Borough of Chambersburg, PA
Franklin County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Town Council of the Borough of Chambersburg 10-23-1967 by Ord. No. 67-38. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 142-1 Recognition of right to obtain housing.

[Amended 2-11-1976 by Ord. No. 76-16]
The opportunity for an individual to obtain facilities of housing without discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, use of guide dogs because of blindness of the user, age, sex or national origin is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this chapter.[1]
[1]
The preamble to Ord. No. 67-38 stated that discrimination against individuals or groups because of race, religious creed, ancestry or national origin was a matter of concern to the borough; that such discrimination foments domestic strife and unrest, threatens the rights and privileges of inhabitants, and undermines the foundation of a free democratic state; that the denial of equal housing opportunities compels many individuals to live in substandard, unhealthful or overcrowded dwellings, resulting in racial segregation in public schools and other community facilities, juvenile delinquency and other evils, thereby threatening the peace, health, safety and general welfare of the borough and its inhabitants; that the policy of the borough was to foster the right of individuals to secure commercial housing regardless of race, color, religious creed, ancestry or national origin; and that the ordinance was adopted under the authority granted by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act of 1955, as amended (43 P.S. § 951 et seq.).

§ 142-2 Definitions.

[Amended 2-11-1976 by Ord. No. 76-16]
As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL HOUSING
Housing accommodations held or offered for sale or rent by a real estate broker, salesman or agent, or by any other person pursuant to authorization of the owner; by the owner himself; or by legal representatives, but shall not include any personal residence offered for rent by the owner or by his broker, salesman, agent or employee.
A. 
When referring to housing accommodations held or offered for rent, the term "personal residence" means a building or structure containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than two individuals, two groups or two families living independently of each other and used by the owner thereof as a bona fide residence for himself and any members of his family forming his household.
B. 
When referring to housing accommodations held or offered for sale, the term "personal residence" means a building or structure containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than two individuals, two groups or two families living independently of each other and used by the owner thereof as a bona fide residence for himself and any members of his family forming his household.
COMMISSION
The Borough of Chambersburg Housing Commission created by this chapter.
HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS
Includes:
A. 
Any building or structure or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as the home residence or sleeping place of one or more individuals, groups or families whether or not living independently of each other; and
B. 
Any vacant land offered for sale or lease for commercial housing.
PERSON
Includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy or receivers. It also includes, but is not limited to, any owner, lessor, assignor, builder, manager, broker, salesman, agent, employee, lending institution and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and all political subdivisions, authorities, boards and commissions thereof.

§ 142-3 Unlawful discriminatory practices.

[Amended 2-11-1976 by Ord. No. 76-16]
A. 
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for a person to:
(1) 
Refuse to sell, lease, or finance or otherwise to deny or withhold commercial housing from any person because of the race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin of any prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing, or to refuse to lease commercial housing to any person due to use of a guide dog because of the blindness of the user.
(2) 
Refuse to lend money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing or otherwise withhold financing of commercial housing from any person because of the race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin of any present or prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing.
(3) 
Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of selling or leasing any commercial housing or in furnishing facilities, services or privileges in connection with the ownership, occupancy or use of any commercial housing because of the race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin of any present or prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing, or to discriminate against any person in the terms of leasing any commercial housing or in furnishing facilities, services or privileges in connection with the occupancy or use of any commercial housing due to use of a guide dog because of the blindness of the user.
(4) 
Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of any loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing because of the race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin of any present or prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing.
(5) 
Print, publish or circulate any statement or advertisement relating to the sale, lease or acquisition of any commercial housing or the loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing which indicates any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based upon race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin, or to print, publish or circulate any statement or advertisement relating to the lease of any commercial dwelling which indicates any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based upon use of a guide dog because of the blindness of the user.
(6) 
Make any inquiry, elicit any information, make or keep any record or use any form of application containing questions or entries concerning race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex or national origin in connection with the sale or lease of any commercial housing or loan of any money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing, or to make any inquiry, elicit any information, make or keep any record or use any formal application containing questions or entries concerning the use of a guide dog because of the blindness of the user, in connection with the lease of any commercial housing.
B. 
Nothing in this section shall bar any religious or denominational institution or organization or any charitable or educational organization which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization or any bona fide private or fraternal organization from giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or to members of such private or fraternal organization or from making such selection as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles or the aims, purposes or fraternal privileges for which it is established or maintained, nor shall it apply to the rental of rooms or apartments in a landlord-occupied rooming house with a common entrance.

§ 142-4 Establishment of Housing Commission.

