[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Waterford 12-12-1993 by Ord. No. 5-1993; amended in its entirety 8-6-2012 by Ord. No. 01-2012. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Waterford Borough Anti-Blight and Nuisance Ordinance" and shall be known in the short form as the "Nuisance Ordinance."
The Borough Council of the Borough of Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania, finds that there exists on privately owned parcels of land within the Borough of Waterford accumulations of junk, junk vehicles, garbage, rubbish or the maintenance of uses, blight conditions, structures or nuisance-type activities which, if allowed to exist, will tend to result in blighted or undesirable neighborhoods and that such accumulation of junk, junk vehicle(s), garbage, rubbish or blighted conditions or the continuation of nuisance-type activities constitutes a hazard to the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Borough of Waterford for the reasons that they provide a habitat conducive to breeding and nesting of rats, mice or other vermin and also that they contain objects with sharp edges and other hazards which could injure small children who would be attracted to play thereon without appreciating the danger thereof, and/or that they diminish property values and that the regulations contained in this chapter are the minimum regulations required to eliminate the foregoing undesirable conditions and protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of Waterford Borough.
The Borough Code Enforcement Officer(s) is/are hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall have the authority to render interpretations of this chapter; provided, however that such interpretations shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this chapter.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular number, and words in the singular number include the plural number; and the word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.
- The Borough of Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania.
- Whole or partial pieces of stone, glass, wood or other material resulting from destruction, demolition or remnants of building or construction.
- Having a wall or walls, window or windows and a door used as access to the dwelling.
- EXTERIOR PROPERTY
- The open space on the premises and on adjoining property under the control of owners or operators of such premises.
- The animal or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- Any drawing, painting or marking or any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the prior written permission of the owner of the property.
- IMMINENT DANGER
- A condition which could cause serious or life-threatening injury or death at any time.
- The presence within or contiguous to a structure or premises of insects, rats, vermin, or other pests.
- Includes, but is not limited to, any discarded material or article, including but not limited to unused or abandoned machinery, equipment or appliances, and all forms of waste and refuse of any type of materials, including scrap metal, glass, industrial wastes, unregistered neglected boats, and any other salvageable material, unless for resale. Junk shall not include refuse or garbage kept in a proper container for the purpose of prompt disposal.
- The lack of proper maintenance for a building or structure.
- NONROADWORTHY VEHICLE
- A vehicle, including but not limited to cars, trucks, buses, trailers, motorcycles and recreational vehicles, which cannot be driven upon the public streets for reasons including, but not limited to, being without a valid current registration and/or license plate, having been wrecked or abandoned, being in a state of disrepair, or being incapable of being moved under its own power.
- The unreasonable, unwarrantable, or unlawful use by a person of his own property, real or personal, or from his own improper, indecent, or unlawful personal conduct, working an obstruction or injury to the property of others or which causes or tends to cause substantial diminution in the value of other property in the neighborhood in which such premises is located, and producing such material annoyance, inconvenience, discomfort or hurt that the law will presume a consequent damage. A nuisance includes, but is not limited to, the keeping, depositing, or scattering over the premises any of the following:
- A. Dangerous buildings or unsafe structures.
- B. The keeping on any property within the Borough of one (1) or more mobile/manufactured homes that are not in habitable condition.
- C. The outdoor storage of nonroadworthy vehicle(s), on any property, unless such vehicle(s) is/are being stored in a fenced outdoor storage operation lawfully maintained in accordance with the Waterford Borough Zoning Ordinance. [See Ord. No. 1-1991, adopted February 11, 1991, new Code citation § 280-39 for "outdoor storage operation."]
- D. Violations of Building Code provisions.
- E. Permitting or allowing any excavation, well, cistern, or similar structure to be, or remain, uncovered.
- F. Weeds, brush, or grass in excess of eight inches in height that are not edible or planted for some useful or ornamental purpose.
- G. The keeping or maintaining of furniture or appliances designed for interior use on a porch or upon any other exterior attachment that faces a regularly traveled roadway, including but not limited to upholstered sofas, chairs, davenports, beds, and the like.
- H. The use of a porch roof or other portion of a structure for a use for which it was not designed.
- I. All obstructions caused or permitted on any street or sidewalk to the danger or annoyance of the public, and all snow, branches, matter or other article thrown or placed by any person on or in any street, sidewalk or other public place which in any way may cause any injury to the public.
- J. Placing a vehicle or other obstruction on or along any street of the Borough so as to interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic, unless it should become necessary to drive or place the vehicle in such position to load or unload materials, merchandise or furniture, and then such vehicle shall only be permitted to remain for such reasonable length of time as is necessary to load or unload the same.
- K. Drainage from roofs and paved areas, yards and open courts and other open areas on the premises or on adjacent premises, discharged in a manner which causes the erosion of soil, accumulation of stagnant water, or damage to grass and landscaping.
