Township of East Windsor, NJ
Mercer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Township of East Windsor finds that certain unsafe, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions tend to occur at various commercial and industrial facilities in the township unless proper maintenance procedures are followed. Since many persons are attracted to and actually use the facilities at these commercial and industrial properties, the public health, safety and welfare require prevention of unsafe, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions on any commercial and industrial properties in the township.
The title of this chapter is The Commercial and Industrial Maintenance Code of the Township of East Windsor.
The purpose of this code is to protect health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the exterior maintenance of commercial and industrial premises; to fix certain responsibilities and duties on owners and operators, and distinct and separate responsibilities and duties on occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of commercial and industrial premises; to fix penalties for violations of this code; and to provide for the right of access to permit repairs when necessary. This code is declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that it be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes stated herein.
As used in this chapter:
COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL PREMISES
Any lot on any part of which commercial or industrial activity of any kind takes place. Such activity includes all those commercial and industrial uses permitted or conditionally permitted in the Town Center, Industrial Office, Highway Commercial, and Turnpike Commercial districts, whether such uses are actually in those districts or in other districts.
EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
The exterior facades or external portions of a building which are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.
INFESTATION
The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises, in sufficient numbers to constitute a health hazard in the opinion of the township health officer.
LOT
Any parcel of land designated as a lot on the tax map of the township.
a. 
Any common-law nuisance or as provided by the laws of the State of New Jersey or ordinances of the township.
b. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children. This includes but is not limited to the following structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris, outside storage of items which may be attractive to and dangerous to children, or noxious vegetation such as poison ivy - which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors. Any such item clearly visible from beyond the property line may be an attractive nuisance.
c. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
d. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything dangerous to health.
e. 
Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings, or whatever creates an unreasonable nuisance through odor or noise so as to deprive adjacent owners of the quiet enjoyment of their property.
f. 
Fire hazards.
OCCUPANT
A person having actual possession of any premises or any part thereof.
OPERATOR
A person who has charge, care or control of commercial or industrial premises, or any part thereof, whether with or without the consent of the owner.
OWNER
A person who, alone or jointly with others, has legal or equitable title to any commercial or industrial premises, with or without accompanying actual possession; or has charge, care or control of any commercial or industrial premises as owner or agent of the owner or as fiduciary, including but not limited to executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of an estate, or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee, subletting or reassigning any part or all of a commercial or industrial premises, shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by the lessee.
SHOPPING AREA
One or more buildings or parts thereof designed as a unit, to be occupied by one or more businesses for the conduct of businesses primarily engaged in retail merchandising.
a. 
This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all commercial and industrial premises, including those occupied and used before the adoption of this code, and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the commercial or industrial buildings or premises contained therein. Where there is mixed occupancy with commercial or industrial, and other uses on the same premises, all such uses shall be regulated by and subject to the provisions of this code.
b. 
Where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than is set forth in any other ordinances of the township or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards set forth herein shall prevail; but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than other ordinances of the township or laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in such ordinance or law shall prevail.
a. 
Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any duty and responsibility, or be entitled to defend against any charge of violation, by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible and in violation thereof.
b. 
Occupants shall have such duties and responsibilities as are prescribed for them in section 17-6 of this code and shall not be relieved of any duty and responsibility, or be entitled to defend against any charge of violation by reason of the fact that the owner or operator is also responsible and in violation thereof.
The exterior of premises and structures shall be kept free of nuisances (as defined in subsection 17-4.5) to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises. Any nuisance shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner and/or operator. It shall further be the duty of the owner and/or operator to keep the premises free of health hazards such as:
a. 
Refuse. Broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
b. 
Natural Growth. Brush, weeds, ragweed, stumps, roots and obnoxious growths; dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, through rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
c. 
Overhangings. Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow above ground level, which constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity.
d. 
Ground Surface Hazards or Unsanitary Conditions. Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas, and other parts of the exterior premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps repaired and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions. It shall be the responsibility of owners and operators to take reasonable steps to discover and remove any such hazards or unsanitary conditions which may exist on their premises. All sidewalks and parking areas shall be kept free of snow and ice. Snow and ice shall be removed within one-half business day after occurrence and shall not be allowed to accumulate or to freeze in any area between parking areas and entrances or exits.
e. 
Recurring Accumulations of Storm Water. Adequate run-off drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of storm water.
f. 
Sources of Infestation.
Premises shall be kept landscaped and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and kept from becoming overgrown.
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, signs and store fronts, shall be maintained in good repair. All structural surfaces shall be maintained free of safety hazards, such as broken windows, loose and falling shingles and crumbling and falling stone or brick.
The owner, operator and occupant shall have the duty and responsibility of removing refuse and garbage at least twice a week, except that in a shopping area with four stores or more, refuse and garbage shall be removed at least three times a week.
