[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Ewing 6-9-1999 by Ord. No. 99-09. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The uncontrolled placement of newsracks in public and semipublic rights-of-way presents an inconvenience and/or danger to the safety and welfare of persons using such rights-of-way, including pedestrians, traffic, persons entering and leaving vehicles and buildings, and persons performing essential utility, traffic control and emergency services.
Newsracks improperly located cause an inconvenience and/or danger to persons using public and semipublic rights-of-way, and unsightly newsracks located therein constitute public nuisances.
The proliferation of newsracks placed in and upon the public and semipublic rights-of-way has created a need for municipal regulation of the use and placement of said newsracks in order to alleviate problems created thereby.
The provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are in pursuance of and for the purpose of securing and promoting the public health and general welfare of persons in the Township of Ewing in their use of public and semipublic rights-of-way through the regulation of placement, appearance, number, size and servicing of newsracks on such rights-of-way so as to:
Provide for pedestrian and driving safety;
Ensure no unreasonable interference with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including ingress to or egress from any place of business or from the street to the sidewalk;
Provide reasonable access for the use and maintenance of sidewalks, poles, posts, traffic signs and signals, hydrants, mailboxes and similar appurtenances, and access to locations used for public transportation purposes;
Reduce visual blight on the public and semipublic rights-of-way, protect the aesthetics and value of surrounding properties, and protect the quiet of residential areas; and
Reduce the exposure of the Township to personal injury or property damage claims and litigation.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The person, natural or otherwise, who seeks a permit for the placement of a newsrack within the Township and includes any other persons, firms, corporations or organizations on whose behalf the application is made.
- The person responsible for placing and maintaining a newsrack in a public and semipublic right-of-way. For the purposes of this section, the person named as the applicant for a permit under § 235-4 shall be deemed to be the distributor.
- Any newspaper of general circulation as defined by general law; any newspaper duly entered with the Post Office Department of the United States, in accordance with federal statute or regulation; or any newspaper filed and recorded with any recording officer as provided by general law, as well as any other periodical publication.
- Any self-service or coin-operated box, container, storage unit or other dispenser installed, used or maintained for the display and sale of newspapers only.
- That area between the sidewalks and the curb of any street and, where there is no sidewalk, that area between the edge of the roadway and the property line adjacent thereto. Parkway shall also include any area within a roadway which is not open to vehicular travel.
- Natural person or corporate or other legal entity.
- That portion of a street improved, designated or ordinarily used for vehicular travel.
- Any surface provided for the exclusive use of pedestrians.
- All that area dedicated to public use for public street purposes and shall include but not be limited to roadways, parkways, alleys and sidewalks.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to erect, place, maintain or operate on any public street or sidewalk or in any other public way or place in the Township of Ewing any newsrack without first having obtained a permit from the Municipal Clerk specifying the exact location of such newsrack or newsracks. One permit application may be submitted to include any number of newsracks and shall be signed by the applicant. A new permit application shall be required in the event the applicant wishes to place additional newsracks not identified in the initial application for the permit or to relocate a newsrack or newsracks for which a permit has been issued.
Application for an initial or renewal permit shall be made, in writing, to the Municipal Clerk, upon such form as shall be provided and shall contain the name and address of the applicant and the proposed specific location of said newsrack or newsracks, shall be signed by the applicant or, if the applicant is other than a natural person, by an authorized agent of the applicant, and shall be accompanied by a check payable to the Township of Ewing in the amount of the fee specified in Ch. 172, Fees. Said applicant shall be presumed to be the distributor of the permitted newsrack or newsracks for the purpose of affecting any notice or taking any action provided for herein.
Permits shall be issued for the installation of a newsrack or newsracks within 10 business days after the application has been filed. The permit for each such newsrack and the installation, use or maintenance thereof shall be for a period of up to two years as set forth in this section, and shall be conditioned upon observance of the provisions of this section. A permit fee as provided for in Chapter 172, Fees, for each newsrack identified in the permit application is required to defray the costs to the Township for administration and enforcement of the section and for inspection of said newsracks.
All permits, including those issued before the enactment of this chapter, shall expire on April 15 of every even-numbered year (2000, 2002, etc.). On or about the first business day in March of each such year, the Municipal Clerk shall mail an application form to the distributor of each newsrack for which the Township has a record of having issued a currently valid permit. Said form shall be used by any applicant wishing to obtain a renewal permit, shall be submitted in the same manner as an application for an initial permit, as set forth in § 235-4, and shall be accompanied by the renewal fee in accordance with § 235-5A. Failure of the Municipal Clerk to notify a permit holder of the need to renew a permit shall not excuse a failure of the permit holder to renew its permit on or before the expiration date.
