[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury 3-13-1989 by Ord. No. 587 (Ch. 60A of the 1973 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Shrewsbury."
It is hereby found and declared that there exist in the Borough structures and vacant lots which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structural integrity, equipment or maintenance, and further that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance or upkeep of essential facilities and utilities and existence of fire hazards and unsanitary conditions, constitute a menace to the health, safety, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Borough. It is further found and declared that, by reason of lack of maintenance and ensuing progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect of creating blighting conditions and that, by reason of timely regulations and restrictions as herein contained, the growth of this blight may be prevented and the neighborhood and property values thereby maintained, the desirability and amenities of dwellings and neighborhoods enhanced and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
The purpose of this code is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance and condition of the exterior of residential and nonresidential premises; to avoid, prevent and eliminate the maintenance of or creation of hazards to the public health and safety; to avoid, prevent and eliminate conditions which, if permitted to exist or continue, will depreciate or tend to depreciate the value of adjacent or surrounding properties; to prevent the creation, continuation, extension or aggravation of blight to fix certain responsibility and duties upon owners, operators and occupants of property; and to provide for administration and enforcement of this chapter.
All vacant lots shall comply with the provisions of this code, and every residential and nonresidential structure used for residential, commercial, business or industrial occupancy, including vacant structures, and the premises on which it is situate in the Borough, shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such structure shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the structure or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to the effective date of this code.
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than that set forth in any ordinance of the Borough or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail; but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any ordinance of the Borough or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail.
Nothing in this chapter shall limit or impair any existing remedies of the municipality, or its officers or agencies, relating to the removal or demolition of any buildings or structures which are deemed to be dangerous, unsafe or unsanitary.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this chapter, be defined as follows:
- The condition of a structure, or part thereof, characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative.
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- Those portions of a building or structure which are exposed to public view or are visible from adjoining or adjacent properties, including all outside surfaces and appurtenances thereto, and the open space on the premises outside any building or structure erected thereon.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food by poison, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other approved pest-elimination methods.
- FIRE HAZARD
- Anything or any act which increases or may cause any increase of the hazard or menace of fire to a greater degree than that customarily recognized as normal by persons in the public service of preventing, suppressing or extinguishing fire or which may obstruct, delay or hinder or may become the cause of an obstruction, delay, hazard or hindrance to the prevention, suppression or extinguishment of fire.
- Animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- Any public or private condition that would constitute a nuisance according to the statutes, laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey, any of its agencies or this code. Any physical condition existing in or on the exterior of any premises which is potentially dangerous, detrimental or hazardous to the health or safety of persons on, near or passing in proximity of the premises where said condition exists.
- Any occupant, owner, agent, tenant, lessee, caretaker or other person or corporation in charge of, residing, living or sleeping in or on the premises of or having actual possession or use of a business, dwelling unit or rooming unit or other premises affected by this chapter.
- Any person, persons or entity, not the owner, who has charge, care or control of a structure or a part thereof, with or without the knowledge, consent or authority of the owner.
- Any person, persons or entity who shall have legal or equitable title in any form whatsoever to any premises or part thereof, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or who shall have charge, care or control of any lot, premises, building, structure or part thereof, as owner or agent of the owner or as fiduciary, trustee, receiver, guardian, lessee or mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person, group of persons or entity who is a lessee, sublessee or assignee of a lessee of any part of or all of any building, structure or land shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor for the purposes of this section and shall have responsibility over that portion of the premises so sublet, leased or assigned.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings, structures and improvements thereon.
- RIGHT-OF-WAY/STREET LINE
- The line which separates the publicly owned or controlled
street right-of-way from the private property which abuts upon the
street as distinct from a sidewalk line, curbline or edge-of-pavement
line. On a street or highway shown on the adopted Master Plan of the
Borough of Shrewsbury, the street line shall be considered to be the
proposed right-of-way line for the street. Where a definite right-of-way
has not been established, the street line shall be assumed to be at
a point 25 feet from the center line of the existing pavement.[Added 7-7-2003 by Ord. No. 809]
- All combustible and noncombustible waste materials other than garbage, including but not limited to the following: paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and the residue from burning wood, coal, coke or other combustible material and solid commercial and industrial waste.