- L. The keeping, depositing, or scattering over the premises of any accumulation of junk, trash, debris, abandoned, discarded or unused objects, including but not limited to furniture, appliances, unregistered, neglected boats, trailers, tires, barrels or other containers, so as to become dangerous or injurious to the health and safety of any individual or to the public.
- M. The placing of graffiti on buildings, structures or other exposed surfaces within the Borough without the prior written permission of the owner of the property.
- N. Maintaining or causing to be maintained on a property any dwelling or business structure which is unsanitary or has such other defects that may threaten or adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood in which the property is located, including but not limited to:
- (1) Dwelling or business structures that have windows that are not fully supplied with unbroken window glass or an approved substitute that is glazed and without holes; or
- (2) Exterior walls and surfaces that contain holes, cracks, loose or rotting boards and timbers, or any other condition which might admit rodents, water, or dampness to the interior; or
- (3) Evidence of infestation thereof; or
- (4) Failure of the owner to maintain all entrances and openings to any abandoned or unoccupied dwellings securely locked, including all exterior doors, basement and cellar hatchways, and windows, so as to prevent infestations thereof or entrance thereto by vandals or other unauthorized persons.
- OUTSIDE STORAGE
- Not contained in a building fully enclosed with completed walls and roof.
- Any person, agent, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or Borough as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of any estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court.
- Any natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, company or any other organization of any kind.
- PROPERTY or PREMISES
- A lot, plot, site, or parcel of land, including the building or structures thereon.
- Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage; the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible materials, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust and other similar materials. This definition does not include compost bins or compost sites which are being managed in accordance with acceptable standards.
- Any material whose original purpose has been completed and which has been discarded. This definition does not include compost bins or compost sites which are being managed in accordance with acceptable standards.
- All grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs; provided however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
Nuisances. Nuisances, as defined in this chapter, are hereby declared to be illegal.
Nonroadworthy vehicle nuisances.
Nonroadworthy vehicle nuisances are hereby declared to be illegal.
To determine whether a vehicle is nonroadworthy and a nuisance in fact, the following conditions shall be considered individually and/or collectively. It shall be considered whether the vehicle has:
Broken windshields, mirrors or other glass with sharp edges.
One or more flat or open tires or tubes that could permit infestation.
Missing doors, windows, hoods, trunks, or other body parts which could facilitate the harboring of animals and/or other infestation.
Any body parts with sharp edges, including holes resulting from rust.
Missing tires resulting in unsafe suspension of the motor vehicle.
Upholstery that is torn or open which could permit the harboring of animals and/or other infestation.
Broken headlamps or tail lamps with sharp edges.
Disassembled chassis parts, apart from the motor vehicle, stored in an unsafe fashion or loose, in or on the vehicle.
Protruding sharp objects from the chassis.
Broken vehicle frames suspended from the ground in an unstable manner.
Leaking or damaged oil pan or gas tank that could cause fire or explosion.
Exposed battery containing acid.
Inoperable locking mechanism for doors or trunk or hood.
Open or damaged floorboards, including trunk and firewall.
Damaged bumpers pulled away from the perimeter of vehicle.
Broken grill with protruding edges.
Loose or damaged metal trim and clips; broken communications equipment and antenna.
Suspended on unstable supports.
Such other defects that may threaten the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Borough.
Motor vehicles stored on a licensed new or used dealer lot that lack a registration and/or inspection sticker but are otherwise in full and complete working order and condition, and except for not having said current registration and inspection sticker could be safely and legally operated on a public roadway, are considered roadworthy vehicles for purposes of this chapter.
Vehicle registrations and inspections which have been expired for less than 30 days shall be considered current for the purposes of this chapter.
Trash containers. No person shall store trash or garbage containers/disposal bags other than in the rear or side yard locations of any residential or multiple unit dwellings, except trash or garbage containers/disposal bags may be placed at curbside collection points after 6:00 p.m. on the day prior to scheduled collection. Empty trash/garbage containers/disposal bags shall be removed from the collection points prior to 6:00 p.m. on the day of collection. In no event shall such containers/disposal bags remain at curbside for more than 24 hours.
No person shall throw or drop any bundle, object, article, litter or debris of any nature from a vehicle, whether in motion or not, when such vehicle is on a Borough road or any other public highway in the Borough.
No person shall throw, place, deposit, discharge or drop any bundle, object, article or debris of any nature on any Borough road, right-of-way, easement or on any other publicly owned land, except when acting under the authority of the Borough governing body.
No person shall throw or deposit litter on any open or vacant private property within the Borough, whether owned by such person or not. No person or persons shall throw, dump or place any garbage, trash, debris or other material on any private property not his own within the limits of the Borough.
No person shall store or permit the storage of household appliances, furniture, mattresses or tires on any residential property, except in a fully enclosed structure, or on specific days designated for the collection of such items by a private hauler, the Borough, or its agents.
No owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or person in charge of any residential or commercial property shall permit open or overflow waste disposal bins on his or her property.
