Township of Easttown, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Easttown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-2-1989 by Ord. No. 222-89]

§ 280-1 Definitions.

The following words, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section:
ABANDONED OR JUNK VEHICLE
A vehicle (other than a pedalcycle):
[Amended 8-17-1998 by Ord. No. 316-98]
A. 
That is inoperable and is left unattended on public or private property without the consent of the owner for more than 48 hours; or
B. 
Without a current valid registration plate or current certificate of inspection left on public property.
BMP (BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES)
Activities, facilities, designs, measures or procedures used to manage stormwater impacts, to provide water quality treatment, infiltration, volume reduction and/or peak rate control, to promote groundwater recharge and to otherwise meet the purposes of Chapter 388, Stormwater Management, of the Code of Easttown Township. Stormwater BMPs are commonly grouped into one of two broad categories or measures: structural or nonstructural. Nonstructural BMPs or measures refer to operational and/or behavior-related practices that attempt to minimize the contact of pollutants with stormwater runoff, whereas structural BMPs or measures are those that consist of a physical device or practice that is installed to capture and treat stormwater runoff. Structural BMPs include, but are not limited to, a wide variety of practices and devices, from large-scale retention ponds and constructed wetlands to small-scale underground treatment systems, infiltration facilities, filter strips, low-impact design, bioretention, wet ponds, permeable paving, grassed swales, riparian or forested buffers, sand filters, detention basins and manufactured devices. Structural stormwater BMPs are permanent appurtenances to the site.[1]
CONVEYANCE
A natural or man-made, existing or proposed facility, feature or channel used for the transportation or transmission of stormwater from one place to another. Conveyances shall include pipes, drainage ditches, channels and swales (vegetated or other), gutters, stream channels and like facilities or features.[2]
EXPLOSIVES
Any substance or material, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion, including all material which is classified as forbidden, Class A, Class B, or Class C explosive by the Interstate Commerce Commission, including, but not limited to, dynamite, black blasting powder, pellet powders, initiating explosives, blasting caps, electric blasting caps, safety fuse, fuse igniters, fuse lighters, squibs, cordeau detonant fuse, instantaneous fuse, ignition cord and igniters, but excepting small arms ammunition.
FALLEN LEAVES
Leaves of trees or bushes which are not attached to the twig or limb from which they fell.
FIRE
Combustion of any materials for the purpose of disposing of the materials.
MOTOR VEHICLE NUISANCE
A motor vehicle maintained upon open private grounds in Easttown Township by the owner, lessee or occupier of such ground, which vehicle is unable to move under its own power and has any of the following physical defects (except where such vehicle is maintained in a lawful vehicle repair or junkyard facility):
[Added 8-17-1998 by Ord. No. 316-98]
A. 
Broken windshields, mirrors or other glass with sharp edges;
B. 
One or more flat or open tires or tubes which could permit vermin harborage;
C. 
Missing doors, windows, hood, trunk or other body parts which could permit animal harborage;
D. 
Any body parts with sharp edges, including holes resulting from rust;
E. 
Missing tires resulting in unsafe suspension of the motor vehicle;
F. 
Upholstery which is torn or open which could permit animal and/or vermin harborage;
G. 
Broken headlamps or tail lamps with sharp edges;
H. 
Disassembled chassis parts, apart from the motor vehicle, stored in a disorderly fashion or loose in or on the vehicle;
I. 
Protruding sharp objects from the chassis;
J. 
Broken vehicle frame suspended from the ground in an unstable or unsafe manner;
K. 
Leaking or damaged oil pan or gas tank;
L. 
Exposed battery;
M. 
Inoperable locking mechanisms for doors or trunk;
N. 
Open or damaged floorboards, including trunk and fire wall;
O. 
Damaged bumpers pulled away from the perimeter of the vehicle;
P. 
Broken grill with protruding edges;
Q. 
Loose or damaged metal trim and clips;
R. 
Broken antenna and like equipment;
S. 
Stored in an unstable manner; and
T. 
Such other defects which could threaten the health, safety and welfare of persons or property.
NUISANCE
The carrying on, engaging in, committing or, when in possession of control or responsibility, permitting any practice, act, trade, manufacture, business or profession which is injurious or dangerous to the health, safety, comfort or welfare of persons or damaging to the property of others or which prevents the reasonable use or enjoyment of the property of others by reason of, among other things, odor, smoke, dust, gas, noise, dirt, vibration, or the emission of radioactivity or electromagnetic waves.
PERSON
Includes a corporation, partnership, and association, as well as a natural person.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
[2]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 280-2 Prohibited acts.

