[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Verona 6-8-1999 by Ord. No. 3-1999 (Ch. X, Part 3, of the 1976 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- An independent structure having a roof supported by columns or walls resting on its own foundation and includes dwelling, garage, barn, stable, shed, greenhouse, mobile home, plant, factory, warehouse, school or similar structures.
- 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.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by the Borough Council.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- The presence, within or around a dwelling, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
- The person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
- (1) Shall have legal title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof.
- (2) Shall have charge, care or control of any 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 rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto to the same extent as if he were the owner.
- Any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership or other legal entity.
- A piece, parcel, lot or tract of land.
- Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, and the term shall include the 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.
- Anything constructed 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.
Meaning of certain words. 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."
The Borough Council or its designated agent shall make periodic inspections of any dwelling, building, structure or property. Whenever an inspection discloses that a dwelling, building, structure or property by reason of its being a rat harborage or for any other reason has become a public nuisance or a hazard to the health, safety or welfare of the public, the Borough Council shall issue a written notice requiring the owner, within a reasonable time specified in the notice, to rectify the conditions constituting the nuisance or to remove the conditions constituting a nuisance or demolish and remove the dwelling, building or structure. Such removal or demolition of a dwelling, building or structure shall not be ordered unless the cost of such repair, alteration or improvement shall exceed 50% of the market value of the dwelling, building or structure.
Whenever Borough Council determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, it shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided.
Such notice shall:
Be put in writing.
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued.
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
Be served upon the owner or his agent or the occupant, as the case may require, provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent or upon such occupant if a copy thereof is served upon him personally or if a copy thereof 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.
Such notice 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.
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 Council, provided that such person shall file with the Borough 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 Borough Council 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. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 20 days after the day on which the petition was filed.
After such hearing, Council shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice. If Borough Council sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice service pursuant to this chapter shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed with the Borough Secretary within 10 days after such notice is served.
Whenever Council finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, it may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as it deems 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 Council, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon the findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with, Council shall continue such order in effect or modify it or revoke it.
The designation of dwellings or dwelling units as unfit for human habitation and the procedure for the condemnation and placarding of such unfit dwellings or dwelling units shall be carried out in compliance with the following requirements.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit which shall be found to have any of the following defects shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation and shall be so designated and placarded by the Council:
One which is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe or vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
One which lacks illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
One which because of its general condition or location is unsanitary or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit condemned as unfit for human habitation and so designated and placarded by Council shall be vacated within a reasonable time as ordered.
No dwelling or dwelling unit which has been condemned and 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 Council. The Council shall remove such placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
No person shall deface or remove the placard from any dwelling or dwelling unit which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and placarded as such, except as provided in Subsection C above.
Any person affected by any notice or order relating to the condemning and placarding of a dwelling or dwelling unit as unfit for human habitation may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Council.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both, and each day's failure to comply with any such provision shall constitute a separate violation.
In addition to the penalties heretofore set forth in this chapter, any building or structure constructed, created or maintained in violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. The Council is authorized to require the removal of any such nuisance by the owner or occupier of the land upon which such nuisance exists. If the owner or occupier fails, neglects or refuses to remove any such nuisance after being ordered to do so by the Borough of Verona, the Borough may cause the same to be done and collect the cost thereof, together with a penalty of 10% of such cost, in the manner provided by law for the collection of municipal claims or by an action of assumpsit.