Township of Maurice River, NJ
Cumberland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Editor's Note: See also Chapter 11, Section 11-3, adoption of BOCA, Basic Housing-Property Maintenance Code/1996. See also Chapter 3, Section 3-1 concerning maintenance of private property.
[Ord. No. 232 § 1]
It shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant, of premises abutting or bordering upon any street, avenue, road or highway of the Township, or within fifty (50) feet of any occupied structure, to allow any brush, weeds, grass or plants, other than trees, bushes, flowers or other ornamental plants, to grow to a height exceeding nine (9) inches, or to allow the accumulation of filth, garbage, trash, debris or dead or dying tress which will prevent free or uninterrupted passage or become a public, health, safety or fire hazard thereon.
[Ord. No. 232 § 2; New; amended 7-16-2020 by Ord. No. 696]
Any owner or owners, occupant or occupants of any premises neglecting to remove any brush, weeds, grass, or plants as aforesaid, dead or dying trees, or any other obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash or debris, or other impediments from the lands and premises in the Township within 10 days after being notified to remove the same by the Municipal Clerk or Zoning Officer shall, upon conviction before the Judge of the Municipal Court, be liable to the penalty as stated in Chapter 1, § 1-5.
[Ord. No. 232 § 3; amended 7-16-2020 by Ord. No. 696]
Upon the failure of any owner or owners, occupant or occupants of any premises to remove any brush, weeds, grass, or plants as aforesaid, dead or dying trees, or the accumulation of filth, garbage, trash or debris within 10 days of notification, the Municipal Clerk or Zoning Officer shall cause the same to be removed; and the cost thereof shall be certified to the Tax Assessor whose duty it is to assess and levy the taxes for the Township, and shall thereon be charged against the land and premises and become and be a first and paramount lien upon the land and premises and shall be added to and form a part of the taxes assessed on the land and premises and collected with and in the same manner as the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon the land and premises, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the Tax Collector in the same manner as taxes.
[Ord. No. 232 § 4]
The imposition and collection of a fine imposed by this section shall not bar the right of the Township to collect the cost of removal in the manner as required in this section, and the remedy shall be cumulative.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 14-2 was adopted November 19, 2015 by Ord. No. 644-2015.
[Ord. No. 644-2015]
It is determined that certain types of the bamboo plant are invasive and often difficult to control, and can and has caused significant damage to properties in the Township of Maurice River. 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 Township of Maurice River.
[Ord. No. 644-2015]
No owner, tenant or occupant of a property, or person, corporation or other entity, shall plant, install or cause or permit the planting or installation of plant species commonly known as Running Bamboo upon any property located within the Township of Maurice River. For the purposes of this section, "running bamboo" means any bamboo in the genus Phyllostachys, including Phyllostachys aureosulcata.
[Ord. No. 644-2015]
In the event any species commonly known as Running Bamboo is located upon any property within the Township of Maurice River, prior to the effective date of this prohibition, the owner and 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 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 expense.
[Ord. No. 644-2015]
a. 
In the event Running Bamboo is present on the effective date of this prohibition and a complaint is received by the Township regarding an encroachment of any bamboo plant or root, and the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Maurice River 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 Township shall serve notice to the bamboo property owner in writing that the bamboo has invaded other private or public property(s) or public right-of-way(s) and demand remediation of the encroachment 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 forty-five (45) days of receipt of such notice, the bamboo property owner shall submit to the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township, 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 one hundred twenty (120) days of the 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 Township.
The "affected property" owner shall not be required to remediate the encroachment of bamboo from an adjoining property. As noted above, that obligation shall be the obligation of the bamboo property owner.
b. 
If the bamboo property owner does not accomplish the remediation of the encroachment from such other private or public property or public right-of-way in accordance herewith, the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township Maurice River shall cause a citation to be issued with a penalty up to one hundred ($100.00) dollars for each day the violation continues, enforceable through the Municipal Court of the Township of Maurice River. The Administrative Officer may request and the Municipal Court may grant, a specific performance remedy. The Township may also institute civil proceedings for injunctive or civil relief.
c. 
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.
d. 
When an encroachment is upon public property or 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 Township of Maurice River, at its discretion, may remove or contract for the removal of such bamboo from the Township property or public right-of-way. The cost of such said removal from the Township owned property and/or public right-of-way shall include the installation of an appropriate barrier to prevent future bamboo invasion.
[Ord. No. 644-2015]
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.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
ABANDONED PROPERTY
Shall mean:
a. 
Any property, either residential or commercial that has not been legally occupied for a period of six (6) months and which meets any one of the following additional criteria:
1. 
The property is in need of rehabilitation in the reasonable judgment of the Construction Official and no rehabilitation has taken place during that six-month period;
2. 
Construction was initiated on the property and was discontinued prior to completion, leaving the building unsuitable for occupancy, and no construction has taken place for at least six (6) months as of the date of a determination by the Construction Official;
3. 
At least one installment of property tax remains unpaid and delinquent on the property in accordance with chapter 4 of Title 54 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey as of the date of a determination by the Construction Official; or
4. 
The property has been determined to be a nuisance by the Construction Official in accordance with section 5 of P.L. 2003, c. 210 (C. 55:19-82).
b. 
