Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Upper Hanover at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).[1]. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 355.
[1]
Editor's Note: This chapter was derived from Ord. No. 01-09, adopted 8-14-2001; amended 5-10-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-06.

§ 153-1 Title.

This chapter will be known and cited as the "Upper Hanover Township Prevention of Fires, Fire Hazards and Air Pollution Control Ordinance of 2001, amended by the Upper Hanover Township Prevention of Fires, Fire Hazards and Air Pollution Control Ordinance of 2005."

§ 153-2 Policy.

The Board of Supervisors of Upper Hanover Township has determined that open burning and air pollution may be detrimental to the health, comfort, living conditions, welfare and safety of the citizens of Upper Hanover Township, and therefore, it is hereby declared to be the policy of Upper Hanover Township to safeguard the citizens of Upper Hanover Township from unrestricted open burning and air pollution.

§ 153-3 Definitions.

The following definitions will apply to the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Where terms are not defined herein, the term shall have its ordinary accepted meaning such as the context implies.
AIR BASIN
A geographic area of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania known as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Air Basin, including the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia.
AIR CURTAIN DESTRUCTOR
A mechanical device which forcefully projects a curtain of air across a pit in which open burning is being conducted so that combustion efficiency is increased and smoke and other particulate matter are contained.
APPROVED CONTAINER
Any container used for the purpose of burning materials as authorized herein; constructed of masonry, metal or other noncombustible rigid materials; containing a bottom, sides, and a burn container cover as defined herein. Any container which has deteriorated to the point where it contains holes or missing surface in the structure shall not be considered an approved container. If metal drums are being used, they shall be free from holes in the sides and/or bottom, except that they may contain drain or vent holes in the bottom of the drum no larger than two square inches each.
BURN CONTAINER COVER
A metal screen with spaces not more than 1/2 square inch, or other comparable material which covers the entire open area above the approved container opening. Such screens shall be maintained in good order as to prevent large particles from escaping from the approved container during operation. The cover shall not be permitted to deteriorate to any point whereby it loses its maximum efficiency.
BURNING
The act of consuming by fire; to flame, char, scorch or blaze. As used in this chapter, "smoldering" shall have the same meaning as "burning" and any smoldering shall be deemed a burning.
CLEARING AND GRUBBING WASTES
Trees, shrubs and other native vegetation which are cleared from land during or prior to the process of construction. The term does not include demolition wastes and dirt-laden roots.
DOMESTIC REFUSE
Waste which is generated from the normal occupancy of a structure occupied solely as a dwelling by two families or less. The term does not include household hazardous waste, source-separated recyclables, appliances, carpets, demolition waste (insulation, shingles, plaster, siding, etc.), food waste, furniture, mattresses or box springs, paint, plastics, petroleum products, putrescible waste, rubber products, solvents, tires, treated wood or wire.
HAZARDOUS WASTE
The term includes garbage, refuse, sludge from an industrial or other wastewater treatment plant, sludge from a water supply treatment plant or air pollution control facility, and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material resulting from municipal, commercial, industrial, institutional, mining, or agricultural operations, and from community activities, or a combination of these factors, which, because of its quantity, concentration or physical, chemical or infectious characteristic, may:
A. 
Cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or morbidity in either an individual or the total population; or
B. 
Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE
A waste that would be considered hazardous under the Solid Waste Management Act (35 P.S. § 6018.101 et seq.) (SWMA) but for the fact that it is produced in quantities smaller than those regulated as hazardous waste under the SWMA and is generated by persons not otherwise covered as hazardous generators by the SWMA.
OPEN BURNING or OPEN FIRE
A fire, the air contaminants from which are emitted directly into the outdoor atmosphere and not directed thereto through a flue.
PERSON
Any individual, public or private corporation for profit or not for profit, association, partnership, firm, trust, estate, department, board, bureau or agency of the commonwealth or the federal government, political subdivision, municipality, district, authority or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.
RECREATIONAL OR CEREMONIAL PURPOSES
Open burning where the fuel being burned is not contained in an approved container and the burning occurs for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or other similar purposes. An example includes, but is not limited to, bonfires and other such fires.
SOURCE-SEPARATED RECYCLABLES
Materials that are separated from municipal waste at the point of origin for the purpose of recycling. The term is limited to clear glass, colored glass, aluminum, steel and bimetal cans, high-grade office paper, newsprint, corrugated paper, plastics, and other marketable grades of paper.
STRUCTURE
Any house, dwelling, garage, shed or shelter constructed, fabricated or built of materials which may burn.
YARD WASTE
Leaves, grass clippings, garden residue, tree trimmings, chipped shrubbery and other vegetative material.

§ 153-4 Exceptions.

Open burning is permitted under the following circumstances:
A. 
A fire set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP's Regional Air Quality Program Office) and approved and under the direct supervision of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee.
B. 
Any fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in firefighting, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP's Regional Air Quality Program Office) and approved and under the direct supervision of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee.
C. 
A fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP's Regional Air Quality Program Office) and approved under the direct supervision of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee.
D. 
A fire set in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities in their unmanufactured state on the premises of the farm operation, when approved by the Township Fire Marshal and under the direct supervision of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee. Authorization in writing shall be requested by and issued to the owner of the land upon which the burning is to be conducted. Applications shall be submitted to the Fire Marshal, in writing, at least 10 days before the fire is set and shall be in such a form and contain such information as required by the Fire Marshal. Such applications shall, at a minimum, contain the following information and adhere to the following conditions:
(1) 
Burning during daylight hours.
(2) 
Identify purpose for burning.
(3) 
Identify nature and quantities of materials to be burned.
(4) 
Identify date when burning will take place.
(5) 
Identify hours when burning will take place (three hours maximum).
(6) 
Identify location of burning site.
(7) 
A fire extinguisher shall be present at all times or some other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose, or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
E. 
A fire set solely for cooking food in:
(1) 
Devices designed for that purpose, located not less than 15 feet (4,572 mm) from a structure or property line.
(2) 
Charcoal cooking units, except charcoal cooking units shall not be located on balconies, decks or porches exceeding one story in height of multiunit buildings or apartment units, whether residential or mixed use.
F. 
Highway safety flares, smudge pots, tar pots and similar occupational uses.
G. 
Domestic refuse.
(1) 
A fire set for the purpose of burning that amount of domestic refuse generated from one dwelling, when the fire is on the premises of a structure occupied solely as a dwelling by two families or less and when the refuse results from the normal occupancy of said structure, and subject to the following restrictions:
(a) 
Must be burned in an approved container.
(b) 
Container shall be a minimum of 25 feet (7,620 mm) from a structure or property line.
(c) 
Must be attended at all times.
(d) 
Must take place during daylight hours.
(e) 
A fire extinguisher shall be present at all times or some other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose, or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
(2) 
Burning of domestic refuse is not permitted and would be just cause for extinguishment under the following conditions:
(a) 
The emissions are visible at any time at the point such emissions pass outside the property of the person on whose land the domestic burning is being conducted.
(b) 
Malodorous (bad) odor contaminants from the domestic burning are detectable outside the property of the person on whose land the domestic burning is being conducted.
(c) 
The emissions interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of life and property.
(d) 
The emissions cause damage to vegetation or property.
(e) 
The emissions are or may be deleterious (having harmful effect) to human or animal health.
(f) 
Any order by the Fire Marshal or other governmental body prevents burning due to drought or other extreme weather conditions.
H. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection H, Yard waste, was repealed 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02.
I. 
A fire set solely for recreational or ceremonial purposes, if approved by the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee. Any such fires shall be governed by any conditions, in the discretion of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee, as are required to ensure the safety of the participants, the Township residents, and/or the public, which shall include, but are not limited to, the following restrictions:
(1) 
Applications shall be by the landowner, submitted to the Fire Marshal for approval, in writing, at least 10 days before the fire is to be set and shall be in such a form and contain such information as required by the Fire Marshal. Such applications shall contain, as a minimum, the following information:
(a) 
Identify purpose for burning.
(b) 
Identify nature and quantities of materials to be burned.
(c) 
Identify date when burning will take place.
(d) 
Identify hours when burning will take place (three hours maximum).
(e) 
Identify location of burning site.
(f) 
Attest that on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, approved by the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee, will be provided.
(2) 
Shall not be more than five feet (1,524 mm) by five feet (1,524 mm) by five feet (1,524 mm) in dimension.
(3) 
Fuel shall consist only of seasoned dry firewood, with no accelerants, and shall be ignited with a small quantity of paper and chosen to minimize the generation of air contaminants.
(4) 
Shall not be utilized for waste disposal purposes.
(5) 
Must be attended at all times.
(6) 
The Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee shall reserve the right to withdraw authorization at any time.
J. 
Clearing and grubbing wastes may be burned, subject to the following requirements:
(1) 
Air curtain destructors shall be used when burning wastes from clearing and grubbing.
(2) 
When approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP's Regional Air Quality Program Office), and under its guidelines and approved and under the direct supervision of the Township Fire Marshal or his/her designee.
K. 
No person shall engage in the act of burning or open burning or shall ignite or allow to be ignited an open fire on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
L. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the burning of leaf and yard waste, and/or any item, substance or material designated as a recyclable material under the Code of the Township of Upper Hanover, Chapter 409, Solid Waste, as amended, is hereby prohibited.
[Added 3-12-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]

§ 153-5 Permits.

