[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Moosic 4-3-1995 by Ord. No. 13-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Moosic 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 of Moosic.
Unless otherwise specifically defined below, words and phrases used herein shall be interpreted so as to give them the same meaning as they would have in common usage and so as to give the chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
The word “shall” is always mandatory and not merely directory.
Words used in the present tense include the future and past; words in the plural number include the singular; words in the singular number include the words in the plural; and words either in the feminine, masculine or neuter shall include words of the other two genders.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Moosic, County of Lackawanna, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a municipal corporation of the commonwealth, acting by and through its Council or, in appropriate cases, acting by and through its authorized representative.
- The existing elected or appointed members of the Moosic Borough Council.
- DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
- All the buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects; and all 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 to have become dangerous to the life and safety, morals, or other general health and welfare of the occupant(s) or the citizens of the Borough of Moosic.
- (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 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 of Moosic.
- (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 construction are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Borough of Moosic.
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, fireman or police officer 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 Code Enforcement Officer, Borough Council or to the Mayor. If reported to the Mayor, then the Mayor shall notify the Borough Council.
The Borough Council shall then send the Borough Code Enforcement officer, or a committee, or a police officer to make an investigation and examine the building or structure reported. If the Code Enforcement Officer, committee, or police officer 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 shall recommend whether the building can be repaired or whether it shall be removed as a dangerous building.
The Council of the Borough of Moosic shall:
Upon receipt of a report in accordance with the investigative procedure provided for hereinabove in § 105-5 of this chapter, give written notice to the owner(s) of such dangerous buildings as determined by the records in the county assessment and Recorder of Deeds office in and for the county of Lackawanna, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or, failing to find any owner(s), then notice shall be given to the occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent or any other person found with an interest in said dangerous building(s) as the Borough may discover, and said notice shall inform the owner or other party to appear before the Council on a date specified to show cause why the building(s) or structure(s) reported as dangerous building(s) should not be repaired, demolished or vacated in accordance with any written report to Council or determination made by Council;
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, mortgagee, lessee or other person having an interest in said building shall offer related to the dangerous building(s);
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(s); 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(s) 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(s) is in such condition as to make it dangerous to health, morals, safety, or general welfare of it occupants, it shall be ordered vacated.
If the dangerous building(s) cannot be reasonably repaired as determined by Council, it shall be demolished.
If the dangerous building(s) 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(s) within the standards of this chapter after a hearing, then Council within the time set forth in § 105-6D of this chapter shall cause notice of the order issued under § 105-6D of this chapter to be served upon the owner(s) of the dangerous building(s) as determined by the county records or who appeared at the hearing, or to 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(s) of a dangerous building if such owner(s) resides in the Borough or personally upon his/her agent if such agent resides in the Borough. If personal service required herein cannot be obtained, such notice shall be sent to the owner(s) of a dangerous building by certified mail at the last known address according to the county records.
The notice and order shall identify the building or structures deemed dangerous; contain a statement of 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 that, 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(s) who shall fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous building issued under § 105-8 of this chapter or who violates any of the other provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction before a District Justice, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day of the 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(s) within 90 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure does empower the Council of the Borough of Moosic to cause such building or structures to be repaired, vacated or demolished by the Borough of Moosic 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(s) 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 of 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 § 105-9B of this chapter.
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 and provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable.