[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Connoquenessing 9-7-2005 by Ord. No. 73-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Public Nuisances
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- A roofed structure, enclosed by one or more walls for the shelter, housing, storage or enclosure of persons, goods, materials, equipment or animals.
- An open and unoccupied space on a lot enclosed on at least three sides by the walls of a building.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The official or any duly authorized representative of the Township of Connoquenessing, who is charged by the Supervisors with the administration and enforcement of this article.
- Putrescible animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin and/or other pests.
- Owner for the purpose of this article when the lessor holds the lessee responsible for maintenance and repairs.
- Plot, tracts, premises or parcels of land with or without improvements thereto.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any type of mechanical device, propelled by a motor in which persons or property may be transported upon public streets or highways, and including trailers or semitrailers pulled thereby.
- Any condition, structure or improvement which shall constitute a danger or potential danger to the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the Township.
- Any person or persons, jointly or severally, firm, corporation or other entity which, either by conveyance of inheritance or otherwise, is vested with the title to a lot and/or improvements thereto or who retains the exclusive control of such a lot and/or improvements thereto in his capacity as a legal representative, such as an administrator, trustee, executor, etc.
- A natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity.
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes, except human body wastes, including garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals and solid market and industrial wastes.
- UNOCCUPIED HAZARD
- Any building or part thereof or man-made structures which remains unoccupied for a period of more than six months with either doors, windows or other openings broken, removed, boarded or sealed up or any building under construction upon which little or no construction work has been performed for a period of more than six months.
- Any open space on the same lot with a building and, for the most part unobstructed from the ground up.
It shall be unlawful for any person, owner or lessee to maintain a motor vehicle upon the open private grounds of such person, owner or lessee within the Township that is unable to move under its own power and has one or more of the following physical defects:
Broken windshields, mirrors or other glass, with or without sharp edges.
One or more flat or open tires or tubes that could permit vermin harborage.
Missing doors, windows, hood, trunk or other exterior body parts that could permit animal harborage.
Any exterior body parts with sharp edges, including holes resulting from rust.
Missing tires resulting in unsafe suspension of the motor vehicle.
Upholstery which is torn or open that could permit animal and/or vermin harborage.
Broken head lamps or tail lamps with sharp edges.
Disassembled chassis parts apart from the motor vehicle stored in a disorderly fashion or loose in or out or on the motor vehicle.
Protruding sharp objects from the chassis.
Broken vehicle frame suspended from the ground in an unstable manner.
Leaking or damaged oil pan or gas tank that could cause fire, explosion or ground contamination.
Exposed battery containing acid.
Inoperable locking mechanism for doors and/or trunk.
Open or damaged flood boards, including trunk and firewall.
Damaged bumpers pulled away from the perimeter of the motor vehicle.
Broken grill with protruding edges.
Loose or damaged metal trim and clips.
Broken communication equipment antennas.
Suspended on unstable supports.
Such other defects that could threaten the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township.
Any person, owner or lessee who has one or more motor vehicle nuisances as defined in § 164-2 above may store such vehicle(s) in the Township only in strict compliance with the regulations provided herein. Such person, owner or lessee must first apply for a permit for either temporary or permanent storage and pay a fee to the Township pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Supervisors. The motor vehicle nuisance(s) must be stored within a garage or other enclosed building or, outside within an opaque fence at least six feet high, which is locked at all times when unattended.
With the special approval of the Board of Supervisors, motor vehicle nuisances may also be stored outside in an area enclosed by a chain-link fence, at a minimum height of six feet, screened by shrubbery surrounding the perimeter to the height of the fence, with an unobstructed gate capable of admitting fire or emergency equipment. Such gate shall remain locked at all times when unattended. In addition, all gas and oil or other flammable liquid shall be removed from the motor vehicle and it shall be kept free of animal and/or vermin infestation while being stored.
Nothing herein shall be construed to permit the storage of motor vehicle nuisances contrary to the provisions of the Township zoning ordinance, if any.
No owner of any building or structure shall fail to take steps and perform such maintenance thereto as may be required from time to time to ensure the property is safe, sound, sanitary and secure and does not present a health and/or safety hazard to surrounding properties and to the general populace.
No owner of any unoccupied building or structure shall fail to take such steps as may be required to insure that these are securely closed so as to prohibit and deter entry thereto and to insure that no health and/or safety hazard or threat thereof is precipitated due to a lack of maintenance or due to neglect.
Owners of any and all unoccupied buildings and/or structures which, through neglect, have deteriorated to the point of being classified as unoccupied hazards and, therefore, constitute a severe health and/or safety hazard, shall, upon direction of the Code Enforcement Officer, remove or cause the removal of the building and/or structure.
An occupied or unoccupied structure damaged by fire, weather, flooding, or other natural event, disaster or act of God shall be secured by the property owner or occupier within 36 hours of said event or when said property is released from police or fire custody.