The occupant shall be responsible for removing litter from the sidewalk in front of the occupant's commercial or industrial premises at least once in any day the premises are open for business.
a. 
All parts of the premises under the control of the occupant shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, and the occupant shall refrain from performing any acts which would render other parts of the premises unclean or unsanitary or which would obstruct the owner or operator from performing any required duty in this code for maintaining the premises in a clean and sanitary condition.
b. 
Each operator shall be responsible for the elimination of infestation in and on the premises subject to his control.
c. 
No person shall deposit any litter on the ground in any commercial or industrial premises.
a. 
The owner of any access ways and parking areas serving commercial and industrial premises shall be responsible for keeping same free of congestion and open to emergency and service vehicles by:
1. 
Keeping all access ways and parking areas free of snow and ice pursuant to § 17-6.1d hereof.
2. 
Preventing the continuous or regular use of access ways or parking spaces for any vehicle which is:
(a) 
In such a state of disassembly or disrepair so that it cannot be driven; or
(b) 
Which does not display current license plates.
For purposes of this subsection "continuous" shall mean presence on the same tax map lot for a period of 72 consecutive hours and "regular" shall mean being observed at least twice within a 20-day period on the same tax map lot when on both occasions such vehicle was either in a state of disassembly or disrepair so that it could not be driven or on both occasions did not display current license plates.
3. 
This subsection shall not apply with regard to a vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner, when the storage of such vehicles is necessary to the operation of such business enterprise, in which case the vehicles shall be screened from public view by fencing or plantings and shall in no way impede adequate public safety access to any structure on the premises.
For purposes of enforcement the police department shall perform all duties required under this subsection including inspections and service of process.
Upon discovery by an occupant of any condition on the premises which constitutes a violation by the owner or operator, the occupant shall report the violation to the department of inspections, which shall be responsible for enforcement of the provisions of this code.
All buildings and premises subject to this code are subject to inspection from time to time by the department of inspections or at that department's request, by the township health officer. At the time of inspection, all parts of the premises must be available and accessible for inspection, and the owner, operator and occupant are required to provide the necessary arrangements to facilitate inspections. Inspections shall be made during open hours of the business occupying the premises unless there is reason to believe a violation exists which is an immediate threat to health or safety and requires inspection and abatement without delay.
a. 
In the event that there is on any premises a condition which is an immediate threat to life and limb the construction official shall immediately serve the owner, occupant and/or operator of the premises whereon the condition is occurring with written notice of the violation by the delivery to any such owner, occupant and/or operator or the agent or employee of any of same actually on the premises. If no such person is present the notice shall be posted on the premises and the construction official shall attempt to contact any such person by telephone.
If, after the passage of one hour from the delivery or posting of such notice, the hazard has not been abated, the construction official is hereby authorized to enter upon the premises to abate the hazard. Thereafter the township shall assess the costs of such abatement against the owner and/or occupant of the premises.
b. 
All other violations shall be corrected pursuant to the issuance of a notice of violation to the person having actual control of the premises with a copy to any other person who might be found legally responsible for compliance. Notice shall be served personally upon whoever is in physical control of the site of the violation, with certified mail copies to all persons affected. If the violation is not corrected within ten days from such personal service, a summons shall issue forthwith.
Where abatement of a nuisance or correction of a defect in the premises to a proper condition, to conform to applicable ordinances of the township or laws of the State of New Jersey requires expending township moneys and the owner and/or occupant and/or operator, having been found guilty of the violation has not abated same, the construction official shall present to the council a report of the work proposed to accomplish the foregoing, together with an estimate of the cost and a summary of the proceedings undertaken by the construction official to secure compliance, including notices served on the occupants, owners, operators or their agents, as the case may be. The council may thereupon by resolution authorize abatement of the nuisance, correction of the defect or work necessary to place the premises in proper condition in compliance with this code. The construction official may thereafter proceed to have the work performed in accordance with the resolution at township expense not to exceed the amount specified in the resolution and shall, upon completion thereof, submit a report to the council of the moneys expended and costs. After review of the report, the council may approve the expenses and costs, whereupon the same shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving the expenses and costs shall be certified by the township clerk and filed with the township tax collector, who shall be responsible for collection, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner.
In the event that emergency action as described in subsection 17-8.1 above has been undertaken, the construction official shall submit to the council a report of moneys expended and costs for approval and posting as a lien upon the premises as described in subsection 17-8.2 above.
At the request of the construction official or any member of the department of inspections charged by the construction official with enforcing this code, the health officer or any officer, agent or employee of the township shall assist him in the enforcement, interpretation or implementation of this code.
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Editor's Note: In accordance with the provisions of Ord. No. 1985-18, Abandoned Motor Vehicle regulations have been reallocated from Chapter 17 to Chapter 5.