Fees shall not be prorated or refunded, except that, in the case of an application which is refused because upon review the proposed location is determined to be not acceptable, 1/2 of the fee will be refunded. All applicants shall pay the same fee regardless of the date of the application, and all permits shall expire on the same date. No partial refunds will be made for newsracks which are removed prior to the expiration date of their permits.
Each newsrack shall display a current permit sticker issued by the Municipal Clerk, which shall contain the name of the distributor and the particular location, as listed in the permit application, where the newsrack displaying the sticker shall be placed. Said sticker shall be affixed in clear view in the upper right corner of the side of the newsrack facing the roadway. Placement of a newsrack without a permit sticker or in a location other than that stated on the sticker shall constitute a violation of this section.
No permit shall be issued or continued in operation unless the applicant and any other persons, organizations, firms or corporations on whose behalf the application is made, by filing such application, represent, stipulate, contract and agree that they will jointly and severally defend, indemnify and hold the Township harmless against liability for any and all claims for damage to property or injury to or death of persons arising out of or resulting from the issuance of the permit or the control, maintenance or ownership of the newsracks permitted.
Before the Municipal Clerk may issue a newsrack permit to any person, the applicant must execute an indemnification agreement substantially as follows:
"The applicant and any other persons, organizations, firms or corporations on whose behalf the application is made, represent, stipulate, contract and agree that they do jointly and severally defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Township of Ewing against liability for any and all claims for damage to property or injury to or death of persons arising out of or resulting from the issuance of the permit for the control, maintenance or ownership of the newsracks permitted."
Any newsrack which, in whole or in part, rests upon, in or over any public sidewalk or parkway shall comply with the following standards:
No newsrack shall exceed 60 inches in height, 24 inches in width or 20 inches in depth.
No newsrack shall be used for advertising signs or publicity purposes other than that dealing with the display, sale or purchase of the newspaper sold therein. Any such advertising or publicity signs which may be permitted on a newsrack in accordance with this subsection shall be free of chips, tears, peelings or fading.
Each newsrack shall be equipped with a coin-return mechanism to permit a person using the machine to secure an immediate refund in the event that he is unable to receive the publication paid for. The coin-return mechanism shall be maintained in good working order.
Each newsrack shall have affixed to it in a readily visible place so as to be seen by anyone using the newsrack a notice setting forth the name and address of the distributor and the telephone number of a working telephone service to call to report a malfunction or to secure a refund in the event of a malfunction of the coin-return mechanism or to give the notices provided for in this section.
Each newsrack shall be maintained in a neat and clean condition and in good repair at all times. Specifically, but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, each newsrack shall be serviced and maintained so that:
It is reasonably free of chipped, faded, peeling and cracked paint in the visible painted areas thereof.
It is reasonably free of rust and corrosion in the visible unpainted metal areas thereon.
The clear plastic or glass parts thereof, if any, through which the publications therein are viewed are unbroken and reasonably free of cracks, dents, blemishes and discolorations.
The paper or cardboard parts or inserts thereof, if any, are reasonably free of tears, peelings or fading.
The structural parts thereof are not broken or unduly misshapen.
It is reasonably free of dirt and grease.
Any newsrack which rests in whole or in part upon or on any portion of a public and semipublic right-of-way or which projects onto, into or over any part of a public and semipublic right-of-way shall be located in accordance with the provisions of this section:
No newsrack shall be used or maintained which projects onto, into or over any part of the roadway of any public street, or which rests, wholly or in part upon, along or over any portion of the roadway of any public street.
No newsrack shall be permitted to rest upon, in or over any public sidewalk when the Police Department determines that such installation, use or maintenance:
Endangers the safety of persons or property.
Unreasonably interferes with or impedes the flow of pedestrians or vehicular traffic, including any legally parked or stopped vehicle.
Unreasonably interferes with the ingress or egress from any residence or place of business.
Unreasonably interferes with the use of traffic signs or signals, hydrants or mailboxes permitted at or near said location.
Unreasonably interferes with the use of, or is attached to, traffic signs, traffic signals, fire hydrants, police or fire call boxes, utility poles, mailboxes, or other equipment located on or near the parkway, roadway, street or sidewalk or in the public or semipublic right-of-way.
Unreasonably interferes with public access to benches or rest stops provided along the public or semipublic right-of-way.
No newsrack shall be chained, bolted, anchored to the ground or otherwise attached to any fixture located in the public and semipublic right-of-way, except to other newsracks.
