[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Waterford 7-12-2010 by Ord. No. 4-2010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Borough Dangerous Buildings Ordinance."
This chapter shall apply uniformly to all persons, business organizations, nonprofit organizations, and all other legal entities; and it shall apply uniformly to all property and all property owners within the Borough.
Unless otherwise specifically defined below, words or phrases used herein shall be interpreted so as to give them the same meaning as they have in common usage and so as to give the chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
- The Borough of Waterford.
- The existing elected or appointed members of the Borough Council.
- DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
- All the buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects; and all such buildings or structures shall be deemed "dangerous buildings" as:
- (1) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other cause so as to fail utterly to provide the amenities essential to decent living and are unfit for human habitation.
- (2) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other cause so as to have become dangerous to the life and safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupant or the people of the Borough.
- (3) Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living so that they are unfit for human habitation.
- (4) Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living and are likely to cause accidents, sickness, or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein as well as other citizens of the Borough.
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they might fall and injure members of the public or adjoining property.
- (6) Those which because of their general condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Borough.
- Is always mandatory and not merely directory.
Words used in the present text include the future and past, words in the plural number include the singular, words in the singular number include words in the plural and words either in the feminine, masculine or neuter shall include words of the other two genders.
All dangerous buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated and/or demolished.
Each day a nuisance in the form of a dangerous building continues, after notice is given that said dangerous building is to be repaired, vacated and/or demolished, shall constitute a separate offense in violation of this chapter.
Whenever it is reported or comes to the attention of any person, citizen, Borough official or Ordinance Enforcer that any building or structure completed or in the process of construction or any portion thereof is in a dangerous condition, such person shall report the same to the Borough Council or to the Mayor. If reported to the Mayor, then the Mayor shall notify the Borough Council.
The Borough Council shall then designate a qualified official or a committee or a Ordinance Enforcer to make an investigation and examine the building or structure reported. If the official, committee, or Ordinance Enforcer making the investigation believes that the structure is a dangerous building, then a written report of the investigation specifying the condition of the structure and in what respect it is dangerous shall be made and presented to Borough Council. The report may recommend whether the building can be repaired or whether it shall be removed as a dangerous building.
The Council of the Borough shall:
Upon receipt of a report in accordance with the investigation procedure provided herein above in § 101-5 of this chapter, give written notice served by certified mail or personal service to the owner or owner's agent of such dangerous building's last known address as determined by the records in the county assessment and Recorder of Deeds Offices in and for the county, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or, failing to find any owner or owner's agent, then notice shall be given to the occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent or any other person found with an interest in said dangerous building as the Borough may discover, and said notice shall inform the owner or agent or person in control of the building or structure to appear before Council on a date specified to show cause why the building or structure reported as a dangerous building should not be repaired, demolished or vacated in accordance with any written report to Council or determination made by Council. In the event such building is vacant and service cannot be accomplished by certified mail or personal service, an appointed official shall post such written notice at the entrance of the structure or building;
Within not less than 10 days nor more than 60 days from the date of such notice, hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee or other person having an interest in said building shall offer related to the dangerous building;
Within 30 days of such hearing, make written findings of fact from the testimony offered pursuant to the hearing as to whether or not the building in question is a dangerous building; and
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Council in ordering repair, vacation or demolition of a dangerous building:
If the dangerous building can be repaired as determined by the Council so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
If the dangerous building cannot be reasonably repaired as determined by the Council, it shall be demolished.
If the dangerous building is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter, any other ordinance of the Borough or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished.
If any structure is deemed to be a dangerous building within the standards of this chapter after the hearing, then Council within the time set forth in § 101-6D of this chapter shall cause notice of the order issued under § 101-6D of this chapter to be served upon the owner or owners of such dangerous buildings as determined by the records previously or who appeared at the hearing, or to the occupant mortgagee, lessee, agent or any other person found with an interest in said dangerous building who can be located.
The notice and order required by this section shall be served personally upon the owner or owners of a dangerous building if such owner resides, or such owners reside, in the Borough or personally upon his agent if such agent resides within the Borough. If personal service required herein cannot be obtained, such notice shall be sent to the owner or owners of a dangerous building by certified mail at the last known address according to the records available in the Tax Assessment Office in and for the county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and posted at the entrance of the building or structure.
The notice and order shall identify the building or structure deemed dangerous; contain a statement of the particulars which made this building or structure a dangerous building and include an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to conform with the terms of this chapter; provided further, in any case where the notice prescribes the repair of any structure, the owner thereof shall have the option to remove such structure, in lieu of making the repairs thereto within the time period provided.
The notice and order shall require any person notified to repair, vacate or demolish any building to commence the work or act required by the notice within 10 days of such notice and to comply with such repair, vacation or demolition within 60 days from the receipt of such notice.
Any owner, occupant or lessee who is in possession of any dangerous building who shall fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous building issued under § 101-8 of this chapter, or who violates any of the other provisions of this chapter, shall upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 plus costs, and in default of payment of the fine and costs shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day of a violation shall be considered separate violations and offenses.
Any person having an interest in any building who fails to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate, or demolish any dangerous building within 90 days of the receipt of such notice by such failure does empower the Council to cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished by the Borough and to cause the costs of such repair, vacation or demolition together with a penalty of 10% to be charged upon the land upon which the building exists as a municipal lien, or alternatively to recover such costs and penalty in a suit at law against the owner or owners but failing to recover same to have the judgment therefor to be charged upon the land as a lien; and this subsection is separate from and in addition to the fine, penalty and costs which may be imposed by any other subsection of this section.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there exists an immediate danger to the life or safety or any person caused or created by a dangerous building, the Council shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected as provided for in § 101-9B of this chapter.
In the event of any provision, section, sentence, clause or part of this chapter being held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect or impair any remaining provision, section, sentence, clause or part of the chapter, it being the intent of the Borough that such remainder shall be and shall remain in full force and effect and for this purpose the provisions of this chapter and hereby declared to be severable.
In the event of any legislation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becoming effective dealing with the same or similar subject matter as that included herein, such shall remain in full force and effect if it is more restrictive, and not inconsistent with such legislation, but if such legislation is more restrictive than, inconsistent with, or both, then this chapter shall be interpreted according to such legislation and shall be superseded to the extent necessary to give such legislation appropriate effect. However, all the remainder of the chapter shall be and shall remain in full force and effect and for this purpose, the provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable.