Borough of Lewistown, PA
Mifflin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lewistown 3-24-1986 by Ord. No. 86-2 (Ch. 1, Part 5C, of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Construction codes — See Ch. 110.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 125.
Mobile home parks — See Ch. 148.
Sewers connections — See Ch. 192, Art. I.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 225.
Zoning — See Ch. 240.

§ 10-1 Creation of Board of Building Appeals.

A. 
Pursuant to the authority granted Council by the Borough Code[1], the existent five-member Board of Building Appeals created under previous ordinances of the Borough is confirmed as, and shall continue as, the Board of Building Appeals of the Borough.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
B. 
The Board of Building Appeals shall be deemed to be an autonomous local agency within the meaning and scope of the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 551 et seq. and 751 et seq.

§ 10-2 Appointment of members of Board of Building Appeals; term of office.

A. 
The Board of Building Appeals shall be comprised of five residents of the Borough appointed by Council. No elected official of the Borough, no appointed officer or appointed official of the Borough, no employee of the Borough, and no member of the Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, Recreation Board, Police Civil Service Commission or any other board, commission, bureau or agency of the Borough shall be eligible for appointment to the Board of Building Appeals; and no member of the Board of Building Appeals shall serve in any of those offices or positions or on any of those boards, commissions, bureaus or agencies unless he first resigns from the Board of Building Appeals.
B. 
The term of office of each member of the Board of Building Appeals shall be five years — the term to expire on the second Monday in January or at such time thereafter when a successor to the member is appointed by Council. The terms of office of the five members of the Board of Building Appeals shall be so staggered that the term of office of one member expires each year.

§ 10-3 Vacancy in Board; removal from Board.

A. 
If a vacancy occurs in the Board of Building Appeals other than by expiration of the term of a member, Council shall fill the vacancy by appointing a resident of the Borough to serve for the balance of the unexpired five-year term.
B. 
The circumstances and procedures for removing a member of the Board of Building Appeals from office shall be the same as those prescribed by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code[1] for removing a member of the Zoning Hearing Board.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.

§ 10-4 Compensation and expenses.

The members of the Board of Building Appeals shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed by Council for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

§ 10-5 Meetings and hearings.

[Amended 9-22-1986 by Ord. No. 86-4]
A. 
No schedule of regular meetings is prescribed herein for the Board of Building Appeals.
B. 
Scheduling of meetings.
(1) 
The Board of Building Appeals may schedule such regular meetings and may hold such special meetings as it may determine are necessary or appropriate for the purposes of conducting hearings on cases before it, taking formal and final action on such cases before it as may be ready for the entry of decisions, and resuming hearings in those cases before it where previously scheduled hearings were continued, postponed, rescheduled or otherwise adjourned for resumption at a later date.
(2) 
After taking into consideration the time limitations and procedural requirements prescribed by §§ 10-11 and 10-14 or other applicable law, the Board of Building Appeals may schedule, reschedule, postpone, continue or adjourn hearings on cases before it for or to such dates and times as it may determine are reasonably necessary or appropriate in order to accommodate the parties to the case, their counsel, the public, the hearing stenographer, or others or in order to satisfy any time limitations or procedural requirements prescribed by § 10-11 or 10-14 or other applicable law.
C. 
Pursuant to the provisions of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act,[1] all regular and special meetings of the Board of Building Appeals and all hearings conducted by the Board of Building Appeals shall be open to the public.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq

§ 10-6 Public notice of meetings.

A. 
If the Board of Building Appeals chooses to schedule regular meetings under § 10-5B, the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall give public notice of the dates, times and places of the regular meetings so scheduled and shall include in that notice a general statement of the purposes of the regular meetings. This public notice shall be published and concomitantly posted at least four days before the date of the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Building Appeals.
B. 
The Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall give public notice of the date, time and place of a special meeting of the Board of Building Appeals and shall include in that notice a general statement of the purpose of the meeting. This public notice shall be published and concomitantly posted at least two days before the date of the special meeting. A public notice given under § 10-13 shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this § 10-6B.

§ 10-7 Officers of Board; administrative and technical support.

