[HISTORY: Adopted by the Merchantville Borough Council 10-13-1986. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby determined and declared that the abandonment, or storage out of doors of any motor vehicle not currently in use for transportation and not currently licensed or registered, on any public street or on any public or private lands within the borough is contrary and inimical to the public welfare in that such vehicles so abandoned or stored attract or may attract young children who being so attracted may play in and about them and be injured in so doing, and in that such vehicles so abandoned or stored out of doors deteriorate and are unsightly and are detrimental to and depreciate the value of properties in the neighborhood where they are located and in the borough as a whole.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes any motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, trailer, truck, truck-trailer or other vehicle which:
- A. Is parked without the current year's registration or identification markers as required by law;
- B. Has been parked in any public street or on any public lands for a period of forty-eight (48) hours;
- C. Is so disabled as to constitute an obstruction of traffic and the driver or person owning or in charge thereof neglects or refuses to move the same to a place where it shall not obstruct traffic;
- D. Is found to be mechanically inoperative and is allowed to remain inoperative for a period of forty-eight (48) hours (said period of time may be extended, for good cause, by the Police Department); or
- E. Is found without one (1) or more tires.
- IMPOUND, IMPOUNDMENT or PLACE OF IMPOUNDMENT
- Refers to the sequestration of the vehicle or junk automobile body at a place of storage.
- JUNK AUTOMOBILE or JUNK AUTOMOBILE BODY
- Any automobile which is no longer in actual use as a motor vehicle or which is wholly unfit, without rebuilding or reconditioning, for use in highway transportation or which has been discarded for use as a motor vehicle or otherwise abandoned.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, trailer, truck, truck-tractor or other vehicle and shall have the meaning as ascribed to the foregoing words as contained and defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq. of the Revised Statutes of the State of New Jersey.
- Any individual, firm, partnership or corporation being the owner or having any legal right in or to the motor vehicle or other vehicle as herein defined. The term "person" when applied to lands, housing, residential, commercial or industrial units which are leased rather than owned by the occupants shall be deemed to mean and include the owner of the leased structures.
- PLACE OF STORAGE
- Such site or location as the Chief of Police of the borough shall from time to time establish and provide.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Police Department of the Borough of Merchantville.
Abandonment prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon or suffer or permit the abandoning of any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body out of doors upon any public or private lands in the Borough of Merchantville or on any public street or between the right-of-way side lines of any public right-of-way therein.
Storage prohibition. No person shall place, keep or store any junk automobile or junk automobile body, as heretofore defined in this chapter, on any public or private property within the Borough of Merchantville.
Presumption. If any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body shall be abandoned on private lands for five (5) working days or more, it shall be presumed that the owner or tenant in possession of said land has abandoned it there or permitted or suffered it to be abandoned there.
Exclusion. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit the placing, keeping or storage of any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body in an enclosed garage, barn or other building.
Whenever any officer of the Merchantville Police Department finds any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body which has been abandoned, kept or stored contrary to the provisions of this chapter, such member of the Merchantville Police Department shall remove, secure the removal of and/or impound said motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body in accordance with the procedures hereinafter set forth:
Public property. Whenever any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body is found on any public street, highway or public property, an emergency condition is herewith declared to exist, and any officer of the Merchantville Police Department is hereby authorized to immediately remove, secure the removal of and/or impound the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body without the necessity of notice prior to said impoundment. After impoundment, the Merchantville Police Department shall use diligent efforts to identify and locate the owner of the impounded motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body and notify the owner in accordance with § 87-4C.
Regulations. Whenever a motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body is found on any private land in violation of this chapter, then any officer of the Merchantville Police Department in furtherance of enforcement of this chapter shall affix to the vehicle in question a sticker bearing the information more particularly set forth on Exhibit 1 attached to this chapter and made a part hereof by reference. Said sticker shall, in addition to such additional information as is provided, indicate that unless the violation is corrected within five (5) working days so noted, the violation is continuing, and any member of the Merchantville Police Department is authorized to proceed in accordance with the law to impound the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body and to remove said motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body to a place of storage. Notice of said impoundment shall be given to the owner of the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body or the owner or tenant of the private land on which the violation is occurring in the manner hereinafter established.
Editor's Note: Exhibit 1 is available for inspection in the office of the Borough Clerk during regular business hours.
Exclusion. Nothing heretofore mentioned shall be deemed to prevent any of the following activities from being conducted on private lands under the conditions or by the people referred to:
One (1) motor vehicle within the definition set forth above, which does not possess the current year's registration, may be maintained on a single parcel of land having on it a single-family residential dwelling as long as the motor vehicle is in complete and operable condition.
Owners of motor vehicles being held for sale or resale in a commercial zone are exempted from the provisions of this chapter.
Owners of a motor vehicle which would otherwise come under the provisions of this chapter who are in the military service stationed outside the State of New Jersey shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in Subsection B(2)(a) above.
Owners of antique motor vehicles which are classified as such under State statutes are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Exempt certificates. Any person who possesses, owns or maintains a motor vehicle covered under any one (1) of the exclusions referred to above shall obtain from the Chief of Police an exempt certificate which shall indicate that the motor vehicle in question comes under one (1) of the exclusions referred to in Subsection B(2) above. Said exempt certificate shall be valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance. All owners of exempt certificates shall display the exempt certificate on the windshield or other prominent place on the motor vehicle in question so that it is readily observable by the enforcement officials under this chapter. No fees shall be charged for the issuance of an exempt certificate.
Notice of impoundment.
Notice of the impoundment of any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body shall be given to the owner of said motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body or to the owner or tenant of lands upon which a violation is occurring pursuant to § 87-3C above, in writing, by certified mail, at the last known address of the party to be served and shall contain the following:
The time and place of impoundment.
Location of the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body.
The reason for impoundment.
The account and nature of penalties and costs that may be entered against him.
A statement that a sale of the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body will occur after thirty (30) days if the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body is not reclaimed.
The address of the owner as shown on the records of the State Division of Motor Vehicles shall be deemed sufficient for the purpose of this subsection.
Notice of Director. Upon the impoundment of any vehicle pursuant to this chapter, the member of the Merchantville Police Department so impounding the vehicle shall give immediate notice to the Director of Motor Vehicles on forms prescribed by him for verification of ownership.
Whenever any motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body impounded by the Police Department shall remain unclaimed for a period of thirty (30) days, the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body shall be sold under the direction of the Borough Clerk of the Borough of Merchantville or his designate at public auction to the highest bidder. Such auction held shall take place after notice of such sale has been given at least seven (7) days prior thereto by one (1) publication in the newspaper circulated in the borough and upon the mailing of a copy of said notice to the owner of the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body and/or to the owner or tenant of the lands upon which a violation is occurring and the holder of any security interest filed with the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles by certified mail at least (7) days prior to the sale. All revenue collected from the sale of the motor vehicle, junk automobile or junk automobile body shall be retained by the Borough of Merchantville as a cost of administration.
Maximum penalty. For violation of any provision of this chapter, the maximum penalty on conviction for a violation shall be a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days, or both.
Separate violations. Except as otherwise provided, each day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.
Application. The maximum penalty stated in the general parties clause of this section is not intended to state an appropriate penalty for every violation. Any lesser penalty, including a nominal penalty or no penalty at all, may be appropriate for a particular case or a particular violation.
A continuance of a violation or a noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a nuisance, and the Borough Council shall have the right to apply to the courts of this state for injunctive relief or other relief, in addition to the penalties provided for herein.