A. 
There shall be and there is hereby established in the Borough of Chambersburg an administrative commission for the administration of this chapter which shall be known as the "Borough of Chambersburg Housing Commission" and which is hereinafter referred to as the "Commission."
B. 
Said Commission shall consist of five members, to be known as "Commissioners," who shall be appointed by the Town Council of the Borough of Chambersburg, each of whom shall hold office for a term of five years or until his successor shall have been duly appointed and qualified; provided, however, that in making the first appointments to said Commission one member shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years and one for a term of five years. Vacancies occurring in an office of a member of the Commission by expiration of term, death, resignation, removal or for any other reason shall be filled in the manner aforesaid for the balance of that term. No member of the Commission shall hold office in any political party, and all members of the Commission shall serve without salary but may be paid expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
C. 
The Town Council of the Borough of Chambersburg shall designate one of the members of the Commission to be its Chairman who shall preside at all meetings of the Commission and perform all the duties and functions of the Chairman thereof. The Commission may designate one of its members to act as Chairman during the absence or incapacity of the Chairman, and, when so acting, the member so designated shall have and perform all the powers and duties of the Chairman of the Commission.
D. 
Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for transacting business, but the similar votes of at least three members of the Commission shall be required for any official action taken by the Commission.
E. 
The Commission shall adopt an Official Seal by which its acts and proceedings shall be authenticated and of which the courts shall take judicial notice. The certificate of the Chairman of the Commission, under the Seal of the Commission and attested by the Secretary, shall be accepted in evidence in any judicial proceeding in any court of this commonwealth as adequate and sufficient proof of the acts and proceedings of the Commission therein certified to.

§ 142-5 Powers and duties of Housing Commission.

[Amended 2-11-1976 by Ord. No. 76-16]
The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
A. 
To establish and maintain a central office in the Borough of Chambersburg.
B. 
To meet and function at any place within the Borough of Chambersburg.
C. 
To appoint such attorneys and other employees and agents as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation within the limitations provided by law and within the amount appropriated by the Borough of Chambersburg from time to time for the then current fiscal year, and prescribe their duties.
D. 
To adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind rules and regulations to effectuate the policies and provisions of this chapter.
E. 
To formulate policies to effectuate the purposes of this chapter and make recommendations to the Town Council of the Borough of Chambersburg to effectuate such policies.
F. 
To initiate, receive, investigate and pass upon complaints charging unlawful discriminatory practices.
G. 
To hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take testimony of any person under oath or affirmation and, in connection therewith, to require the production for examination of any books and papers relating to any matter under investigation where a complaint has been properly filed before the Commission. The Commission may make rules as to the issuance of subpoenas by individual Commissioners.
(1) 
In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County or any Court of Common Pleas within the jurisdiction of which the hearing is to be held or said person charged with contumacy or refusal to obey is found, resides or transacts business, upon application by the Commission, may issue to such person an order requiring such person to appear before the Commission, there to produce documentary evidence, if so ordered, or there to give evidence touching the matter in question, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by said court as a contempt thereof.
(2) 
No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing records, correspondence, documents or other evidence in obedience to the subpoena of the Commission or of any individual Commissioner on the ground that the testimony or evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture, but no person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, except that such person so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying. The immunity herein provided shall extend only to natural persons so compelled to testify.
H. 
To create such local advisory agencies and conciliation councils as will aid in effectuating the purposes of this chapter. The Commission may itself or it may empower these agencies and councils to study the problems of discrimination in housing when based on race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex or national origin, and foster, through community effort or otherwise, goodwill among the groups and elements of the population of the borough. Such agencies and councils may make recommendations to the Commission for the development of policies and procedure in general. Advisory agencies and conciliation councils created by the Commission shall be composed of representative citizens of the Borough of Chambersburg, serving without pay.
I. 
To issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as, in its judgment, will tend to promote goodwill and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, use of guide dogs because of blindness of the user, age, sex or national origin.
J. 
From time to time but not less than once a year, to report to the Town Council describing in detail the investigations, proceedings and hearings and their outcome, the decisions rendered and the other work performed by it, and to make recommendations for such further legislation concerning abuses and discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, use of guide dogs because of blindness of the user, age, sex or national origin as may be desirable.

§ 142-6 Complaint procedure.

