City of Pottsville, PA
Schuylkill County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Pottsville 6-12-2006 by Ord. No. 733. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Noise — See Ch. 151.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 170.
Rental property — See Ch. 176.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.

§ 155-1 General definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
CITY
The City of Pottsville.
CITY CODE
The Code of the City of Pottsville.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Code Enforcement Officer of the City of Pottsville.
DWELLINGS
Any building arranged, designed or used in whole or part to provide living facilities for one or more families. Dwelling shall include boarding (lodging) and/or rooming houses. Dwelling shall also include both the enclosed area within a dwelling as well as the exterior premises of the dwelling within the boundary lines of any real property on which the dwelling is located.
OCCUPANT
Any person who lives in or has possession of, or holds an occupancy interest in a dwelling; or any person residing in or frequenting the premises of the dwelling with the actual or implied permission of the owner or lessee.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having legal or equitable interest in the dwelling; or recorded in official governmental records as holding title to the dwelling; or otherwise having control of the dwelling, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of such property by a court.

§ 155-2 Nuisance property designation.

A nuisance property designation is a dwelling within which, or on the premises of which, any of the following has occurred within a one-hundred-eighty-day period.
A. 
Three or more violations of criminal statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or the ordinances of the City of Pottsville arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances and which occur in a dwelling or on the premises of a dwelling or property in close proximity to a dwelling or to the premises of a dwelling;
B. 
Three or more violations of the City Code relating to property maintenance arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances;
C. 
Three or more violations of the City Code relating to zoning arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
D. 
A combination of three offenses from any of the above categories arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances and which have been investigated, found to have substance, and appropriately documented by the Code Enforcement Officer or members of the Pottsville Police Department, and regardless of whether the violation resulted in the initiation of formal court action.

§ 155-3 Violation.

A. 
No owner or occupant of any dwelling shall allow or permit such dwelling to be, or become, a nuisance property designation.
B. 
An owner and/or occupant, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have allowed or permitted a dwelling to be, or become, a nuisance property designation if:
(1) 
The owner or occupant has personally committed the acts set forth in § 155-2;
(2) 
Such acts were committed by invitees of the occupant or owner;
(3) 
Such acts were committed by persons attending events or functions sponsored, permitted or allowed by the occupant or owner;
(4) 
Such acts were committed by a combination of Subsection B(1), B(2) or B(3); or
(5) 
The owner or occupant has been provided with the written notice of a nuisance property designation pursuant to § 155-4 below, the facts alleged therein are true and the owner or occupant fails or refuses to abate the nuisance property designation.

§ 155-4 Written notice.

[Amended 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
A. 
No person shall be prosecuted for violation of § 155-3 until the Code Enforcement Officer shall serve such person with the notice provided herein, and the person has either failed or refused to abate the nuisance property designation. The Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees shall jointly sign and give the notice provided herein to the owner or occupant after a second or subsequent act or acts as set forth in § 155-2 above. Said notice shall advise the owner or occupant of the specific acts which constituted the nuisance property designation and that any subsequent acts set forth in § 155-2 above will result in an informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees.
B. 
In the event of any subsequent acts set forth in § 155-2 herein, an informal conference will be scheduled with the City Administrator, Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees at which time, the owner or occupant will have an opportunity to present his or her arguments as to why the Code Enforcement Officer or the Police should not file a citation for violation of this chapter with the Magisterial District Justice. Such notice may be served on any person by personal service; or in the case of an occupant, by restricted mail addressed to the address of the dwelling; or in the case of a nonoccupant owner, by restricted mail to his/her last known address; or if none, to the address to which any tax statement is provided to such owner for the dwelling; or by posting of the dwelling, either on the structure or at a location on the exterior premises, or by any other method of service reasonably calculated to give actual notice. Such notice shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
(1) 
That a nuisance property designation exists, as defined by § 155-2, at the location specified in the notice.
(2) 
The date of the commission of the acts which constitute the basis of the nuisance property designation, the name(s) of the person(s) committing such acts, if known, and all other facts and circumstances that the City relies upon to allege that such acts form the basis for the nuisance property designation.
(3) 
The date, time and place where the person is to appear and meet with the City prior to a citation being filed.
(4) 
That failure to appear, or failure to make satisfactory arrangements for an alternate date and time, at the time, place and manner designated in the notice may result in prosecution of a violation of § 155-3 and the imposition of penalties as proscribed by the chapter.

§ 155-5 Nuisance abatement.

[Amended 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
At the informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees, the owner and/or occupant shall discuss the facts constituting the nuisance and shall attempt to explain why the Code Enforcement Officer or the Police should not file a citation for violation of this chapter with the Magisterial District Justice.

§ 155-6 Informal conference.

[Amended 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
At the conclusion of the informal conference, the City Administrator may include a list of specific actions and a specific schedule of deadlines for said actions to abate the nuisance property designation or the City Administrator may recommend that the Code Enforcement Officer or the Police file a citation for violation of this chapter with the Magisterial District Justice. The City Administrator may impose one or more of the following conditions or requirements on the owner and/or occupant:
A. 
Institution of eviction proceedings of identified individual(s) from the dwelling in question.
B. 
Written notification from the owner and/or occupant to an identified individual(s) that they are prohibited from entering onto the premises of the dwelling.
C. 
Utilization of written leases containing a provision(s) requiring eviction for criminal activity.
D. 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime, including but not limited to the erection of fences, installation of security devices upon the entrances or increased lighting.
E. 
Any other reasonable condition or requirement designed to abate the nuisance property designation.

§ 155-7 Commencement of prosecution.

[Amended 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
The Code Enforcement Officer or the police may commence prosecution alleging a violation of this chapter under the following circumstances:
A. 
The owner and/or occupant commits a violation described in § 155-3 of this chapter.
B. 
The owner and/or occupant does not attend the informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees as described previously.
C. 
The owner and/or occupant fails or refuses to comply with the conditions or requirements set forth by the City Administrator within the prescribed time period.

§ 155-8 Action to abate penalties.

In addition to prosecution of the offense defined in this chapter or pursuing any other remedies available under this Code, the Code Enforcement Officer upon receipt of reliable information that any dwelling within the corporate limits of the City is being maintained as a nuisance property designation may prosecute an action for equitable relief, in the name of the City, to abate the nuisance and to enjoin any person(s) who may own, rent or occupy the dwelling in question from using or permitting its use in violation of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 155-9 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person(s) who shall violate a provision of this chapter, or fail to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, shall be prosecuted within the limits provided by state or local laws. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to other remedies, any violation may be deemed a municipal infraction and prosecuted as such. The penalty for violation shall be a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.
[Amended 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
B. 
Upon a finding of guilt under this chapter, the court may, in addition to other remedies permitted by the Code, impose any or all of the following conditions:
(1) 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime and criminal activity, including but not limited to the erection of fences, installation of security devices or increased lighting.
(2) 
Requirement of a written lease for occupants which includes provisions requiring eviction for criminal activity.
(3) 
Submitting tenancy lists on a periodic basis to the Police Department.
(4) 
Any other condition reasonably related to the objective of abating the disorderly house nuisance.

§ 155-10 Severability

[Added 9-10-2012 by Ord. No. 821]
Should any section or provision of this chapter be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, that decision shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole or any part thereof, other than the part so declared to be invalid.