Borough of Spotswood, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from the 1969 Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Spotswood (adopted by the Borough Council 5-11-1970 by Ord. No. 278, as amended through 9/94) as indicated in article histories. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
General penalty — See Ch. 1, Art. II.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 55.
Schedule of fees — See Ch. 91, Art. I.
Littering — See Ch. 130.
Nuisances — See Ch. 140.
Solid waste — See Ch. 174.
Trees and shrubs — See Ch. 193.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 196.
[Derived from Sec. 14-3 of the 1969 Revised General Ordinances]

§ 155-1 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code for Commercial Premises, Shopping Centers and Multifamily Dwelling Complex Properties" and is referred to in this article in short form as "this code."

§ 155-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Borough by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of commercial premises, shopping centers and multifamily dwelling complex properties; to fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners, operators, occupants and tenants; to authorize and establish procedures for inspection of commercial premises, shopping centers and multifamily dwelling complex properties and to fix penalties for violation of this article. This article is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest and it is intended that this article shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes stated herein.

§ 155-3 Scope and application.

A. 
All commercial premises, shopping centers and multifamily dwelling complex properties and any buildings situated thereon in the Borough used or intended to be used for commercial, shopping center or multifamily dwelling complex occupancies shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code. This code establishes minimum standards for exterior maintenance for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such buildings and premises and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of such buildings or premises contained therein. Where there is a mixed occupancy with commercial and other uses on the same premises, all such uses shall nevertheless be regulated by and subject to the provisions of this code.
B. 
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than set forth in any other ordinance of the Borough or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any other ordinance of the Borough or the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such ordinance or law shall prevail.

§ 155-4 Definitions.

The following terms, whenever used in this article, shall have the following meanings unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
COMMERCIAL PREMISES
A building or buildings, or any part thereof, and the lot or tract of land upon which the building or buildings are situated, where commercial activity of any kind takes place. Commercial activity shall include, but is not limited to gasoline stations; retail sales; professional activities, including but not limited to medical, dental, legal, architectural, accounting, and the like; personal services, including real estate, insurance, barbershops, hairdressers; repair shops of all kinds; liquor stores, taverns and inns; restaurants, including but not limited to, snack bars, luncheonettes, hot dog, hamburger or ice cream stands. Commercial activity shall not include the sate of agricultural products produced on the premises.
EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
Those portions of a building which are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.
HARBORAGE
Any condition, man-made or natural, which affords a breeding place or hiding place for harmful rodents, insects or other pests.
A. 
Any common law nuisance or as provided by the laws of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Borough.
B. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building or on the premises of a building, or upon a lot. This includes but is not limited to any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors.
C. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
D. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything unreasonably offensive to the senses or dangerous to health.
E. 
Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
F. 
Fire hazards.
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING COMPLEX
One or more buildings, or parts thereof, designed or existing or the temporary or permanent residence, abode or habitation of three or more families. Multifamily dwellings shall include, but not be limited to, garden apartments, tenements, hotels, motels and rooming houses containing three or more units.
OCCUPANT
Any person having actual possession of the premises or any part thereof.
OPERATOR
Any person having charge, care or control of the premises or any part thereof, whether with or without the consent of the owner.
OWNER
Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or shall have charge, care or control of any such premises as owner or agent of the owner, or as fiduciary, including but not limited to executor, executrix, administrator, administratix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate, or as mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee, subletting or reassigning any part or all of any premises shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by such lessee.
SHOPPING CENTERS
One or more buildings, or parts thereof, designed or existing as a unit in excess of 20,000 square feet, occupied or to be occupied by one or more businesses for the conduct of retail sales, with parking space.

§ 155-5 Owner's liability.

Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty or responsibility, nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof, by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.

§ 155-6 Occupant's liability.

Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in §§ 155-7, 155-12, 155-13, 155-14 and 155-15 of this article, and the occupant shall not be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof, by reason of the fact that the owner or operator is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.

§ 155-7 Duty of occupant to report violations.

