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In the event that you wish to appeal any determinations made by the Fire Official, you have a right of administrative appeal. Please read the following and contact the Fire Official with any questions.

ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL RIGHTS GENERAL YOU MAY CONTEST THESE ORDERS AT AN Administrative Hearing. The request for a hearing must be made in WRITING WITHIN 15 days after receipt of this order. The application for appeal shall be accompanied by a fee in the sum of $100.00 payable to Construction Board of Appeals and addressed to: 

Construction Board of Appeals
Burlington County
49 Rancocas Road
Mount Holly, NJ 08060

In addition, you must also send a copy to:  

Westampton Township Bureau of Fire Prevention
Office of the Fire Official
780 Woodlane Road
Westampton, NJ 08060

EXTENSIONS

If a specified time has been given to abate a violation, you may request an extension of time by submitting a written request to the Fire Official. To be considered, the request must set forth the work accomplished, the work remaining, the reason why an extension of time is necessary, and the date by which all work will be completed. 

Take Notice That, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.10d, an application for an extension constitutes an admission that the violation notice is factually and procedurally correct and that the violations do or did exist. In addition, the request of an extension constitutes a waiver of the right to a hearing as to those violations which an extension is applied. 

PENALTIES 

The maximum penalty for any act or omission in violation of the act or code but not enumerated in this subsection is $5000.00 per violation per day. Except as specified below, a violation of N.J.A.C. 5:70-3 or 4 shall subject the violator to a maximum penalty of $500.00 per violation per day. Specific violations shall subject violators to penalties as follows:

1. IMMINENT HAZARD-PUNITIVE CLOSURE: 

    (i) Failure to obey an Imminent Hazard Order, a maximum of $5000.00 per day for each day that the failure continues. 

   (ii) Failure to obey an order to close for a fixed period of time issued pursuant to N.J.A.C.5:70-2.17, a maximum of $5000.00 per day for each day that the    
        failure continues. 

2. EGRESS: 

    (i) Blocking, locking, or obstructing required exits in a place of public assembly or education, a maximum of $5000.00 per occurrence. 

   (ii) Blocking, locking, or obstructing required exits in any other place, a maximum of $2500.00 per occurrence. 

3. OCCUPANCY: 

    (i) Exceeding the maximum permitted occupancy in a place of public assembly or education... 

       1. for the first offense, a maximum of $2500.00 

       2. for a subsequent offense, a maximum of $5000.00 

   (ii) Exceeding the maximum permitted occupancy in any other place... 

       1. for the first offense, a maximum of $500.00 

       2. for a subsequent offense, a maximum of $ 2500. 

4. FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT: 

    (i)  Failure to install a required suppression or detection device, after having been given written notice of the requirement to do so... 

       1. in a place of public assembly or education, a maximum of $2500.00 per violation per day. 

       2. in any other place, a maximum of $1000.00 per violation per day. 

            (ii) Disabling or decreasing the effectiveness of any fire suppression system or alarm device... 

                 1. in a place of public assembly or education, a maximum of $5000.00 per occurrence.

                 2. in any other place, a maximum of $1000.00 per occurrence. 

5. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A LAWFUL ACTION 

    (i) A negligent or inadvertent failure to comply with a lawful order, ruling, notice or other action of the Commissioner of a Local Enforcing Agency - a  
        maximum of 
$2000.00 per occurrence. 

   (ii) A refusal or deliberate failure to comply with a lawful order, ruling, notice or other action of the Commissioner of a Local Enforcing Agency - a maximum      
        of $5000.00 per occurrence. 

6. OBSTRUCTION 

    (i) Anyone who obstructs, hinders, delays or interferes by force or otherwise with the Commissioner or any member of a Local Enforcing Agency in the  
        exercise of any power or the discharging of any function or duty under the provision of this Code - a maximum of $2500.00 per occurrence. 

7. PERMITS 

    (i) Failure to obtain a required permit prior to commencing the operations, process, or activity for which a permit was required - a maximum of double the  
        amount of the applicable permit fee. 

   (ii)Failure to obtain a required permit after being ordered to do so while continuing the operation, process or activity - a maximum of $5000.00 per day during
       which the operation, process, or activity continues. 

8. REGISTRATION 

    (i) Failure to file a registration application after having been ordered to do so - an amount equal to double the registration application fee, but not less than
        $200.00 or more than $1000.00 for each registration. 

   (ii) Failure to pay required annual registration fee when due - an amount equal to the unpaid fee. 

9. FALSE STATEMENTS 

    (i) Preparing, uttering, or rendering any false statement, pertaining to  reports, documents, plans, or specifications permitted or required under the provisions
        of this Code - a maximum of $5000.00 

  (ii) Submission of a materially false application for a permit or registration - a maximum of $1000.00 per occurrence. 

DEDICATED AND COMPENSATORY PENALTIES 5:70-2.12A 

An owner, having been given notice of the existence of a violation and failing to abate same, shall in addition to being liable for penalties under N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.12A, also be liable to a dedicated penalty pursuant to this subsection ($50,000.00 and $150,000 for compensatory penalties). 

FIRE DEPARTMENT COSTS 5:70-2.13 (a), (b), (c) 

An owner who has been given notice of violation shall be responsible for a penalty not exceeding $150,000.00, or the costs of suppressing any fire which directly or indirectly results from the violation, whichever is greater. 

Claims arising out of penalty assessments can be compromised or settled only if it shall be likely to result in compliance. Moreover, no such disposition can be finalized while the violation continues to exist. 

Any penalties assessed are in addition to those previously assessed. Penalties must be paid in full within 30 days after an order to pay. If full payment is not made within 30 days, the matter will be referred to the township attorney for summary collection pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et. seq.). 

