Borough of Mountain Lakes, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Mountain Lakes as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Waterfowl — See Ch. 79, Art. III.
Environmental factors — See Ch. 102.
Littering — See Ch. 142.
Parks and recreation — See Ch. 173.
Water — See Ch. 237.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 1-90]

§ 137-1 Definitions.

[Amended by Ord. No. 2-94]
For the purposes of this article, the following words or phrases shall carry the following meanings:
BOATHOUSE
An auxiliary structure for housing one or more boats or related materials and equipment.
DOCK
A structure, whether fixed or floating, attached at one end to the shoreline and extending on or over the surface of a lake and intended to facilitate access to the lake for boating or swimming.
A. 
Any lake construction, floating or fixed, that causes a displacement of water in the lakes or that extends into the bed of a lake or into, on or over the surface of a lake, including but not limited to rafts, docks, boathouses, wharfs, gazebos and bridges, and including their mooring footings, pilings or other supports.
B. 
Any material alteration of a lake line or lake bed or any work having an adverse effect on the water flow, whether by construction, dredging or by filling in a lake within the lake line with any solid materials, including but not limited to dams, retaining or decorative walls, fences, swimming pools, beaches, islands or other filled volumes that extend into the lake.
C. 
Any object, floating or fixed, that could cause a safety hazard, hindrance or nuisance to recreational use of the lakes, including but not limited to floats of any kind, buoys, moorings, imbedded pipe supports, posts, stanchions, pilings of all types, including natural materials, and winter sticks.
LAKE CONSTRUCTION
Any structure or materials existing or intended to be installed in the bed of or in, on or over the surface of a lake within the lake line of a lake, including but not limited to docks and rafts with any superstructures thereon and their supports or moorings attaching them to a lake bed, but not including boats or other movable recreational equipment and their moorings.
LAKE LINE
The contour line made along the edge of a lake at the highest water level normally maintained by the Borough for said lake.
LAKES
The nine lakes of the Borough and the canal connecting Mountain and Wildwood Lakes, including all of the areas of the lakes enclosed by their respective lake lines, and all of the lake beds directly below and regions above the surface of the lakes.
LAKE SURFACE
The plane circumscribed by a lake line.
MOORING
An anchoring in a lake bed attached to a dock, raft or other lake construction to limit its mobility.
PERSON
As defined in Chapter 1, § 1-15. Also a natural person or a corporation, partnership or any other entity capable of owning or controlling property.
PUBLIC AREAS
Public parks, playgrounds, trails, paths, lakes, streams and other recreational areas and open public spaces and sites for schools and other public buildings or structures.
RAFT
A decked float supported by and moored or intended to be moored in the water off the shoreline of a lake.
RETAINING WALL
A permanent upright structure having a length much greater than height and constructed to hold back or support an earthen bank in a manner that provides a secure division between the lake and the surrounding land. Protuberances in such a structure that extend toward the lake more than three feet from a normal and reasonable extension of the lake line, even though an integral part of the structure, are not construed as part of the retaining wall but are considered encroachments.
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form a construction for occupancy, use or ornamentation.

§ 137-2 Prohibited acts.

Except as otherwise provided herein, as specifically authorized by the Borough Council as a public project, or in accordance with a permit duly issued as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any person to create, maintain or allow to exist on any property under that person's ownership or control any encroachment.

§ 137-3 Permit required; guidelines; revocation of permit.