No person shall cause, create or maintain any nuisance within the Township of Easttown.

§ 280-3 Nuisances enumerated.

Nuisances include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. 
The dumping or accumulation of garbage or rubbish on public or private property, except in containers for temporary storage awaiting lawful disposal.
B. 
The storage of abandoned or junked automobiles on public or private property.
C. 
The erection or maintenance of any dangerous structure.
D. 
The burning of garbage or rubbish.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 3(e), as amended 9-16-1991 by Ord. No. 241-91, and § 3(f), regarding open burning, which immediately followed this subsection, were repealed 10-4-2010 by Ord. No. 398-10.
E. 
Operating machinery, tools or equipment for the purpose of construction or of performing repairs or maintenance on real or personal property whereby noise is transmitted to the property of another before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and before 8:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the prevailing time. Excepted from the foregoing restrictions are customary and usual agricultural operations, maintenance and repair operations performed on outdoor recreational facilities, such as parks, playing fields, playground facilities and golf and tennis facilities. In no event shall the foregoing excepted actions commence prior to 6:00 a.m., prevailing time.
[Amended 11-7-2005 by Ord. No. 364-05]
F. 
Maintaining one or more motor vehicle nuisances.
[Added 8-17-1998 by Ord. No. 316-98]
G. 
Prohibited discharges.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
H. 
Prohibited connections.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
I. 
Improper use of roof drains and sump pumps.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
J. 
Alteration of BMPs.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 280-4 Open burning. [1]

[Added 10-4-2010 by Ord. No. 398-10]
The prohibition of open burning shall be in effect, except when the burning results from:
A. 
An open burning set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, when approved the Department of Environmental Protection's regional office and set by or under the supervision of a public officer.
B. 
A fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in firefighting, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's regional office.
C. 
A fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's regional office.
D. 
A fire set for the purpose of burning, clearing and grubbing waste; if within an air basin, an air curtain destructor must be used and must be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's regional office.
E. 
A fire set in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities in their unmanufactured state on the premises of the farm operation.
F. 
A fire set solely for cooking food.
G. 
A fire set solely for recreational or ceremonial purposes.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 377, Solid Waste; Recycling; Open Burning.

§ 280-5 Exemptions.

The following are specifically declared not to be nuisances within the meaning of this article:
A. 
The establishment or operation of a municipal disposal facility.
B. 
The accumulation of a compost heap of vegetable matter or the manure of animals for agricultural or horticultural purposes.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original §§ 5 and 6, regarding open burning, which immediately followed this section, were repealed 10-4-2010 by Ord. No. 398-10.

§ 280-6 Explosives.

A. 
No person shall compound, mix, prepare, or manufacture, anywhere within the Township, any explosives.
B. 
No person shall have, keep, use, or store any explosives anywhere within the Township, unless the same are used, kept or stored in accordance with the current requirements of the Fire Prevention Code recommended by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, and unless a written permit shall have been obtained from the Chief of the local fire company having jurisdiction. The said Chief of the local fire company shall issue such permit upon proof that the provisions of the Fire Prevention Code, hereinafter referred to, are being complied with.

§ 280-7 Prohibited discharges. [1]

