[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township of Howell by Ord. No. 0-85-19 (§ 3-13 of the 1974 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township of Howell finds that certain unsafe, unsanitary or unhealthy conditions tend to occur at various commercial and industrial properties 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.
This chapter shall be known as the "Commercial and Industrial Maintenance Code of the Township of Howell."
The purpose of this chapter is to protect health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the exterior maintenance of commercial and industrial premises; to prescribe certain responsibilities and duties on owners and operators, and prescribe 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 chapter; and to provide for the right of access to permit repairs when necessary. This chapter 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, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- CERTIFICATE OF CONTINUED OCCUPANCY
- Indicating that as a result of a general inspection of the
visible parts of the building, no violations have been determined
to have occurred and no unsafe conditions have been found, and that
the existing use of the building has heretofore lawfully existed.[Added 12-13-2011 by Ord. No. 0-11-46]
- CHANGE OF USE
- A change from one use to another use in a building or tenancy
or portion thereof.[Added 12-13-2011 by Ord. No. 0-11-46]
- COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL PREMISES
- A lot or tract of land on which, or on any part of which, commercial or industrial activity of any kind takes place. Such activity includes all commercial and industrial uses permitted, conditionally permitted or allowed as a preexisting nonconforming use in any zoning district within the Township of Howell. 
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- The exterior facades or external portions of a building and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon which are exposed to public view.
- 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.
- 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 whether in a building or on a lot. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris.
- 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 unreasonably offensive or dangerous to health or safety.
- 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.
- A person having actual possession of any commercial or industrial premises or any part thereof.
- 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.
- 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 an 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.
- 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.
This chapter 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 chapter, 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 chapter.
Where the provisions of this chapter 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 chapter impose a lower standard than other ordinances of the Township or laws of the state, then the higher standard contained in such ordinances or law shall prevail.
Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this chapter, 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.
Occupants shall have such duties and responsibilities as are prescribed for them in § 104-7 of this chapter 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.
Exterior to be kept free of all nuisances. The exterior of premises and structures shall be kept free of nuisances, unsanitary conditions and any other hazards to the health or safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises. Any nuisance, unsanitary condition or other hazard shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner and/or operator to keep the premises free of health hazards, including but not limited to the following:
Refuse: Broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
Natural growth; vicinity of business: Brush, weeds, ragweed, stumps, roots and obnoxious growth; 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.
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 of such conditions.
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions: Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, broken or missing pavement. 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.
Recurring accumulations of stormwater: Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
Sources of infestation.
Signs. All signs, pavement markings and printed matter and pictures or illustrations contained thereon, permitted by reasons of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use, shall be maintained in good repair.
Landscaping. Lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and maintained from becoming overgrown.
Premises to be kept in good repair. The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, and storefronts shall be maintained in good repair. All structural surfaces shall be kept painted where necessary for preservation and appearance, free of excessive peeling paint and maintained free of safety hazards, such as broken windows, loose and falling shingles and crumbling and falling stone or brick, further subject to the following regulations:
Unsafe exterior facilities: Unsafe exterior facilities include exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes, all of which shall be kept structurally sound and in good repair and shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed and maintained.
Signs and billboards: All permanent signs and billboards exposed to public view, permitted by ordinance or other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use, shall be maintained in good repair. Any sign or billboard which has weathered excessively or faded or the paint on which has excessively peeled or cracked shall, with its supporting members, be removed forthwith or put into a state of good repair. All nonoperative or broken electrical signs shall be repaired or shall, with their supporting members, be removed forthwith.
Windows exposed to public view: All windows exposed to public view shall be kept clean and free of marks, dirt, grime and be unbroken. Except when necessary in the course of changing displays, no storage of materials, stocks or inventory shall be permitted in window display areas ordinarily exposed to public view unless such areas are first screened from public view by draperies, venetian blinds or other means. All screening of interiors shall be maintained in a clean and attractive manner and in a good state of repair.
Awnings or marquees: Any awning or marquee and its accompanying structural members which extend over any street, sidewalk or other portion of the premises shall be so maintained as to not constitute a nuisance or safety hazard. In the event any such awning or marquee is not properly maintained in accordance with the foregoing, it shall, together with its supporting members, be removed forthwith. In the event any such awning or marquee is made of cloth, plastic or of similar materials, said materials, where exposed to public view, shall be maintained in good condition and shall not show evidence of excessive weathering, discoloration, ripping, tearing or other deterioration. Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any encroachment of an awning, marquee or its accompanying structure members on streets, sidewalks, or other parts of the public domain.
Temporary scaffolding or equipment: No temporary painting scaffold or other temporary equipment used for construction, repair or maintenance shall be permitted to remain in place beyond a period necessary to reasonably complete the purpose for which such equipment was intended to be used.
Storefronts: All storefronts shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted when necessary for the purposes of preservation and appearance. In the event repairs to a portion of a storefront are made, such repairs shall be performed with materials identical or compatible with the materials used in the area not undergoing repair, to the end that the appearance of the storefront shall be uniform and attractive.
Unoccupied buildings: All unoccupied buildings shall be subject to the provisions hereof.
Removal of garbage and refuse. The owner, operator and occupant shall have the duty and responsibility of removing refuse and garbage as often as required.