[Amended by Ord. No. 2-94; Ord. No. 24-97]
A. 
Required. A permit shall be required for any encroachment, whether or not already in existence at the time this article becomes effective.
B. 
Application; fee. Application for an encroachment permit shall be made through the Office of the Manager, on forms to be provided by that office. The permit application shall include the following:
[Amended 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
(1) 
An agreement, in a form provided by the Borough Manager and acceptable to the Clerk of Morris County for recording, to indemnify and hold harmless the Borough and its employees and officials against any claims for damages or injury caused by the encroachment. The agreement shall include a clear and accurate sketch of the encroachment, including property lines, extensions of property lines into the lake for a distance of 50 feet, lake line, design and measurements of the encroachment, materials used, method of support, description of removability, and any other information which may reasonably be requested in order to decide on approval or disapproval of the application.
(2) 
A nonrefundable fee, as set forth in § 111-3A, unless the permit applied for relates solely to a structure already in existence on the effective date of this article. In addition, such fee shall include a sum sufficient to record the agreement in the Book of Deeds or other applicable records maintained by the Morris County Clerk, as those fees may be amended by the County Clerk from time to time.
C. 
Approval authority; guidelines. Permits shall be granted or denied at the discretion of the Borough Manager, based upon the evaluation of the encroachment as measured by the following criteria:
(1) 
General guidelines.
(a) 
Encroachments shall be readily removable without the use of machinery. Footings, moorings, supporting, stabilizing and anchoring elements for lake construction, anchored or imbedded in the lake bed, shall not be permitted.
(b) 
All parts of a retaining wall, including footings, braces and foundations, built or to be built at or near the lake line shall be located on the land side of the lake line and not in the lake.
(c) 
Encroachments shall not adversely affect water flow.
(d) 
Heat shall not be added to or removed from the lake by any means.
(e) 
Pumps or pipes to remove water from the lake, and engines of any kind in a boat or on a float, shall not be permitted, except for specially permitted uses by the Borough such as the Volunteer Fire Department, the Environmental Commission, a rescue squad and agents of the Borough.
(f) 
Any lake construction that would be a nuisance, hazardous to or interfere with lake users or be detrimental to the appearance of a lake shall not be permitted. All structures must be properly maintained.
(2) 
Guidelines for docks.
(a) 
The land end of each dock shall be set back from adjoining property side lines by not less than 25 feet, and the lake end shall be set back not less than 25 feet from the extension of the property side lines, except that on the curve of a lake line the measuring side line extension shall not be more than 50 feet from the lake line.
(b) 
A dock shall have a maximum width of six feet and a maximum projection of 20 feet into the lake from its lake line. Surfaces shall be flat with a maximum elevation equal to that of the point of land to which it is attached or three feet above the lake surface, whichever is lower.
(c) 
No structure, fence or equipment shall be affixed to the top surface of the dock, except for a ladder that can extend for a maximum height of two feet above the dock's surface.
(d) 
Each section of a floating dock shall be permanently marked to identify the owner.
(e) 
A dock shall be readily removable in its entirety, including any and all supporting and anchoring elements. Pilings or other supports shall not be drilled or driven into the lake bottom and must be removable without leaving any residual underwater object or mark.
(f) 
A dock shall not enclose or otherwise constrain any lake area or occupy a lake surface area in excess of six feet by 20 feet.
(g) 
A dock shall not be construed as property extension for purposes other than lake access for boating or swimming.
(3) 
Guidelines for rafts. A permit may be granted to a lakeside property owner to install and moor one raft, which may be in addition to one dock, to be moored in the lake opposite the lake line of the owner's property, in accordance with the following guidelines:
(a) 
A raft shall be set back by at least 25 feet from the extension into the lake of the side lines of the property adjoining the property of the owner of the raft, except that on a curve of a lake line the measuring side line extension shall not be more than 50 feet from the lake line.
(b) 
A raft shall be secured with a mooring and located with the outer edge not more than 50 feet from the lake line of the owner's property and shall not interfere with use of the lake for recreation purposes.
(c) 
A raft shall have a maximum area of 50 square feet, the surface to be flat, with a maximum elevation of three feet from the surface of the lake to top of raft, including ladder handles. No benches, racks, fences, etc., shall be permitted on top of the raft.
(d) 
A raft shall be permanently marked to identify its owner.
(e) 
Rafts and moorings must be readily removable.
(f) 
No lines or floating buoys shall be strung from the land to a raft. No lake surface shall be enclosed or constrained by any type of rope or other means. This does not apply to the official Borough swimming areas.
(4) 
Guidelines for existing lake construction.
(a) 
The intent of this article is to have all encroachments conform to the guidelines for new lake construction. Therefore, permits shall be required prior to making any modifications, significant repairs, modifications, extensions and/or relocations of or to any existing encroachment to ensure conformance to these guidelines.
[Amended 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
(b) 
Removal of hazardous footings, imbedded pipes, etc., or unsightly construction may be required before any new permits are issued.
(c) 
Permits shall be obtained for all existing encroachments for which no permit has been previously issued. Such permit shall provide that the encroachment shall be brought into conformance with the requirements of this article, subject to the following analysis. When granting permits for existing lake construction, the length of time that the encroachment has existed in nonconformance with the guidelines shall be weighed, and the practicality of bringing the same into complete or substantial compliance, the degree of present incompatibility, and the amount of funds needed to obtain conformance to the guidelines shall be considered. Where good cause is demonstrated by the applicant and the issuing authority is satisfied that the above factors should merit it, a permit requiring partial compliance with the guidelines may be issued where it is equitable to do so, provided that in all cases the overall intent to eliminate such nonconformance shall be promoted to the greatest extent practicable.
[Amended 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
(d) 
All retaining walls, including footings, braces and foundations, that are at the lake edge and provide a secure division between the lake and the surrounding land, and are in existence at the time this article becomes effective, shall be considered to define the lake line and are, therefore, on the land side of the lake line and are not encroachments. However, a state of disrepair that results in parts of the wall or retained earth spilling or otherwise intruding into the lake is an encroachment.
(e) 
Fences that are otherwise legally allowed by the Borough may nominally extend beyond the lake line, provided no part of such extension or support contacts the lake surface. Fences so conforming are not encroachments.
(f) 
All bridges that extend over the lake surface to connect discontinuous parts of an owner's property, and are existing at the time this article becomes effective, do not require a permit and will not require a permit in the future, provided:
[1] 
Indemnification is provided in accordance with Subsection B(1).
[2] 
Conditions identified in Subsection D(1) below do not apply.
[3] 
The bridges remain of substantially the present construction and design.
D. 
Revocation and corrective action.
(1) 
Any permit may be revoked under any of the following conditions, and the Borough may cause removal of the encroachment at the permittee's expense:
(a) 
Determination by the Borough Manager that the encroachment is poorly constructed, maintained in an unsafe condition or is detrimental to the recreational use of the lake.
(b) 
Withdrawal of the property owner's indemnification of the Borough.
(c) 
Transfer of title to the property subject to the permit, unless the new owner agrees, in writing, to assume the indemnification provided by Subsection B(1) of this section. The requirement for a permit and indemnification shall be noted on all tax search certificates issued by the Borough, shall be included as an item of information on all real property tax bills and information statements to property owners, and shall be further noted as a checklist item prerequisite to the issuance of a smoke detector certificate upon the change in ownership of properties fronting on any lake.
[Amended 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
(2) 
Permits, other than those granted for docks that conform to the general guidelines and the guidelines for docks, may be revoked for reasons other than in Subsection D(1) above, with not less than one year's written notice, and the Borough may cause removal of the encroachment at the Borough's expense.

§ 137-4 Appeals.

[Amended by Ord. No. 2-94; Ord. No. 24-97; 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 20-99]
Any action taken by the Borough Manager, either granting or denying a permit, may be appealed to the Borough Council by the applicant or any other interested party, by written request filed with the Borough Clerk. The appeal to the Borough Council shall be considered at a public meeting, and the applicant shall have an opportunity to be heard.