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Township of Lower Oxford, PA
Chester County
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[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
As used in this Part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
An individual appointed by Lower Oxford Township to inspect and issue permits for construction within Lower Oxford Township.
Any structure which has any one or more of the following defects; and any such structure shall be deemed a dangerous structure:
A structure whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle.
A structure which, exclusive of the foundation, shows 25% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting members, or 40% or more of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting interior or roof or outside walls or covering.
A structure which has improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs, or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the proposed use.
A structure which has been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life or safety of the occupant(s) or to others in the vicinity.
A structure which has become or is so dilapidated, decayed, unsanitary or unsafe that it is unfit for human habitation or is likely to cause injury to occupant(s) or to others in the vicinity.
A structure having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic, or those having insufficient stairways, fire escapes or other means of access and egress.
A structure, parts of which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or cause damage to property.
A structure which, because of its general condition, is unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the people of the Township.
The Township Engineer or other structural engineer appointed for the purpose.
A professional learned and/or licensed in the construction and structural integrity of structures.
A natural person, corporation, partnership, joint venture, sole proprietorship, firm, association and any other entity of whatever type.
To render safely inaccessible to the public.
Any assembly of materials above or below the surface of the land, and whether or not affixed to the land, including, but not limited to, buildings, mobile homes, fences, man-made objects, dams, fills, embankments, objects, culverts, roads and bridges.
The Township of Lower Oxford, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
All dangerous structures and buildings, as defined herein, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, removed or demolished. It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person, as defined herein, to permit any such dangerous building to remain in place.
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
Whenever it shall be reported or come to the attention of any Township official that any structure, as herein defined, or any portion thereof is in a dangerous condition, as herein defined, such person shall report same to the Board or that Township employee or independent appointee designated by the Board of Supervisors to make an investigation and examination of such structure. The Lower Oxford Township Building Inspector is hereby empowered to enter upon any property for purposes of such inspection. The Building Inspector and any engineer or other independent professional are hereby authorized to investigate the condition of the structure and make a determination as to its safety.
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Board in ordering repair, removal or demolition of a dangerous structure:
If the dangerous structure can be repaired, as determined by the employee or official appointed by the Board to do the inspection or said professional engineer or architect as necessary, in such a way that it would no longer violate this Part, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the dangerous structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated and demolished.
If the dangerous structure cannot reasonably be repaired, as determined by the Lower Oxford Township Building Inspector and/or Engineer or independent professional, it shall be vacated and demolished.
If the dangerous structure is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter, or any other ordinance of the Township, or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be vacated and demolished.
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
If any structure is deemed to be a dangerous structure within the terms of this Part, the Board shall forthwith cause notice to be served upon the owner of such dangerous structure or, failing to find any owner, then such occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent or other person with an interest in said dangerous building who may be located.
The notice required by this section shall be served personally or by registered or certified mail upon the owner of a dangerous structure or his agent, or personally upon his agent. Notice by mail shall be sent to the owner of a dangerous structure by certified or registered mail at the last known address according to the records available in the Chester County Tax Assessment Office.
Such notice shall identify the building or structure deemed dangerous, contain a statement of the particulars which made this building or structure a dangerous building, and include an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to conform with the terms of this Part; provided, further, that in any case where the notice prescribes the repair of any structure, the owner thereof shall have the option to remove and demolish such structure in lieu of making the repairs thereto within the time period provided.
The owner or occupier of such property, after receiving notice, shall have 10 days to safely secure the property to ensure that no unauthorized person has access to it.
Such notice shall require any person notified to repair, remove or demolish any building to commence the work or act required by the notice within 10 days of such notice and to comply with such repair, removal or demolition within 60 days from the receipt of such notice.
If said property owner shall submit specific plans showing an intent to renovate and a proposed schedule identifying when such repairs shall be completed, then said time may be extended so long as Lower Oxford Township sees progress consistent with the submitted plans.
The Board shall cause to be placed on all dangerous structures a notice reading substantially as follows:
"This building has been found to be a dangerous structure by the Board of Supervisors of Lower Oxford Township. This notice shall remain on this building until it is repaired, removed or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given to the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or agent of the building. It is unlawful to remove this notice until compliance is made under the terms contained in the notice served on the above-named party."
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
All fines provided for in this section shall be in addition to costs.
Any person who violates or permits the violation of any provision of this Part shall, upon being found liable thereof in a civil enforcement procedure, pay a fine of not more than $500 per incident, plus court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. Each day of violation is a separate violation. Such fine, as such civil enforcement cost, and attorneys' fees shall be reduced to and filed as a Township lien against the real estate. Each twenty-four-hour period during which failure to comply continues shall constitute a separate violation. This remedy shall be in addition to any other lawful remedies available to the Township.
It shall be a violation of this Part for any person to remove the notice provided for in the section above, and such person may be subject to a criminal enforcement proceeding and pay a fine of not more than $500, plus court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. Each day of violation is a separate violation.
Any person having an interest in any building who fails to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous building within 60 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure, does empower the Board to cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated, removed or demolished by the Township and to cause the costs of such repair, vacation or demolition, together with a penalty of 10%, to be charged upon the land upon which the building exists as a municipal lien or alternatively to recover such costs and penalty in a suit at law against the owner, but failing to recover same to have the judgment therefor to be charged upon the land; and this subsection is separate from and in addition to the fine, penalty and costs which may be imposed by any other subsection of this Part.
[Ord. 3-2014, 11/12/2014]
In cases where it reasonably appears that there exists an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person caused or created by a dangerous building, the Board of Supervisors of Lower Oxford Township has the authority, but not the obligation, to enter into the premises and cause immediate repairs or demolition. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such building shall be collected as provided for in § 10-506 of this Part.