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Township of Hope, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1978 Code § 9-101]
No person, firm association, partnership or corporation shall maintain any junk on its premises within the Township of Hope.
[1978 Code § 9-102]
As used in this section:
JUNK
Shall include rags, scrap iron, brass, copper, tin lead and other materials, unregistered automobiles which are unfit for reconditioning for sale for highway transportation, used parts of motor vehicles, old bottles, glass, lumber, paper, discarded machinery or parts thereof, and any other second hand articles or used materials and merchandise and such other articles or things as commonly come within the classification of junk.
[1978 Code § 9-103]
The Code Enforcement Officer, the Mayor or any members of the Township Committee, Health officer, or any authorized officer or agent of the Township of Hope, shall have the right at any and all reasonable time to inspect any or all premises within the Township of Hope and, shall, in the event that junk is found in or upon the premises, give notice in writing to the owner or other person in possession of the premises to remove the junk from the premises within two weeks from the date of mailing the notice.
[1978 Code § 9-104]
It shall be unlawful for persons to deposit or leave any abandoned or unlicensed automobile, truck or other automotive equipment or any part thereof, or other junk, in open fields or upon other unfenced private property.
[1978 Code § 9-105]
In any case where the Hope Township Zoning Ordinance shall be more restrictive than the provisions herein the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance shall prevail.
The Township Committee finds the existence of brush, weeds, debris, dead and dying trees, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage and fire hazards within the Township of Hope, and there exists a public necessity for the removal of the brush, weeds, debris, etc.
[1978 Code § 9-502]
a. 
PARTIES IN INTEREST – Shall mean all individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building or premises and any who are in actual possession thereof.
b. 
PUBLIC OFFICER – Shall mean the Construction Code Official or his designated subcode official or the Chief Health Official of the Municipality.
c. 
OWNER – Shall mean the holder or holders of the title in fee simple.
[1978 Code § 9-503]
Whenever it shall appear to the public officer that for the preservation of public health, safety or general welfare or the elimination of fire hazard removal of brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris is required.
a. 
The Public Officer shall give 10 days notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by leaving a copy with a competent member of the household over the age of 14 years or with the managing or general agent or by posting a copy on the premises and mailing a copy by ordinary or certified mail to the owner as determined from the most recent tax records.
b. 
The notice shall state:
1. 
The condition complained of;
2. 
The items or conditions to be removed;
3. 
That removal shall be completed within 10 days or sooner, if specified;
4. 
That removal shall be done under the direction of the Public Officer or other specified official of the Township where removal has not been accomplished as required in paragraph 3 above;
5. 
That if removal is accomplished as in paragraph 4 above, penalties may be imposed and the cost of removal shall be charged as a lien against said premises and be added to and form a part of the taxes next to be levied against the lands and premises.
c. 
If the removal is not accomplished in the time prescribed by notice, the public officer shall then upon resolution of the governing body provide for the removal under his direction or the direction of the other specified official of the Township.
1. 
The officer shall certify the cost thereof to the governing body.
2. 
The governing body shall then examine the certificate.
3. 
If found to be correct, the amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes, a copy of the certificate shall be filed with the tax collector and a copy shall forthwith be forwarded to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested.
[1978 Code § 9-504]
Any person violating this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment in the Warren County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or both, in addition to the imposition of taxes and lien for reimbursement as set forth herein.
[Added 6-12-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-04]
As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED PROPERTY
Shall be defined pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-81 as follows: Any property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months and which meets any one of the following additional criteria may be deemed to be abandoned property upon a determination by the public officer that:
a. 
The property is in need of rehabilitation in the reasonable judgment of the public officer, and no rehabilitation has taken place during that six-month period;
b. 
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 months as of the date of a determination by the public officer pursuant to this section;
c. 
At least one installment of property tax remains unpaid and delinquent on that property in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 54 of the Revised Statutes of the date of the determination by the public officer pursuant to this section; or
d. 
The property has been determined to be a nuisance by the public officer in accordance with Section 5 of P.L. 2003, c. 210 (N.J.S.A. 55:19-82). A property which contains both residential and nonresidential space may be considered abandoned pursuant to P.L. 2003, c. 210 (N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq.), so long as two-thirds or more of the total net square footage of the building was previously legally occupied as residential or commercial space and none of the residential or commercial space has been legally occupied for at least six months at the time of the determination of abandonment by the public officer and the property meets the criteria of either Subsection a or Subsection d of this definition.
OWNER
Includes the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant/abandoned property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, § 17, as amended by P.L. 2009, c. 296), or any other entity determined by the Township of Hope to have authority to act with respect to the property.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The Zoning Officer or other official designated by the Township Committee.