No owner shall permit or cause:
Fences and/or minor structures to be constructed and maintained so as to present a safety or health hazard to persons and/or property;
The development or accumulation of refuse, hazards, rodent harborage and/or infestation upon yards, courts, lots;
Garbage and refuse materials to accumulate and to be blown about the surrounding neighborhood;
Wells, cesspools, pits, open mines, or cisterns to remain open without adequate fencing or barricades to prevent access thereto by the general public;
The accumulation of grass and weeds, rising above the height of two feet, heavy undergrowth and/or vegetation which would impair the health and/or safety of the neighborhood; nor shall they permit any trees, plants or shrubbery or any portion thereof to grow on their property and which constitute a safety hazard to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic.
Exception. Nothing contained herein, however, shall require the cutting of grass, weeds or other vegetation growing in areas which customarily and historically have contained brush and dense foliage, or which remain undeveloped and are not proximate or contiguous to developed areas; nor shall any such grass, weeds or other vegetation be required to be cut or maintained where such cutting or maintaining would impose a hardship on the property owner because of the presence of extreme slope grades, crevasses, or the existence of areas which are unable to be reasonably cleared.
Grounds, buildings and structures shall be maintained free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.
Adequate sanitary facilities and methods shall be used for the collection, storage, handling and disposal of garbage and refuse, excluding normal agricultural practices.
Where there exists rodent and vermin infestation, corrective measures shall be undertaken by the property owner and/or occupant to alleviate the existing problem(s), to include screening, extermination and/or garbage and refuse control and/or collection. Methods employed for extermination shall comply with generally accepted practices.
No owner shall permit:
Roof, surface and/or sanitary drainage to create a safety and/or health hazard to persons and/or property by reason of inadequate and/or improper construction or maintenance or manner of discharge.
Roof gutters, drains or any other system designed and constructed to transport stormwater to be discharged into any sanitary sewage systems and/or any part thereof.
Noncompliance with the provisions of this article constitutes a nuisance and the Township or its designated enforcement officer shall issue a written notice of the nuisance to be served by registered or certified mail upon the owner of said premises or if the owner's whereabouts or identity be unknown, by posting the notice conspicuously upon the offending premises.
Said notice shall specify the nature of the violation or nuisance complained of and shall require the owner to commence to remove or otherwise rectify the nuisance set forth therein within 10 days of mailing or posting of said notice and thereafter to fully comply with the requirements of the notice within a reasonable time.
If the owner does not comply with the notice to abate the nuisance within the time limit prescribed, the Township of Connoquenessing shall have the authority to take measures to correct the conditions and collect the cost of such corrections plus 10% of all costs. The Township, in such event and pursuant to its statutory or otherwise authorized police powers, shall have the right and power to enter upon the offending premises to accomplish the foregoing.
Any person aggrieved by the determination of the Township or its designated enforcement officer may request and shall then be granted a hearing before the Board of Supervisors of the Township; provided, he/she files with the Township within 10 days after the mailing date of the notice to comply, a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor. The hearing shall commence not later than 30 days after the date on which the petition was filed unless postponed for sufficient cause or by agreement of the parties.
After such hearing, the Board of Supervisors shall sustain, modify or overrule the action of the Code Enforcement Officer.
An occupant of any premises shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this article with respect to the maintenance of that part of the premises which he occupies and/or controls in a safe, sound and/or sanitary condition pursuant to the terms of the contract/agreement under which he exercises occupancy and/or control thereof.
Owner of premises shall comply with the provisions of this article as well as operators and occupants, regardless of any agreement between owners and operators as to which party shall assume such responsibility.
In instances where an occupant is responsible or shares responsibility with an owner, for the existence of one or more violations of this article, said occupant shall be deemed responsible and treated as if an owner within the true intent and meaning of this article.
The Code Enforcement Officer and his designated agents, in addition to any other power set forth herein, is hereby empowered as follows:
To cause entry onto premises and/or property for the purpose of taking remedial measures to secure the safety of the public or otherwise abate an imminent health and safety hazard. No entry shall be permitted unless the Code Enforcement Officer sends written notice to the owner of record, except in the case of emergency, in which case the Code Enforcement Officer may take appropriate action without notice.
Upon probable cause, to cause entry onto premises and/or property located within the Township for ascertaining the existence of violations in accordance with the provisions of this article. Where no imminent health and safety hazard or emergency exists as anticipated by Subsection A above, the Code Enforcement Officer shall utilize good faith efforts to make prior arrangements with the owner or his agent, to secure access to the premises and/or property.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this article shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this article that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.
If the premises are owned by more than one owner, each owner shall severally be subject to prosecution for the violation of this article.
The remedies provided herein for the enforcement of this article or any remedy provided by law, shall not be deemed mutually exclusive; rather, they may be employed simultaneously or consecutively at the sole option of the Township.
The provisions of this article shall supplement local laws, ordinances or regulations existing in the Township of Connoquenessing or those of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any provision of a local law, ordinance, code or regulation of those of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the provision which is more restrictive or which establishes the higher standard shall prevail.