Upon discovery by an occupant of any condition of the premises which constitutes a violation of this article by the owner or operator, the occupant shall report same to the Division of Inspections, Board of Health or Police Department, who shall be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.

§ 155-8 Duty of owner or operator to maintain premises free of hazards.

The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises, and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner or operator. It shall be the duty of the owner or operator to keep the premises free of hazards which include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. 
Refuse. Broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
B. 
Natural growth. Brush, weeds, ragweed, stumps, roots and obnoxious growths, dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
C. 
Overhangings. Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow, which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
D. 
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions. Holes, broken or missing pavement, loose stone, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, ice, uncleared snow and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to, and used by, persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps repaired, and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery. It shall be the responsibility of the owners and operators to take reasonable steps to discover any such hazards or unsanitary conditions which may exist on their premises.

§ 155-9 Landscaping.

Premises shall be kept landscaped, and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and kept from becoming overgrown. Plantings required by site plan approval shall be replaced when such plantings have died.

§ 155-10 Signs.

All signs, pavement markings and printed matter, and pictures or illustrations contained thereon, permitted by reasons of other regulations, shall be maintained (painted) in good repair.

§ 155-11 Exterior to be free of hazards.

The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, signs and storefronts, shall be maintained free of safety hazards, such as broken windows, loose and falling shingles or siding and crumbling and falling stone or brick and fire hazards.

§ 155-12 Removal of refuse.

A. 
Regular pickup of refuse and garbage. The owner and operator of every shopping center, the owner and operator of every multifamily dwelling complex, and the owner and operator of every commercial premises shall have the duty and responsibility of removing refuse and garbage at least twice per week, but, if a pickup twice weekly is not sufficient to remove all garbage that accumulates, more frequent removal by a private collector at the cost of the owner or operator shall be required.
B. 
Receptacles. Every owner, operator and occupant shall have the duty and responsibility of providing sufficient and suitable receptacles with tight-fitting covers for receiving and holding refuse and garbage. The receptacles shall be maintained in a manner, with the cover in place, so as to prevent the creation of a nuisance, and shall be kept in an enclosed space separate, and apart, from sidewalks and other pedestrian areas, except when set out for collection during the hours of a day scheduled for such collection.

§ 155-13 Sidewalk and parking area maintenance.

A. 
Responsibility of occupants. Occupants of all commercial premises, shopping centers and multifamily dwellings shall be responsible for removing litter from the sidewalk, walkways, pedestrian areas and parking areas during every day the premises are open for business. The area shall be swept or otherwise cleaned as often as necessary to maintain it free of litter, spillage and other debris.
B. 
Responsibility of owner or operator. The owner or operator of every commercial premises, shopping center and multifamily dwelling shall be responsible for clearing parking areas, driveways, walkways, sidewalks and other pedestrian areas of snow, and for otherwise making such safe for vehicle and pedestrian traffic within 24 hours after the snowfall ceases. In areas where ice forms on the ground surface, action shall be taken to render the surface safe for the movement of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
C. 
Handicapped parking spaces. No owner, tenant/occupant of premises or contractor removing snow at any premises having parking spaces reserved for handicapped drivers may block access to such parking spaces reserved for handicapped drivers by plowing, piling or placement of snow or ice in such spaces.
[Added 12-19-1994 by Ord. No. 1994-572]

§ 155-14 Duty of occupants to keep premises clean and sanitary.

All parts of the premises under the control of the occupant shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, and the occupant shall refrain from performing any acts which would render other parts of the premises unclean or unsanitary or which would obstruct the owner or operator from performing any duty required hereunder or maintaining the premises in a clean and sanitary condition.

§ 155-15 Duty to keep premises free of infestation.

On commercial and shopping center premises, every owner, operator and occupant shall be responsible for the elimination of infestation, in and on the premises, subject to his control. On multifamily dwelling complex occupancies the provisions of the Borough Housing Code shall prevail.

§ 155-16 Designated parking and trash receptacles required.