No person shall burn, ignite or feed any open fire or allow, permit, maintain or cause any open burning of any material within the limits of Upper Hanover Township unless such person has first obtained the prior written consent of the Fire Marshal in the form of a permit, with the exception of those circumstances as outlined and regulated in § 153-4. Prior to the issuance of a permit, the Fire Marshal may inspect the grounds of the property for which application for a permit has been made, and such burning shall be permitted only on those areas of a property designated as being suitable for the same for the purpose of protecting safety and health. No person shall be granted more than six burning permits for a single property during any one-month period.

§ 153-6 Pyrotechnics.

The use of pyrotechnic devices within the limits of Upper Hanover Township shall be in accordance with National Fire Protection Association Standard No. 1126, and such use shall not occur until the Fire Marshal has issued a written permit for such activities.

§ 153-7 Fireworks.

The construction, handling and use of fireworks within the limits of Upper Hanover Township shall be in accordance with National Fire Protection Association Standard No. 1123, and such use shall not occur until the Fire Marshal has issued a written permit for such activities.

§ 153-8 Recreational and ceremonial fires.

No campfire larger than two feet by two feet by two feet in dimension may be ignited without first obtaining a written permit from the Fire Marshal.

§ 153-9 Enforcement; duties of Fire Marshal.

It shall be the duty of the Township Fire Marshal to enforce the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations contained therein, and his powers, rights, and duties shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall have the right to enter upon and inspect any building, property, premises or place for the purpose of investigating an actual or suspected source of open burning or for the purpose of ascertaining the compliance with any regulation, approved application, and/or the enforcement of this chapter.
B. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall have the right to receive and initiate complaints and/or violations of this chapter.
C. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall have the power and discretion to initiate enforcement proceedings by sending a written enforcement notice in accordance with the law and/or institute criminal proceedings.
D. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall attend meetings of the Board when requested and file a written report detailing any violation of any regulation of this chapter.
E. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall have the authority to issue such orders, either orally or in writing, as are necessary to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, orders modifying, suspending, terminating or revoking approval of applications; orders requiring persons to cease unlawful burning which, in the course of its occurrence, is in violation of any provision of this chapter; orders requiring the monitoring of any open burning; or orders prohibiting all open burning during drought or extreme weather conditions where atmospheric conditions or local weather circumstances make open fires hazardous.
F. 
The Township Fire Marshal shall keep records of received applications, approved applications, denied applications, complaints received, complaints initiated, enforcement notices, reports, orders, citations, any other pertinent records necessary for the enforcement of this chapter. Such records shall be maintained in the Township Building, and copies of all such items retained shall be provided to the Township Manager within three business days of either receipt, completion, service or filing.
G. 
This chapter shall be enforced in the manner set forth in Subsections A through F of this section. Violations of this chapter shall be punishable by criminal or civil penalties as set forth in §§ 153-10, 153-11, 153-12 and 153-13.

§ 153-10 Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, any order from the Fire Marshal or any written term or condition directed by the Fire Marshal pursuant to an application submitted in accordance with this chapter shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each separate offense and/or may be sentenced to imprisonment not to exceed 90 days for each separate offense. the Fire Marshal is authorized to issue or file nontraffic citations with the Magisterial District Judge with jurisdiction for any violations of this chapter, and the Solicitor for Upper Hanover Township is hereby authorized to prosecute these offenses.

§ 153-11 Civil penalties.