Newsracks may be placed next to or close to each other, provided that no group of newsracks shall extend for a distance of more than four feet parallel to the edge of a roadway, and provided further that additional newsracks or groups of newsracks shall be placed at a distance of at least two feet from any such group of newsracks. The provisos in this paragraph shall not apply to newsracks placed in locations which have been approved in advance by the Chief of Police due to the absence of a flow of pedestrian traffic in the requested location.
No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:
Within five feet of any marked crosswalk;
Within 12 feet of the curb return of any unmarked crosswalk;
Within 10 feet of any fire hydrant, fire call box, police call box or other emergency facility;
Within five feet of any driveway;
Within three feet ahead of or 15 feet to the rear of any sign marking a designated bus stop;
Within three feet of the outer ends of any bus bench or shelter;
Within three feet of or on any public area improved with lawn, flowers, shrubs, trees or other landscaping;
Adjacent to any street which has been designated or posted as a "no parking" or "no stopping or standing" area;
At any location whereby the clear space for the passageway of pedestrians is reduced to less than four feet;
On any access ramp for disabled persons; or
No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained in an area zoned for residential use as indicated on the Official Zoning Map of the Township of Ewing.
Newsracks shall be bolted, weighted or otherwise secured so as to prevent their unauthorized removal or their accidental movement within the street, sidewalk, roadway or parkway and so as to reasonably prevent personal injury or property damage due to tilting, tipping or overturning.
Any person or persons, firm, partnership, association or corporation or employee thereof who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $200.
A summons shall be sent by the Township Municipal Clerk or the Township Police Department to the distributor of the newsrack (except that, in the case of a violation of § 235-7B only the Police Department shall be authorized to send such summons), setting forth the nature of any such violation, the fine for same and providing for a hearing before the Municipal Court, upon request of the distributor, within 30 days from the date of the issuance of said summons. Any violation must be cured within a period of 10 days from the issuance of the summons or, if a hearing has been requested and held, at the direction of the Court. If the violation is not so cured, the Municipal Clerk shall notify the distributor of the Township's intent to revoke the permit for said newsrack and to remove the newsrack five days after the issuance of the notice. Said notice shall set forth the location where the distributor may reclaim the newsrack after its removal. At the expiration of five days, if the violation remains uncured, the permit shall automatically be deemed to be revoked, and the rack shall be seized by the Township Police Department, which may be assisted by employees of the Public Works Division. The distributor may reclaim the rack upon payment to the Municipal Clerk of a carting fee and a storage fee per day as provided in Chapter 172, Fees. The storage fee shall be assessed for each day, or any part thereof, that said newsrack must be stored by the Township following seizure by the Township Police Department. Said newsrack shall not again be installed unless the distributor submits a new application and permit fee and receives a new permit sticker.
Upon a determination by the Township Police Department that a newsrack has been installed, used or maintained in such a way as to pose a real and imminent threat to pedestrians or vehicles, said newsrack shall be seized by the Township police, who may be assisted by employees of the Public Works Division, and removed to storage. Any such seizure shall be reported as soon as reasonably possible to the Municipal Clerk, who shall thereafter notify the distributor as soon as possible of the seizure and disposition of the newsrack. The owner may thereafter reclaim the newsrack upon payment of a fee as provided in Chapter 172, Fees, and may relocate the newsrack to any location not presenting a real and imminent danger and otherwise complying with the terms of this chapter, including the requirement of a permit.
Issuance of a permit by the Municipal Clerk and display by the distributor of a valid permit sticker shall not prevent the seizure of a newsrack by the Township police if the actual placement of the newsrack poses a real and imminent threat to vehicles or pedestrians or otherwise violates this section.
The Municipal Clerk shall make provision for the appropriate storage of newsracks seized under these regulations, but neither the Municipal Clerk nor the Township or any other officer or employee of the Township shall be liable for any damage to such newsrack.
In the event that a newsrack remains empty for a period of 30 continuous days, it shall be deemed abandoned and shall be removed by the Ewing Township Police Department. The Municipal Clerk shall send notice of such removal to the owner, which notice shall set forth the location where the newsrack may be reclaimed upon payment to the Municipal Clerk of a fee as provided in Chapter 172, Fees.
Any newsrack maintained in the Township which creates a hazard to pedestrians or obstructs traffic or interferes with the response to an emergency situation by a public officer, police officer, firefighter, ambulance or medic may be summarily relocated by a public officer of the Township to the nearest location not presenting said hazard. Any such relocation shall be reported as soon as reasonably possible to the Municipal Clerk, who shall thereafter notify the distributor of the newsrack relocation as soon as possible. The distributor may thereafter relocate the newsrack to any location not presenting a hazard and otherwise comply with the terms of this section.