Township of Upper Burrell, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Upper Burrell 10-1-2001 by Ord. No. 2-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 119.

§ 95-1 Definitions.

A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
BUILDING
An independent structure having a roof supported by columns or walls resting on its own foundation and includes, but is not limited to, dwelling, garage, barn, stable, shed, house, apartment, condominium, greenhouse, mobile home, plant, factory, warehouse, school or similar structure.
DANGEROUS BUILDING
All buildings or structures which have one or more of the following defects shall be deemed dangerous buildings:
(1) 
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base;
(2) 
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show damage or deterioration to 33% of the member or members, or damage or deterioration to 50% of the non-supporting enclosing or outside walls or covering;
(3) 
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used;
(4) 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to be dangerous to life safety, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the public.
(5) 
Those which are so damaged, dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, vermin infested or which utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, safety or general welfare of those living therein;
(6) 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure property or members of the public;
(7) 
Those which lack illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities or because of another condition are unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to the health, safety, or general welfare of the occupants or the public;
(8) 
Those which because of their location are unsanitary, or otherwise dangerous, to the health or safety of the occupants or the public;
(9) 
Those existing in violation of any provision of the building code, fire prevention code, property maintenance code, or other ordinances of the Township of Upper Burrell.
DWELLING
Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
EXTERMINATION
Control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, removing or making inaccessible, materials that may serve as their food, poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping, or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods.
GARBAGE
Animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
INFESTATION
Presence, within or around a dwelling, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
NUISANCE
Includes the following:
(1) 
The physical condition; or use of any premises regarded as a public nuisance at common law;
(2) 
Any physical condition, use or occupancy of any premises or its appurtenances considered an attractive nuisance to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations and unsafe fences or structures;
(3) 
Any premises which have unsanitary sewerage or plumbing facilities;
(4) 
Any premises designated as unsafe for human habitation or use;
(5) 
Any premises which are manifestly capable of being a fire hazard, or are manifestly unsafe or unsecure as to endanger life, limb or property;
(6) 
Any premises from which the plumbing or heating facilities have been removed, or from which utilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective, or the required precautions against trespassers have not been provided;
(7) 
Any premises which are unsanitary, or which are littered with rubbish or garbage, or which have an uncontrolled growth or weeds; or
(8) 
Any structure or building that is in a state of dilapidation, deterioration or decay; faulty construction; overcrowded; open, vacant or abandoned; damaged by fire to the extent as not to provide shelter, in danger of collapse or failure and is dangerous to anyone on or near the premises.
OWNER
A person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
(1) 
Shall have legal title to any property, dwelling, or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
(2) 
Shall have charge, care or control of any property, dwelling or dwelling unit, as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to the same extent as if he were the owner.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership, or other legal entity.
PROPERTY
A piece, parcel, lot or tract of land.
RUBBISH
Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, including residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke, and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass crockery and dust.
STRUCTURE
Anything construed or erected with a fixed or ascertainable location on the ground or in water, whether or not affixed to the ground or anchored in the water, including buildings, walls, fences, platforms, docks, wharves, billboards, signs and walks.
B. 
Whenever the words "dwelling," "dwelling unit," or "premises" are used in this chapter, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."

§ 95-2 Dangerous buildings and nuisances declared public nuisances.

All dangerous buildings and nuisances within the terms of § 95-1 of this chapter are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated, repaired, removed, vacated, or demolished as herein provided.

§ 95-3 Standards for abatement, repair, removal, vacation, or demolition.

The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Upper Burrell in ordering abatement, repair, removal, vacation, or demolition:
A. 
If the dangerous building or property can be reasonably repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered to be repaired.
B. 
If the dangerous building or property is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety, or general welfare of its occupants, or the public and is so placarded, it shall be ordered to be vacated or removed within such length of time, not exceeding 30 days, as is reasonable.
C. 
No dwelling or dwelling unit which has been placarded as unfit for human habitation shall again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured from, and such placard is removed by, the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall remove such placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the placarding action were based have been eliminated.
D. 
If a dangerous building is 50% or more damaged or decayed, or deteriorated from its original condition; if a dangerous building cannot be repaired, so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter or any ordinance of the Township of Upper Burrell or statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be ordered to be demolished; provided the cost of repairs to rectify or remove the conditions constituting the nuisance exceed 50% of the market value of the building at the time demolition is proposed.
E. 
If the property constitutes a nuisance and cannot be repaired, or if the defects and ordinance violations are not cured by the owner within the applicable time frame, the Code Enforcement Officer shall order the removal or abatement of the condition.

§ 95-4 Duties of Code Enforcement Officer.

A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may inspect property, dwellings, buildings and structures to determine whether any conditions exist which render such property or premises in violation of the terms of § 95-1 above when he is made aware of them.
B. 
Whenever an inspection discloses that a dwelling, building, property or structure has become a public nuisance, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a written notice to the person or persons responsible therefor. The notice:
(1) 
Shall be in writing;
(2) 
Shall include a statement of the reasons it is being issued;
(3) 
Shall state a reasonable time to rectify the conditions constituting the nuisance or to remove the violation and demolish the dwelling, building or structure;
(4) 
Shall be served upon the owner, or his agent, or the occupant, as the case may require.
(a) 
Except in emergency cases and where the owner, occupant, lessee, or mortgagee is absent from the Township of Upper Burrell, all notices shall be deemed to be properly served upon the owner, occupant or other person having an interest in the dangerous building, if a copy thereof is served upon him personally, or if a copy is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by the notice; or if he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of the commonwealth.
(b) 
Except emergency cases, in all other cases where the owner, occupant, lessee, or mortgagee is absent from the Township of Upper Burrell, all notices or orders provided for herein shall be sent by registered mail to the owner, occupant, and all other persons having an interest in said building, as shown by the records of the County Recorder of Deeds, to the last known address of each, and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the dangerous building to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service.
(5) 
May contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall appear at all hearings conducted by the Board of Supervisors and testify to the condition of dangerous buildings or nuisances.

§ 95-5 Hearings.

A. 
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Board of Supervisors; provided, that such person shall file with the Township Secretary a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition, the Township Secretary shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn.
B. 
After such hearing, the Board of Supervisors shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice. If the Board of Supervisors sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant to this chapter shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed with the Township Secretary within 10 days after such a notice is served.
C. 
Any aggrieved party may appeal the final order to the Court of Common Pleas in accordance with the provisions of the Judicial Code.

§ 95-6 Removal of notice prohibited.

No person shall remove or deface the notice of dangerous building, except as provided in § 95-3C.

§ 95-7 Emergency cases.

Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as is necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the Code Enforcement Officer, shall be afforded a hearing as soon possible. After such hearing, depending upon the findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with, the Code Enforcement Officer shall continue such order in effect, modify, or revoke it. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected in the same manner as provided herein for other cases.

§ 95-8 Abatement by Township.

If the owner, occupant, mortgagee, or lessee fails to comply with the order of the Code Enforcement Officer within the time specified in the notice issued by him and no petition for a hearing is filed within 10 days thereafter, or following a hearing by the Board of Supervisors where the order is sustained thereby, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated, or demolished, as determined by the Board of Supervisors in accordance with the standards hereinbefore provided. The Township of Upper Burrell may collect the cost of such repair, vacation or demolition together with a penalty of 10% of such cost, plus attorney fees in the manner provided by law. Or the Board of Supervisors may seek injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to the rules of civil procedure.

§ 95-9 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, and in default of payment thereof, to undergo imprisonment for a term not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation continues beyond the date fixed for compliance shall constitute a separate offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).