VACANT PROPERTY
Any building used or to be used as a residence, commercial or industrial structure which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operations or occupancy has ceased, and which is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation, including but not limited to any property meeting the definition of abandoned property in N.J.S.A. 55:19-54, 55:19-78, 55:19-79, 55:19-80 and 55:19-81; provided, however, that any property where all building systems are in working order, where the building and grounds are maintained in good order, or where the building is in habitable condition, and where the building is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental, shall not be deemed a vacant property for purposes of this section.
The owner of any vacant or abandoned property shall, within 30 days after the building becomes vacant or abandoned; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the Township, file a registration statement for such vacant or abandoned property with the Township Clerk on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Failure to receive notice by the Township shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property. Registration pursuant to this section shall conform to the following:
a. 
Each property having a separate block and lot number as designated in official records of the municipality shall be registered separately.
b. 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of a person 21 years 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 proceedings on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code; and the name, street address, telephone number, and email (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firm's individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis. The two entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey. The initial registration shall be valid through December 31 of the initial registration year. Thereafter, the owner shall renew their registration annually on or before February 1 of each calendar year as long as the building remains a vacant and/or abandoned property, with renewal registrations being valid for one calendar year.
c. 
The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1 each year. The initial registration fee shall be pro-rated for registration statements received less than 10 months prior to that date.
d. 
The owner shall notify the Public Officer within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Township Clerk for such purpose.
e. 
The registration statement 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 owners of the building.
The owner of any property registered pursuant to Subsection 9-3.2 shall provide access to the Township to conduct exterior and interior inspections of the building to determine compliance with municipal codes, upon reasonable notice to the property owner or the designated agent. Such inspections shall be carried out on weekdays during the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or such other time as may be mutually agreed upon between the owner and the Township.
a. 
An owner who meets the requirements of this section with respect to the location of his or her residence or workplace in the State of New Jersey may designate himself or herself as agent or as the individual responsible for maintaining the property.
b. 
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 vacant 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 purposes of this section until the owner notifies the Township in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
c. 
Any owner who fails to register vacant/abandoned property under the provisions of this section shall further be deemed to consent to receive, by posting on the building, in plain view, and by service of notice at the last known address of the owner of the property on record within the Township by regular and certified mail, any and all notices of code violations and all process in an administrative proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the building.
The initial registration fee for each building that becomes vacant/abandoned during any calendar year shall be $500. The fee for first renewal is $1,500 and the fee for the second renewal is $3,000. The fee for any subsequent renewal beyond the second renewal is $5,000. All fees shall be submitted with the initial and renewal registrations required pursuant to Subsection 9-3.2c. Neither the initial nor any renewal fee shall be subject to proration or refund based upon a change in status of the property to or from a vacant/abandoned condition during a calendar year for which the fee is applicable.
The owner of any building that has become abandoned or vacant property, and any person maintaining or operating or collecting rent for property that has become abandoned or vacant shall, within 30 days thereof:
a. 
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry;
b. 
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process, and the person responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the building, if such person is different from the owner holding 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 nearer, but shall be no smaller than eight inches by 10 inches;
c. 
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is again legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is complete;
d. 
Ensure that the exterior grounds of the structure, including yards, fences, sidewalks, walkways, rights-of-way, alleys, retaining walls, attached or unattached accessory structures and driveways, are well-maintained and free from trash, debris, loose litter, and grass and weed growth; and
e. 
Continue to maintain the structure in a secure and closed condition, keep the grounds in a clean and well-maintained condition, and ensure that the sign is visible and intact until the building is again occupied, demolished, or until repair and/or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
a. 
A summons shall issue to any owner that violates any provision of this section or the rules and regulations issued hereunder, shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 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 statement within 30 calendar days after a building becomes vacant property or within 120 calendar days after assuming ownership of a vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality, and failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, or failure to comply with the provisions of such provisions contained herein shall be deemed to be violations of this section.
[Added 6-12-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-05]
The purpose of this section is to create a regulation regarding registration and maintenance of vacant and abandoned residential properties in foreclosure in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 2014, c. 35.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.
As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CREDITOR
Consistent with Section 3 of P.L. 2008, c. 86,[1] a state chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or any credit union, any person required to be licensed under the provisions of the New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lending Act,[2] and any entity acting on behalf of the creditor named in the debt obligation, including but not limited to servicers.
PUBLICLY OWNED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
All lots or parcels owned by the Township of Hope, State of New Jersey, volunteer fire or ambulance service and/or civic organizations.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
All lots or parcels designated within the Township of Hope, regardless of the zone district in which they are located in, that are not publicly owned.