A. 
Any drain or conveyance, whether on the surface or subsurface, that allows any nonstormwater discharge, including sewage, process wastewater, and wash water, to enter the Township's separate storm sewer system or the waters of the commonwealth is prohibited.
B. 
No person shall allow, or cause to allow, discharges into the Township's separate storm sewer system or the waters of the commonwealth that are not composed entirely of stormwater, except:
(1) 
As provided in Subsection C below; and
(2) 
Discharges allowed under a state or federal permit.
C. 
The following discharges are authorized unless they are determined by the Township to be significant contributors to pollution to the Township's separate storm sewer system or to the waters of the commonwealth:
(1) 
Discharges from firefighting activities;
(2) 
Potable water sources, including waterline and fire hydrant flushings;
(3) 
Irrigation drainage;
(4) 
Air-conditioning condensate;
(5) 
Springs;
(6) 
Water from crawl space pumps;
(7) 
Pavement wash waters where spills or leaks of toxic or hazardous materials have not occurred (unless all spill material has been removed) and where detergents are not used;
(8) 
Diverted stream flows;
(9) 
Uncontaminated water from foundations or from footing drains;
(10) 
Lawn watering;
(11) 
Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges;
(12) 
Uncontaminated groundwater;
(13) 
Water from individual residential car washing; and
(14) 
Routine external building washdown (which does not use detergents or other compounds).
D. 
In the event that the Township determines that any of the discharges identified in Subsection C significantly contribute pollutants to the Township's separate storm sewer system or to the waters of the commonwealth, or is notified of such significant contribution of pollution by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Township will notify the responsible person to cease the discharge.
E. 
Upon notice provided by the Township under Subsection D, the discharger shall, within a reasonable time period, as determined by the Township consistent with the degree of pollution caused by the discharge, cease the discharge.
F. 
Nothing in this section shall affect a discharger's responsibilities under state law.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 280-8 Prohibited connections. [1]

The following connections are prohibited, except as provided in § 280-7C:
A. 
Any drain or conveyance, whether on the surface or subsurface, that allows any nonstormwater discharge, including sewage, process wastewater, and wash water, to enter a separate storm sewer system and any connections to the separate storm sewer system from indoor drains and sinks.
B. 
Any drain or conveyance connected from a commercial or industrial land use to a separate storm sewer system which has not been documented in plans, maps, or equivalent records and approved by the Township.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 280-9 Roof drains and sump pumps.

[Added 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 422-14]
A. 
Roof drains and sump pump discharges shall not be connected to a sanitary sewer.
B. 
Roof drain, sump pump, foundation and footing drain discharges:
(1) 
To the maximum extent practicable, shall discharge to infiltration or vegetative BMPs or to vegetated or other areas with adequate capacity;
(2) 
May be connected to streets, storm sewers, or roadside ditches only if determined necessary or acceptable by the Township Engineer; and
(3) 
Shall be considered in stormwater management calculations to demonstrate that the conveyance and receiving facilities have adequate capacity.

§ 280-10 Alteration of BMPs.

[Added 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 422-14]
A. 
No person shall modify, remove, fill, landscape, alter or impair the effectiveness of any stormwater BMPs, conveyances, facilities, areas or structures, unless the activity is part of an approved maintenance program, without written approval of the Township.
B. 
No person shall place any structure, fill, landscaping, additional vegetation, yard waste, brush cuttings, or other waste or debris into a BMP or conveyance, or within a stormwater easement, that would limit or alter the functioning of the stormwater BMP or conveyance without the written approval of the Township.

§ 280-11 Exceptions.

A. 
Nothing in this article shall be construed as applying to the regular military or naval forces of the United States, the duly authorized militia of this commonwealth, or to the Police and Fire Companies, nor to the laboratories of schools, colleges and similar institutions when confined to the purpose of instruction or research, or to explosives in the forms prescribed by the official United States Pharmacopeia.
B. 
"Nuisance," as defined herein, shall not include any agricultural operation conducted in accordance with normal agricultural operations, so long as the agricultural operation does not have a direct adverse effect on the public health and safety.

§ 280-12 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 10-7-1996 by Ord. No. 293-96; 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 422-14]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this article shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, including reasonable attorneys' fees. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this article that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.

§ 280-13 Additional remedies.

In addition to any other remedies provided by law, the following actions may be taken to remove or abate any continuing violations of this article:
A. 
The local fire company having jurisdiction, either with or without the consent of the landowner or person in charge, may extinguish any fire on public or private property kindled or burning in violation of the provisions of this article; and
B. 
The Board of Supervisors may proceed in law or equity to remove or abate any continuing violation of this article and, in addition, may proceed to impose and collect costs of such removal, together with a penalty as set forth in § 280-12, Violations and penalties, of this article.
[Amended 10-7-1996 by Ord. No. 293-96]
[Adopted 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 422-14]

§ 280-14 Purpose.

