[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fort Lee 5-8-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The uncontrolled placement of newsracks in public rights-of-way presents an inconvenience and danger to the health, safety and welfare of persons using such public rights-of-way, including pedestrians, persons entering and leaving vehicles and buildings, and persons performing essential utility, traffic control and emergency services.
The uncontrolled placement of newsracks is also detrimental to the aesthetic characteristics of the Borough of Fort Lee and unsightly newsracks located in the public rights-of-way constitute public nuisances and cause visual blight.
As used herein, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING DEPARTMENT
- The Borough of Fort Lee Building Department.
- The person, corporation, employee, servant or agent who erects, places, maintains or operates a newsrack in the public right-of-way.
- Any self-service or coin-operated box, container, storage unit or other dispenser erected, placed, maintained or operated for the display, distribution and/or sale of newspapers, circulars, pamphlets, news periodicals, magazines, announcements advertisements, leaflets or other similar publications.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- A street, sidewalk or roadway.
- That portion of a street improved, designated or ordinarily used for vehicle travel.
- Any public surface or area provided for the 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 a distributor to erect, place, maintain or operate a newsrack on any public right-of-way in the Borough of Fort Lee without first having obtained a permit from the Building Department, signed by the Construction Official or the Acting Construction Official. The permit shall specify the exact location of each newsrack. One permit may be issued for multiple newsracks.
An application for a permit shall be made, in writing, to the Building Department, attention Construction Official. The application shall be on forms promulgated by the Building Department in consultation with the Administrator. The application shall contain the name and address of the applicant, the proposed specific location of the newsrack(s), a drawing and specification of the proposed newsrack(s) depicting compliance with requirements for dimensions, color and lettering, and the application shall be signed by the applicant.
Permits shall be issued by the Building Department to a distributor to erect, place, maintain or operate a newsrack on the public right-of-way, provided said placement, maintenance and operation complies with the provisions of this chapter.
An annual permit fee of $50 per newsrack is required.
Applications shall be either granted or denied within 20 business days after the filing of a completed application, as required by this chapter. For each requested location in excess of 10 locations, the Building Department shall have an additional two business days to act on the application. Separate applications by the same distributor will be deemed to be one application for purposes of this subsection.
The permit shall be valid for a period of one year on a calendar-year basis, commencing January 1, and shall be renewable on January 1 of any subsequent year. The annual fee shall be prorated if the permit is issued effective subsequent to January 1.
Before the Building Department may issue a newsrack permit to any person; that person must execute an indemnification agreement substantially as follows:
Before the Building Department may issue a newsrack permit to any person, that person shall file with the Building Department an insurance policy or policies of a company duly licensed to transact business under the insurance laws of this state, with coverage limits of at least $100,000 for one person, and for more than one person, $1,000,000, insuring against loss from liability imposed by law upon the distributor for damages on account of bodily injury or death suffered, and in the sum of $50,000 against loss on account of property damage suffered by any person or persons as a result of an accident occurring by reason of the ownership, control or maintenance of a newsrack, and no permit shall continue effective unless such insurance shall remain in full force and effect during the entire term of the permit. Such insurance policy shall provide for the payment of any final judgment recovered by any person on account of the ownership, maintenance and control of such newsrack, or any fault in respect thereto, and shall be for the benefit of any person suffering loss, damage or injury as aforesaid.
Each insurance policy shall provide that neither the distributor, nor its insurer, shall have any right to subrogation against the Borough of Fort Lee. Each insurance policy shall provide primary coverage for any and all losses and shall be drafted so as to protect all parties.
Within 10 days of the issuance of the permit, the distributor shall have the Borough of Fort Lee added as an additional insured on the insurance policies required by this section.
Any newsrack which, in whole or part, rests upon, in or over any public right-of-way shall comply with the following standards:
No newsrack shall exceed 49 inches in height, 20 inches in width or 18 inches in depth. Newsracks shall be manufactured of sturdy metal housing, using twelve-gauge sheet metal or better, finished with a prime coat and baked powder coat finish.
Newsracks shall be green, with white lettering, but lettering shall not exceed three inches in height and shall not cover more than 10% of the surface area of the newsrack.
Notwithstanding any provision in this chapter to the contrary, any newsrack located in a streetscape designated area shall conform to the aesthetic characteristics of the streetscape plan.
No newsrack shall be used for advertising signs or for publicity purposes other than that dealing with the display, sale or purchase of the newspapers or news periodicals sold therein.
Unless publications are made at no cost, 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 he is unable to receive the publication paid for. The coin-return mechanisms shall be maintained in good working order.
Each newsrack shall have affixed to it 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 report a malfunction of the coin-return mechanism or to give the notices provided for in this chapter.