No owner, agent or contractor in charge of a construction or demolition site shall permit the accumulation of litter, refuse, rubbish or garbage before, during or after completion of any construction or demolition project. It shall be the duty of the owner, agent and contractor in charge of a construction site to furnish containers adequate to accommodate flyable and nonflyable debris, litter or trash at areas convenient to the construction areas, and to maintain and empty the receptacles in such a manner and with such frequency as to prevent spillage of the litter.
The owner of any building, structure or other exposed surface within the Borough is responsible for removing graffiti from that building, structure or exposed surface as described in this chapter.
Whenever a condition constituting a nuisance is permitted or maintained upon premises situate in the Borough, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause written notice to be served upon the owner in one of the following ways:
By personal delivery of the notice to the owner, tenant or lessee of the premises.
By leaving the notice with an adult upon the premises.
By attaching a copy of the notice to the door at the entrance of the premises in violation.
By mailing, by certified mail, a notice to the last known address of owner.
Such notice shall set forth in what respects such conditions constitute a nuisance and whether removal is necessary and required by the Borough or whether the situation can be corrected by repairs or alterations or by boarding or fencing or in some other manner confining and limiting the nuisance.
Such notice shall require the owner to commence action, in accordance with the terms thereof, when directed, and thereafter to complete the work necessary to comply fully with the terms of the notice as soon as is reasonable, but not later than of the date directed in said notice, provided that the owner has requested such an extension within the original term for compliance.
The expense of said compliance shall be at the expense of the owner; provided, however, that if a violation requires immediate correction, such notice shall require the owner to immediately comply with the terms thereof.
Each day shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter.
The owner, owners, tenants, lessees and/or occupants of any lot or premises within the Borough upon which a nuisance is found to exist and also the owner, owners and/or lessees of said persons involved in such storage (all of whom are hereafter referred to as "owners") shall jointly and severally abate said nuisance by the prompt removal of the same.
Additionally, whenever said owner(s) shall fail to abate said nuisance, the Borough may take such action as is necessary to abate said nuisance without liability for damage to the property. The actual costs of abating said nuisance, including actual labor charges, equipment rental charges, postage and a penalty of 10% of the total of these costs, shall be collected from the owner of the premises either by an action in assumpsit or by the filing of a municipal claim or lien against the real property. Also, the Borough may, by an action in equity, compel the owner to comply with this chapter or take such other relief as a court may order.
An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure because the structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that partial or complete collapse is possible the conditions which may cause a structure to be classified as an unsafe structure include, but are not limited to, the following:
The walking surface of any aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit is so warped, warn, loose, torn or otherwise unsafe as not to provide a safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic.
Any portion, section or appurtenance of the building or structure has been damaged by fire, wind, flood or by any other cause to such an extent that it is likely to partially or completely collapse, fail, detach or dislodge.
The building or structure, or any part thereof, because of dilapidation, deterioration or decay; or faulty construction; or the removal, instability or movement of any portion of ground necessary for the purpose of such building; or the decay, deterioration or inadequacy of its foundation; or any other cause, is likely to partially or completely collapse.
The building or structure has been so damaged by fire, wind, flood or other causes or has become so dilapidated or deteriorated as to become an attractive nuisance to children or a harbor for transients or vagrants.
The building or structure used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes is unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or in such condition that it is likely to cause sickness or disease because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, air or sanitation facilities or other cause.
The building or structure creates a fire hazard by virtue of its obsolescence, dilapidated conditions, deterioration, damage or other cause.
Any portion of the building, including the foundation, slab or grade, or structure remains on a site after the demolition or destruction of the building or structure.
Unsafe equipment includes equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.
A structure is unfit for human occupancy whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that such structure is unsafe or, because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, vermin- or rat-infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this chapter, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or the public.
When, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, an unsafe structure or a structure unfit for human occupancy exists, the Code Enforcement Officer is authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith. The Code Enforcement Officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice stating that the structure is unsafe or unfit for human occupation and that occupancy is prohibited by the Code Enforcement Officer.
The owner of a building, premises or equipment deemed unsafe by the Code Enforcement Officer shall abate, or cause to be abated or corrected, such unsafe conditions either by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or other approved corrective actions. A building permit is required for all such abatement or corrective actions.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall remove the notice stating that the structure is unsafe or unfit for human occupancy after abatement or correction of the unsafe condition. Any person who removes the notice without the approval of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be subject to penalties provided by this chapter.
Whenever the owner of a building, premises, or equipment deemed unsafe by the Code Enforcement Officer fails to abate, or cause to be abated or corrected, the unsafe conditions, the Code Enforcement Officer shall order the necessary work to be done to abate or correct the unsafe condition without liability for damage to the property. The actual costs of abating or correcting the unsafe condition, including actual labor charges, equipment rental charges, postage and a penalty of 10% of the total of these costs, shall be collected from the owner of the premises either by an action in assumpsit or by the filing of a municipal claim or lien against the real property. Also, the Borough may, by an action in equity, compel the owner to comply with this chapter or take such other relief as a court may order.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $300, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of fine and costs, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Any violation of the property maintenance provisions of this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance and abatable as such.