Township of Pittsgrove, NJ
Salem County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Pittsgrove as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 31.
Clean Communities Program — See Ch. 34.
Housing — See Ch. 50.
Land use and development — See Ch. 60.
Mobile homes — See Ch. 64.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 71.
Waste management — See Ch. 83, Part 1.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 84.
[Adopted 8-9-1995 by Ord. No. 8-1995]
The presence upon lands lying within the corporate limits of the Township of Pittsgrove of abandoned refrigerators, washing machines, old furniture, abandoned and cast-out junk of various sorts, brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris is hereby decreed to be a nuisance and to be detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare and likely to present a fire hazard.
[Added 8-27-2002 by Ord. No. 4-2002]
All new driveways constructed in the Township of Pittsgrove shall be governed in accordance with § 84-12 of the Township Code of the Township of Pittsgrove. Said driveways will be maintained in accordance with this article. Driveways which were constructed prior to the adoption of § 84-12 shall be maintained in an adequate condition to permit access by emergency vehicles, including fire and rescue vehicles. The driveway width shall conform to the design standards specified in § 60-42 of the Code of the Township of Pittsgrove, if subject to site plan review. For uses and structures which are not subject to site plan review, driveways shall have a minimum width of 10 feet and a maximum width of 20 feet, and shall be cleared to a height of no less than 15 feet. The driveways will be maintained in such a fashion as to remove all brush, tree branches, landscaping and debris to allow for clear access of emergency vehicles, including fire and rescue vehicles.
[Amended 8-27-2002 by Ord. No. 4-2002]
A. 
The owner or tenant of lands lying within the corporate limits of the Township of Pittsgrove is hereby required to remove or cause to be removed any abandoned refrigerators, washing machines, old furniture, abandoned and cast out junk of various sorts, brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris within 10 days after receipt by such owner or tenant of a written notice from the Zoning Officer of the Township of Pittsgrove.
B. 
The owner or tenant of lands lying within the corporate limits of the Township of Pittsgrove is hereby required to maintain a clear accessway in accordance with § 73-1.1 within 10 days after receipt by such owner or tenant of a written notice from the Zoning Officer of the Township of Pittsgrove.
A. 
Notice to the owner or tenant to cause the removal of the substances referred to in the preceding sections or to provide for clear driveway access in accordance with the preceding section shall be given by the Zoning Officer and may be served upon any such owner or tenant either personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested. If service is made by registered mail, the ten-day period within which such removal shall be accomplished shall be deemed to have commenced on the date of receipt as reflected on the return receipt of the registered mail obtained by the Postal Authority for the delivery of such registered notice. In all cases where notice hereunder is given to a tenant, notice shall also be given to the owner as herein provided.
[Amended 8-27-2002 by Ord. No. 4-2002]
B. 
Every such notice shall, in addition to requiring the removal aforesaid, warn the owner or tenant of the lands to which such notice refers that failure to accomplish such removal within the time stated therein will result in removal under the direction of the Zoning Officer of the Township of Pittsgrove, and the cost of such removal shall be charged to the owner or tenant of such lands and shall be payable to the Township within 30 days after date of submission of the charges. Unless such charges are paid within the thirty-day period, the costs as assessed shall become a lien upon the lands and shall be collected as provided by law.
A. 
Whenever the owner or tenant of lands within the Township of Pittsgrove receiving notice provided for by the preceding section to remove from such lands any of the substances hereinafter mentioned shall fail or neglect, within the prescribed time, to effect the removal of such substances or to effect the clearing of the driveway, such removal or clearing of the driveway shall be accomplished under the direction of the Zoning Officer of the Township of Pittsgrove.
[Amended 8-27-2002 by Ord. No. 4-2002]
B. 
The removal/clearing of the driveway shall be accomplished in either of the two following methods:
[Amended 8-27-2002 by Ord. No. 4-2002]
(1) 
By use of Township employees;
(2) 
Through an independent contractor approved by the Township.
C. 
Retention and approval of the independent contractor shall be accomplished in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.
D. 
Where the removal is accomplished by Township employees, an accurate record of the cost of such removal shall be determined by the Zoning Officer, who shall certify the cost thereof to the governing body, which cost shall include time, labor, materials and equipment. Any bills submitted by an independent contractor pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq. shall likewise be submitted to the governing body, and the Zoning Officer shall certify that the work specified in the statement submitted by the independent contractor was, in fact, performed.
E. 
Following certification of the cost, the cost shall be charged against the lands, and the amount charged shall become a lien upon the lands and shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes.
A. 
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provisions of this article shall be subject, upon conviction, to one or more of the following: imprisonment in the county jail for any term not exceeding 90 days; or by a fine of no less than $100 and not more than $2,000; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
[Amended 9-13-2005 by Ord. No. 9-2005; 3-14-2006 by Ord. No. 4-2006]
B. 
Any such penalties shall be imposed in addition to the cost of removing the substances hereinbefore referred to upon the lands described in the notice given.
C. 
For purposes of this article, each day on which such a condition exists after the expiration of the notice period shall be deemed or constitute a separate offense under this article, and separate complaints may be filed for each such offense.
