City of Latrobe, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of Latrobe 7-13-1981 by Ord. No. 1981-2 as Ch. I, Part 4, of the 1981 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 108.
Commercial structures — See Ch. 116.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 121.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 132.
Plumbing standards — See Ch. 147.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 154.
Zoning — See Ch. 166.

§ 98-1 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
OCCUPANT
Any person living, sleeping, cooking or eating in, doing business in or having actual possession of any building, structure or premises within Latrobe.
OPERATOR
Any person, whether or not the owner, who has charge, care or control of a building, structure, premises or part thereof within Latrobe.
OWNER
Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have:
A. 
Legal title to any building, structure or premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
B. 
Charge, care or control of any building, structure or premises, as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, 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 of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto to the same extent as if he were the "owner."
PERSON
Includes any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.

§ 98-2 Office of Code Enforcement established.

There is hereby established and created the Office of Code Enforcement to administer and regulate the Housing (Chapter 132),[1] Building (Chapter 108), Plumbing (Chapter 147), Electrical (Chapter 121) and Fire Prevention (Chapter 279) Codes for Latrobe; this office shall provide forms required by the codes and shall maintain accurate records of all applications, forms, inspections and proceedings required under the administration and enforcement of the codes and shall keep an accurate record of all rules and regulations adopted by the Council or the appropriate committee authorized by the Council to adopt rules and regulations under the above-mentioned codes.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Chapter 132, Housing Code, was repealed 9-8-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-6, which ordinance adopted a new Ch. 132, Property Maintenance.

§ 98-3 Code Enforcement Officer; violation notices.

To administer the Office of Code Enforcement, there is hereby created the position of Code Enforcement Officer to be appointed by the Council.
A. 
In addition to his other duties and powers granted to him by the Council, the Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority in the discharge of his official duties and upon proper identification to enter any building, structure or premises at any reasonable hour to ascertain evidence that the provisions of the above-mentioned codes have or have not been complied with and to inspect all buildings, structures or premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether said codes have or have not been complied with.
B. 
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of the above-recited codes or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the owner, operator or occupant as provided for hereafter.

§ 98-4 Service of notices; contents.

The notice required under § 98-3 above shall:
A. 
Be in writing and signed by the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued, including a description of the alleged violation, and reciting the relevant portions and/or section number of the code or codes which are being violated.
C. 
Set forth a time in the notice for correction of the violation alleged. If no specific time for correction is set forth in the Code of Ordinances for a particular type of violation, then and in that event, the time for correction shall be between five days and 60 days to be set at the discretion of the Code Enforcement Officer depending upon the nature of the violation. Added to each time of correction shall be an additional three days to allow for receipt from the date of mailing by ordinary mail.
[Amended 8-9-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-9]
D. 
Be served upon the person responsible, whether it is the owner or his agent or the operator or the occupant as defined in this chapter, as the case may require, provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent or operator or upon such occupant if a copy thereof is mailed, by ordinary mail to his, her or its last-known address.
[Amended 8-9-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-9]
E. 
Contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will correct the defective condition and will effect compliance with the provisions of the above-recited codes and with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
F. 
Contain a statement that said notice will become an order if no petition of appeal has been filed within the timeframe for correction of the notice of violation plus three additional days which shall allow for receipt from the date of mailing by ordinary mail.
[Amended 8-9-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-9]

§ 98-5 Code Enforcement Board; hearing proceedings.

Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or of the above-recited codes or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Code Enforcement Board. Such Board shall be composed of three members appointed by the Council, all or any member of whom may be a member of Council. Upon receipt of a petition for appeal requesting a hearing containing a brief statement of the grounds therefor and filed in the Office of Code Enforcement as provided for in § 98-4, the Board shall set a time and place for a hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing the petitioner and other interested parties shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why the notice provided for in § 98-3 should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 30 days from the date on which the petition was filed, provided that upon application of the petitioner the Board may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time to a date certain beyond such thirty-day period, if in its judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. Such petition for appeal shall act as a stay of the original notice pending the outcome of the appeal. At the hearing, the Board shall take minutes of the proceedings and shall sustain, modify or withdraw the original notice, depending upon its findings of whether the provisions of the above-recited codes have or have not been complied with. The proceedings at all hearings of the Code Enforcement Board, including the findings and decisions thereof shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the Office of Code Enforcement. The records shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the proceedings. The records shall be kept by the Office of Code Enforcement for a minimum period of four years.

§ 98-6 Time limit to file appeal; permit suspension and revocation.

[Amended 8-9-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-9]
Any notice served pursuant to § 98-4 of this chapter shall automatically become an order if a petition for appeal has not been filed within the time frame for correction of the notice of violation plus three additional days which shall allow for receipt from the date of mailing by ordinary mail. Such notice provided for in § 98-4 may suspend any permit or certificate of approval required by the above-recited codes. Any such permit which has been suspended by the notice shall be deemed to be immediately revoked if a petition for appeal is not filed as provided above within the time for correction of the alleged violation, said timeframe to commence on the day after service. If a petition for appeal is taken to the Code Enforcement Board and findings are made by the Board adverse to the petitioner, the notice shall be deemed to become an order or a revocation, whichever is applicable, within 20 days from the date such findings are delivered by the Board.

§ 98-7 Hearings by Council; Court appeals.

Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Code Enforcement Board may petition the Council of Latrobe for a hearing within 20 days from the date that the Board's findings are delivered. The Council shall modify, sustain or reverse the decision of the Code Enforcement Board. Such hearing shall be granted by the Council under rules and regulations which Council may hereafter adopt. After a hearing and findings by the Council adverse to the petitioner, the petitioner may seek relief therefrom if within 20 days from the date of the order of the Council such petitioner takes an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, which appeal may operate as a supersedes if the Court, upon proper cause shown, so orders, and provided that the appellants post bond payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the amount of $100 or in such other amount as the Court by order may set with sufficient surety to cover all the expenses and costs of the proceedings below and of executing the Board's order.

§ 98-8 Additional regulations authorized.

The Code Enforcement Officer shall be authorized to make written rules and regulations as may be necessary for the proper enforcement of the above-recited codes, provided that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of the above-recited codes or of this chapter; and provided, further, that such rules and regulations are approved and adopted by the Council of Latrobe and printed and advertised as required in the case of all ordinances. Such rules and regulations shall be kept as a matter of public record in the Office of Code Enforcement and shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this chapter and of the above-recited codes, and the penalty for violation thereof shall be the same as the penalty hereinafter provided (in § 98-10) for the violation of the provisions of this chapter and of the above-recited codes.

§ 98-9 Condemnation of buildings or structures.

The designation of all buildings or structures as the same are defined in Section 201 of the BOCA Basic Building Code, 1978 Edition, as public nuisances, and the procedure for the condemnation and placarding of such buildings and structures shall be carried out in compliance with the following requirements:
A. 
Any which shall be found to have any of the following defects shall be condemned as a public nuisance and shall be so designated and placarded by the Code Enforcement Officer:
(1) 
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.
(2) 
One which lacks illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
(3) 
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.
B. 
Any condemned and declared a public nuisance and so designated and placarded by the Code Enforcement Officer shall be vacated in a reasonable time by the owner, operator or occupant.
C. 
No building or structure which has been condemned and placarded and declared a public nuisance shall again be used until written approval has been 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 condemning and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
D. 
No person shall deface or remove the placard from any building or structure which has been condemned as unfit and placarded as such, except as provided in Subsection C of this section.
E. 
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to declare any of the above-listed units a public nuisance and to give notice of the condemning and placarding of them as unfit as defined by this section. Before condemning and placarding, the Code Enforcement Officer shall serve notice thereof according to the procedures outlined in § 98-4 above. In addition to the requirements of said notice, the notice shall contain the statement that the unit is a public nuisance and, further, that if the defective condition is not corrected within the time allotted, the unit shall be condemned and placarded as unfit. The owner or operator of the unit shall have the right of appeal outlined in §§ 98-5 through 98-7.
F. 
If a person ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer to abate or prevent a public nuisance refuses to comply with the provisions of this chapter or neglects to do so within the time specified in the order, then, unless the order shall have been suspended by appeal to the Court under the procedures outlined in § 98-7 above, the Code Enforcement Officer may execute the order; or if the nuisance continues to exist, the Code Enforcement Officer, at the direction of the Council, may remove such nuisance. If the removal of the nuisance requires grading, paving or repaving of alleys or any similar work upon property within Latrobe or any other work or service that may best be performed or contracted for by the agencies and employees of Latrobe, then the Council may authorize the removal of the nuisance by said agencies. In any case where the nuisance is abated or prevented by the agencies of Latrobe or any cost is incurred to Latrobe in the removal or prevention of the nuisance or Latrobe makes corrections to comply with the provisions of this chapter, the costs and expenses shall be charged to the person or persons responsible in their proper proportions. Upon nonpayment of such charges, Latrobe may file a lien upon the affected premises in the name of and for the use of Latrobe as provided by law for municipal claims, in addition to the other remedies available for the collection of debts under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lien shall attach as of the time the work has commenced, which shall be fixed by a certificate of the Code Enforcement Officer and filed with the Secretary. This provision for removal of the nuisance shall be in addition to any other penalty for violating this chapter as contained in § 98-10 below.

§ 98-10 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 4-23-1996 by Ord. No. 1996-5]
Any person who shall not comply with any order issued under the terms of this chapter or of any of the codes adopted or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the authority granted under § 98-8 of this chapter shall be deemed to have violated the same and shall, upon conviction before any District Justice of appropriate jurisdiction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600, together with costs of prosecution. If the fine and costs of prosecution are not paid within 10 days from the date of conviction, the District Justice may sentence such person to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days, and each day's failure to comply with any such order shall constitute a separate offense. The penalty provided herein is in addition to any other remedy provided under the above-recited codes or the rules or regulations adopted thereunder or under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

§ 98-11 Permit fees.

[Amended 11-13-1989 by Ord. No. 1989-9; 11-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-7]
Hereafter, applicants for permits under the Latrobe Building Code (See Chapter 108.), Plumbing Code (See Chapter 147.), Electrical Code (See Chapter 121.), Fire Prevention Code (See Chapter 279.), Housing Code (See Chapter 132.)[1] and this chapter shall pay at the time of application to the Code Enforcement Officer for the use of Latrobe a fee or fees as set forth in Chapter 3, Administrative Code, § 3-48, Fee schedules, Schedule B.
[1]
Editor's Note: Chapter 132, Housing Code, was repealed 9-8-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-6, which ordinance adopted a new Ch. 132, Property Maintenance.

§ 98-12 Validity of licenses and permits.

[Amended 11-13-1989 by Ord. No. 89-9; 5-11-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-5]
All licenses and permits granted under the above-outlined codes (in § 98-11 above) shall be good for a period of one year, provided that, in the discretion of the Code Enforcement Officer, the time limit for each permit may be extended beyond the limit of one year; provided, further, that the permit granted for demolition shall be valid for six months; and when an official notice of code violation is issued, the permit period will coincide with the number of days given in the notice to remedy the violation.