[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Clementon 7-2-1957 by Ord. No. 57-4. Amendments noted where applicable.]
By resolution duly adopted, the governing body of this municipality has declared and determined that there exist, in the Borough, buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, due to dilapidation; defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities; lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities; or any condition rendering such building or buildings or part thereof unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of this Borough; said resolution having been adopted pursuant to the provisions of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey.
No owner or party having any interest in any building which is or may become dangerous to human life, safety or health or dangerous to adjacent property or which would be likely to extend conflagration shall permit the same to remain in this municipality.
[Added 4-24-1989 by Ord. No. 89-6]
Automatic sprinkler systems shall be installed and maintained in an operable condition in the building and at the locations specified in this chapter. Such systems shall be required in each building for which a building permit is issued after the effective date of this chapter. Such sprinklers shall be in the following buildings:
There shall be a sprinkler system in each building designed for educational purposes.
There shall be a sprinkler system in each building designed for institutional use.
There shall be a sprinkler system in each multistory residential building, in excess of four stories. There shall be at least one sprinkler head on each floor. In addition, there shall be a sprinkler head at the top of each laundry chute and rubbish chute. This specific provision shall become effective as of the date of the adoption of this chapter, however, it shall apply to all existing buildings as described.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the adoption by reference of NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 1987 Edition, published by the National Fire Protection Association.
The following terms when used or referred to in this chapter shall have the following respective meanings for the purpose of this act, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure, or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Council, board of commissioners, trustees, committee or other legislative body, charged with governing a municipality.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of this municipality, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the municipality.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer, officers, board or body who is or are authorized by ordinances to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
- The holder or holders of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
The Chairman of the Public Safety Committee be and he is hereby designated as the public officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the municipality charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the public officer (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the public officer shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such building, a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer (or his designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint; that the owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before said public officer.
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said building to be made by the owner, within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order, or at the option of the owner, to vacate or have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
If the building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises, and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve, or at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building, the public officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The public officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished.
The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing or removal or demolition shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. A detailed statement of the aforesaid costs shall be filed with the Borough Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens, and a copy of the said detailed statement shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such building and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of the removal or demolition, and any balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the public officer, and shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court, and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of said Court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances or to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise. Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents or such municipality; such conditions may include the following (without limiting the generality of the foregoing): defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation, disrepair, structural defects, uncleanliness; such ordinance may provide additional standards to guide the public officer, or his agents, in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use.
Complaints or orders issued by a public officer shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the municipality, or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the buildings are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order and shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the building is located.
The public officer may exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this act, including the following powers in addition to those herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the municipality in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use;
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence;
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the person in possession;
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter; and
To delegate any of his functions and powers to such officers and agents as he may designate.
The governing body of the Borough shall, as soon as reasonably convenient after the adoption of this chapter, prepare an estimate of the annual expenses or costs to provide the equipment, personnel and supplies necessary for periodic examinations and investigations of the buildings in such municipality for the purposes of determining the fitness of such buildings for human habitation or occupancy or use, and for the enforcement and administration of this chapter.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished for each offense by a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $100, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both.