- SIGHT TRIANGLE
- The triangular area intended to remain free of visual obstructions
to prevent potential traffic hazards formed by two intersecting street
lines or the projection of such lines which border a corner property,
and by a line connecting a point on each line located 50 feet from
the intersection of the street lines for Borough streets and as required
by Monmouth County for county roads and the New Jersey Department
of Transportation for state roads.[Added 7-7-2003 by Ord. No. 809]
Owners, operators and occupants shall have all the duties, obligations and responsibilities prescribed in this chapter, and no such persons or entity shall be relieved of any such duty, obligation or responsibility hereunder, nor may any such person or entity assert as a defense against any charge made under this chapter that another owner, operator or occupant or any other third person or entity is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Exterior of premises. The exterior of all premises shall be kept free from hazards and nuisances which include, but are not limited to, the following:
Garbage and rubbish, as defined in this chapter.
Unsafe structures: structurally unsafe or unsound buildings, structures or fences or abandoned, uncovered or structurally unsound walls, shafts, towers, exterior cellar openings, basement hatchways, foundations or excavations and abandoned septic tanks or cesspools.
Discarded appliances and plumbing fixtures: abandoned refrigerators, boilers, hot-water heaters, television sets and other similar major appliances, sinks, bathtubs, commodes and other plumbing fixtures.
Overhangings: loose and overhanging objects, whether natural or man-made, and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a threat to the health and safety of people if caused to fall.
Ground surface hazards: hidden or uncovered ground or surface hazards, such as holes, sudden depressions, excavations, sharp or jagged projections or obstructions.
Recurring accumulations of stormwater: stagnant surface or ground water accumulations of water which create or are likely to create insect breeding areas.
Infestation: rodents, vermin, pest infestations and conditions causing the same.
Lawn and landscaping: overgrowth or neglect of reasonable maintenance of landscape plantings and ground covers, including failure to remove in a timely manner dead or diseased trees and shrubbery, or parts thereof. Trees, hedges and shrubbery shall not obstruct walkways or streets and obscure vision of persons using same.
[Amended 7-7-2003 by Ord. No. 809]
Trees shall be pruned in such a manner that branches will hang not less than eight feet over sidewalks and walkways and 13 feet over roadways. Hedges and/or shrubbery bordering walkways shall be pruned a minimum of three inches from walkways and in such a manner to prevent branches from obstructing or hindering pedestrians using walkways.
Hedges and/or shrubbery planted, altered or replanted in any zone in the Borough shall not exceed six feet above ground level, except as follows: hedges and/or shrubbery located in the front yard shall not exceed 30 inches in height. All hedges and/or shrubbery must be planted within the property lines; and no hedge or shrubbery shall be planted so as to encroach upon a public right-of-way.
Hedges and/or shrubbery shall not be located in any required sight triangle or in a public right-of-way. No hedge and/or shrubbery higher than 30 inches above curb level shall be permitted on any lot within the sight triangular area.
Inoperable vehicles: vehicles or parts thereof, including boats and trailers, motorized or not, regardless of whether licensed or registered, which vehicles or parts thereof have been dismantled or are in a state of visible disrepair or in an abandoned condition.
Structural soundness. Every structure and accessory structure, and every part thereof, shall be kept structurally sound and in a state of good repair to avoid safety, health and fire hazards, including but not limited to the following:
Foundation walls: inadequate or unsafe foundation walls, piers and columns and other similarly unsound, damaged or defective load-bearing components which are incapable of supporting the imposed loads safely at all points.
Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes: structurally unsound, loose, dangerous, crumbling, missing, broken, rotted or unsafe exterior portions of buildings or structures, including but not limited to porches, landings, balconies, stairways, handrails, steps, walls, overhangs, roofs, fences, supporting members, timbers, abutments, fire escapes, signs and eaves, crumbling or falling bricks, blocks, mortar or plaster.
Projecting surfaces: exterior surfaces or parts of buildings or structures containing sharp, rough or projecting surfaces or objects which might cause injury to persons coming in contact therewith.
Windows, doors, etc.: broken glass or windows; rotten, missing or substantially destroyed window frames and sashes, door frames, exterior doors or other junior exterior component parts of buildings or structures.
Exterior walls, sidings and roof: exterior walls, sidings, gutters and leaders and roof shall be kept structurally sound, in good repair and free from defects.
Exterior chimneys: exterior chimneys shall be maintained structurally sound, free from defects and so maintained as to capably perform at all times the functions for which they were designed.
Steps, walks, driveways and parking lots. Steps, walks, driveways, parking areas, parking lots, parking spaces and similar areas shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. Any holes or other hazards that may exist shall be filled, or necessary repairs or replacement shall be performed promptly.
