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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 as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 149.
Construction codes — See Ch. 156.
Zoning — See Ch. 330.
[Adopted 11-10-1931 by Ord. No. 588 (Ch. 10, Part 3, of the 1996 Code of Ordinances)]
[Amended 9-25-1974 by Ord. No. 925; 6-15-2015 by Ord. No. 1334]
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or other entity owning or having a present interest in any real estate in the Borough to permit weeds or plants to grow or remain upon such premises at a height in excess of six inches. All weeds or plants that throw off any noxious or unpleasant odors or are otherwise harmful shall be prohibited. "Weeds and plants" shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees, flowering and nonflowering shrubs, cultivated ornamental flowers grown in defined flower gardens, or plants producing edible vegetables or fruits grown in defined vegetable or fruit gardens.
All weeds or other vegetation permitted to grow or remain contrary to the provisions of this article shall be cut and removed by or under the direction of the President of Council or Borough Engineer, or other person designated by Council, and the cost thereof, together with the penalties provided by law, shall be collected by lien or by action in assumpsit, or in any such other manner as may be provided by law.
[Amended 9-25-1974 by Ord. No. 925, 2-19-1996 by Ord. No. 1159]
Any person violating any provision of this article shall be subject to a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $600 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 article continues shall constitute a separate offense.
[Adopted 5-17-1993 by Ord. No. 1126 (Ch. 10, Part 1, of the 1996 Code of Ordinances)]
The Council finds that:
A. 
The Borough recognizes the need to establish certain minimum health and safety requirements for buildings, structures or properties used or associated with human occupancy.
B. 
The lack of minimum standards relative to the foregoing creates potentially hazardous or dangerous conditions to the general public and interferes with normal use and enjoyment of public and private property in the Borough.
C. 
The Borough Code has vested the Council with the power to regulate the foregoing pursuant to 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 1202.
Certain terms contained in this article are defined as follows:
AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE
The Borough Manager, Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer or other person under the direction of the Borough Manager.
BUILDING
A roofed structure, enclosed by one or more walls, for the shelter, housing, storage or enclosure of persons, goods, materials, equipment or animals.
COURT
An open and unoccupied space on a lot enclosed on at least three sides by the walls of a building.
GARBAGE
Putrescible animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
HEALTH AND/OR SAFETY HAZARD
Any existing or threatened condition existing on any premises that creates a risk of bodily or other physical injury, including but not limited to infection, illness, mutilation or death, to any person or to the general public.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Every device which is self-propelled, other than by human or electric power obtained from overhead trolley lines, by which any person or property can be transported. This term does not include devices which would qualify as antiques or classic, as defined in the Vehicle Code, Title 75 Pa.C.S.A.
OCCUPANT
A person residing at or in possession of a premises.
OPERATOR
A person in charge of any commercial, residential, institutional or other enterprise or operation carried on at a premises.
OWNER
Any person or persons jointly or severally, firm, corporation or other entity which, either by conveyance or inheritance or lease or otherwise, is vested with the title to a lot and/or improvements thereto or who retains the exclusive control or custody of such lot and/or improvements thereto in his capacity as legal representative, such as an administrator, trustee or executor.
PREMISES
Any building, court, lot or yard, as defined herein.
REFUSE
All putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste, including garbage, rubbish, ashes, dead animals and market and industrial wastes.
YARD
Any open space on the same lot with a building and, for the most part, unobstructed from the ground up.
No owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall permit thereon:
A. 
Fences or minor structures to be constructed and maintained so as to present a health or safety hazard to persons or property.
B. 
The development or accumulation of health or safety hazards, rodent harborage and/or infestations upon yards, courts, lots.
C. 
The storing of abandoned, junked or partially dismantled motor vehicles which pose a threat to the public health, safety and welfare due to conditions including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Broken glass.
(2) 
Missing doors, windows or other vehicle parts which could permit vermin or animal harborage or entry of children.
(3) 
Body parts with sharp edges.
(4) 
Leaking gasoline, oil or other vehicle fluids.
(5) 
Upholstery which is torn or open, or other conditions of the vehicle which could permit animal or vermin harborage.
(6) 
Exposed battery containing acid.
(7) 
Inoperable door or trunk locks.
(8) 
Partially or fully disassembled parts which are loose on or near the vehicle.
(9) 
Unstable suspension or support of the vehicle.
D. 
Refuse to accumulate and to be blown about their property or the surrounding neighborhood.
E. 
Wells, cesspools, cisterns, sedimentation ponds, stormwater management impoundment ponds or ponds of similar nature or swimming pools to remain open without adequate fencing or barricades to prevent access thereto by the general public.
F. 
The accumulation of heavy undergrowth or vegetation which would impair the health or safety of the neighborhood; nor shall they permit any trees, plants or shrubbery or any portion thereof to grow on their property which impairs the ability of any person to clearly see oncoming pedestrian or vehicular traffic, so as to cause a traffic hazard.
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall comply with the following at all times:
A. 
Grounds, buildings and structures shall be maintained free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.
B. 
