[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg by Ord. No. 15-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Appeal of rooming house permit refusal: see § 8-505.5.
Emergency orders and appeals: see Ch. 8-301.
Local Agency Law: see Subchapter B of Chapters 5 and 7, Act of April 28, 1978, P.L. 202, as amended, 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 105, 551 to 555 and 751 to 754.
Rent withholding proceedings: see Ch. 8-507.
Right of appeal: see § 8-107.5.
The Mayor, with the advice and consent of Council, shall appoint a Building and Housing Code Board of Appeals of the City of Harrisburg (hereinafter "Board") to hear appeals from orders in the form of written notices to comply with the Building Code, Mechanical Code, Housing Code, Electrical Code, Plumbing Code, Property Maintenance Code, Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, Fuel Gas Code, Existing Building Code, Uniform Construction Code, rent withholding ordinances and codified regulations promulgated under the authority of such enactments issued by the Codes Administrator, or his or her designee, and to perform such other duties as the Mayor or Council may assign it. The initial membership of the Board shall consist of those residents of the City of Harrisburg who currently serve at the pleasure of the Mayor as members of the Housing Code Board of Appeals and whose terms shall expire at the time said terms would have expired had the Building and Housing Code Board of Appeals not been created.
Each of the current members shall serve until a successor is appointed. Thereafter, the membership of the Board shall consist of five residents of the City, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor for a term of three years; each member shall serve until a successor is appointed.
The Director of Building and Housing Development (Director) or designee shall promptly notify the Mayor of any vacancies which occur. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term. Members of the Board shall hold no other office or employment in the government of the City or serve on any of its boards, commissions or authorities. Board members failing to attend three consecutive meetings shall forfeit their membership, unless the Secretary of the Board receives written notification from the member involved that the absence was for good cause shown. Should any Board member fail to attend three consecutive meetings without providing the notification set forth above, the Chairperson of the Board, or the Secretary of the Board if the absent member is the Chairperson, shall notify the Mayor or City Council of a vacancy on the Board by virtue of said member's unauthorized absences.
For the conduct of any hearing and the taking of any action, a quorum shall be three members.
Any person who receives an administrative denial of an application for or a revocation of a rooming house permit or is aggrieved by a written notice or order directing compliance with or denying the application for or revoking the issuance of a permit for any construction code adopted in Part 1 of this Title shall file with the Director or a designee a written request for a hearing within 15 days after the notice or order was mailed to such person. The written request for a hearing shall be filed on a form provided by the Director or designee and shall be signed by the person so aggrieved. In the case of a building or structure which is so unsafe or dangerous as to present an immediate threat to the life or property of any person, the Codes Administrator or designee may, in his or her discretion, limit in any notice or order the time for such appeal to a shorter period of not less than three days. The Director shall immediately transmit to the Board copies of all records relating to the appeal, as well as a copy of the appeal.
[Amended 11-27-2007 by Ord. No. 25-2007]
Whenever a clearly and factually stated written request for a hearing before the Board shall be presented to the Director or a designee, the Director shall forthwith arrange for convening the Board before otherwise proceeding to enforce such notice, providing such request for a hearing is accompanied by an appeal filing fee in the amount established from time to time and payable to the City Treasurer. However, indigent persons desirous of an appeal may seek to have the filing fee waived by filing a petition in forma pauperis. The Director or designee shall fix a time for hearing on the alleged violation(s) as set forth in such notice or order.
At the time fixed for such hearing, the Board shall take evidence as may be presented by representatives of the City, by the person or persons who requested the hearing, and by any other persons who can offer evidence relevant to the issues involved. An appeal requesting a situational modification or exemption from an ordinance or regulation shall be considered by the Board only if the following criteria are factually averred by the appellant:
The violative condition was legal at the time of its inception;
There was no interruption of the violative condition from its inception;
No harm to health or safety will result from continuance of the violative condition; and
The cost of abatement of the violative condition is unduly prohibitive.
If a majority of the Board elects, a single Board member may sit as a hearing examiner in any matter except one requesting a situational modification or exemption from an ordinance or regulation. The hearing examiner shall cause to be made a stenographic record of the hearing and shall issue recommendations to the entire Board, who, as a body, shall consider the material presented and issue an order.
The Board, when so appealed to and after a public hearing, may affirm, reverse or modify the notice or order of the Codes Administrator or designee if it determines that any such notice or order is not in accordance with the provisions of the Building, Mechanical, Housing, Electrical, Plumbing, Property Maintenance, Residential, Fuel Gas, Existing Building or Uniform Construction Code.
In instances where the notice or order in question allows at least 15 days for compliance, the Board shall schedule a hearing within 60 days from the date on which the written request for such hearing was filed to consider any and all matters relative thereto. The hearing shall be public, and the person requesting the hearing shall be provided with written notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the date on which the hearing is scheduled. Notice to such person shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to the last known address of such person.
[Amended 11-27-2007 by Ord. No. 25-2007]
The hearing shall be conducted by the Board or hearing examiner, as the case may be, and the Board shall render a decision and order, in writing, supported by written findings of fact within 30 days from the date on which the hearing was concluded. Notwithstanding the above, the City and the person requesting the hearing may waive the requirement of written findings of fact. Such waiver shall be in writing, signed by a duly authorized representative of the City and the person who requested the hearing.
The Chairperson or Acting Chairperson of the Board or hearing examiner shall have the power to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and papers, including witnesses and the documents requested by the person requesting the hearing.
The person requesting the hearing shall have the right to be represented by counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond to the notice or order, present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
The Board shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings. A transcript of the proceedings and copies of graphic or written material received in evidence shall be made available at cost to the person who requested the hearing.
Within the limits of funds appropriated by Council, the Board may employ or contract for secretaries, clerks, legal counsel, consultants, and other technical and clerical services.
During the first week of January of every year, the Director or designee shall cause to be published a proposed hearing schedule for the Building and Housing Code Board of Appeals. Such legal notice shall be published in accordance with the requirements of the Sunshine Act, Act of October 15, 1998, P.L. 729, as amended, 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq.