[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Alpine as Ch. XXIV (Ord. No. 481) of the 1970 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Title. This chapter shall be known as, and may be cited by, the short form title of the "Property Maintenance Ordinance," herein referred to as "this chapter."
Findings and declarations of policy. Experience and observation have shown that lack of maintenance may lead to progressive deterioration. In turn, this may lead to blighting conditions which, if not curtailed or removed, may grow and spread and necessitate the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct or eliminate. Through the establishment of the regulations and restrictions contained herein, the desirability of residential and nonresidential uses and the amenities of neighborhoods will be enhanced and the general health, safety and welfare of all residents fostered and protected.
Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of residential and nonresidential premises. It fixes certain responsibilities upon owners, operators, occupants and other persons. It authorizes and establishes procedures for the inspection of residential and nonresidential premises. It fixes penalties for the violations of this code and provides procedures for correcting violations in those cases requiring borough action. This chapter is hereby declared to be protective, preventive and essential for the public interest.
The following words and terms whenever used in this chapter shall have the respective meanings herein assigned to them and shall be construed to include the plurals of these words:
- ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
- A subordinate structure, the purpose of which is incidental to that of the main structure of the same lot.
- Any roofed structure and any platform, terrace or porch having a vertical face taller than three feet above the elevation of the ground at any point.
- A condition characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, vandalism, lack of maintenance, excessive use and/or the uncorrected consequences of natural catastrophe.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises, or any part thereof, which may be viewed lawfully by the public or any member thereof.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- Open space on the premises exclusive of any structures.
- FIRE HAZARD
- Any device or condition likely to cause fire and situated so as to endanger other persons or property, including but not limited to accumulation or storage of ignitable or explosive material in sufficient amount or located so as to jeopardize either persons or property by obstructing safe and ready means of entrance and exit.
- Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- The presence of vermin on the premises which constitute a nuisance or a health hazard.
- To keep in good repair and to preserve property.
- Premises or portions thereof, not used for or associated with dwelling units.
- A. Any condition so defined by common law, the statutes of the State of New Jersey, or the ordinances of the Borough of Alpine;
- B. Any condition which may prove attractive but detrimental to health and safety;
- C. Physical conditions dangerous or detrimental to the public health and safety;
- D. Anything which renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the public health;
- E. A fire hazard.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of premises, or any part thereof, with or without the knowledge and/or consent of the owner.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, has a legal or equitable interest in any premises, with or without actual possession of those premises; or shall have charge, care or control of any premises.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land including all the buildings or structures thereon.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- Any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the municipality, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations, or to other activities concerning buildings in the municipality.
- (See also "garbage.") All nonputrescible solid wastes, including but not limited to ashes, street cleanings, abandoned vehicles or portions of vehicles, abandoned toys or recreational means or devices, abandoned shopping carts, solid market and industrial wastes, household furnishings including bedding and crockery; such combustible materials as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, leaves and wood; tin cans, glass and other litter, grass and yard clippings and such putrescible materials as human or animal wastes, dead animals and other organic materials not classified as garbage.
- Anything constructed, assembled or erected, the use of which requires location on or in the ground or attachment to something having its location on or in the ground, and includes fences, tanks, swimming pools, shelters, towers, advertising devices, bins, tents, lunch wagons and trailers, dining cars or similar structures on wheels or other supports used for commercial or residential purposes. Wires and their supporting poles, towers, and frames of electrical or telephone utilities, or service utilities entirely below the ground, are also deemed to be "structures."
- Any of various insects or undomesticated animals which are potentially destructive, annoying or injurious to health.
Applicability. All structures and premises shall comply with the provisions of this chapter whether or not those structures and premises have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this chapter and irrespective of any permits or licenses which may have been issued for their use or occupancy prior to the effective date of this chapter.
Higher standard to prevail in case of conflict with other laws or ordinances. In any case where the provisions of this chapter impose a higher standard than set forth in any other chapter of this Code or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards set forth in this chapter shall prevail. If the provisions of this chapter impose a lower standard than any other chapter of this Code or the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard shall prevail.
Enforcement of and compliance with other ordinances. No certificate of compliance with this chapter shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other chapter of this Code, nor shall any provision herein relieve any person from complying with any other chapter of this Code nor any borough official from enforcing any other provision.
Premises to be nuisance free. It shall be the duty of the owner and/or operator to keep the exterior of the premises free of nuisances which include but are not limited to:
Garbage and/or refuse.
Natural growth such as dead and dying or storm-damaged trees and limbs or other growth which by reason of their condition or nature (e.g., poison ivy, ragweed) constitute a hazard to persons lawfully in the vicinity. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions. Owners of vacant premises must keep them free of nuisances.
Overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and/or snow which by reason of their location above ground level constitute a danger of falling on persons lawfully in the vicinity.
Ground surface hazards such as holes, excavation, breaks and projections on residential premises within five feet of an unfenced property line or on any part of a nonresidential premises to which the public has lawful access.
Runoff drains must be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater which renders any part of any premises unsafe for members of the public lawfully thereon.
Sources of infestation, including all environments and conditions conducive to the increase or spread of vermin.
Maintenance of exteriors. It shall be the duty of the owner and/or operator to keep and maintain the exterior of the premises and structures so that the appearance of the same shall not constitute a blighting factor, including but not limited to the following:
Storage of commercial and industrial material. There shall not be stored or used at a location exposed to public view equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial uses, unless permitted under Chapter 220, Zoning.
Landscaping. Premises shall be kept from becoming overgrown and/or unsightly. Vegetation along the public right-of-way shall be kept from becoming a hazard to pedestrians and motorists.
Signs. All signs permitted by reason of other regulations shall be maintained in good repair and printed matter, pictures or illustrations contained on the signs shall be completely maintained and, when no longer in use, completely removed. Any temporary sign, including paper advertising material, glued or otherwise attached to a structure or windows or otherwise exposed to public view shall be removed at the expiration of the event for which it is granted or within 30 days after posting, whichever shall occur sooner. Signs shall otherwise comply with the provisions of Chapter 177, Signs.
General maintenance. The exterior of every structure shall be maintained in good repair for purposes of preservation and appearance and free of conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.
Front yard parking. No person shall park any motor vehicle in any front yard area except on driveways and parking areas constructed and installed in compliance with borough ordinances.
[Amended by Ord. No. 514]
No person or persons, resident or nonresident, within the legal borders of the Borough of Alpine shall dump or litter on or destroy public or private property, including but not limited to:
Dumping. No person shall throw, dump or place any garbage, trash, debris, refuse, rubbish or other waste material on any public or private property within the limit of the borough except for materials covered by scheduled pickup programs. Materials for scheduled pickup may not be placed on the public right-of-way any sooner than the 48 hours prior to the scheduled date of pickup.
Littering. No person shall litter sidewalks, roadways, railroad rights-of-way or vacant lots whether publicly or privately owned.
Destruction of plantings. No person shall pick, trample or destroy any shrubbery, flowers, trees or plantings on any public or private property other than his own.
Destruction of structures or signs. No person shall mark, mar, deface or destroy any public structure or sign on a public or private building.
Dumping in private receptacles or dumpsters. No person shall discard personal accumulations of garbage or refuse in receptacles or dumpsters maintained by businesses or the borough for their own purposes, or in refuse containers owned and maintained by businesses and the borough for the incidental discard of litter by patrons or pedestrians. Dumpsters maintained by business shall be monitored against overflow by those businesses.
Unobstructed borough streets or rights-of-way. No person shall throw, put or place or cause or permit to be thrown, put or placed into, upon or within any public street, road or place in the borough any substance, matter or thing whatsoever whereby the safe, free or unobstructed use of the same by the public may be in anywise impeded or interfered with or whereby the same may be rendered unsightly in appearance, and no person shall put on, deposit or leave any rubbish, refuse or other materials in or upon any of the sidewalks or gutters of public streets or roads or placed within the borough. No person shall erect, maintain or construct a structure, shelter or bin to house garbage cans, trash cans or other receptacles in, on or near the borough road or right-of-way. No person shall construct, erect or maintain a basketball stand backboard in or near a borough road or right-of-way.
The following are additional duties and responsibilities of owners and operators applicable to all structures and premises other than one- and two-family dwellings:
Windows. All windows exposed to public view shall be kept clean and free of marks or foreign substances except for temporary signs permitted by Chapter 177, Signs, and when necessary in the course of changing displays. No storage of materials, stock or inventory shall be permitted in window areas exposed to exterior public view unless said areas are first screened from the public view by draperies, shades or blinds which shall be maintained in clean and attractive manner and in a good state of repair.
Store fronts. All store fronts shall be kept painted and/or in good repair and shall not constitute a safety hazard or nuisance. Necessary repairs shall be made with identical materials to those used in the original construction, when permitted by the Uniform Construction Code or with materials qualitatively superior to those.
Awnings, marquees and signs. Awnings, marquees and signs when permitted by the Uniform Construction Code shall be maintained in good repair and shall not constitute a nuisance or a safety hazard.