The owner or operator of every commercial, shopping center and multifamily dwelling shall be responsible for maintaining and policing the following:
A. 
Means of ingress and egress to parking areas shall be clearly marked by signs.
B. 
Parking spaces shall be clearly indicated by painted lines.
C. 
Lanes for movement of traffic in each direction shall be indicated by arrows.
D. 
All parking zones located on the premises, as established by Borough ordinance, shall be kept clear of vehicle traffic. The owner or operator shall provide and maintain markings and signs for such no parking zones as required in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes and the New Jersey Manual for Uniform Control Devices.
E. 
Stores located in shopping centers that have rear exit doors shall have the name or names of the occupants shown on the exterior of such doors in letters at least two inches high.
F. 
In shopping centers, a trash receptacle with at least twenty-gallon capacity shall be provided for each 150 feet of store frontage in the shopping area. These receptacles shall be placed in walking or pedestrian areas and shall not be allowed to overflow.

§ 155-17 Inspection.

All buildings and premises subject to this article are subject to inspection from time to time by an inspector of the Division of Inspections, Health Department, Police Department or any Borough official charged with the duty of enforcing regulations governing any aspect or conduct of the activity housed in the premises. At the time of such inspections, all parts of the premises shall be available and accessible for such inspections, and the owner, operator, occupant and tenant are required to provide the necessary arrangements to facilitate such inspections. Such inspections shall be made during open hours of the business occupying the premises, unless there is reason to believe a violation exists of a character which is an immediate threat to health or safety requiring inspection and abatement without delay.

§ 155-18 Abatement.

Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Police Department, Inspection Department or Health Department may order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within a period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the measures necessary to remove the hazard. Upon failure of the owner, operator or occupant to correct such condition, the Police Department, Inspection Department or Health Department shall abate the condition immediately thereafter.

§ 155-19 Cost of abatement to become lien.

Where abatement for any nuisance as defined herein or correction of any unsanitary or unhealthy condition requires expenditures of the Borough's moneys therefor, in addition to other remedies provided by law, the Division of Inspections, the Health Department or the Police Department may present a report of the work accomplished to the Borough Council along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken to secure compliance, including notices served upon owners, operators or occupants as the case may be. The Borough Council may then approve the expenses and costs whereupon they shall become a lien against the premises collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving the expense shall be certified to the Borough Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Borough who shall be responsible for the collection thereof. A copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the premises.

§ 155-20 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-6-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-02]
Any person who shall violate a provision of the article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. Each day's continued violation of this article shall constitute a separate and distinct offense against the provisions thereof.
[Adopted 1-10-2000 by Ord. No. 1999-592]

§ 155-21 Adoption of standards by reference.

[Amended 7-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-05]
A certain document, three copies of which are on file in the office of the Borough Clerk of the Borough of Spotswood, being marked and designated as the "International Property Maintenance Code, 2012 edition," as published by the International Code Council, be and is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Spotswood, in the State of New Jersey, for regulating and governing the conditions and maintenance of all property, buildings and structures; by providing the standards for supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary and fit for occupation and use; and the condemnation of buildings and structures unfit for human occupancy and use, and the demolition of such existing structures as herein provided; providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees therefor; and each and all of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of said Property Maintenance Code on file in the office of the Clerk of the Borough of Spotswood are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof as if fully set out in the article, with the additions, insertions, deletions and changes, if any, prescribed in § 155-22 of this article.

§ 155-22 Amendments to code.

[Amended 7-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-05]
The following sections are hereby revised:
Section 101.1, insert: "Borough of Spotswood."
Section 102.3, amend to read: "Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the current codes as adopted by the State of New Jersey, N.J.A.C. 5:23 et seq."
Section 103.5, insert: "See Chapter 91, Fees, and as it may be amended from time to time."
Section 108.2, add to section: "The closing of any vacant structure shall not occur until a complete premises search has been conducted by the Borough of Spotswood Police Department so that all public life, health, and safety concerns can be addressed as appropriate."
Section 112.4, insert: "Not less than $500, not more than $2,000."
Section 302.4, insert: "10 inches."
Section 304.14, insert: "April 1 to November 1."
Section 602.3, insert: "October 1 to May 1."
Section 602.4, insert: "October 1 to May 1."