A. 
In addition to proceeding under any other remedy available at law or in equity for a violation of a provision of this chapter or any order or municipally approved application issued pursuant to this chapter, the Upper Hanover Township may assess a civil penalty for the violation. The penalty may be assessed whether or not the violation was willful. The civil penalty so assessed shall not exceed $10,000 per day for each violation. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Upper Hanover Township shall consider the willfulness of the violation; damage to air, soil, water or other natural resources of the Upper Hanover Township or their uses; financial detriment to the person as a result of the violation; deterrence of future violations; cost to the Upper Hanover Township; the size of the source or facility; the compliance history of the source; the severity and duration of the violation; the degree of cooperation in resolving the violation; the speed with which compliance is ultimately achieved; whether the violation was voluntarily reported; other factors unique to the owners or operators of the source or facility; and any other relevant factors.
B. 
When the Upper Hanover Township proposes to assess a civil penalty, it shall inform the person of the proposed amount of the penalty. The person charged with the penalty shall then have 30 days to pay the proposed penalty in full; or if the person wishes to contest the amount of the penalty or the existence of the violation, if not already established, the person shall forward the proposed amount of the penalty to the Building Code Board of Appeals within the thirty-day period for placement in an escrow account with the State Treasurer or any commonwealth bank or post an appeal bond to the Building Code Board of Appeals within 30 days in the amount of the proposed penalty, provided that such bond is executed by a surety licensed to do business in the commonwealth and is satisfactory to the Upper Hanover Township. If, through administrative or final judicial review of the proposed penalty, it is determined that no violation occurred or that the amount of the penalty shall be reduced, the Building Code Board of Appeals shall, within 30 days, remit the appropriate amount to the person with any interest accumulated by the escrow deposit.
(1) 
Failure to forward the money or post the appeal bond at the time of the appeal shall result in a waiver of all legal rights to contest the violation or the amount of the civil penalty unless the appellant alleges financial inability to prepay the penalty or to post the appeal bond. The Building Code Board of Appeals shall conduct a hearing to consider the appellant's alleged inability to pay within 30 days of the date of the appeal.
(2) 
The Building Code Board of Appeals may waive the requirement to prepay the civil penalty or to post an appeal bond if the appellant demonstrates and the Building Code Board of Appeals finds that the appellant is financially unable to pay. The Building Code Board of Appeals shall issue an order within 30 days of the date of the hearing to consider the appellant's alleged inability to pay.
(3) 
The amount assessed after administrative hearing or after waiver of administrative hearing shall be payable to the Upper Hanover Township and shall be collectible in any manner provided by law for the collection of debts, including the collection of interest at the rate established in 35 P.S. § 4006.3(c), which shall run from the date of assessment of the penalty.
(4) 
If any person liable to pay any such penalty neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount, together with interest and any costs that may accrue, shall constitute a debt of such person, as may be appropriate, to the Upper Hanover Township. The debt shall constitute a lien on all property owned by said person when a notice of lien incorporating a description of the property of the person subject to the action is duly filed with the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas where the property is located. The Prothonotary shall promptly enter upon the civil judgment or order docket, at no cost to the Upper Hanover Township, the name and address of the person, as may be appropriate, and the amount of the lien as set forth in the notice of lien.
(5) 
Upon entry by the Prothonotary, the lien shall attach to the revenues and all real and personal property of the person, whether or not the person is solvent. The notice of lien filed pursuant to this section which affects the property of the person shall create a lien with priority over all subsequent claims or liens which are filed against the person, but it shall not affect any valid lien, right or interest in the property filed in accordance with established procedure prior to the filing of a notice of lien under this section.

§ 153-12 Unlawful conduct.

It shall be unlawful to fail to comply with or to cause or assist in the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or to fail to comply with any order, approved application, or other requirement of the Upper Hanover Township; or to cause a public nuisance; or to cause air, soil or water pollution resulting from an open burning incident; or to hinder, obstruct, prevent or interfere with the Upper Hanover Township or its personnel in their performance of any duty hereunder, including denying the Upper Hanover Township access to the source or facility; or to violate the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4903 (relating to false swearing) or 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) in regard to papers required to be submitted under this chapter. The owner or operator of an open burning source shall not allow pollution of the air, water or other natural resources of the Upper Hanover Township to result from open burning.

§ 153-13 Public nuisances.

A violation of this chapter or of any order or approved application issued by Upper Hanover Township under this chapter shall constitute a public nuisance. The Upper Hanover Township shall have the authority to order any person causing a public nuisance to abate the public nuisance. In addition, when abating a public nuisance, the Upper Hanover Township may recover the expense of abatement following the process for assessment and collection of a civil penalty contained in § 153-11. Whenever the nuisance is maintained or continued contrary to this chapter or any order or approved application, the nuisance may be abatable in the manner provided by this chapter. Any person who causes the public nuisance shall be liable for the cost of abatement.