International Property Maintenance Code; adoption by reference. A document, marked and designated as “The International Property Maintenance Code, 2009,” published by the International Code Council, Inc., is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Shrewsbury for the control of buildings and structures as provided in the code; and each and all of the regulations of the International Property Maintenance Code are adopted and made a part of this section as fully as if set forth in this section, unless specifically set forth to the contrary by ordinance. Commencing on the effective date of this Subsection D, the most recent version of the International Property Maintenance Code shall be designated and adopted as the Borough’s Property Maintenance Code. Three copies of this code are on file in the office of the Borough Clerk. The terms “certificate of occupancy” and “certificate of compliance” shall be synonymous.
[Added 10-18-2010 by Ord. No. 951]
Enforcement officer. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough to enforce the provisions of this code as herein provided. "Code Enforcement Officer," throughout this chapter, shall also mean subordinates of the Code Enforcement Officer.
Coordination of enforcement. Inspection of premises and the issuing of orders in connection therewith under the provisions of this code shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Code Enforcement Officer. Wherever, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, it is necessary or desirable to have inspections of any condition by any other department, he shall arrange for this to be done. No order for correction of any violation under this code shall be issued without the approval of the Code Enforcement Officer.
The enforcement officer is authorized to enter upon any land at any reasonable time for the purpose of performing his duty, with the consent of the property owner.
In the event that a property owner refuses such consent, the enforcement officer is authorized to apply to the Judge of the Shrewsbury Municipal Court for an administrative search warrant. The Judge may issue such warrant upon review of an affidavit of the enforcement officer setting forth the following:
The precise regulatory purpose of the proposed search.
The frequency of previous requests for such warrants affecting the subject premises, if any.
The exact scope of the search sought, setting forth the area or areas of the premises to be searched.
The exact manner in which the search is to be conducted.
All warrants so issued shall be limited to the purpose, scope and manner of the search as set forth in the affidavit, and all searches conducted pursuant to this section shall be as strictly set forth in such warrants.
No search conducted pursuant to such administrative search warrant shall take place other than during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., unless the enforcement officer demonstrates that an emergency exists and the public health, safety and welfare requires such search during earlier or later hours, as the case may be.
The inspections authorized hereunder are in addition to those which may be authorized by the laws of the State of New Jersey.
Enforcement procedure. Whenever an enforcement officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall give notice of such violation to the person, persons or entities responsible therefor under this section. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for its issuance. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly and sufficiently served if a copy thereof is sent by regular mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the most recent tax records of the municipality, or a copy thereof handed to said person or persons or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of said persons or entities. Notice shall be given as aforesaid within or without the municipality. The notice shall also state that unless the violation is abated, removed, cured, prevented or desisted within 30 days of the date of service of such notice (exclusive of the date of service), a summons shall be issued for such violation. The enforcement officer may extend the period for compliance with the requirements of this section in regard to the violation stated in the notice for a period in excess of the aforesaid 30 days if, in his judgment, the abatement, removal, prevention, cessation or cure of the condition violated cannot reasonably be effected within the thirty-day period; and in such cases, the enforcement officer shall state such reasonably required extended period of notice, which shall then be applicable, instead of the aforesaid 30 days. In the event that the violation is not abated, removed, cured, prevented or desisted from or otherwise fully remedied within said thirty-day period or within such extended period as set forth in the notice, pursuant to the foregoing, a summons shall be issued against the person, persons, entity or entities so notified. Any extension beyond 60 days must be approved by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury.
Emergency conditions. Whenever the enforcement officer finds that an emergency condition in violation of this chapter exists, which condition requires immediate attention in order to protect the public health or safety, he may issue an order to protect by service of notice as set forth in Subsection D above, reciting the existence of such an emergency condition and requiring that such action be taken by the violator as soon as is reasonably necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such an order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, and upon objection, in writing, to the enforcement officer, any such person shall be afforded a hearing before the governing body of the Borough as soon as is reasonably possible. After such a hearing and decision by the governing body as to the existence or nonexistence of the emergency condition, the governing body may continue such order in effect or modify or withdraw it, subject to the issuance of a summons for violation thereof if such order is continued.
Any person or entity who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any order promulgated hereunder shall, after a summons is issued under the terms hereof, and upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,250, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.
For purposes of this section, each and every calendar day on which a violation exists may be considered to be a separate and distinct violation.
This chapter is in addition to and supplements the following ordinances:
The adoption of this chapter is not in any way intended to be a repealer, either explicitly or implied, of any of the aforesaid ordinances or any other ordinances now in existence or subsequently adopted by the Borough of Shrewsbury.