Township of Upper Pottsgrove, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Upper Pottsgrove 4-24-1989 by Ord. No. 198 (Ch. 5, Part 1, §§ 102 to 107, of the 1993 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform Construction Code — See Ch. 140.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 251.

§ 135-1 Creation of Office of Code Enforcement.

A. 
Creation of Office of Code Enforcement. There is hereby created by the Upper Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners an office to be known as the "Office of Code Enforcement." Said office shall have the responsibility of administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter and of those other codes and/or ordinances of the Township which designate said Office of Code Enforcement as their official administration and enforcement agency.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Construction Code, Uniform.
B. 
Appointment of Code Enforcement Officer. There shall be appointed by the Upper Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners a Code Enforcement Officer who shall be in charge of the Office of Code Enforcement of the Township. The Code Enforcement Officer shall supervise such other employees or assistants as shall be necessary for the administration and execution of the responsibilities of said office, as appointed and approved by the Upper Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners. Said Code Enforcement Officer, and other personnel, may consist of employees directly hired and compensated by the Township.
C. 
Fire Chief. In accordance with the Fire Prevention Code of the Township,[2] the Chief of the Fire Department has been established as the authorized representative of the Office of Code Enforcement of the Township, having all of the duties for enforcement of the Fire Prevention Code of the Township provided for in this chapter. The Fire Chief shall continue to serve in this capacity until such time as the Upper Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners declares otherwise.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Construction Code, Uniform.
D. 
Relief from personal liability. The Code Enforcement Officer or other official or employees shall not, while acting for the Township, be liable personally because of any act or omission in the discharge of his official duties. Any suit instituted against such Code Enforcement Officer, official or employee shall be defended by the Solicitor of the Township, and in no case will said Officer, official or employee be liable for costs in any action, suit or proceeding.
E. 
Official record. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the Office of Code Enforcement, and all such records shall be open to the public for inspection at all appropriate times. No individual, owner, operator, occupant or other person shall be subject to unwarranted invasion of privacy, and all evidence or information obtained in the course of any inspection shall be kept confidential and not be disclosed, except as may be necessary in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer for the proper and effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. Otherwise, such evidence and information shall not be made public without the consent of the owner, occupant, operator or other person in charge of the unit, structure or premises inspected.

§ 135-2 Duties and powers of Code Enforcement Officer.

[Amended 3-8-1993 by Ord. No. 243]
A. 
Enforcement by Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce (or cause to be enforced) and administer all of the provisions of this chapter, and of those other applicable codes and ordinances which establish the Office of Code Enforcement as their official administration and enforcement agency.
B. 
Duties of Code Enforcement Officer. The duties of the Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative shall include the receipt of applications, the issuance of permits, notices, certificates and orders, the making of inspections to determine conformance with applicable codes and ordinances, the undertaking of systematic inspection programs, the undertaking of search and investigation, the recommendation of appropriate administrative rules for review and adoption by the Code Hearing Board, the keeping of records, the issuance of written annual reports, and such other activities as may be required.
C. 
Right of entry.
(1) 
In the discharge of his duties, the Code Enforcement Officer, or his authorized representative, upon showing proper identification where requested, is hereby authorized to enter and inspect between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., any structure or premises in the Township to enforce the provisions of this chapter, and of those other applicable codes and ordinances. The assistance and cooperation of all other Township officials, including police and fire departments, shall be available to the Code Enforcement Officer to assist in the performance of his duties and in securing right of entry.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer and the owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge of any structure or premises subject to the provisions of this chapter may agree to an inspection by appointment at a mutually convenient time.
(3) 
The owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge of any structure or premises shall give the Code Enforcement Officer entry and free access thereto, and to every part of the structure or to the premises surrounding the structure.
(4) 
If any owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge fails or refuses to permit entry and free access to the structure or premises under his control, or to any part thereof with respect to any authorized inspection, the Code Enforcement Officer may, upon a showing that probable cause exists for the inspection, file a complaint and may petition for and obtain an order directing compliance with the inspection requirements of this chapter from a court of competent jurisdiction. Any person who refuses to comply with such an order issued pursuant to this section shall be subject to such penalties as may be authorized by law for violation of a court order.

§ 135-3 Permits, certificates and fees.