Each newsrack shall be maintained by the distributor 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 free of chipped, faded, peeling and cracked paint in the visible painted areas thereof;
It is free of rust and corrosion;
The clear plastic or glass parts thereof, if any, through which the publications therein are viewed, are unbroken and free of cracks, dents, blemishes and discolorations;
The paper or cardboard parts or inserts thereof, if any, are free of tears, peeling or fading;
It shall not have any structural parts which are broken, duly misshapen or otherwise dangerous; and
It is free of garbage and litter.
It shall be unlawful for any distributor to place or maintain any publication or material in a newsrack which is obscene as defined by the United States Supreme Court and/or as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:34-2 or 2C:34-3.
Each newsrack shall be maintained to prevent their contents from being scattered about the area.
Any newsrack which, in whole or in part, rests upon, on or over any portion of the public 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.
Newsracks shall be placed and secured using a cement tray or equivalent means so as to prevent their being blown down or around the public right-of-way. Newsracks shall not be chained or otherwise affixed or secured to any traffic or street signs or signals, hydrants, mailboxes, sidewalks or other public property.
No more than two newsracks may be placed adjacent to each other at any location that complies with this chapter. After a newsrack (or pair of newsracks) is permitted for a specific location, no additional newsrack(s) shall be placed less than one city block from the permitted newsrack (or pair of newsracks).
No newsrack shall be permitted which:
Endangers the safety of the 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 to or egress from any residence or place of business;
Unreasonably interferes with passengers boarding or exiting from buses at designated bus stops;
Unreasonably interferes with the use of traffic signs or signals, fire hydrants or mailboxes located or permitted at or near said location.
No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:
Within three feet of any marked crosswalk;
Within 18 inches of a curb;
Within 15 feet of any fire hydrant, fire call box, police call box or other emergency facility;
Within five feet of any driveway;
At any location whereby the clear space for the passageway for pedestrians is reduced by the newsrack to less than six feet;
Within three feet of or on any public area improved with lawn, flowers, shrubs, trees or other landscaping;
Within 300 feet of any other newsrack containing the same issue or edition of the same publication;
Within 10 feet of any standby or sprinkler connection or related safety or fire equipment;
Within five feet of any building, unless written permission is secured from the property owner, and same is filed with the application;
In front of a single family or two-family residence.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter, if the Borough of Fort Lee designates certain areas (known as “convenience nodes”) for the placement of newsracks as part of a streetscape or redevelopment project, newsracks shall only be placed within the convenience nodes. Except as provided in this subsection, no newsracks shall be placed within 30 feet from the curb of a streetscape or redevelopment project.
No newsrack shall be permitted in any location zoned as residential.
Upon removal of any newsrack, the distributor shall promptly eliminate any potential hazards to the public, such as bolts, brackets or holes, and otherwise repair and restore the public right-of-way and public property.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary, the following shall constitute the only locations at which newsracks may be installed/placed:
On Bridge Plaza South, in the easement area at the intersection of Hudson Terrace, on the easterly side of the street;
On Bergen Boulevard, adjacent to the bus stop in front of Block 2601, Lot 2;
On Block 5701, Lot 11, at present commonly known as “Red Oak Diner,” fronting on Route 9W;
Adjacent to the Fort Lee municipal parking lot walkway, north of the Plaza Diner.
On the extension road from the George Washington Bridge toward Hudson Terrace, on the easterly side of the street near steps to George Washington Bridge.
Any potential distributor denied a permit to erect, place, maintain or operate any newsrack may file with the Mayor and Council of Fort Lee a written appeal, which shall be acted upon within 30 days.
Any violation of this chapter shall subject the violator to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, to confinement of not more than 90 days in jail, or both. Each newsrack violation constitutes a separate violation, and each day of said violation constitutes a separate violation.
In addition to the penalties provided in § 281-10, it shall be within the power and discretion of the Building Department to suspend or revoke a permit for continued or repeated violations or infractions of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule, direction or regulation of the Building Department. Suspension or revocation of a permit shall be mandatory for the third violation of this chapter.
A notice of violation shall be issued to the distributor at least 48 hours in advance of the issuance of any summonses.
In the event that a newsrack remains empty for a period of 30 continuous days, the same shall be deemed abandoned and may be removed at the distributor’s cost, by the Borough of Fort Lee, or any of its designated departments.
If a distributor is convicted of a violation of this chapter and fails to correct or remedy the violation within 10 days following said conviction, or disposition of any appeal, then the Building Department or any designated department of the Borough may remove the newsrack(s) which was the basis of the conviction, at the distributor’s cost.
Upon removal of a newsrack, the distributor shall be notified at the address listed on the newsrack. If the newsrack is not claimed within 20 days of the mailing of said notice, the Borough of Fort Lee or any designated department of the Borough may dispose of the newsrack.
For any newsrack that is abandoned or removed in accordance with this chapter, then stored by the Borough, the Borough of Fort Lee shall charge a twenty-five-dollar per day storage fee.
The permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be assigned or transferred.