[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Burlington 6-22-1971; amended 7-27-1971; 12-26-1989; 9-26-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-031; 12-26-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-042 (Sec. 6:2 of the 1975 General Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Branches of trees, shrubs, bushes or vines, which because of their location, quantity or condition increase the potential for the extension of fire or serve as a nesting place for vermin.
- DEAD OR DYING TREES, STUMPS or ROOTS
- Various forms of vegetable matter, which because of their location or condition have a tendency to increase the likelihood of fire, increase the likelihood or spread of disease, serve as dangerous attractive nuisances for the young, or serve as a nesting or feeding place for vermin.
- FILTH, GARBAGE, TRASH and DEBRIS
- Any condition or situation which can be defined as tending to create conditions which increase the likelihood of the spread of disease, contamination and foulness; any condition, situation or item which, because of its location or amount, increases the likelihood of fire, disease, pollution or infestation by vermin, creating dangers to the general health, safety and welfare of the community.
- FIRE HAZARD
- Any condition which, because of its closeness to building and structures or because of its closeness to volatile, explosive or inflammatory items, or because of its location adjacent to areas which generate fire, sparks or inflammable devices, has a tendency to increase the likelihood or probability that fire will start.
- HEALTH HAZARD
- Any condition or circumstance which has a tendency to increase the spread of disease, pollution or vermin infestation; any condition or circumstance which in combination with other conditions or circumstances tends to increase or spread disease, pollution or vermin infestation.
- OBNOXIOUS GROWTHS
- Vegetable matter or plant life which are poisonous in themselves or create conditions and reactions on a large section of the population, referred to as allergic reaction, which because of their location or condition create serious problems to public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants.
- SAFETY HAZARDS
- Any condition or circumstance which, because of its proximity to residential, industrial, commercial location, or roadways and byways, or locations to which individuals are attracted, has a tendency to increase the dangers to individuals upon the residential, commercial or industrial areas or upon the highway or byways within the community.
- Wild growth as rank grass, undergrowth, which because of its location or condition has a tendency to increase the likelihood of fire, serves to create conditions inimicable to the public health, or tends to serve as either a nesting or feeding locale for vermin, all of which constitute undesirable conditions injurious to the public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Township.
The enforcement official charged with the duty of enforcing the provisions of this chapter shall be the Director of the Department of Licensing and Inspection, or his designate, for the Township of Burlington.
Conditions prohibited. No person, firm, corporation or individual, whether he be tenant or property owner, shall allow land lying within the Township of Burlington to contain brush, weeds, dead or dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris, which are or may become a fire hazard, health hazard or safety hazard.
Standards established. In determining whether a condition exists upon property within the Township of Burlington that is prohibited under the provisions of this chapter, the enforcement official shall consider the general size of the parcel, its relationship to surrounding residential, industrial and commercial entities, the likelihood or probability that the brush, weeds, dead or dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash or debris are or will become a fire hazard, health hazard or safety hazard as herein defined.
Abatement required. The owner of the property on which a condition prohibited in § 140-3A above exists shall be responsible for its abatement. For purposes of this section, the owner shall be deemed to be the person designated on the most recent tax records to be the owner of the property.
Exceptions established. The Township Council hereby reserves the right by resolution to establish exceptions to the conditions established above, in addition to those listed below, when in the opinion of Council it is deemed to be in the best interest of the Township of Burlington so to do.
Lot clearance regulated. In no event shall the enforcement official under this chapter require that a lot be cleared of brush, weeds, dead or dead and dying trees, stumps or roots as defined in this chapter except in conformity with the following:
Minimum distance established. All lots shall be cleared under this provisions of this chapter for a minimum distance of 10 feet from each of the property lines of said lot.
Maximum distance established. No lots shall be required to be cleared for a distance greater than 100 feet from each of the property lines of said lot.
Standards for determining the area to be cleared. In determining the area to be cleared, the enforcement official shall consider the size of the parcel involved, the degree of risk assumed by failure to clear the location with regard to residential, commercial and industrial structures, and the possibility that failure to clear will result in a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Township of Burlington.
Owner served. If after the investigation referred to in § 140-4A above, the enforcement official shall believe that the conditions prohibited in § 140-3 above exist upon properties within the Township of Burlington, said enforcement official shall cause a notice to be served upon the record owner of said premises that it is believed that conditions prohibited under § 140-3 exist upon lands and properties owned by the person so served. The notice shall specify the nature of the conditions deemed in violation of the chapter, the location of the property upon which the suspected conditions exist, a statement that failure to abate the conditions or seek an appeal from the notice shall subject the property owner to the penalties elsewhere referred to in this chapter, and it shall specify that the owner of the property shall have 10 days from the date of service to either abate the conditions referred to in the notice or request a hearing before the enforcement official to show cause why the conditions are not prohibited under the provisions of this chapter. In the event that said hearing is not requested and abatement does not occur, said notice shall be deemed to constitute an order which the property owner has failed to obey.
Hearing. The enforcement official shall cause a hearing to occur with the property owner within five days of receipt of a request from the property owner. At said hearing, testimony and evidence shall be taken concerning the suspected violation of the chapter. Subsequent to this hearing, the enforcement official shall issue an order which may confirm, modify, or rescind the requirements established and referred to in § 140-4B above. Said order may, in addition, specify additional time in which to abate the conditions complained of. Said order shall be served upon the property owner by certified mail, return receipt requested. Failure to comply with the order so issued shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Appeal. Any property owner subject to an order from the enforcement official shall have a right to appeal said order to the Township Council within five days from the effective date of said order. Effective date shall be deemed to be the date when a notice becomes an order or when receipt of an order from the enforcement official is received by the property owner through the process referred to in § 140-4C above. Council shall cause the question of said order to be placed upon its agenda no later than the next regularly scheduled Council meeting, at which time the property owner shall have a right to be present and present evidence concerning the suspected violation of the chapter. Council, after review of the evidence and testimony submitted, shall have the right to confirm, modify or rescind the order issued by the enforcement official. Council shall, in addition, have the right to extend the time for abatement of the condition. In the event that, subsequent to all of the appeal processes being utilized, the property owner shall fail to state the condition complained of, he shall be subject to a violation of this chapter.
Penalties. In the event that any person, firm, corporation or individual shall violate the provisions of this chapter, he shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof, for each day that a violation in this chapter shall be deemed to continue.
Abatement. In the event that any person, firm, corporation or individual shall fail to abate the conditions complained of in any order or notice which has the effect of an order issued pursuant to this chapter, the Township Council shall have the right to cause the condition complained of abated. All costs incurred in the abatement of said conditions shall be certified by the person or individuals causing the abatement to the Tax Collector of the Township of Burlington, and such costs shall forthwith become a lien upon such land and shall be added and become part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as other taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers in the same manner as taxes.
Additional powers. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to limit, modify or abrogate any right, either in law or in equity, which the Township of Burlington shall deem to possess in order to correct the conditions complained of or prohibited in this chapter.