A. 
The members of the Board of Building Appeals may elect one member as Chairman of the Board of Building Appeals and one member as Vice Chairman of the Board of Building Appeals. If the members of the Board of Building Appeals fail to elect a Chairman or a Vice Chairman, that member of the Board of Building Appeals who has the longest tenure on the Board shall be the Chairman and that member who has the next longest tenure shall be the Vice Chairman. The officers of the Board of Building Appeals shall serve for one year or until their successors are either elected by the members of the Board of Building Appeals or are determined on the basis of tenure. The officers of the Board of Building Appeals may succeed themselves.
B. 
Council shall assign the Borough Secretary (or Assistant Borough Secretary), or the Borough Manager shall assign some other employee of the Borough, to serve as Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals. The duties of the Administrative Secretary shall be to provide the Board of Building Appeals with such administrative services as scheduling meetings, giving notice of meetings, preparing agendas for meetings, preparing minutes of meetings, scheduling hearings, giving notice of hearings, securing the services of a hearing stenographer, securing the services of an attorney to serve as hearing or case counsel to the Board, preparing agendas for hearings, distributing copies of hearing decisions, and other like services.

§ 10-8 Rules of procedure.

The Board of Building Appeals may make such rules to govern its meetings, hearings or hearing procedures and may require the use of such forms in connection with its proceedings or procedures as are permitted by and consistent with the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law,[1] this chapter and other applicable laws.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 551 et seq. and 751 et seq.

§ 10-9 Cases over which Board of Building Appeals has jurisdiction.

A. 
The Board of Building Appeals shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide a case arising under the Borough's building, plumbing, electrical and property maintenance codes ordinances, the Floodplain Ordinance (but see Subsection B), Sanitary Sewer Connection and Use Ordinance, Trailer Regulations Ordinance (but see Subsection B), or Fire Prevention Code Ordinance,[1] where it is alleged by the petitioner that a department, bureau official, officer, employee, agent or representative of the Borough has made a requirement, notice, order or decision which incorrectly interprets, administers, applies or enforces a provision, standard or regulation of the ordinance or a code adopted by the ordinance, or which inflicts unnecessary hardship upon the petitioner.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 110, Construction Codes, Uniform; Ch. 125, Flood Damage Prevention; Ch. 192, Art. I, Sanitary Sewer Connections and Uses; and Ch. 148, Mobile Home Parks.
B. 
The Board of Building Appeals shall not have jurisdiction over a case arising under Chapter 240, Zoning, and shall not have jurisdiction over a case arising under Chapter 148, Mobile Home Parks, or Chapter 125, Flood Damage Prevention, where, because of the nature of the case, jurisdiction over the case is assigned by the ordinance to the Zoning Hearing Board.

§ 10-10 Filing of case before Board; filing fee.

A. 
All forms, statements, documents, sketches, plans and other materials comprising the case papers of the petitioner to the Board of Building Appeals shall be submitted to the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals by not later than: (a) the 30th day after the date on which the requirement, notice, order or decision which is the subject of the case was made, or (b) the third day after the date fixed in the requirement, notice, order or decision as the date by which the petitioner was to complete the particular act or task from which he requests relief or was to stop the particular activity which he requests he be permitted to continue, whichever day in (a) or (b) first occurs. Exception: If the requirement, notice, order or decision specified a date as the last date by which an appeal to the Board of Building Appeals might be filed and if that date was fixed or determined pursuant to the provisions of an ordinance referred to in § 10-9A, then that date shall be the last date for submitting the case papers to the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals. The case papers submitted to the Administrative Secretary shall be accompanied by the filing fee prescribed by the separate Borough Costs and Fees Schedule adopted by Council.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The current Borough Costs and Fees Schedule is on file in the Borough's offices.
B. 
Review for completeness.
(1) 
The Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall examine the case papers submitted by a petitioner within two business days after the case papers have been submitted.
(2) 
The Administrative Secretary shall ensure that: a) the filing fee has been paid; b) all information required by any Board of Building Appeals form has been disclosed; c) all forms, statements, documents, sketches, plans and other materials comprising the case papers are complete; and d) the appeal, request or other substantive basis of the case is not time-barred. If the Administrative Secretary is satisfied that all the foregoing prerequisites have been met, the Administrative Secretary shall accept the case papers for filing and mark the case papers filed as of the date when they were accepted by the Administrative Secretary.
C. 
If the Administrative Secretary does not accept the case papers for filing under § 10-10B, the Administrative Secretary shall give the petitioner a brief written explanation setting forth the reasons why the case papers were not accepted for filing and the manner in which the matters faulted might be corrected in order that the case papers might be accepted for filing.