[Amended 3-8-1993 by Ord. No. 243; 9-27-1993 by Ord. No. 245]
A. 
Permit required. An application for a permit shall be required in accordance with the provisions of those applicable codes and ordinances which the Office of Code Enforcement has the responsibility to administer. Said application shall be submitted in such form as may be prescribed by the Code Enforcement Officer, and shall be accompanied by the required fee.
B. 
Action on application. The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine said application to determine compliance with those other applicable codes and ordinances of the Township, and shall, within 90 days after filing, either approve or reject said application. If said application is rejected, the Code Enforcement Officer shall inform the applicant, in writing, stating the reasons for such rejection.
C. 
Required fees. Applicants for permits required by any of the applicable codes and ordinances shall pay, at the time of application, to the Code Enforcement Officer for use by the Township certain fees, as established from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
D. 
Time limitation on application.
(1) 
An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned 90 days after date of filing, unless such application has been diligently prosecuted or a permit shall have been issued, except that for reasonable cause the Code Enforcement Officer may grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.
(2) 
All permits granted under any of the applicable codes and ordinances shall be good for a period of one year, provided that extensions may be granted by the Code Enforcement Officer for good reason, except that any permit granted for demolition activities shall be valid for three months only, and if such demolition work is not completed within that time, any bond posted by the applicant shall be forfeited.
E. 
Certificates. The following certificates shall be required in accordance with the provisions of those other applicable codes and ordinances which the Office of Code Enforcement has the responsibility to administer. Said certificates may be issued separately or combined in the form of a single certificate.
(1) 
Certificate of use and occupancy. In accordance with § 118.0 of the BOCA National Building Code, 1993 Edition, and § R-119 of the CABO One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code, 1992 Edition, a certificate of use and occupancy shall be required, and no new building or portion of an existing building which is enlarged or altered shall be used or occupied, in whole or in part, until such a certificate of use and occupancy shall have been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 2-25-2002 by Ord. No. 336]
(2) 
Certificate of approval. A certificate of approval shall be required for any electrical or plumbing work completed under the provisions of the applicable codes and ordinances. All applicants shall apply to the Office of Code Enforcement for such a certificate of approval within 30 days of the completion of the building structure, work or premises.
(3) 
Other certificates. Any other permits, certificates or licenses, as required by the applicable codes and ordinances, shall be obtained by the applicant in accordance with the provisions of said applicable codes and ordinances. Application for such permits, certificates or licenses shall be made to the Code Enforcement Officer.

§ 135-4 Enforcement procedures; violations and penalties; abatement of dangerous conditions.

[Amended 3-8-1993 by Ord. No. 243]
A. 
Procedure in case of violations. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, or of the other applicable codes and ordinances, or of any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, he shall proceed as follows:
(1) 
Serve notice, in writing, of the alleged violation which shall be signed by the Code Enforcement Officer, or his authorized representative. Said notice shall be served personally on the responsible owner, occupant, operator or other person in charge; or served by certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested; or, where such responsible person in charge cannot be found, service may be made by posting a notice in or about the structure or premises, or by publishing such notice in a newspaper of general circulation for a period of three consecutive days; or served by any other method authorized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(2) 
Said notice shall include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued, the sections of the code and/or ordinances which have been violated, and the remedial actions required.
(3) 
Said notice shall allow a reasonable time not to exceed 60 days for the initiation and correction of the violation alleged, or of the remedial actions required, except where emergency conditions exist which require immediate corrective action.
(4) 
Said notice shall contain a statement indicating that the notice will become an order if no request and approval for an extension of time is made to and given by the Code Enforcement Officer, or if no petition for an appeal or hearing is requested before the Code Hearing Board within 15 days from the receipt of said notice.
(5) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may grant a request for a reasonable extension of time whether he has evidence to believe that the responsible person is attempting to remove the alleged violation. However, no such extension of time may exceed a period of 90 days unless authorized by the Code Hearing Board upon appeal of the responsible owner, operator, occupant or other person in charge.
B. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any person or entity who fails to correct a violation or institute a remedial action as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer, or who violates a provision or fails to comply with any requirement, shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to a fine of not less than $50 and 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 continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(2) 
The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the Solicitor representing the Township from initiating, and he is hereby authorized to initiate, appropriate actions or proceedings in law, or in equity, to effect the purposes of this chapter.
C. 
Dangerous and unsafe conditions and structures and dwellings unfit for human habitation. Structures which contain dwellings which are unfit for human habitation, or structures which are dangerous or unsafe and structures which contain dangerous conditions or materials, as defined by the applicable codes and ordinance of the Township, are hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
(1) 
General procedure. The Code Enforcement Officer shall order the responsible owner, operator, occupant or person in charge of the structure or premises which is dangerous, unsafe or unfit for human habitation to vacate, repair and/or demolish said structure, and to remove the public nuisance as provided for in this chapter and in the applicable codes and ordinances of the Township, in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(2) 
Failure to comply. Whenever an order to vacate, repair and/or demolish a structure which is a public nuisance because it is unsafe, dangerous or unfit for human habitation has not been complied with, the Code Enforcement Officer may, in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, proceed to cause the structure to be vacated, repaired and/or demolished, or take such other action as is necessary to abate the nuisance. Abatement under this section shall not commence until at least 10 days after the service of the order, except that the Code Enforcement Officer may determine that more immediate action is required because of the special emergency or dangerous conditions which exist.
(3) 
Recovery of expenses.
(a) 
The expenses incurred pursuant to Subsection C(2), and of the other applicable codes and ordinances, shall be paid by the responsible owner, operator and occupant, or by the persons who caused or maintained such a public nuisance.
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall maintain a record of the expenses incurred.
(c) 
The Board of Commissioners of the Township may institute a suit to recover such expenses and may charge such expenses against the property as a lien.

