the "Emergency Demolition Fund" to be used solely for demolition related activities. The Construction Official shall have the sole discretion in determining which funds will be accepted and the time and manner of all expenditures necessary to carry out the purposes of this article, except that the Construction Official shall not accept or use any funds provided by a casino licensee or the authority for the purpose of demolishing any structure owned by a casino licensee. All payments made pursuant to this section shall be made under the direction of the Construction Official.
The Construction Official may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use by finding that conditions exist in the building which are dangerous to the occupants of the building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents or such municipality. Conditions may include the following: defects increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair, structural defects; uncleanliness; failure to comply with the requirements of the building code or the certificate of occupancy.
Complaints or orders issued by a Construction Official shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and cannot be ascertained by the Construction Official in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Construction Official shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once in a newspaper printed and published in the municipality, or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the buildings are located. A copy of any complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the building is located.
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by a Construction Official may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the Construction Official from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief. The court may proceed in the action in a summary manner or otherwise. The remedy herein provided shall be exclusive, and no person affected by an order of the Construction Official shall be entitled to recover any damages for action taken pursuant thereto, or because of noncompliance by any person with any order of the Construction Official.