[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
The Board of Supervisors finds it to be in the best interests of the residents of the Township of Easttown, Chester County, Pennsylvania, to provide for certain protections and safeguards in order to address deteriorated properties, public nuisances and properties in serious violation of state law or Township codes. Such protections and safeguards include denial of permits and actions at law and in equity in order to address deteriorated properties which have an impact upon crime, the quality of life of our residents and require expenditures of public funds in order to abate and correct nuisances, violations and delinquent Township services accounts.

§ 280-15 Definitions.

For the purpose of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOARD
A Zoning Hearing Board or other body granted jurisdiction to render decisions in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.), the Second Class Township Code (53 P.S. § 65101 et seq.) or the Code of the Township of Easttown or a board authorized to act in a similar manner by law.
BUILDING
A residential, commercial or industrial building or structure and the land appurtenant to it.
MUNICIPAL PERMIT(S)
Privileges related to real property granted by a municipality such as the Township, including, but not limited to, building permits, parking permits, occupancy permits, and special exceptions or variances from zoning ordinances. The term includes approvals pursuant to land use ordinances other than decisions on the substantive validity of a zoning ordinance or map or the acceptance of a curative amendment.
MUNICIPAL SERVICE(S)
Services provided at a cost by the Township or other municipal entity, including water service, sanitary sewer service, refuse collection and parking allotments/facilities, which benefit individual properties and also serve to benefit the overall welfare, safety and health of all residents of the Township.
OWNER
A holder of title to residential, commercial or industrial real estate, other than a mortgage lender, who possesses and controls the real estate. The term includes, but is not limited to, heirs, assigns, beneficiaries and lessees, provided this ownership interest is a matter of public record.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
Property which, because of its physical condition or use, is regarded as a public nuisance at common law or has been declared by the appropriate Township official a public nuisance in accordance with the Code of the Township of Easttown, as amended.
SERIOUS VIOLATION
A violation of a state law or Township code (as both terms are defined herein) or other applicable code that poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of the dwelling occupant, occupants in surrounding structures or passersby. Property found to be a public nuisance is also considered to be a serious violation.
STATE LAW
A statute of the commonwealth or a regulation of an agency charged with the administration and enforcement of commonwealth law.
SUBSTANTIAL STEP
An affirmative action as determined by a Township official or officer of the court on the part of the property owner or managing agent to remedy a serious violation of state law or Township code, including, but not limited to, physical improvements or repairs to the property.
TAX-DELINQUENT PROPERTY
Tax-delinquent real property, as defined under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (72 P.S. § 5860.101 et seq.), the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Law (53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.) or the Second Class City Treasurer's Sale and Collection Act (53 P.S. § 27101 et seq.), located in any municipality in this commonwealth.
TOWNSHIP CODE
A building, housing, property maintenance, fire, health or other public safety ordinance enacted or adopted by the Township, including those ordinances, regulations and resolutions which establish and assess fees for Township services and privileges such as sewer, water, refuse collection and parking/parking arrangements. For purposes of this article, the term does not include a subdivision and land development ordinance or a zoning ordinance enacted by the Township.
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]

§ 280-16 Legal action to be taken against owners.

In addition to any other remedy available at law, including those remedies available under the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act (53 Pa.C.S.A. § 6101 et seq.), remedies available in equity or other remedies as provided for in the Code of the Township of Easttown, the Township may institute the following actions against the owner of any property that is in serious violation of a Township code or for failure to correct a condition which causes the property to be regarded as a public nuisance:
A. 
An in personam action may be initiated for a continuing violation for which the owner takes no substantial step to correct within the six months following receipt of an order by the Township to correct the violation, unless the order is subject to a pending appeal before an administrative agency or court. Notwithstanding any law limiting the form of action for the recovery of penalties by the Township for the violation of a Township code, the Township may recover, in a single action under this section, an amount equal to the penalties imposed against the owner and any costs of remediation lawfully incurred by, or on behalf of, the Township to remedy any code violation.
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
B. 
A proceeding in equity.
C. 
A lien may be placed against the assets of an owner of real property that is in serious violation of a Township code or is regarded as a public nuisance after a judgment, decree or order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction against the owner of the property for an adjudication under either an in personam action or a proceeding in equity as set forth above. In the case of an owner that is an association or trust, this does not authorize a lien to be placed upon the individual assets of the general partner, trustee, limited partner, shareholder, member or beneficiary of the association or trust, except as otherwise allowed by law.