Parking lots, sidewalks and rights-of-way. Parking lots, sidewalks and rights-of-way shall be kept free of litter, refuse and garbage and shall have all exterior grounds not covered by impervious material, gravel or wood chips planted with grass, ground cover and/or seasonal plantings.
Litter, refuse or garbage receptacles. Commercial establishments must provide and maintain receptacles, compatible with those provided by the borough, wherein the public may dispose of any wrappings, containers or other refuse. Receptacles maintained by businesses shall be monitored against overflow by those businesses.
Designation of the public officer. All inspections, regulations, enforcement and hearings on violations of the provisions of this chapter, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under the direction and supervision of the Construction Code Official. The Construction Code Official may appoint or designate such other local public officers or employees to perform duties as may be necessary to the enforcement of this chapter, including the making of inspections and appearances at hearings.
General administrative provisions. The Construction Code Official shall make inspection to determine whether the condition of any premises is in compliance with this chapter.
Following inspection, if the Construction Code Official determines the premises are not in compliance with this chapter, he shall then issue and cause to be served upon the owner and/or operator of the premises a written notification stating the nature of the violation and allowing 30 days for its correction. (In cases where the violation presents a clear and present danger to public health and safety, the complaint is to be turned over to the Police Department or the Board of Health for prompt action within their jurisdictions.)
Failure to take action upon notice from public officer. If the violation is not corrected within the 30 days prescribed in the notice from the Construction Code Official, notification of the violation and failure to take action will be placed on the agenda of the Borough Council for the next regularly scheduled public meeting.
Option of the Mayor and decision of the Borough Council.
The Mayor, prior to the regularly scheduled public meeting, may designate the Building Committee to review all findings and present a recommendation to the Council, or may call a special meeting for the purpose of reviewing all findings as a committee of the whole.
If the decision rendered by the Borough Council at the regularly scheduled public meeting upholds the decision of the Construction Code Official, a second notification shall be issued and served allowing 15 days for correction of the violation and carrying notice of the penalties which will be imposed for failure to comply.
The Borough Council may modify or withhold strict enforcement of this chapter after making determination that:
Strict enforcement would constitute an undue and unnecessary hardship on the owner and/or operator because it would compel expenditures on the premises which would be substantially disproportionate to any benefit to health, safety or welfare that might be derived from compliance; and
The owner and/or operator is without any practical or feasible means to comply with the strict provisions of this chapter; and
The premises are about to change ownership and the new owner indicates clear intention to bring the premises into compliance with this chapter.
The Borough Council may decide to bring the premises cited into compliance with this chapter through the expenditure of borough funds. The Construction Code Official shall then present a report of work proposed to be done to achieve compliance along with an estimate of its cost. The Borough Council may then by resolution authorize that the work be done to correct the violation and bring the premises into compliance with this chapter of the Code of the Borough of Alpine. The Borough Council may then designate the appropriate borough employee to oversee the work done and to ensure that it is in accordance with the Council resolution and does not exceed the amount specified in the resolution and, upon completion, to submit a report of the work done and the moneys expended to the Borough Council.
Where any owner or operator fails to comply with an order issued pursuant to this chapter they shall be deemed in violation of this chapter and subject to the penalties provided herein. It shall be the duty of the Construction Code Official to cause a summons to be issued from the Municipal Court for such violation, but nothing contained herein shall limit the power of the Construction Code Official to take such further action under the criminal and civil laws of this state through any court of competent jurisdiction as may be necessary to remove or abate any nuisance.
Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the violation exists shall be taken to be a separate and distinct offense and shall be punished as otherwise provided in this Code. A fine not to exceed $750 per day and per offense, levied against the owner or operator.
[Amended 7-28-1999 by Ord. No. 560]
Where abatement of any nuisance as defined herein was accomplished and premises brought into compliance with this chapter through the expenditure of borough funds, such costs shall be assessed against the premises cited as a lien in the same manner as real estate taxes.
Inspections. Upon issuance of notice required by § 169-7B(1), the property owner shall correct the condition and notify the Construction Code Official that said condition has been corrected. An inspection shall then be made for which no fee shall be charged. Should full compliance not be achieved upon the issuance of a notice, action described in § 169-7B(1) shall thereupon be required. The borough shall be reimbursed for cost of all reinspections by the property owner. Failure to reimburse the borough shall result in a lien for said cost being placed against the property.
Fees. There shall be no fee for an inspection made following the issuance of notice required by § 169-7B(1). Fees for subsequent inspections to determine compliance shall increase $25 for the first inspection and shall increase in $25 increments for subsequent inspections to be paid by the property owner.