[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee (now Township Council) of the Township of Bridgewater as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-16-1973 by Ord. No. 73-8; amended in its entirety 7-18-2011 by Ord. No. 11-18]
This article is amended in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public, eliminate nuisances (which a violation of this article is hereby declared to be), avoid being an attraction to children and otherwise limit the potential for mischief and criminal conduct, such as theft of the vehicle or its parts as it sits in a fixed location beyond the time set forth expressed in this article. Its authority derives from N.J.S.A. 39:3-4, 39:4-8 and 39:4-197, and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.46, 40:48-1 and 40:48-2.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED, PARKED OR DISCARDED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is continually present upon property longer than the time limitations outlined in § 204-3A through C as delineated hereinbelow.
- INOPERABLE VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which cannot be started upon request of the enforcement officer, pursuant to this chapter, or for any other reason will not run, e.g., no battery, a flat tire, no wheels, missing engine or parts necessary to operate the vehicle on the street or highway. A vehicle shall also be considered inoperable if the owner refuses to start it. A vehicle shall also be considered inoperable if the vehicle cannot legally be operated on any street, road or highway, e.g., vehicle not legally registered or is an unregistered vehicle, as that term is described below.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization or entity of any kind.
- PRIVATE LANDS
- Private property upon which the public is not invited, such as residences, residential lots, or driveways (which are otherwise governed by Chapter 105, Outdoor Storage), or multifamily dwellings including condominium, townhouse or garden apartment complexes.
- PUBLIC LANDS
- All property devoted to public use, including those whereon public buildings are erected.
- QUASI-PUBLIC PROPERTY
- Private property which is open to the public or upon which the public is invited, including any parking yards (lots) and parking places (e.g., shopping malls).
- SUSPENDED REGISTRATION
- Any vehicle whose registration privileges have been suspended or revoked by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; any vehicle whose registration is suspended or revoked in any other state pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.
- UNREGISTERED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle not registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, or in which registration has expired, or if such a vehicle does not bear proper registration plates with tags; or any vehicle that is not registered or whose registration is expired in any other state, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:3-4.
- Any machine propelled other than by human power, designed to travel along the ground by use of wheels, treads, runners or slides and includes, without limitation, an automobile, truck, trailer, motorcycle or tractor.
Unless authorized by a sworn law enforcement officer, no person shall operate, park, leave, store or be in possession of any abandoned, junked, discarded, inoperable, unregistered motor vehicle, or a motor vehicle which has a suspended registration on any public lands or quasi-public property, whether owned or maintained by a governmental entity or in conjunction with any business or enterprise.
No person shall park, leave or store any abandoned, discarded, inoperable vehicle on any private lands for a period of more than 30 days.
No owner or occupier of any private lands or premises shall permit or suffer any abandoned, discarded, inoperable vehicle to be parked, left, stored or maintained on such private lands for a period of more than 30 days.
This article shall not apply to lawfully operated junkyards nor to vehicles located or stored inside garages or other buildings, to businesses lawfully engaged in the repair and/or sale of vehicles or to vehicles under the control of the Township of Bridgewater. This article shall also not apply to private property to which the public is not invited such as residential lots (which are otherwise governed by Chapter 105, Outdoor Storage), multifamily dwellings, such as condominium, townhouse or garden apartment complexes where a resident may park his/her unregistered or suspended vehicle in a parking spot in the development where he/she resides, and to vehicles which are exempted from registration under Title 39 of the New Jersey Statutes, such as car dealer inventory.
The agencies and officers of the Township of Bridgewater that shall be charged with the enforcement of this chapter are the Township of Bridgewater Zoning Officer or his designated representative, the Township of Bridgewater Police Department and its police officers and the Health Officer or his designated representative. These agencies or officers may act individually or in conjunction with one another in the enforcement of this chapter.
Any police officer is authorized to order the removal of any unregistered vehicle or vehicle with a suspended registration that is left on public lands or quasi-public property for a period of 48 hours or for any period without current license plates, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5, to a storage space or garage. The expense involved in such a removal and storage of the vehicle shall be borne by the owner of the vehicle, except, in the case of a leased vehicle, the expense shall be borne by the lessee of that vehicle. Attempts will be made to contact the vehicles owner prior to removal.
Upon the taking into possession of any vehicle, it shall be disposed of, subject to Subsection D below, by following the procedures established by Title 39, Chapter 10A, of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey for the disposition of said vehicle.
Upon the owner or person entitled to possession of an abandoned, discarded, inoperable, unregistered vehicle or suspended registration reclaiming possession thereof, such owner or other person shall pay all reasonable costs of removal and storage and any fine and court costs in connection with such taking possession in order to be entitled to recover such vehicle.
If such a vehicle is not claimed by the owner or other person entitled thereto or if the cost of removal and storage and fine and court costs, if any, remain unpaid, the Chief of Police shall cause the vehicle to be sold or disposed of as provided by N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable, depending upon the vehicle involved, to a fine and/or imprisonment as follows:
An abandoned, discarded and/or inoperable, other than unregistered vehicle or suspended registration: a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 90 days, or both.
An unregistered vehicle: a fine of not more than $54.
A vehicle whose registration is suspended: a fine of not more than $500.
The imposition of a penalty or penalties for any violation of Subsection A(1) of this chapter shall not excuse a violation or permit it to continue, and all such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violations within a reasonable time. If said violations are not corrected within a reasonable time, as shall be determined that the trial for the first offense, then each 10 days thereafter that the prohibited conditions are maintained shall constitute a separate offense hereunder.
[Adopted 12-19-1966 by Ord. No. 66-28; amended in its entirety 7-18-2011 by Ord. No. 11-18]
The Bridgewater Township Police Department is hereby designated as the "public agency," within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Laws of 1964, to sell this abandoned, discarded, inoperable, unregistered vehicle or suspended registration vehicle found within the jurisdiction of the Township of Bridgewater, in the County of Somerset.
Editor's Note: N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq.
The Chief of Police or designee shall act for the Bridgewater Township Police Department in all proceedings under Chapter 81 of the Public Laws of 1964 respecting the sale of an abandoned, discarded, inoperable, unregistered vehicle or suspended registration vehicle found within this Township.
All proceedings for the sale of said abandoned, discarded, inoperable, unregistered vehicle or suspended registration vehicles shall be conducted in strict accordance with the provisions of Chapter 81 of the Laws of 1964.
All of the proceeds from the sale of abandoned, discarded, inoperable, unregistered vehicle or suspended registration vehicles shall be turned over immediately to the Township Treasurer to accomplish reimbursement to the Township of all reasonable costs of removal and storage and any fine and court costs as delineated in § 204-5D and E hereinabove, with the balance distributed for disposition in accordance with New Jersey law.