§ 135-5 Variances and appeals.

A. 
Code Hearing Board. There is hereby established a Code Hearing Board which shall be the Board of Commissioners of the Township.
B. 
Powers of the Code Hearing Board. The Code Hearing Board shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
Interpretation. On appeal from a determination of the Code Enforcement Officer, or on request of any Township official, the Code Hearing Board shall decide any questions involving the interpretation of any provision of this chapter, or of those other applicable codes and ordinances.
(2) 
Variances. The Code Hearing Board may grant a variance from the strict application of this chapter, or of those other applicable codes and ordinances. Such variances may be granted only in those cases which would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship and where the public health and safety shall not be jeopardized.
(3) 
Decide appeals. The Code Hearing Board shall hear all appeals made to it and decide whether such appeals shall be granted.
C. 
Request for appeals or variances. Any person requesting a variance or aggrieved by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer, or by another employee or official charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter and of those other applicable codes or ordinances, may take an appeal to the Code Hearing Board. All appeals must be made in writing stating the grounds upon which the appeal is based, and shall be transmitted to the Office of Code Enforcement. An appeal must be taken within 15 days of the action or of the receipt of written notice of any decision or ruling which is being appealed.
D. 
Appeals and variance procedure.
(1) 
Public hearing. The Code Hearing Board shall meet and conduct a hearing within 45 days of the receipt of an appeal or a request for a variance. All hearings shall be public, and all persons whose interest may be affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. A record shall be kept of all evidence and testimony presented at the hearing.
(2) 
Decision of the Board. All decisions of the Board shall be in writing, and a copy of each decision shall be sent to the applicant and to the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Hearing Board shall also retain, in its files, a copy of each decision, which files shall be available for inspection by the public. Each decision shall set forth fully the reasons for the decision of the Code Hearing Board and the findings of fact on which the decision was based. The Code Hearing Board shall make an order on its decision, and the Code Enforcement Officer shall take immediate action to carry out said order.
(3) 
Appeals from the decision of the Code Hearing Board. Any person or persons aggrieved by any final order or decision of the Code Hearing Board may appeal such order or decision within 30 days to the Court of Common Pleas in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania regarding appeals from administrative agencies.
E. 
Reports by the Code Hearing Board. The Code Hearing Board shall record all applications and appeals made to it, along with a summary of the Board's decision on each case. A copy of the report shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Hearing Board may also submit advisory reports recommending changes and modifications in this chapter, or in those other applicable codes or ordinances.

§ 135-6 General provisions.

A. 
Regulations of the Department of Labor and Industry. Wherever any provision or requirement of the regulations of the Department of Labor and Industry of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is more stringent or strict than a provision or requirement of this chapter or of the ordinances referred to in § 135-1 of this chapter, the applicable provision or requirement of the regulations of said Department of Labor and Industry shall supersede any such provision or requirement of such ordinances.
B. 
Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Code Enforcement Ordinance of Upper Pottsgrove Township."