§ 10-11 Scheduling hearing; notice of hearing.

A. 
Upon the filing of the case papers under § 10-10B, the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall fix a date, time and place for the public hearing to be conducted by the Board of Building Appeals on the case. The date fixed by the Administrative Secretary for the public hearing may, but need not, be the date of a regular meeting of the Board of Building Appeals scheduled under § 10-5B. In any event, the date fixed by the Administrative Secretary for the public hearing shall be not more than 40 days and not less than 10 days after the date on which the case papers in the matter were accepted for filing by the Administrative Secretary under § 10-10B.
B. 
The Administrative Secretary shall give public notice of the date, time and place fixed under § 10-11A for the Board of Building Appeals' public hearing on the case and shall include in that notice:
(1) 
The name of the petitioner;
(2) 
A citation of the case number assigned to the case;
(3) 
A statement of the particular nature of the case;
(4) 
A statement of the relief requested or the remedy sought by the petitioner; and
(5) 
A reference to the Borough office where the case papers are on file and where they may be examined during normal business hours.
C. 
The Administrative Secretary shall ensure that counterparts of the public notice of the hearing are published and posted and mailed or delivered, as follows:
(1) 
A counterpart of the notice shall be published in the newspaper one time. This single publication shall appear not more than 30 days and not less than five days prior to the date of the hearing.
(2) 
Not more than 30 days and not less than five days prior to the date of the hearing a counterpart of the notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the Lewistown Municipal Building.
(3) 
Not more than 30 days and not less than five days prior to the date of the hearing a counterpart of the notice shall be mailed by ordinary mail to the petitioner; the owner of the land, building or structure involved in the case if the owner is different from the petitioner; and any person who has made a timely request that notice be specifically given him.
(4) 
Not more than 30 days and not less than five days prior to the date of the hearing a counterpart of the notice shall be mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand to the department, official, officer, employee, agent or representative of the Borough who made the requirement, notice, order or decision which is the subject of the case; the Borough Manager; the Borough Secretary; and the President of Council.
D. 
In addition to the counterparts of the notice to be given under § 10-11C, counterparts of the notice may be given to such other persons, at such times and in such manner as the Board of Building Appeals or the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals may deem appropriate under the circumstances of the case before the Board.

§ 10-12 Notice of rescheduled, postponed, continued or adjourned hearings.

A. 
Rescheduled or postponed meetings.
(1) 
If notice of a hearing has been given under § 10-1 but before the hearing is convened it is rescheduled or postponed to a different date, time or place, the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall give public notice of the date, time and place to which the hearing was rescheduled or postponed and shall include in that notice:
(a) 
The name of the petitioner;
(b) 
The case number of the case;
(c) 
A general statement of the nature of the case; and
(d) 
A statement giving the date for which the hearing had originally been scheduled and explaining that the hearing was rescheduled or postponed.
(2) 
Not less than five days prior to the date on which the rescheduled or postponed hearing is to be held a counterpart of this notice shall be published in the newspaper one time; a counterpart posted in the place described in § 10-11C(2); a counterpart mailed by ordinary mail to each of the persons referred to in § 10-11C(3); and a counterpart mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand to each of the persons referred to in § 10-11C(4).
B. 
Continued meetings.
(1) 
If a hearing is convened but then continued indefinitely by consent of the parties, and thereafter the parties agree to resume the hearing on a given date, the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall give public notice of the date, time and place at which the hearing will be resumed and shall include in that notice:
(a) 
The name of the petitioner;
(b) 
The case number of the case;
(c) 
A general statement of the nature of the case; and
(d) 
A statement giving the date on which the hearing was convened and explaining that the hearing was continued indefinitely but is now to be resumed.
(2) 
Not less than five days prior to the date on which the hearing is to be resumed, a counterpart of this notice shall be published in the newspaper one time; a counterpart posted in the place described in § 10-11C(2); a counterpart mailed by ordinary mail to each of the persons referred to in § 10-11C(3); and a counterpart mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand to each of the persons referred to in § 10-11C(4).
C. 
Adjournment and resumption. If a hearing is convened but the extent of the testimony or other factors warrant adjourning the hearing for resumption at a later date, the Board of Building Appeals, by public announcement at the hearing, may adjourn the hearing to a stated date, time and place for resumption of the hearing. Except for the public announcement at the hearing, no further notice of the adjournment of the hearing to the stated date, time and place need be given.

