Chapter 28 Miscellaneous Offenses
Article IV. Abandoned Vehicles (See Note 1)
Note 1: Cross references: Health and sanitation, chapter 24; traffic and vehicles, chapter 48.
State law references: Abandoned vehicles, New Jersey Statutes Annotated (NJSA) 39:4-56.5.
The township council hereby finds, determines and declares that the keeping, storage or abandonment of any motor vehicle not currently used for transportation, or not licensed for operation in the current year, out of doors within the limits of the township is a nuisance and contrary to the public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the township, in that such articles so abandoned or stored attract or may attract persons of tender years who may play in and about them and be injured in so doing and in that such vehicles so abandoned and stored out of doors exposed to the elements deteriorate and the exposure to view of such motor vehicles is unsightly and detrimental to the character and appearance of the township.
(Revised Ordinance (RO) 1979, Section 18-24)
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Abandoned motor vehicle includes any motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, trailer, truck, truck tractor or vehicle which:
- Has remained on or about private property or public property without the consent of the owner or other person so in charge of the property for a continuing period of more than 48 hours;
- Does not have current license plates or registration;
- Is found to be partially dismantled, mechanically inoperative, wrecked, junked or discarded and is allowed to remain in such condition for a period of 48 hours;
- Is found without one or more tires; or
- 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 vehicle to a place where it shall not obstruct traffic.
This definition shall not be construed as prohibiting a vehicle owner from making repairs to one personal registered vehicle, on private property, with the property owner's consent, for a reasonable time not exceeding 30 days.
Motor vehicle, omnibus, road tractor, trailer, truck, truck tractor and vehicle are intended to have the meanings stated and defined in NJSA 39:1-1 et seq.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25)
Cross references: Definitions generally, Section 1-2.
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, and in addition to any towing charges, storage fees and other costs due under this article, be subject to punishment in accordance with section 1-7. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. The penalties set forth in this section are separate and apart from the impoundment remedy provided for in section 28-85.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25.5)
It shall be unlawful for any person to store or abandon or suffer or permit the storage or abandonment of any motor vehicle out of doors upon any public or private lands in any zone in the township; provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the placing, keeping or storage of any such motor vehicle in a garage or other enclosed structure, and, in residential zones, one such vehicle may be placed, kept or stored, provided that the vehicle is fully and completely covered with a tarp. For the purpose of this section, a tarp shall be defined as a plastic, canvas or other covering of suitable material designed to fully cover the entire vehicle. All tarps shall be maintained in good repair.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25.1; Ordinance Number 41-95, Section 1, 10-17-95)
Whenever any member of the police department finds any motor vehicle which has been abandoned, kept or stored contrary to the provisions of this article, such member may issue a summons and remove, secure the removal of and impound the motor vehicle in accordance with the following procedures:
- Vehicles on public property. Whenever any abandoned motor vehicle is found on any public street, highway or public property, any member of the police department is authorized to issue a summons to any person deemed to be in violation of this article. In addition, an emergency condition is herewith declared to exist, and any member of the police department is hereby authorized to immediately remove, secure the removal of and impound such motor vehicle without the necessity of notice prior to the impoundment. After impoundment, the police department shall use diligent efforts to identify and locate the owner of the impounded motor vehicle which has been abandoned and notify the owner in accordance with section 28-86.
- Vehicles on private land. Whenever any abandoned motor vehicle is found on any private land in violation of the provisions of this article, any member of the police department shall cause the owner of the motor vehicle, if the owner can be ascertained or located, or the owner or tenant of the private lands upon which the violation is occurring, to be given five days' written notice that the violation exists. The notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail sent to the last known address of the owner of the motor vehicle, or the owner or tenant of the property, or both.
- If at the expiration of five days a violation of the provisions of this article still exists, a summons may issue and a penalty may be imposed in accordance with section 28-83 against the owner of the vehicle, if known, or against the owner or tenant, as appropriate, of the private lands upon which the motor vehicle has been abandoned, for each and every day that the vehicle remains in violation of this article. Members of the police department are further authorized, in their discretion, to remove any vehicle left at any place within the township which is deemed to be in violation of this article. Such vehicle may be impounded until lawfully claimed or disposed of in accordance with applicable statutes and the procedure set forth in this article. Notice of the impoundment shall be given to the owner of the motor vehicle, or the owner or tenant of the private land upon which the violation occurred, or both, in the manner established in this article.
- In the case of motor vehicles found abandoned on commercial or multifamily housing properties, all notices and summonses authorized in this article shall be directed to the owners of such properties whenever the vehicle owner cannot be ascertained or located as provided in this section.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25.2)
- Notice of the impoundment of any motor vehicle shall be given to the owner of the motor vehicle or to the owner or tenant of the private lands upon which the violation has occurred, in writing, by personal service or by certified mail at the last known address of such person, and shall contain the following:
- The time and place of impoundment.
- The location of the motor vehicle.
- The reason for impoundment.
- The amount and nature of penalties and costs that may be entered against such person.
- A statement that a sale of the motor vehicle will occur after the appropriate time period as set forth in NJSA 39:10A-1b, if the motor vehicle is not reclaimed.
- Upon notification to the appropriate party as required in this section, towing and per diem storage fees shall be imposed representing the reasonable cost of removal of the vehicle for impoundment and storage. Such costs shall be as set forth in the fee schedule for removal and storage of vehicles in section 14-372, and shall be imposed until all charges and costs are paid and the impounded vehicle is claimed and picked up by its rightful owner or the impounded vehicle is sold at public auction as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
- Whenever any motor vehicle impounded by the police department shall remain unclaimed for the minimum holding period set forth in NJSA 39:10A-1b, such vehicle may be subject to sale at public auction as provided in NJSA 39:10A-1 et seq. The township council may by resolution provide for the sale of any such property at public auction, after notice of a designated time and place therefor, not less than five days prior thereto, by one publication in a newspaper circulating within the township and by notifying the owner of the motor vehicle, or the owner or tenant of the lands upon which the violation occurred, or both, in writing, by personal service or certified mail. All monies received from the sale of any such property shall be paid into the general municipal treasury.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25.3)
The provisions of this article shall not apply to a vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner, when necessary to the operation of the business enterprise, or a vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner by the township.
(RO 1979, Section 18-25.4)