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Borough of Sewickley, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Sewickley 10-17-2016 by Ord. No. 1347. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Construction codes — See Ch. 156.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 247.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
BUILDING
An independent structure having a roof supported by columns or walls, resting on its own foundation, and includes dwelling, garage, barn, stable, shed, greenhouse, mobile home, plant, factory, warehouse, school or similar structure.
DANGEROUS BUILDING
All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed nuisances and dangerous buildings:
A. 
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that the structural integrity of the building is threatened.
B. 
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show substantial damage or deterioration to the supporting member or members or damage or deterioration to 50% of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
C. 
Those which have 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 purpose used.
D. 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to be dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the public.
E. 
Those which are so damaged, dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, vermin-infested or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, safety or general welfare of those living therein or to surrounding parties.
F. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure property or members of the public.
G. 
Those which lack illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities or because of another condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the occupants or the public.
H. 
Those which, because of their location, are unsanitary or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the occupants or the public.
I. 
Those existing in violation of any provision of the building code, fire prevention code or other ordinances of the Borough.
J. 
Those which have been inspected by the Fire Department and found to be fire hazards by reason of age, condition, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment.
K. 
Those which have been abandoned and may attract children, vagrants, vandals or other trespassers.
OWNER
Person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
A. 
Shall have legal title to any building or structure, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof.
B. 
Shall have charge, care or control of any building or structure, as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto to the same extent as if he were the owner.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership or other legal entity.
PROPERTY
A piece, parcel, lot or tract of land.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected with a fixed or ascertainable location on the ground or anchored in the water, including buildings, walls, fences, platforms, docks, wharves, billboards, signs and walks.
The Borough Building Inspector is authorized to, and upon direction by Council will, inspect all buildings and structures within the Borough in order to determine whether they are nuisances and dangerous buildings.
A. 
The Building Inspector is authorized to request the Borough Police Chief and the Chief of the Borough's local fire company to inspect such buildings.
B. 
The Building Inspector shall make a written report of his inspection and may request a written report from the Police Chief and the fire company Chief following any inspection by either or both of them.
C. 
The Building Inspector shall review all available information and make a determination as to whether the building or structure is a nuisance and dangerous building.
If the Building Inspector determines the building or other structure to be a nuisance and dangerous building that poses an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the Borough of Sewickley or other individuals, the proper Borough officials are hereby authorized to take such emergency action as is necessary to deal with the immediate threat, including the demolition of the dangerous building.
If the Building Inspector determines the building or other structure to be a nuisance and a dangerous building that does not pose an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of Borough residents or other individuals, he shall issue a dated, written notice requiring repair or removal of the building within a specified deadline.
A. 
The notice shall include the following:
(1) 
A statement indicating that the Building Inspector has determined that the building or structure is a dangerous building and a nuisance and must be repaired or removed within 60 days of the date of the notice;
(2) 
A list of the defects in the building or structure which render the building or structure a dangerous building and which must be repaired if the building or structure is not to be demolished;
(3) 
A statement in large capital letters that reads, "OCCUPANCY OF THIS BUILDING IS PROHIBITED BY LAW, EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE";
(4) 
A statement indicating that any party aggrieved by the Building Inspector's determination requiring repair or removal of the building or structure may contest the determination by filing with the Borough Secretary a written request for a hearing before Borough Council within 30 days of the date the notice was mailed to the owner or posted on the property;
(5) 
A statement indicating that the failure to file a timely written request for a hearing may result in the loss of any opportunity to contest the determination that the building or structure is a dangerous building and a nuisance that must be repaired or removed;
(6) 
A statement indicating that failure to repair or remove the building or structure determined to be a dangerous building within the time limits established by the notice may result in the proper Borough officials advertising for bids to repair or demolish the dangerous building or having Borough employees repair or demolish the dangerous building, with the costs and expenses thereof to be assessed against the owner of the dangerous building by the filing of a municipal claim against the property or by the filing of a civil lawsuit;
(7) 
A statement indicating that failure to repair or remove the building or structure determined to be a dangerous building within the time limits established by the notice may also result in the filing of a citation against the owner seeking the imposition of a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs, per day of noncompliance, or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for failure to pay said fines and costs.
B. 
The notice may set forth a repair or removal deadline of less than 60 days and an appeal period of less than 30 days if the Building Inspector finds that a shorter appeal period is necessary to protect the occupants or public from the danger posed by the nuisance and dangerous building.
C. 
The notice shall be given in writing by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the owner of the dangerous building and shall also be posted upon the property declared to have a nuisance and dangerous building erected thereon. Notice shall be deemed to have been given on the date of mailing or, where no address is known or where such notice is not delivered or accepted, on the day when posted on the property. A copy of such notice shall also be mailed or hand delivered to any lessee or occupant of the dangerous building and to any mortgagee of record.
If after notice is given and a hearing, if requested, is held resulting in a determination that the building or structure is a nuisance and dangerous building, and if said building or structure is not repaired or removed within the time limits prescribed by such notice, the proper Borough officials are hereby authorized to advertise for bids for repair or for demolition of such building or structure and the restoration of the land to its natural state, and to enter into a contract with the lowest responsible bidder or, if feasible, the work may be done in whole or in part by Borough employees. The proper officials are also authorized to enter, inspect, photograph and inventory said building or structure prior to demolition.
The proper officials and the Solicitor are hereby authorized and directed to file a municipal claim against the lot or lots appurtenant to any building or structure caused to be repaired or razed by the Borough of Sewickley for the costs incurred in connection with the repair or razing of such building or structure, together with a penalty of 10%, as provided by law, or the said costs and expenses may be collected by action in assumpsit against the owners of said dangerous building.
A copy of the notice of repair or removal shall be posted and shall continue to be posted upon the property where the building or structure is located until it is demolished. Removal of such notice is prohibited, except by the Building Inspector.
No person is permitted to occupy a dangerous building. The proper officers of the Borough are authorized to remove any occupant from a dangerous building along with their possessions. The costs of removal of persons and possessions, including, without limitation, reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Borough and storage of possessions, shall be recoverable under § 149-6 hereof.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.