VACANT AND ABANDONED
Consistent with Section 1 of P.L. 2010, c. 70 (N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73), residential real estate for which a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to Subsection 9-45 of this section and Subsection b of Section 1 of P.L. 2014, c. 35.[3] Where a notice of violation has not been issued pursuant to Subsection 9-4.5 of this section and Subsection b of Section 1 of P.L. 2014, c. 35, residential property shall be deemed "vacant and abandoned" where a mortgaged property is not occupied by a mortgagor or tenant as evidenced by a lease agreement entered into prior to the service of a notice of intention to commence foreclosure according to Section 4 of the Fair Foreclosure Act, P.L. 1995, c. 244,[4] and at least two of the following conditions exist:
a. 
Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
b. 
The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
c. 
Disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property;
d. 
The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
e. 
The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
f. 
The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
g. 
The absence of furnishings and personal items;
h. 
Statements of neighbors, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
i. 
Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired;
j. 
Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
k. 
A risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public, or any adjoining or adjacent property owners, exists due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or the physical destruction or deterioration of the property;
l. 
An uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing, or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied;
m. 
The mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing;
n. 
A written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property; and
o. 
Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 46:10B-38.
[2]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 17:11C-51 et seq.
[3]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.
[4]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2A:50-53 et seq.
a. 
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a vacant and abandoned property, or a creditor who has previously filed a summons and complaint to foreclose on a residential property which subsequently becomes vacant and abandoned, shall within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant and abandoned or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant and abandoned property, whichever is later; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice from the Township, and annually thereafter, file a registration statement for such vacant and abandoned property with the municipal clerk on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Any failure to receive notice from the Township shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the vacant and abandoned property.
b. 
Each vacant and abandoned property having a separate block and lot number as designated in the official tax maps of the Township shall be registered separately.
c. 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of a person 21 years or older, designated by the creditor as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such creditor in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code.
d. 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firm's individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the abandoned and vacant property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the abandoned and vacant property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis. The two entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey.
e. 
The registration shall remain valid through December 31 of the year in which it was filed. The creditor shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant and abandoned and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in Subsection i of this section for each vacant and abandoned property registered.
f. 
The annual renewal shall be completed by February 1 each year.
g. 
The creditor shall notify the municipal clerk within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the municipal clerk for such purpose.
h. 
The registration statement 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 creditor.
i. 
Fee Schedule. The initial registration fee for each vacant and abandoned property under the provisions of this section shall be $500. The fee for the first annual renewal shall be $1,500 and the fee for the second annual renewal shall be $3,000. The fee for any subsequent annual renewal beyond the second renewal shall be $5,000.
a. 
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township shall be immediately responsible for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property, after the property becomes vacant and abandoned as defined in this section.
b. 
Where a creditor is located out-of-state, the creditor shall be responsible for appointing an in-state representative or agent to act on the creditor's behalf for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of Subsection 9-4.3c and d. Notice of said representative or agent shall be provided to the Township Clerk in a manner that is consistent with Subsection a of Section 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (the Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008),[1] and shall further include the full name and contact information of the in-state representative or agent.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 46:10B-36 et seq.
a. 
Any public officer designated by the Township pursuant to Subsection 9-4.6 or authorized municipal official responsible for the administration of any property maintenance or public nuisance code shall be authorized to issue a notice to a creditor that has filed a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township, if the public officer determines that the creditor has violated this section by failing to provide for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property. Where a creditor is an out-of-state creditor, the notice shall be issued to the representative or agent that has been identified by the creditor pursuant to Subsection 9-4.4 of this section and the Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 46:10B-36 et seq.
b. 
The notice referenced in Subsection a of this section shall require the creditor to correct the violation(s) within 30 days of receipt of the notice, or within 10 days of receipt of the notice if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety.
c. 
The issuance of a notice pursuant to Subsection a of this section shall constitute proof that a residential property is "vacant and abandoned" for the purposes of this section.
The duty of administering and enforcing the provisions of this section is conferred upon the municipal clerk, construction official, zoning officer, State Police, and any other duly appointed representatives.
a. 
A creditor subject to this section that is found by the municipal court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to correct a care, maintenance, security, or upkeep violation cited in a notice issued pursuant to this section shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation. Any fines imposed pursuant to this subsection shall commence 31 days following the creditor's receipt of the notice, except where the violation is deemed to present an imminent risk to the public health and safety, in which case any fines shall commence 11 days following receipt of the notice.
b. 
An out-of-state creditor subject to this section that is found by the municipal court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation. Any fines imposed on an out-of-state creditor for the failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall commence on the day after the ten-day period set forth in Paragraph (1) of Subsection a of Section 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51) for providing notice to the municipal clerk that a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage has been served.
c. 
A creditor subject to this section that is found by the municipal court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to register a vacant and abandoned property pursuant to Subsection 9-4.3 shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $2,000. Any fines imposed on a creditor under this subsection shall commence 11 days following receipt of notice from the Township pursuant to Subsection a of Subsection 9-4.3.
d. 
No less than 20% of any money collected by the Township pursuant to this section shall be utilized by the Township for municipal code enforcement purposes.