§ 10-13 Notice of meeting to take action.

Because any meeting of the Board of Building Appeals to take formal and final action on a case (whether the meeting is held immediately following the hearing on the case or at a later date) is subject to the requirements of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act,[1] the Administrative Secretary to the Board of Building Appeals shall give public notice of the date, time and place of the meeting at which the Board plans to take formal and final action on the case and shall include in that notice: a) the name of the petitioner; b) the case number of the case; c) a general statement of the nature of the case; and d) a general statement of the purpose of the meeting. The notice of the meeting of the Board of Building Appeals to take formal and final action on the case may be given as part of the public notice required to be given under § 10-12A or B. However, if the notice of the meeting of the Board to take action on the case is not given as part of the public notice under § 10-11 or as part of a public notice under § 10-12A or B, then not less than two days prior to the date of the meeting to take action on the case a counterpart of the notice of the meeting to take action on the case shall be published in the newspaper one time; a counterpart posted in the place described in § 10-11C(2); and a counterpart mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand to each of the persons referred to in § 10-11C(3) and (4).
[1]
Editor's Note: See 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq

§ 10-14 Functions, duties and powers of Board of Building Appeals.

The Board of Building Appeals shall conduct hearings and render a decision on a case before it in accordance with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law[1] and the additional requirements, and with the powers, next set forth.
A. 
Unless the parties to the hearing agree to a lesser number of members of the Board, the presence of three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for convening and conducting a hearing and the affirmative or concurring votes of a majority of those members of the Board who were present at the hearing shall be the decision of the Board at the meeting at which formal and final action on the case is taken. Members of the Board who were not present at the hearing shall not vote on the decision. A tie vote shall be deemed to affirm the requirement, notice, order or decision which is the subject of the case.
B. 
The Board shall have the power to administer oaths and, issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and other evidence.
C. 
Decisions.
(1) 
In rendering a decision, the Board shall have the power to:
(a) 
Affirm, modify or reverse, in whole or in part, the requirement, notice, order or decision which is the subject of the case or make such other decision as in its opinion ought to be made after balancing the interests of the parties, the public, and others who might be affected by the decision; and/or
(b) 
Grant a variance from the provision, standard or regulation which is at issue in the case, provided that:
[1] 
The case is one where, because of special or unique circumstances or conditions, the literal enforcement of the provision, standard or regulation would result in unnecessary hardship but with the grant of the variance the spirit of the provision, standard or regulation can be observed and substantial justice done;
[2] 
The grant of the variance will not be contrary to the public interest and will not result in harm to those who might be affected by the variance; and
[3] 
The grant of the variance represents the minimum variance necessary to afford relief.
(2) 
The Board may attach such reasonable safeguards and conditions under Subsection C(1)(a) or (b) as it may deem necessary or appropriate to implement or protect its decision.
D. 
The Board shall render a written decision on the case within 30 days after the date of the last hearing on the case. The decision shall include findings of fact, conclusions, and the reasons for the conclusions and the decision. A copy of the decision shall be mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand to the parties to the hearing, the Borough Secretary, and such other persons as the Board or the Administrative Secretary to the Board may deem appropriate.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 551 et seq. and 751 et seq.

§ 10-15 Public records.

The Board of Building Appeals shall keep complete and full records of its activities, hearings, actions and decisions, and these records shall be public records within the meaning and scope of the Pennsylvania Open Records Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See now the Right-To-Know Law, 65 P.S. § 67.101 et seq.