[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Spring Lake as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted by Ord. No. 2-1968 (§ 9-14 of the Revised General Ordinances)]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 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.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- One officer who is authorized by this article to exercise the powers prescribed by this article.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Borough Council of the Borough of Spring Lake, consisting of the Mayor and Council.
- 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 who are in actual possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the municipality, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations, or to other activities concerning buildings in the Borough of Spring Lake.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Code Enforcement 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 Code Enforcement Officer (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Code Enforcement 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 Code Enforcement Officer (or his designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the 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 the Code Enforcement Officer.
If after such notice and hearing, the Code Enforcement 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 the building to be made by the owner, within reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order or at the option of the owner to vacate or have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
If the building is in such a 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 building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the 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 Code Enforcement Officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; and the Code Enforcement 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 or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Code Enforcement 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. The detailed statement of the aforesaid costs shall be filed with the custodian of the records of tax liens and a copy of the detailed statement shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by the registered mail. If the building is removed or demolished by the Code Enforcement 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 Code Enforcement Officer, 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 such Court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way to power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and 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 Code Enforcement 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 of the Borough. 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. The Code Enforcement Officer, in reaching such determination, shall be guided by, among other things, the standards set by the Building Code, Zoning Ordinance and Health Ordinances of the Borough and by the pertinent requirements of Title 26 of New Jersey Statutes Annotated.
Complaints or orders issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to this article 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 Code Enforcement Officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Code Enforcement 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 Borough, or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the building are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the building is located.
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this article, including the following powers in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the Borough 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 persons in possession (as permitted by law).
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this article.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this section to such officer and agents as he may designate.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 2-1968 (§ 9-17 of the Revised General Ordinances)]
It shall be the duty of the Construction Official to make report, in writing, to the Council of the Borough, of any and all buildings, walls or structures in the Borough that are or may become unsafe and dangerous to life or health or which may tend to extend a conflagration, and if the buildings, walls or structures can be so repaired, strengthened, altered or fireproofed as to remove the danger, the Construction Official shall include in his report a specification of such repairs or alterations.
Upon the Chief of the Fire Department or an officer of the Bureau of Fire Prevention making a report that any building, wall or structure in the Borough being of such character or situation as might tend to extend a conflagration, the matter shall be referred to the Construction Official for his examination and report to the Borough Council.
Upon the filing of a report by the Construction Official that a building, wall or structure in the Borough is unsafe and dangerous to life or health or that the same may tend to extend a conflagration, the Borough Council shall hold a hearing to determine whether such building, wall or structure is dangerous to life or health or whether the same might tend to extend a conflagration, and shall cause notice in writing of the time and place of the hearing to be served upon the owner or owners of such building, wall or structure, in the manner hereinafter set forth. Such notice shall be served at least 10 days prior to the day fixed for such hearing, shall contain the statement that at such hearing the Council shall inquire into and determine whether the building, wall or structure therein described is or may become dangerous to life or health or might tend to extend a conflagration and also the statement that in case it shall be determined to be necessary to remove or destroy such building, wall or structure, an inquiry and determination will be made as to the manner such removal or destruction is to be carried out, and shall contain a description of the property affected, sufficiently definite in terms to identify the same.
If the Borough Council shall determine, after the termination of such hearing, that such building, wall or structure is or may become dangerous to life or health or is of such character as might tend to extend a conflagration, the Council shall also determine the manner in which the removal or destruction of the building, wall or structure shall be carried out, and shall cause notice in writing to be served upon the owner or owners of such building, wall or structure of such determination and shall thereby also give notice that unless such building, wall or structure is removed or destroyed within 30 days after the service of such notice, that the Borough will proceed with such removal or destruction or cause the same to be proceeded with, and that the cost thereof shall be assessed as a municipal lien against the premises.
The notices issued pursuant to this section may be served upon the owner or owners resident in the Borough of Spring Lake, in person or by leaving the same at their usual place of residence with a member of their family above the age of 14 years; in case any such owner shall not reside in the Borough of Spring Lake notice may be served upon such owner personally or mailed to such owner's last known post office address, or it may be served upon the occupant of the property or upon the agent of the owner in charge thereof; in case the owner of any such property is unknown or service cannot for any reason be made as above directed, notice thereof shall be published at least once not less than 30 days before the proposed removal or destruction, in a newspaper circulating in the Borough; there may be inserted in the advertisement notice to the owner or owners of several different parcels of land. Notice to infant owners or owner or owners of unsound mind, shall be served upon their guardians. Where lands are held in trust, service shall be made upon the trustee. Where lands are held by two or more joint tenants, tenants in common or tenants by the entirety, service upon one of such owners shall be sufficient and shall be deemed and taken as notice to all.
Proof of service of aforesaid notice shall be filed within 10 days thereafter with the officer having charge of the record of tax liens in the Borough, but failure to file the same shall not invalidate proceedings if service has actually been made as herein provided.
When any such removal or destruction shall have been undertaken and completed by the Borough an accurate account of the cost and expense thereof shall be kept, and a true statement under oath or affirmation shall be filed by the Construction Official who shall be in charge of such removal or destruction, with the Borough Clerk. The Borough Council shall examine the same and, if the same is properly made, shall confirm it and file such report with the Borough Clerk, who shall record the same in a book to be kept for that purpose.
The cost of such repairs, alterations, fireproofing, removal or destruction shall be assessed as a municipal lien against the premises. The assessment shall be made upon notice by the same officer or officers who are authorized by law to make assessments, and in the same manner as assessments for improvements are now made. After the costs shall be assessed according to law, the amount thereof shall be a municipal lien against the premises.
All work in connection with the repairing, altering, fireproofing, removing or destroying of any building, wall or structure, pursuant to the terms of this article shall be in charge of the Construction Official, with the approval and authorization of the Borough Council.