Maintenance of sidewalks. Every day that the premises is open for business, the occupant shall be responsible for removing litter from the sidewalk or other pedestrian areas, if any, in front of the occupant's commercial premises. The area shall be swept as often as necessary to maintain it free of litter, spillage and other debris.
Premises to be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner.
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 chapter for maintaining the premises in a clean and sanitary condition.
Each operator shall be responsible for the elimination of infestation in and on the premises subject to his control.
No person shall deposit any litter on the ground in any commercial or industrial premises.
Access and parking areas.
The owner of any accessways 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:
Preventing the continuous or regular use of accessways or parking spaces for any vehicle which is in such a state of disassembly or disrepair so that it cannot be driven or which does not display current license plates and inspection sticker. For purposes of this subsection, "continuous" shall mean the 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 twenty-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 and inspection sticker. This subsection shall not apply with regard to a vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner, which conforms to the requirements of Chapter 188, Land Use, regulating vehicle storage facilities or similar enactments.
Parking lots or parking areas, including the entrances and exits thereto, shall be kept in good state of repair. Signage as to ownership and use restrictions shall be maintained in good repair, clearly visible to potential parkers. Striping, where appropriate, shall indicate spaces, directions of flow and entrances and exits and be maintained so as to assure visibility.
Means of ingress and egress shall be clearly marked by signs.
Parking spaces shall be clearly indicated by painted lines.
Lanes for the movement of traffic in each direction shall be indicated by arrows indicating one-way traffic, which shall be painted in these lanes at both ends.
A trash basket with at least a twenty-gallon capacity shall be provided for each 150 feet of store frontage in any shopping area. These baskets shall be placed in the walking or pedestrian area and shall be provided with covers and shall not be allowed to overflow.
Fire zones should be kept clear of all vehicular traffic and parking, as designated by the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
[Added 12-13-2011 by Ord. No. 0-11-46]
Each commercial building or occupancy shall have been approved and issued a certificate of occupancy by the Building Department prior to application for a continuous certificate of occupancy.
All terms of original certificate of occupancy must be met, which would include use group, occupant load and live load.
All prior approvals must be submitted with the application for continuous certificate of occupancy.
[Added 12-13-2011 by Ord. No. 0-11-46]
No person shall occupy as owner or occupant or rent to another for occupancy and commercial structure or unit, for the purpose of conducting business therein, without a prior inspection and issuance of a certificate of occupancy or continued certificate of occupancy. Each commercial structure or unit must conform to the provisions of this chapter as the standard to be used in determining whether a commercial structure or occupancy is in compliance with its use group, safe, sanitary and fit for occupancy.
All buildings and premises subject to this chapter are subject to inspection from time to time by the Code Enforcement Officer, Health Officer, Police Department or any other official charged with the duty of enforcing regulations governing any aspect or conduct of the activity on the premises. At the time of such inspection, all portions of the premises must be available and accessible for such inspection, and the owner, operator and occupant are required to provide the necessary arrangements to facilitate such inspection. Such inspection shall be made during regular business hours of the business occupying said premises, unless there is reason to believe a violation exists of a character which is an immediate threat to health or safety requiring inspection and abatement without delay.
[Amended 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 0-19-9]
Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Construction Code Official, Health Officer, Code Enforcement Official or their designee or Police Department may order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within the period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the measures necessary to remove the hazard, and upon the failure of the operator, owner or occupant to correct said condition, the Police Department, Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee or Health Officer shall cause said condition to be immediately abated thereafter subject to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12f.
[Amended 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 0-19-9]
Except as otherwise provided in § 104-11 hereof, where violations of this chapter or the regulations hereunder are found to exist, a written notice from the Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee shall be served on the person or persons responsible for the correction thereof.
Notice shall be served personally, by certified mail or regular mail, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. In the case of an occupant, notice may be posted upon the main entrance door of the building, and in the case of an owner, the last known address shall be the address of the owner as shown in the records of the office of the Tax Collector.
The notice shall specify the violation or violations committed, what must be done to correct the same, a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days, to abate the violation, the right of the person served to request a hearing and that the notice shall become an order of the Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee in 10 days after service unless a hearing is requested pursuant to these provisions.
Within 10 days of the date of service of a notice, the notice shall constitute a final order unless any person affected by the notice requests a hearing thereon by serving a written request within the ten-day period in person or by certified mail on the Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee. Such request for a hearing shall set forth briefly the reasons for which the request for a hearing is made and the factual matters contained in the notice of violations for which the hearing is requested. The Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee upon receipt of the request for hearing, shall within 30 days therefrom and upon five days' notice to the parties so requesting, conduct a hearing.
At the hearing provided hereunder, the Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee shall hear all parties, and his final determination shall be made within 10 days from the completion of the hearing. He shall then issue an order incorporating the determinations and directions contained in the notice, modifying said notice if he so deems necessary. The Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee may extend the time for correction of the violations where he deems it necessary.
In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured or otherwise fully remedied within the time period prescribed in the initial notice or extended time period as permitted by the Construction Code Official, Code Enforcement Official or their designee, a summons shall then be issued against such person or persons charged with the violation.
[Amended 12-13-2011 by Ord. No. 0-11-46]
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any order promulgated hereunder shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day that such violation shall continue shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.