[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Municipality of Murrysville 10-5-2005 by Ord. No. 690-05; amended in its entirety 11-1-2017 by Ord. No. 982-17. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Buildings, dangerous — See Ch. 87.
Uniform Construction codes — See Ch. 96.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 120.
Mosquito breeding areas — See Ch. 152.
Recycling — See Ch. 182.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 199.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 174, Plumbing, adopted 12-16-1991 by Ord. No. 305-91, was repealed 12-15-2004 by Ord. No. 671-04.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL OPERATION
- The management and use of farming resources for the production of crops, livestock or poultry [As defined by the Nutrient Management Act of 1993 (P.L. 12, No. 6)].
- A combination of materials forming any structure that is erected on the ground and permanently affixed thereto, designed, intended, or arranged for the shelter, enclosure, housing or structural support of persons, animals, processes, equipment, goods or materials of any kind. "Building" shall not include driveways, parking spaces or parking lots.
- BUILDING CODE OFFICIAL
- The official appointed by Murrysville Council to enforce the Uniform Construction Code, as defined by the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.
- BUILDING, PRINCIPAL
- A building, or structure, in which, or by which, is conducted the main or principal use of the parcel of land on which it is situated.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The individual(s) employed or contracted by the Municipality of Murrysville to enforce its codes and ordinances based on the enforcement provisions and policies outlined therein.
- DEVELOPED LOT
- Any otherwise vacant property:
- IMPROVED LOT
- Portions of any defined parcel of land bearing a principal building, whether commercial, residential, public, or semi-public, graded or improved for such a purpose or accommodation.
- Areas, groves or stands of trees covering an area of 1/4 acre or a grove of trees forming one canopy of such trees.
No person, firm or corporation owning any properties as defined within § 174-23 of this chapter and within the Municipality of Murrysville, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, shall permit any grass or weeds, not edible or planted for some useful or ornamental purpose, to grow or remain upon such premises so as to exceed a height as defined in § 174-2B. Any grass, weeds or other vegetation growing upon any premises in the Municipality of Murrysville in violation of any of the provisions of this section is hereby declared to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety, cleanliness and comfort of the inhabitants of the Municipality of Murrysville.
The following properties or portions thereof shall be subject to the herein stated height limitations:
Improved lots and developed lots in R-R, R-1, R-2, R-3 and PL Zoning Districts as defined by Chapter 220, Zoning, less than two acres in area. The height shall not exceed 12 inches.
Improved lots and developed lots in B and MU Zoning Districts, as defined by Chapter 220, Zoning, shall not exceed 10 inches.
Areas within improved lots and developed lots, containing more than two acres of area, in R-R, R-1, R-2, and R-3 Zoning Districts, as defined by Chapter 220, Zoning, that are within 50 feet of any principal building on an adjoining property shall not exceed a height of 12 inches.
For purposes of the aforementioned height limitations, all areas in a municipal or private right-of-way between the property line and abutting cartway shall be maintained by the owner in accordance with the provisions otherwise applicable to the adjoining property.
The following properties or portions thereof shall be exempt from the provisions of § 174-2A.
Acreage devoted to agricultural operations.
Vegetation associated with wetlands, as each are defined in § 220-40 of the Murrysville Zoning Ordinance.
Steep embankments consisting of any area of land of 2:1 or more in slope where the height difference in vertical elevation is eight feet or greater.
Developed lots in an approved subdivision or a phase of an approved subdivision in which a dwelling has not been constructed and completed upon 75% of the lots.
Vacant parcels of land, not otherwise regulated through this chapter as improved or developed lots, are expressly exempt from its provisions.
Notice for removal. The Code Enforcement Officer shall give notice, by personal service or registered mail to the owner, of any violations of § 174-2 of this chapter, requiring compliance with the terms of this chapter within 10 calendar days of receipt of said notice, upon failure of owner to:
Timely comply with a notice for the affected premises; or
Timely file an appeal with the District Magistrate; or
Promptly meet with the Code Enforcement Officer to formulate a mutually agreeable remediation plan in appropriate cases, and to complete same within the agreed-upon time period.
Assessment of municipal expenses.
In the event of owner's failure to timely act as aforesaid, the Municipality may direct the performance of the necessary work, either by the municipal personnel or third-party service providers, at the expense of the owner, plus an additional 10% for administration expenses. Such expense shall be in addition to the penalty imposed by § 174-2E for the violation of this chapter. The Municipality may so direct on either the noncompliance of a first-time offender or a habitual offender.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Municipality for such purpose shall be the financial responsibility of the owner. If not paid within 30 days of the Municipality's invoice directed to owner, the Municipality may file a municipal lien against owner and the subject property to recover the said amount in conformity to controlling law, together with costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
No enforcement remedy shall be initiated by the Code Enforcement Officer for a penalty under § 174-2E unless owner has failed to timely correct a violation, as aforesaid, or to timely complete a remediation plan, or timely file an appeal before the District Magistrate; provided, however, such limitation on penal enforcement shall not preclude an expedited remediation by the Municipality with respect to "habitual offenders" as provide herein.
The Municipality of Murrysville herein declares its legislative intent that an owner who receives more than one notice of removal in a single year, or in the alternative, one notice of removal in each of two successive years shall be deemed a "habitual offender" for purposes of an "expedited remediation" by the Municipality and an assessment of municipal expenses under § 174-2D(4)(a) and (b). Issuance of the notices of removal, as aforesaid, and owner's noncompliance will be sufficient for undertaking an expedited remediation without necessity of a prior judicial finding of a violation under § 174-2E for a habitual offender.