Adequate sanitary facilities and methods shall be used for the collection, storage, handling and disposal of garbage and refuse.
C. 
Where there exists rodent and vermin infestation, corrective measures shall be undertaken by the property owner or occupant to alleviate the existing problem to include screening, extermination and/or garbage and refuse control. Methods employed for extermination shall conform with generally accepted practices, and such method shall not pose a health or safety hazard to the general public.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain the exterior of any building in good repair and structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain all wood and metal surfaces of any building, including but not limited to window frames, doors, door frames, cornices, porches and trim, in good condition. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain all structural members of any building free from deterioration so that they are capable of safely supporting any imposed loads.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain all foundation walls of any building plumb and free from open cracks and breaks and shall keep such foundation walls in such condition as to prevent the entry of rats or other vermin.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall keep all exterior walls on any building free from holes, breaks and loose or rotting materials and shall apply proper weatherproofing and surface coating where required to prevent deterioration.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The roof and flashing on any building shall be sound, tight and not have defects that admit rain. Roofs shall have adequate drainage to prevent dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the building.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain all cornices, belt courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings and similar decorative features on any building in good repair, with proper anchorage, and in a safe condition.
[Added 2-16-2015 by Ord. No. 1327]
The owner or occupant or operator of any premises shall maintain all canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, fire escapes, stand pipes, exhaust ducts and similar overhang extensions in good repair and properly anchored. When necessary, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weatherproofing or surface coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatments.
No owner or occupant of any premises shall permit:
A. 
Roof, surface or sanitary or stormwater drainage to create a health or safety hazard to persons or property by reason of inadequate or improper construction or maintenance or manner of discharge.
B. 
Any refrigerator, freezer or other similar storage chest to be discarded, abandoned or stored in any place or location which is accessible to the general public without first completely removing any and all locking devices and/or doors.
Any occupant or operator 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 or controls in a safe, sound and sanitary condition pursuant to the terms of the contract under which he exercises occupancy or control thereof.
Owners, occupants and operators of any premises shall comply with the provisions of this article, regardless of any agreements between owners and operators and occupants as to which party shall assume such responsibility. In instances where the occupant or operator is responsible or shares responsibility with an owner for the existence of one or more violations of this article, said occupant or operator shall be deemed responsible and treated as if an owner within the true intent and meaning of this article.
The Borough may have, or may cause through an authorized representative of the Borough with prior notice to the owner, operator or occupant of the premises to have, entry onto the premises for the purpose of inspection of any and all premises located within the Borough for ascertaining the existence of violations of this article. In those matters where the nature of an alleged violation is such that an inspection of the interior of a building or structure is necessitated, prior arrangements must be made with the owner, occupant or operator or representative thereof to secure access thereto. In the absence of permission to inspect, a search warrant may be obtained.
If the Building Inspector determines that the premises constitutes a health or safety hazard or is otherwise in violation of this article so as to constitute a nuisance, he shall issue a dated, written notice requiring compliance within a specified deadline. The notice shall:
A. 
State the reasons why it is issued.
B. 
State the steps required to be taken to come into compliance.
C. 
And also contain the following:
"The Building Inspector of the Borough of Sewickley has determined the property described herein to be in violation of the property maintenance requirements of Chapter 247, Article II, § 247-____ of the Code and to constitute a nuisance and has required that the property be brought into compliance within 60 days of the date of this notice. Unless a hearing is requested as set forth below, this determination shall become final 30 days after the date of this notice.
"The violation is:
"Any party who may feel aggrieved by said determination may contest the determination by requesting a hearing before the Borough Council pursuant to the Local Agency Law. All requests for hearings must be in writing and must be filed with the Borough Secretary within 30 days of the date that this notice was posted or mailed to the owner. Failure to file a request for hearing as set forth above may result in the loss of any opportunity to contest the determination of the Building Inspector."
D. 
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 nuisance posed by the property's noncompliance with property maintenance requirements.
E. 
The notice shall be given in writing by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the owner and occupants of said structure and shall also be posted upon the property determined to be in noncompliance. 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 likewise be given to any mortgagee, lessee or occupant of the property.
If after notice is given and a hearing, if requested, is held, resulting in a determination that the premises are in violation of the property maintenance requirements and there is a nuisance, and if it isn't remedied within the time limits prescribed by such notice, the proper Borough officials are hereby authorized to obtain proposals and/or advertise for bids for correction of the violation in accordance with specifications as may be appropriate and reasonable according to the Building Inspector to achieve correction of the condition in an effective and efficient manner, 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 and photograph the premises prior to corrective action.
The proper officials and the Solicitor are hereby authorized and directed to file a municipal claim against the premises requiring corrective action hereunder by the Borough for the costs incurred in connection with correcting the violation, 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 premises.
[Amended 2-19-1996 by Ord. No. 1159]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this article 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 article continues shall constitute a separate offense.
If the premises are owned by more than one owner, each owner shall be severally 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 option of the Borough.
Any other provision of this article notwithstanding, the provisions of this article may be enforced by and procedures herein undertaken by the Borough Manager, Code Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector or authorized representative of the Borough Manager.