[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Springfield 12-14-1994 as §§ 4-1 and 4-2 of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle which:
- A. Is parked without the current year’s registration or identification markers as required by law;
- B. Has been continuously parked in any public street or on any public land for a period of two days, or 30 days upon any private land or premises.
- C. Is so disabled as to constitute an obstruction to traffic, and the driver or person owning or in charge thereof neglects or refuses to move the same to a place where it will not obstruct traffic;
- D. Is found to be mechanically inoperative and is allowed to remain inoperative for a period of seven days and such period of time has not been extended by the Police Department; or
- E. Is found without one or more tires.
- MOTOR VEHICLE or VEHICLE
- Any “motor vehicle,” “omnibus,” “road tractor,” “trailer,” “truck,” “truck-tractor” and “vehicle,” which terms are intended to have the meaning stated and defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq.
It is hereby determined and declared that the placing, abandonment, leaving, keeping or storing out-of-doors of any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer not currently in use for transportation and not licensed for the current year, or missing tires, wheels, engine or any essential parts, or which displays extensive body damage or deterioration, or is disassembled, in whole or in part, or any other unusable machinery or equipment or parts of machines or parts of automobiles on public or private lands in the Township is contrary and inimical to the public welfare in that such articles so placed, abandoned, left, kept or stored, attract or may attract persons of tender years who, being so attracted, may play in and about them and be injured in so doing, and further in that such articles so placed, abandoned, left, kept or stored out-of-doors and exposed to the elements, deteriorate and in themselves are unsightly and in deteriorating become more unsightly and are detrimental to and depreciate the value of the property in the neighborhood where they are located and in the Township as a whole.
Storage, abandonment prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to store, abandon or suffer or permit the storage or abandoning of any motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, truck or truck-tractor or other vehicle, as defined in § 198-1, out-of-doors upon any public or private lands in the Township, or on any public street or between the right-of-way sidelines of any public right-of-way therein. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit the placing, keeping or storage of any such vehicle in an enclosed garage, barn or other building.
Presumption of abandonment; exemption certificate.
If any motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, trailer, truck, truck-tractor or vehicle shall be abandoned on private lands for 30 days or more, it shall be presumed that the owner or tenant in possession of such lands has abandoned it there or permitted or suffered it to be abandoned there.
The presumption of abandonment, as set forth above, may be rebutted by the owner by applying to the Chief of Police for an exemption certificate, which may be issued by the Chief of Police at no charge to the applicant and be good for a period up to six months.
The Chief of Police, in determining whether or not to issue an exempt certificate, shall consider the reasons advanced by the owner as to why the presumption of abandonment would not apply to this particular motor vehicle. The Chief of Police shall consider such reasons as, but not limited to, unique vehicles that are in the process of restoration, be they antique or otherwise; vehicles, being retained unlicensed by virtue of being held for a member of the family who is temporarily absent; and such other valid reasons, as determined in the discretion of the Chief of Police.
The application and exemption certificate shall be on such forms as may be hereinafter developed by the Chief of Police. Each exemption certificate shall have endorsed thereon its duration, not to exceed six months, and a synopsis of the reasons why such vehicle is not considered abandoned.
The Chief of Police is authorized to grant additional extensions of six months in situations where such extensions are warranted.
In issuing the exemption certificate the Chief of Police shall insure that the area around the stored vehicle is being properly maintained and that the stored vehicle is secured from movement by such chocking devices or other methods of securing as are deemed appropriate by him/her.
The exemption certificate shall be prominently displayed on the inside of the windshield of the vehicle.
Denial of exemption certificate. In the event that the exemption certificate shall be denied by the Chief of Police, the applicant may appeal such denial to the Mayor within 10 days of receipt of the written notice of denial. The Mayor shall consider the application de novo and shall advise the applicant of his/her determination within 15 days of the date of the receipt of the appeal.
Upon the complaint of any resident or property owner of the Township or any employee of the Township, or upon his/her own motion, the Chief of Police, or his/her designated agent, shall make an investigation of the condition complained of.
If the land about which the complaint was made is found to be in such condition that a violation of one or more of the provisions of this chapter exists thereon, the Chief of Police shall notify the owner, possessor or occupant of the land complained of, which notice shall be served upon the owner or possessor personally if (s)he resides in the Township or by certified mail. If the owner or possessor resides outside the Township, the notice shall be served upon him/her by registered or certified mail addressed to his/her usual residence, if ascertainable, otherwise by notice published in the newspaper in which legal notices of the Township are published. The owner or tenant shall abate the violation within 10 days after receipt of the notice.
The Chief of Police shall reinspect the lands after the thirty-day period has expired and report, in writing, to the Township Council whether or not the condition complained of and previously found to exist in violation of this chapter has been abated or remedied.
In the event that the owner, possessor or occupant of the land, or the owner of the abandoned property, refuses or neglects to abate or remedy the condition complained of after 10 days' notice, the Chief of Police shall cause the condition complained of to be abated and remedied.
Upon the removal of any motor vehicle by or under the direction of an officer of the Township, in cases where the owner has refused or neglected to remove it in the manner and within the time provided above, the officer shall certify the cost thereof to the Township Council. Upon receipt of same, the Council shall cause the cost as shown thereon to be charged against the lands. The amount so charged shall become a lien upon the land and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon the land, and bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes.
If the Township has caused the abandoned property to be removed, and such property is not reclaimed within the time set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:10A, such property may be sold at public auction and the proceeds applied towards the costs incurred by the Township and any penalty imposed, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq.
If the owner or tenant to whom notice is sent neglects or refuses to comply with the notice within 10 days of its receipt, the Township shall cause a complaint to be brought against him/her in Municipal Court, and upon conviction, such penalties as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, Penalties and Enforcement, may be imposed.