[Adopted 5-25-2016 by Ord. No. 7-2016]
ABANDONED PROPERTY —
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-81 is defined as follows: Any property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months and which meets any one of the following additional criteria may be deemed to be abandoned property upon a determination by the appropriate public officer that:
A. 
The property is in need of rehabilitation in the reasonable judgment of the public officer, and no rehabilitation has taken place during that six-month period;
B. 
Construction was initiated on the property and was discontinued prior to completion, leaving the building unsuitable for occupancy, and no construction has taken place for at least six months as of the date of a determination by the public officer pursuant to this section;
C. 
At least one installment of property tax remains unpaid and delinquent on that property in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 54 of the revised statutes, of the date of the determination by the public officer pursuant to this section; or
D. 
The property has been determined to be a nuisance by the public officer in accordance with Section 5 of P.L. 2003, c. 210 (C.55:19-82). A property which contains both residential and non-residential space may be considered abandoned pursuant to P.L. 2003, c. 210 (C.55:19-78 et al.) so long as 2/3 or more of the total net square footage of the building was previously legally occupied as residential or commercial space and none of the residential or commercial space has been legally occupied for at least six months at the time of the determination of abandonment by the public officer and the property meets the criteria of either Subsection A or Subsection D of this section.
OWNER
Includes the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant/abandoned property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of C.46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17 as amended by P.L. 2009, c. 296), or any other entity determined by the Township of Pittsgrove to have authority to act with respect to the property.
VACANT PROPERTY
Any building used or to be used as a residence, commercial or industrial structure which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operations or occupancy has ceased, and which is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation, including, but not limited to, any property meeting the definition of abandoned property in N.J.S.A. 55:19-54, 55:19-78, 55:19-70, 55:19-80 and 55:19-81; provided, however, that any property where all building systems are in working order, where the building and grounds are maintained in good order, or where the building is in habitable condition, and where the building is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental, shall not be deemed a vacant property for purposes of this article.
Effective May 25, 2016, the owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall, within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality, file a registration statement for such vacant property with the Property Maintenance Inspector on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Failure to receive notice by the municipality shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property.
A. 
Each property having a separate block and lot number as designated in official records of the municipality shall be registered separately.
B. 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if applicable) of a person 21 years or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceedings on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code; and the name, street address, telephone number, and e-mail (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firms individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis. The two entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey.
C. 
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be prorated through December 31. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains a vacant and/or abandoned property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in § 73-10 of this article, for each vacant property registered.
D. 
The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1 each year. The initial registration fee shall be pro-rated for registration statements received less than 10 months prior to that date.
E. 
The owner shall notify the Property Maintenance Inspector within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Property Maintenance Inspector for such purpose.
F. 
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or Court proceeding instituted by the Township against the owner or owners of the building.
The owner of any vacant property registered under this article shall provide access to the Township to conduct exterior and interior inspections of the building to determine compliance with municipal codes upon reasonable notice to the property owner or the designated agent. Such inspections shall be carried out on weekdays during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or such other time as may be mutually agreed upon between the owner and the Township.
A. 
An owner who meets the requirements of this article with respect to the location of his or her residence or workplace in the State of New Jersey may designate him or herself as agent or as the individual responsible for maintaining the property.
B. 
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section, the owner consents to receive any and all notices of code violations concerning the registered vacant property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the registered building by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies the Township in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
C. 
Any owner who fails to register vacant/abandoned property under the provisions of this article shall further be deemed to consent to receive, by posting on the building, in plain view, and by service of notice at the last known address of the owner of the property on record within the Township by regular and certified mail, any and all notices of code violations and all process in an administrative proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the building.
The initial registration fee for each building shall be $500. The fee for the first renewal is $1,500, and the fee for the second renewal is $3,000. The fee for any subsequent renewal beyond the second renewal is $5,000.
Vacant Property Registration Fee Schedule
Initial registration
$500
First renewal
$1,500
Second renewal
$3,000
Subsequent renewal
$5,000
The owner of any building that has become vacant/abandoned property, and any person maintaining or operating or collecting rent for any such building that has become vacant shall, within 30 days thereof:
A. 
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Township Code, or as set forth in the rules and regulations supplementing those codes; and
B. 
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process, and the person responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the building, if such person is different from the owner holding title or authorized agent. The sign shall be of a size and placed in such a location so as to be legible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearer, but shall be no smaller than eight inches by 10 inches; and
C. 
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is again legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is completed; and
D. 
Ensure that the exterior grounds of the structure, including yards, fences, sidewalks, walkways, rights-of-way, alleys, retaining walls, attached or unattached accessory structures and driveways, are well maintained and free from trash, debris, loose litter, and grass and weed growth; and
E. 
Continue to maintain the structure in a secure and closed condition, keep the grounds in a clean and well-maintained condition and ensure that the sign is visible and intact until the building is again occupied, demolished, or until repair and/or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this article or the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this chapter shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
B. 
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration statement within 30 calendar days after a building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of a vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality, and failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, or failure to comply with the provisions of such provisions contained herein shall be deemed to be violations of this article.