Notwithstanding the above definition of "abandoned property," a property with active electrical service shall not be considered abandoned. Additionally, any property which is maintained to at least the standards set forth in Maurice River Township's Maintenance Ordinance shall not be considered as an abandoned property.
c. 
A property which contains both residential and non-residential space may be considered abandoned so long as two-thirds (2/3) or more of the total net square footage of the building was previously occupied as residential space and none of the residential space has been legally occupied for at least six (6) months at the time of the determination of abandonment by the Construction Official and the property meets the criteria of either subsection 1 or subsection 4 above.
NUISANCE PROPERTY
A property may be determined to be a nuisance by the Construction Official or Zoning Officer if:
a. 
The property has been found to be unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use pursuant to section 1 of P.L. 1942, c. 112 (C. 40:48-2.3);
b. 
The condition and vacancy of the property materially increases the risk of fire to the property and adjacent properties;
c. 
The property is subject to unauthorized entry leading to potential health and safety hazards; the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to secure the property; or the municipality has secured the property in order to prevent such hazards after the owner has failed to do so;
d. 
The presence of vermin or the accumulation of debris, uncut vegetation or physical deterioration of the structure or grounds have created potential health and safety hazards and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remove the hazards; or
e. 
The dilapidated appearance or other condition of the property materially affects the welfare, including the economic welfare, of the residents of the area in close proximity to the property, and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remedy the conditions.
A public officer who determines a property to be a nuisance pursuant to paragraphs b through e of this section shall follow the notification procedures set forth in P.L. 1942, c. 112 (C. 40:48-2.3 et seq.)
OWNER
Shall mean and include the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to an abandoned property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of C. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17), or any other entity having a legal interest or right or authority to act with respect to the property.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
a. 
Effective January 1, 2017, the owner of any abandoned property as defined herein shall within thirty (30) days after the building becomes abandoned property or within fifteen (15) days after assuming ownership of the abandoned property, whichever is later, file a registration form for each such abandoned property with the Municipal Clerk on forms provided by the Municipal Clerk for such purposes. The registration shall remain valid for the calendar year January 1 through December 31 of each year. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains abandoned property and the owner shall pay a registration or renewal fee.
b. 
Any owner of any building that meets the definition of abandoned property as of January 1, 2017 shall file a registration form for the property on or before January 31, 2017 and by January 31 of each year thereafter. The registration form shall include such information as set forth on the prescribed Registration form.
c. 
The owner shall notify the Municipal Clerk within thirty (30) days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration form on a prescribed form provided by the Clerk for such purpose.
d. 
The registration form shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Township against the owner or owners of the building.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
After filing a registration form or a renewal of a registration form, the owner of any abandoned property shall provide access to the Township to conduct an exterior or interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the Municipal Code, following reasonable notice, during the period covered by the initial registration or any subsequent renewal.
a. 
The registration form shall include the name, street address and telephone number of a natural person twenty-one (21) years of age or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notices of Code violations and for receiving process, in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement of any applicable code. This person must maintain an office in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey. The statement shall also include the name of the person responsible for maintaining and securing the property, if different.
b. 
An owner who is a natural person and who meets the requirements of this section as to location of residence or office may designate him or herself as agent.
c. 
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section the owner consents to receive any and all notices of Code violations concerning the registered abandoned property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce Code provisions concerning the registered building by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purpose of this section until the owner notifies the Municipal Clerk of a change of authorized agent and in no way releases the owner from any requirement of this ordinance.
[Ord. No. 651-2017; amended 3-19-2020 by Ord. No. 694]
The initial registration fee for each property shall be $500 for one year. Said fee shall be prorated for the initial year of registration. All annual registration for abandoned properties, together with the appropriate fee, shall be due and payable by January 31 of each year. All fees will be processed through the Municipal Clerk’s office. The fee for the first annual renewal and for each renewal year thereafter shall be $500.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
The owner of any building that has become an abandoned property, and any person maintaining, operating or collecting rent for any such buildings that becomes abandoned shall, within thirty (30) days:
a. 
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Code of the Township of Maurice River, or as set forth in any applicable rules and regulations; and
b. 
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, the address and the telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process (if designated pursuant to Registration Form Requirements; Property Inspection) and the person responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the building, if such person is different from the owner holding the title or authorized agent. The sign shall be of a size and placed in such a location so as to be legible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearest, but shall be no smaller than 18"X24", and
c. 
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
The Municipal Clerk and the Code Enforcement Officer shall be responsible for the administration of the provisions of this section.
[Ord. No. 651-2017]
a. 
Any owner who is not in full compliance with this ordinance or who otherwise violates any provision of this section or of the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred ($100.00) dollars and not more than one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this section shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
b. 
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration form in time, failure to provide correct information on the registration form, failure to comply with the provisions under the Requirements for Owners of Abandoned Property, shall be deemed to be violations of this section.
Nothing in this section is intended to conflict with or prevent the Township from taking action against buildings found to be unfit for human habitations or unsafe structures as provided in applicable provisions of the Code of the Township of Maurice River. Further, any action taken under any such Code provision other than the demolition of a structure shall not relieve the owner from its obligations under this section.