§ 280-17 Out-of-state owners; service of process upon associations and trusts.

A. 
A person who lives or has a principal place of residence outside this commonwealth, who owns property in this commonwealth against which Township code or other applicable code violations have been cited and the person is charged under 18 Pa.C.S.A. (relating to crimes and offenses) and who has been properly notified of the violations may be extradited to this commonwealth to face criminal prosecution to the full extent allowed and in the manner authorized by 42 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 91 (relating to detainers and extradition).
B. 
Where, after reasonable efforts, service of process for a notice or citation for any Township code or other applicable code violations for any real property owned by an association or trust cannot be accomplished by handing a copy of the notice or citation to an executive officer, partner, or trustee of the association or trust or to the manager, trustee or clerk in charge of the property, the delivery of the notice or citation may occur by registered, certified or United States express mail, accompanied by a delivery confirmation:
(1) 
To the registered office of the association or trust.
(2) 
Where the association or trust does not have registered office, to the mailing address used for real estate tax collection purposes, if accompanied by the posting of a conspicuous notice on the property and by handing a copy of the notice or citation to the person in charge of the property at that time.

§ 280-18 Permit denials.

A. 
The Township or a board may deny issuing to an applicant a municipal permit if the applicant owns real property in the Township for which there exists on the real property:
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
(1) 
Tax and/or municipal services delinquencies on account of the actions of the owner; or
(2) 
A serious violation and the owner has taken no substantial step to correct the serious violation within six months following notification of the violation and for which fines, penalties or a judgment to abate or correct were imposed by a Magisterial District Judge or Municipal Court or a judgment at law or in equity was imposed by a Court of Common Pleas. No denial shall be permitted if a judgment is subject to a stay or supersedeas by order of court, or if the municipal permit is necessary to correct a violation of state law or a Township code.
B. 
The municipal permit denial as above described shall not apply to an applicant's delinquency on taxes and/or municipal services charges that are under appeal or otherwise contested through a court or administrative process.
C. 
In issuing a denial of a municipal permit, the Township or the Board shall indicate the street address, Township and county in which the property is located and the court and docket number for each parcel cited as a basis for the denial. The denial shall also state that the applicant may request a letter of compliance from the appropriate state agency, Township or school district in the form specified by such entity.
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
D. 
All municipal permits denied in accordance with this section may be withheld by the Township until an applicant obtains a letter of compliance from the appropriate state agency, Township or school district indicating the following:
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
(1) 
The property in question has no tax or municipal services delinquencies;
(2) 
The property in question is now in compliance with state law, Township codes or other applicable codes; or
(3) 
The owner of the property has presented and the appropriate entity has accepted a plan to begin remediation of a serious violation of state law, Township code or other applicable codes.
E. 
If a letter of compliance or a letter of noncompliance, as the case may be, is not issued with 45 days of the request, the property shall be deemed to be in compliance for the purposes of this section. The appropriate state agency, Township or school district shall specify the form in which the request for a compliance letter shall be made. Such letters shall be verified by the appropriate Township officials before issuing to the applicant a municipal permit.
[Amended 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14]
F. 
Boards, including the Township Zoning Hearing Board, may deny approval of municipal permits, which includes special exception approval and variance relief, if warranted as set forth above to the extent that approval of such a municipal permit is within the jurisdiction of the Board.
G. 
The Township may appear to present evidence that the applicant is subject to denial by a board in accordance with this section.
H. 
A municipal permit may only be denied to an applicant other than an owner if the applicant is acting under the direction or with the permission of the owner and that owner owns real property that is subject to denial as set forth hereinabove.

§ 280-19 Property inherited by will or intestacy.

Where property is inherited by will or intestacy, the devisee or heir shall be given the opportunity to make payments on reasonable terms to correct code violations or to enter into a remediation agreement with the Township to avoid subjecting the devisee's or heir's other properties to asset attachment or denial of municipal permits and approvals on other properties owned by the devisee or heir. Such opportunity shall be given at the Township's discretion and subject to the revocation upon the devisee's or heir's failure to proceed with a payment plan or to progress forward and complete a remediation plan.