§ 155-23 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 155-23, Amendments to BOCA National Property Maintenance Code 1998, was repealed 7-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-05. See now § 155-22.

§ 155-24 Summons.

A. 
The Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Spotswood shall be administered by the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer, and/or his/her designee. Summonses for violation of this code shall be signed by the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee.
B. 
At the discretion of the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee, no notices, orders or hearings to abate will be issued when the following violations have occurred:
(1) 
Any violation that, based on reasonable belief and good cause, the Code Official deems an immediate hazard to public safety or welfare.

§ 155-25 Application for search warrant.

In addition to any other remedies which may be available, the Director of Public Safety or his representative, upon affidavit, may apply to the Spotswood Municipal Court Judge for a search warrant setting forth factually the actual conditions and circumstances that provide a reasonable basis for believing that a nuisance or violation of this article exists on the premises, and, if the Judge is satisfied as to the matter set forth in the affidavit, he shall authorize the issuance of a search warrant permitting access to and inspection of that part of the premises on which the nuisance or violation may exist.

§ 155-26 Responsibility of owners and operators.

Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge or violation thereof, by reason of the fact that another person or entity is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.

§ 155-27 Unsafe structures.

Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee may order the owner or occupant to correct the violation or condition within the period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the necessary measures required to remove the hazard; and, upon the failure of the owner or occupant to correct said condition, the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee may abate said condition.

§ 155-28 Cost of abatement to become lien.

Where abatement of any nuisance as defined herein or correction of a defect on the premises or the maintenance of the premises in a proper condition to conform to applicable ordinance of the Borough of Spotswood or the laws of the State of New Jersey requires expenditures by the Borough of Spotswood of moneys therefor, the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee shall present a report of the work accomplished to the governing body of the Borough of Spotswood along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken to secure compliance, including notices served upon owners, occupants or their agents, as the case may be, by certified mail. The governing body shall then approve the expenses and costs, whereupon they shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving the said expenses shall be certified by the Borough Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Borough of Spotswood, who shall be responsible for the collection thereof; and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner.

§ 155-29 Removal of hazards and nuisances.

The exterior of the premises shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner or occupant. It shall be the duty of the owner or occupant to keep the premises free of hazards which include, but are not limited to the following:
A. 
Rubbish. Broken glass, filth, garbage, trash, litter and debris.
B. 
Natural growth. Brush, weeds, ragweed, stumps, roots, and obnoxious growths or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitutes a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
C. 
Overhangings. Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
D. 
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions. Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, ice, uncleared snow and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lot, parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps repaired and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions, with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery. It shall be the responsibility of owners and occupants to take reasonable steps to discover any such hazards or unsanitary conditions which may exist on their premises.
E. 
Recurring accumulations of stormwater. Adequate runoff drains shall be maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
F. 
Sources of infestation.

§ 155-30 Maintenance of landscaping.

Premises shall be kept in such a manner that lawns, hedges and bushes shall be trimmed and prevented from becoming overgrown.
A. 
Turf, grass and weeds shall not exceed more than 10 inches in height or more than 10 inches in length if matted down over 25% of the grassed area on the subject property.
B. 
Shrubs and trees must be trimmed to eliminate impaired vision of pedestrians on the sidewalks or of vehicular traffic and to avoid impeding pedestrian movement pursuant to Chapter 193, Trees and Shrubs, Article II, Dangerous Trees.
C. 
Heavily wooded properties may be maintained in a natural state.

§ 155-31 Notice of decision; appeals.

Nothing herein contained shall be interpreted to preclude any interested party from filing a complaint in Municipal Court, if the interested party is dissatisfied with a written decision of the Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer and/or his/her designee as it relates to the issuance of a summons. All such complaints must be filed within 20 days of the interested party's receipt of the Zoning/Code Enforcement Officers and/or his/her designee's notice of decision.