[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of Penn Township 6-15-1992 by Ord. No. 445 (Ch. 68 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be referred to as the "Curfew Ordinance."
The Penn Township Board of Commissioners deems it necessary to prescribe, in accordance with prevailing community standards, regulations for the conduct of minors on streets at night.
The Board finds that a curfew meets a very real local need in minimizing juvenile delinquency and should be adopted and amplified in light of Penn Township's local situation. Penn Township was a rural community that evolved into both a residential community and the home of several major industries in southwestern York County. Over the years, the Township has enjoyed a steady increase in population. Penn Township is currently 13.2 square miles in size and is located adjacent to the Borough of Hanover. The Township is 18 miles southwest of York and 42 miles north of Baltimore, Maryland. The Municipal Offices and Police Headquarters are located at 20 Wayne Avenue. Although the Township has evolved into a mix of residential, commercial and industrial areas, it is still primarily a suburban community. This community's sense of the proper time for cessation of outdoor activities by minors on the streets is reflected in the curfew hours declared by this chapter, which takes into consideration the danger hours for nocturnal crime and for accumulations of minors with potential risks incident to immaturity.
The rate of growth in Penn Township has been fairly consistent with growth trends throughout York County. Population density is 882 people per square mile. The current trend appears to be toward rapid growth in the southern region and is expected to continue and expand further north.
According to the Township's Comprehensive Plan of 1990, the total area is 8,355 acres, with the following projected uses: 5,600 acres 67% for residential land use, 700 acres 8.4% for public/semipublic uses and the remaining acreage 24.6% for a combination of commercial, industrial, office and institutional use. The majority of the residential land use is for medium density. Adequate indoor living space permits minors in Penn Township to healthfully occupy their time. Commercial recreation facilities are limited, and there is little or nothing for minors to do outdoors after the curfew hours herein declared but roam the streets.
Based on the 2010 Census figure for persons under 18 years of age, the Board finds that there are 3,602 minors residing in Penn Township. There are about 300 minors for each school grade. Penn Township has two elementary schools, one middle school for grades five through eight and one high school. The middle school and the high school also accommodate students from neighboring Manheim and West Manheim Townships.
Based on the 2010 Census figure, the Board further finds that the Penn Township population is 15,612. There are 6,041 households averaging 2.94 persons per household and 3,397 heads of family households. In 2,953 households (87%), there are husbands and wives.
Penn Township is a stable family community. Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the norm. As parental control increases, the likelihood of juvenile delinquency decreases, and it is appropriate to enact a curfew ordinance to enhance and require parental control over minors during nighttime hours.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular and words in the singular number include the plural. The word "shall" is mandatory and not merely directive.
Time of night referred to herein is based upon the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern standard time or Eastern daylight saving time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the Township, prima facie the time then observed in the Township Administrative Offices and Police Department.
Year of age continues from one birthday, such as the 17th, to (but not including the day of) the next, such as the 18th birthday, making it clear that 17 or fewer years of age is herein treated as equivalent to the phrase "under 18 years of age."
The definitions as set forth in Chapter 142, the Penn Township Ordinance of Definition, are hereby incorporated into this chapter. In addition, the following definitions shall apply:
- Any person under the age of 18 years.
- Any person having custody of a minor as a natural or adoptive parent, as a legal guardian, as a person who stands in loco parentis or as a person to whom physical custody has been given by order of court.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets which any minor involved would not be using for ordinary or serious purposes such as mere passage or going home.
- A way or place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel, or in the case of a sidewalk thereof, for pedestrian travel. The term "street" includes the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway of traffic lanes, the curb, the sidewalks, whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or the grounds found within the legal right-of-way of a street. The term "street" applies irrespective of what it is called or formally named, whether alley, avenue, court, road or otherwise.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 596]
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any minor to be or remain in or upon the streets within the Township during the period ending at 6:00 a.m. and beginning:
In the following exceptional cases, a minor on the Township street during the hours set forth in § 136-4 shall not be considered in violation of this chapter:
When accompanied by a parent of such minor.
When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor.
When exercising rights protected by the United States Constitution or its Amendments, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right of assembly. The minor shall first deliver to the Police Department at the Township Municipal Building at 20 Wayne Avenue a letter signed by such minor and countersigned by a parent of such minor stating their home address, telephone number and specifying where and in what manner the minor will be on the streets during hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable.
In the case of reasonable necessity as determined by the Chief of Police or his designee, but only after such minor's parent has written to the Township Police Department stating their name, address, telephone number and the facts establishing such reasonable necessity and specifying streets and times for the described purpose, including points of origin and destination.
When the minor is on the sidewalk of the place where such minor resides or on the sidewalk of either next-door neighbor, if this neighbor does not object to the minor's presence.
When proceeding by a direct route to or from home, work, a school activity or an activity of religious or other voluntary association, provided that it is within 1/2 hour of the start or end of the work or activity.
When authorized by the Chief of Police or his designee when necessary nighttime activities of a minor may be inadequately provided for by other provisions of this chapter.
When the minor is in a motor vehicle engaged in normal travel and with parent's consent, or if the minor is engaged in interstate travel.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 596]
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for a parent of a minor knowingly to permit or, by inefficient control, to allow such minor to be or remain upon any Township street in violation of this chapter. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge which a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in that parent's custody.
A policeman of the Township, upon finding or having attention called to any minor on the streets in prima facie violation of this chapter, normally shall take the minor to the Township Police Department office, where a parent shall immediately be notified to come for such minor, or at the officer's discretion may deliver the minor to the minor's home. In the absence of convincing evidence, such as a birth certificate, a police officer shall in the first instance use his best judgment in determining age.
When a parent has taken charge of the minor and the identity, address and age of the minor and the identity and address of the minor's parents have been recorded, the minor shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located, or fails to take charge of the minor, then the minor shall be temporarily be entrusted to a relative, neighbor or other person who will on behalf of a parent assume responsibility of caring for the minor pending the availability or arrival of a parent.
Editor's Note: Original Subsection C, regarding first violations, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 596.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 596]
In the case of a first violation by a minor, the Chief of Police shall send to a parent written notice of said violation with a warning that any subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of this chapter. The Chief of Police shall retain a copy of the letter, or the identifying information pertaining to the minor, for reference in the event of a subsequent violation.
In the case of a second or subsequent violation by a minor, the penalties for violation of this chapter shall be those set forth in Chapter 1, Article II, of the Penn Township Code. The penalties shall be imposed upon the parent of the minor and/or upon any minor who is 14 years of age or older at the time of the violation.
It is intended that this chapter be held inapplicable in such cases, if any, where its application would be unconstitutional. A constitutional construction is intended and shall be given. The Board does not intend to violate the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the Constitution of the United States of America.
Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this chapter. If any provision, including inter alia any exception, part, phrase or term or application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby and the validity of this chapter in any and all other respects shall not be affected thereby.