A. 
Any individual claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful discriminatory practice may make, sign and file with the Commission a verified complaint, in writing, which shall state the name and address of the person alleged to have committed the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of and which shall set forth the particulars thereof and contain such other information as may be required by the Commission. The Commission upon its own initiative may, in like manner, make, sign and file such complaint.
B. 
After the filing of any complaint, or whenever there is reason to believe that an unlawful discriminatory practice has been committed, the Commission shall make a prompt investigation in connection therewith.
C. 
If it shall be determined after such investigation that no probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, the Commission shall, within 10 days from such determination, cause to be issued and served upon the complainant written notice of such determination, and said complainant or his attorney may, within 10 days after such service, file with the Commission a written request for a preliminary hearing before the Commission to determine probable cause for crediting the allegations of the complaint. If it shall be determined after such investigation that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, the Commission shall immediately endeavor to eliminate the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of by conference, conciliation and persuasion. The members of the Commission and its staff shall not disclose what has transpired in the course of such endeavors, provided that the Commission may publish the facts in the case of any complaint which has been dismissed, and the terms of conciliation when the complaint has been adjusted, without disclosing the identity of the parties involved.
D. 
In case of failure so to eliminate such practice or in advance thereof, if in the judgment of the Commission circumstances so warrant, the Commission shall cause to be issued and served a written notice, together with a copy of such complaint as the same may have been amended, requiring the person named in such complaint, hereinafter referred to as "respondent," to answer the charges of such complaint at a hearing before the Commission at a time and place to be specified in such notice. The place of any such hearing shall be in the Borough of Chambersburg.
E. 
The case in support of the complaint shall be presented before the Commission by one of its attorneys or agents. The respondent may file a written, verified answer to the complaint and appear at such hearing in person or otherwise, with or without counsel, and submit testimony. The complainant may likewise appear at such hearing in person or otherwise, with or without counsel, and submit testimony. The Commission or the complainant shall have the power reasonably and fairly to amend any complaint, and the respondent shall have like power to amend his answer. The Commission shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity. The testimony taken at the hearing shall be under oath and be transcribed.
F. 
If, upon all the evidence at the hearing, the Commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in or is engaging in any unlawful discriminatory practice as defined in this chapter, the Commission shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease and desist from such unlawful discriminatory practice and to take such affirmative action including but not limited to selling or leasing specified commercial housing upon such equal terms and conditions and with such equal facilities, services and privileges or lending money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing, upon such equal terms and conditions to any person discriminated against or all persons as, in the judgment of the Commission, will effectuate the purposes of this chapter and including a requirement for report of the manner of compliance. If, upon all the evidence, the Commission shall find that a respondent has not engaged in any such unlawful discriminatory practice, the Commission shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the complainant an order dismissing said complaint as to such respondent.
G. 
The Commission shall establish rules or practice to govern, expedite and effectuate the foregoing procedure and its own actions thereunder. Three or more members of the Commission shall constitute the Commission for any hearing required to be held by the Commission under this chapter. Any complaint filed pursuant to this section must be so filed within 90 days after the alleged act of discrimination. Any complaint may be withdrawn at any time by the party filing the complaint.

§ 142-7 Enforcement and judicial review.

A. 
The complainant or the Commission may secure enforcement of the order of the Commission or other appropriate relief by the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County. When the Commission has heard and decided any complaint brought before it, enforcement of its order shall be initiated by the filing of a petition in such Court, together with a transcript of the record of the hearing before the Commission, and issuance and service of a copy of said petition as in proceedings in equity. When enforcement of a Commission order is sought, the Court may make and enter, upon the pleadings, testimony and proceedings set forth in such transcript, an order or decree enforcing, modifying and enforcing as so modified, or setting aside, in whole or in part, the order of the Commission, and the jurisdiction of the Court shall not be limited by acts pertaining to equity jurisdiction of the courts. An appeal may be taken as in other civil actions.
B. 
Any failure to obey an order of the Court may be punished by said Court as a contempt thereof.
C. 
The Commission's copy of the testimony shall be available at all reasonable times to all parties for examination without cost and for the purpose of enforcement or judicial review of the order. The case shall be heard without requirement of printing.

§ 142-8 Injunctions in certain housing complaints.

When it appears that a housing unit or units involved in a complaint may be sold, rented or otherwise disposed of before a determination of the case has been made, and the Commission shows probable cause for the complaint, the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County may issue an injunction restraining the sale, rental or other disposition of the unit or units, except in compliance with the order of court. The Court may attach to any such injunction granted such other conditions as it deems proper. Such injunction, if issued, shall be of no more than 30 days' duration. If an extension of time is required by the Commission, this extension may be granted at the discretion of the Court and subject to such provision for bond as the Court may deem necessary.

§ 142-9 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-11-1976 by Ord. No. 76-16]
Any person who shall willfully resist, prevent, impede or interfere with the Commission, its members, agents or agencies in the performance of duties pursuant to this chapter or shall willfully violate an order of the Commission shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment for not more than 30 days, provided that procedure for the review of an order shall not be deemed to be such willful conduct.