[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Clark as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Derived from Sec. 1-6 of the 2002 Revised General Ordinances, adopted 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-27]
In order to establish uniform procedures for those Code sections requiring administrative enforcement of abatement notices, the following will prevail unless specifically designated otherwise.
Where a violation of this Code is found to exist, a written notice from the enforcing official shall be served on the person or persons responsible for the correction thereof.
The notice shall specify the location of the property by Tax Map reference, the violation or violations committed, what must be done to correct same, a reasonable period of time not to exceed 30 days to correct or abate the violation, the right of the person served to request a hearing, and that the notice shall become an order in 10 days after service unless a hearing is requested pursuant to § 11-5. The notice shall also advise the recipient that if the violation is found to be harmful to the health and safety of the occupants and the general public and is not corrected or abated, the Township may do same, the cost of which shall become a lien on the subject property.
Notice may be served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. Where it is ascertained that the owner does not reside on the premises, the last known address shall be the address of the owner as shown in the office of the Tax Collector. Service upon an owner or operator may also be attained by personal service of any notice upon a member of the family of the owner or operator over the age of 14 years residing with the owner or operator.
If the whereabouts of the person to be served are unknown, and the same cannot be ascertained by reasonable diligence, the serving of such notice upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the Township of Clark or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the Township of Clark. A copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the notice, and a copy of such notice shall be duly recorded or lodged for record in the office of the Township Clerk.
Where the manner of service of notice for a particular type of matter is prescribed by a state statute in a manner different from above, then such statutory provision shall be applicable to the service of the notice in question, notwithstanding the provisions of this section.
Within 10 days of the date of service of a notice, the notice shall constitute a final order unless any person affected by the notice requests a hearing thereon and serves a written request within the ten-day period, in person or by mail, to the Township Clerk. Such request for a hearing shall set forth briefly the grounds or reasons for which the request for a hearing is based and the factual matters contained in the notice of violation which are to be disputed at the hearing. The Township Clerk, upon receipt of the request, shall, within 45 days therefrom and upon five days' notice to the party aggrieved, set the matter down for hearing.
The Township Council, upon request for a hearing, shall appoint a hearing officer who shall conduct the hearing, evaluate the evidence presented and render a decision.
The rules of evidence shall not be controlling in these hearings. All parties to the hearing may appear in person or by attorney and give testimony.
At any hearing provided hereunder, the hearing officer shall be vested with all the powers provided by law to compel the attendance of witnesses and parties in interest by issuance and service of subpoenas; to require by subpoena the production of books, records or other documents at any such hearing which may be pertinent to matters to be determined by him/her; and to enforce any such subpoena as provided by law. Determination shall be made within 10 days from the completion of the hearing. The hearing officer shall issue an order either incorporating the determinations and directions contained in the notice, modifying the same or withdrawing the notice.
The hearing officer may extend the time for correction or abatement of the violations for an additional period of time not to exceed 30 days, except where major capital improvements or renovations are involved, in which instance the time for completion may be extended for a period not to exceed 90 days beyond the expiration date of the original notice.
Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to public health or life and limb unless abated without delay, the enforcement official may either abate the violation immediately or order the owner, operator, or occupant to correct the violation or condition within a period of time not to exceed three days, and, upon failure to do so, the enforcement official shall abate the condition immediately thereafter.
Where abatement of any nuisance, as defined herein, correction of a defect in the premises or the maintenance of the premises in a proper condition so as to conform to municipal ordinances or state law applicable thereto involves a condition harmful to the health and safety of the occupants or the general public and requires expending Township moneys to correct it, the enforcing officer shall present a report of work proposed to be done to accomplish the foregoing to the Township Council, with an estimate of the cost thereof, along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken by him/her or under his/her directions to secure compliance, including notices served upon the owners, operators, lessors or agents, as the case may be, and summaries of hearings and copies of orders of the Township with reference thereto. The Township Council may thereupon order the abatement of the nuisance, correction of the defect or any work necessary to place the premises in proper condition and in compliance with ordinances of the Township and laws of the state, by resolution adopted after notice and hearing to the owner in the manner provided above to the extent applicable. The Township may thereafter proceed to have the work performed in accordance with such resolution at the Township's expense, not to exceed the amount specified in the resolution, and shall, upon completion thereof, submit a report of the moneys expended and costs to the Township Council. After review of the same, the Township Council may approve the expenses and costs, whereupon the same shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving the expenses and costs shall be certified by the Township Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Township, who shall be responsible for the collection thereof, and a copy of the resolution shall be sent by certified mail to the owner.
If the Township incurs costs for emergency abatement as provided in § 11-10, the enforcing officer shall present to the Township Council a report of the work done and the cost thereof, with a summary of the proceedings undertaken and the reasons for the emergency abatement. The Township Council, after notice and hearing to the owner in the manner provided above, to the extent applicable, may approve the costs, whereupon the same shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, violations of any provision of this article may be prosecuted without the prior notices and hearings required by this article by the filing of a complaint by the Township, or a person designated by it, in the Municipal Court, it being the intention that the remedies and penalties provided herein shall be cumulative and not exclusive.
[Derived from Sec. 1-7 of the 2002 Revised General Ordinances, adopted 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-27]
The provisions of Article I regarding conduct of hearings and appointment of a hearing officer shall also apply to appeals for hearings by the Township employees relative to disciplinary charges filed or sanctions imposed against such employee by supervisory personnel.