NOTICE: If you require guidance or a advice concerning your legal rights, obligations or the course of action you should follow, consult your own advisor

 

ABOUT THE BURLINGTON COUNTY CONSTRUCTION BOARD OF APPEALS

The Burlington County Construction Board of Appeals was formed to allow appeals from decisions made by municipal construction officials and municipal fire officials. The New Jersey State Uniform Construction Code Act mandated that each County should create a Construction Board of Appeals to hear any appeals from within that County. Although there is a provision in the Act for municipalities to form municipal level boards, presently there are not any in Burlington County, so the County Board hears all appeals within this County. 

The Board was created by resolution of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Board members are appointed for four year terms by the Freeholders. At any time, the Board includes both a regular member and at least one alternate member in five categories: plumbing, electrical, building, fire protection and fire official. In addition, there is an alternate to sit on the Board for any appeal concerning the Elevator Safety Subcode and two special members who sit on the Board to hear appeals concerning charges to municipal plan review and inspection escrow accounts. The Board is administered by a secretary in the County Department of Engineering. 

What can be appealed to the Board 

The regulation states that “any ruling, action, notice, order or decision of a local enforcing agency that enforces either the State Uniform Construction Code or the Uniform Fire Code, including, without limitation, any refusal to grant an application or any failure or refusal to act upon an application, but not including any order requiring the taking of emergency measures pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.32(b).” Most appeals to the Board are concerning Notices of Violation and Order of Penalty issued by the municipal Construction Official or Fire Official. For instance, if a Construction Official issued a Notice of Violation for some construction that he stated was not in conformance with the Construction Code, but you believe it was in conformance, you may appeal to the Board. 

In addition, in 1995, another area of appeal was added to the jurisdiction of the County Board. When a developer is applying to a municipality for a subdivision or site plan development, they are required to post with that municipality an amount to be held in escrow for the municipality to draw against to pay vouchers from professionals who provide plan review and inspections for the municipality. If the developer believes that one or more charges were made incorrectly against that escrow account, he may appeal the charge to the Board.  

What cannot be appealed to the Board

The most common items that the Board receives requests for appeals that cannot be accepted are: 

 - Any issue concerning Municipal Zoning. 

 - Complaints concerning how an official performs his or her job. 

 - Appeals concerning the fee schedule adopted by a municipality for plan review and inspection. 

 - Appeals of citations or notices issued under a municipal ordinance (e.g. Municipal Property Maintenance Ordinance or local (non-UCC) Certificates of    
   Continuing Occupancy). 

 - Appeals of emergency measures pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.32(b) (e.g. a Notice of Unsafe Structure that requires the building be immediately vacated or  
   demolished). 

Procedure for application for appeal to the Board 

 - The application can be made by a lawyer representing the applicant, but it does not usually have to be. 

 - Generally, an application must be filed by the 15th day after receipt of the written notice being appealed. If you spend three weeks trying to work out the
   discrepancy directly with the Construction Official or Fire Official before you send in the appeal, it cannot be accepted at that point. 

 - Submit a letter stating exactly what you wish to appeal and a statement as to why you believe the official’s decision or notice is incorrect. Include a phone
   number where you can be reached. 

 - Submit a copy of the Notice or Order you are wanting to appeal 

 - Submit a $100 check made out to “Burlington County Treasurer”. The check is non-returnable at that point, notwithstanding whether you win or lose the
   appeal hearing or withdraw the appeal before a hearing. 

 - Simultaneously, submit a copy of the appeal to the official who issued the order being appealed. Do this by registered mail or hand delivery so a receipt
   signed by the official is available for you to submit to us as proof of delivery. 

Procedure for the appeal hearing 

When the appeal is received by the secretary, he contacts both sides to see if they are ready for a hearing in front of the Board or whether they both are willing to postpone the hearing date in order to try to work it out without a hearing. There are some Code imposed restraints on postponements, but in general the Board is very lenient on delays if both sides agree. The Board has regularly scheduled hearing dates of the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the Engineering building in Mount Laurel on Highway 38. When it is determined that a hearing is required, it will be scheduled for the next regular meeting. All testimony before the Board is under oath or affirmation. At the hearing, the applicant can have legal representation or can represent themselves. A corporation must be represented by legal counsel or a corporate officer. The Board will first have the municipal official tell why the decision or notice was issued. Often the Board members ask questions as the official is testifying. Then, the Board will have the applicant state why they believe the Notice or decision is not correct. Other people having knowledge of the dispute may be brought in by the applicant in order to also testify. Both sides will be afforded the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. Usually, when both sides have stated their case, the Board closes testimony and discusses the case. After a motion and vote, the hearing is adjourned with both sides knowing the outcome before they leave the room. A written decision is issued within ten days. 

Possible outcomes from the Board 

The Board may uphold the Notice exactly as issued by the official, it may overturn the entire Notice and attached penalty, or it may modify the Notice. The Board may uphold the Notice but modify the penalty, but due to restrictions in the Code, this is rare. If the Board upholds the Notice and Penalty, the applicant is usually given 30 days to comply with the Notice before the Penalty would become effective. 

Further Appeals 

Either side can appeal the Board decision to the Law Division of Superior Court within the time allowed by the rules of the Court. 

Un-answered Questions 

If you have any question concerning the Burlington County Construction Board of Appeals that has not been answered here, please feel free to call the Board secretary at 856 642-3800 or email at cba@co.burlington.nj.us . 

The Westampton Township Bureau of Fire Prevention is always available to answer any questions or offer fire prevention related information. Please contact my office anytime at 609-267-2041, ext. 215 or by email at firemarshal@wtes.us. Thank you and practice fire safety each and every day.

Fire Marshal

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