If 10 calendar days have elapsed from a habitual offender's receipt of the notice of removal and no mutually agreeable remediation plan is in force, then and in such event, the Chief Administrator may direct an expedited performance of the necessary work at the owner's cost and expense, as aforesaid, together with ten-percent administrative expenses and attorney's fees for assessment of a municipal lien.
Should a property owner prevail on a timely appeal to the District Magistrate their receipt of a notice of removal giving rise to the Municipality's direction of said necessary work and municipal assessment, neither the owner nor their property will be responsible for the payment of the said work.
Enforcement remedy. Any person, firm or corporation who or which shall violate or fail, neglect or refuse to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon summary conviction thereof before a District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 and costs of prosecution for a first-time offense, a fine of $500 and costs of prosecution for a second offense within a twelve-month calendar year of the issuance of the first citation, and a fine of $1,000 and costs of prosecution for each subsequent offense within a twelve-month calendar year of the first citation. Each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense and notice for removal, provided greater than 10 calendar days has expired since the notice for removal was transmitted and before the related citation is issued, as provided in § 174-2D.
The standards specified in this section shall constitute a minimum level of maintenance required for any building within the Municipality of Murrysville. Failure of any property owner to achieve or maintain the standards specified herein shall constitute a nuisance, as defined by § 174-3C, detrimental to the health, safety, cleanliness and comfort of the inhabitants of the Municipality of Murrysville and shall be subject to the enforcement remedies specified in § 174-3F.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall consider the following as findings of fact, one or more of which shall constitute and define a nuisance that warrants enforcement and remedy administered in accordance with § 174-3E and F of this chapter. Where properties within the Municipality of Murrysville fail to attain the standards expressly adopted in § 174-3B, one or more of the following levels of noncompliance shall constitute a nuisance under this chapter.
The noncompliance is of such a nature as to directly promote continual and progressive degradation of the subject structure ultimately necessitating a determination by the Building Code Official of the structure as unsafe, as per § 403.84, Unsafe Building, Structure or Equipment, Chapter 403 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.
Editor's Note: See 34 Pa. Code § 403.84.
The noncompliance presents a direct and noxious impact to adjacent property which continually disrupts the enjoyment, health, safety, and welfare of neighboring occupants, employees, or patrons.
The noncompliance relates to and promotes the violation of other municipal nuisance ordinances.
Exemptions. Any structure or portion thereof, which is subject to an active building permit issued in accordance with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. A permit shall be considered abandoned or invalid as per § 403.63, Chapter 403 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, entitled, "Grant, Denial and Effect of Permits." Suspension or abandonment, as cited within the aforesaid section, shall be defined as a failure to demonstrate progressive and continual improvements to the property thereby exhibiting clear intent to complete the project or the progression or phasing of construction in a manner that threatens the ultimate integrity of the subject structure, including but not limited to the lack of an exterior finish sufficient to protect against the long-term effects of weather and other occurrences. The invalidity of a permit shall be determined by the Building Code Official in consideration of the aforementioned. Additionally, any violation of the Uniform Construction Code, as determined by the Building Code Official, shall be remedied and enforced by the Building Code Official through the provisions of the Uniform Construction Code and shall not be subject to enforcement under the provisions of this chapter.
Editor's Note: See 34 Pa. Code § 403.63.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall give notice, by personal service or registered mail to the owner, of any violations of § 174-3 of this chapter, requiring compliance with the terms of this chapter within 30 to 90 calendar days, depending upon the level of repair required to bring the subject structure into compliance as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer, of receipt of said notice. Upon failure of owner to: timely comply with a notice for the affected premises; timely appeal and prevail on an appeal to the Code Board of Appeals under § 174-3G; or promptly meet with the Code Enforcement Officer to formulate a mutually agreeable remediation plan in appropriate cases, and to complete same within the agreed-upon time period, the Municipality shall issue a citation in accordance with this section and § 174-3F.
No enforcement remedy shall be initiated by the Code Enforcement Officer under § 174-3F unless owner has failed to timely correct a violation, as aforesaid, or to timely complete a remediation plan, or failed to prevail in any appeal timely filed with the Code Board of Appeals. A violation must be corrected within 30 days of a Board decision adverse to the owner. An adverse decision of the Code Board of Appeals may be submitted by an owner to Council for review and relief. Such request will not serve to extend the aforesaid thirty-day time period for correction of the violation unless such extension is expressly authorized by Council. Council reserves the right to decline such review or the granting of any relief from the provisions of this chapter.
Enforcement remedy. Any person, firm or corporation who or which shall violate or fail, neglect or refuse to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall, upon summary conviction thereof before a District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for not more than 30 days, provided that each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense and notice for removal, provided greater than the amount of days specified in the enforcement notice has expired since the notice for removal was transmitted and before the related citation is issued, as provided in § 174-3E.
Any property owner who wishes to appeal a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer as it relates to a notice for removal issued under § 174-3E, within 30 days of receipt of the enforcement notice, may file an application for appeal to the Code Board of Appeals as established by Murrysville Code § 85-4 and appointed by subsequent resolutions. Upon receipt of a request for hearing and application completed on municipal forms, including the fees specified in Murrysville Code, Chapter 112, the Board of Appeals shall hold a hearing within 30 days. The Code Enforcement Officer shall notify the applicant or property owner of the date, time, and location of the scheduled hearing.
The Code Board of Appeals shall grant relief from the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer when the Board finds the following:
The Board may rely on the advice of other municipal boards and commissions in making a determination. A written decision including findings of fact shall be rendered within 30 days of the hearing.