Township of Swatara, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 4-11-1990 by Ord. No. 1990-1 (Ch. 5, Part 1, of the 1990 Code)]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Code Enforcement Ordinance of the Township of Swatara."
A. 
Creation of Office of Code Enforcement. There is hereby created by the Board of Commissioners an office of the Township of Swatara, to be known as the "Office of Code Enforcement." The official(s) appointed thereto by the Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township shall have the responsibility for administrating and enforcing the provisions of this article and those other codes and/or ordinances of the Township herein referred to as the "applicable codes and ordinances," which designate said Office of Code Enforcement as their official administrative and enforcement authority.
B. 
Relief from personal liability. The Code Enforcement Officer, other officials or employees charged with the enforcement of this article and those other codes and/or ordinances of the Township who act in good faith and without malice in the discharge of duties shall not thereby be rendered liable personally and the Code Enforcement Officer is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act, required or permitted, or any omission in the discharge of official duties. Any suit instituted against the Code Enforcement Officer, other official or employee because of an act performed by that person in the lawful discharge of duties shall be defended by the Township Solicitor or his designee until final termination of the proceedings. The Code Enforcement Officer shall not be liable for costs in any action, suit or proceeding.
C. 
Department records. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the Office of Code Enforcement. Only such records as are "public records" under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act (65 P.S. § 66.1 et seq.[1]) shall be open to the public for inspection at all appropriate times, except that no individual, owner, operator, occupant or other person shall be subject to unwarranted invasion of privacy, and except that all evidence or information shall 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 article and shall not otherwise be made public without the consent of the owner, occupant, operator or other person in charge of the unit, structure or premises inspected. Such records shall be retained in the official records so long as the building or structure to which they relate remains in existence unless otherwise provided by other regulations.
[Amended 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-6]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former 65 P.S. § 66.1 et seq. was repealed 2-14-2008 by P.L. 6, No. 3. See now 65 P.S. § 67.101 et seq.
D. 
Annual report. At least annually, the Code Enforcement Officer shall submit to the Board of Commissioners a written statement of operations in the form and content as shall be prescribed by the Board of Commissioners.
A. 
Appointment of Code Enforcement Officer. There shall be appointed, by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Swatara, a Code Enforcement Officer, who shall be in charge of the Office of Code Enforcement of the Township of Swatara. 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 Board of Commissioners of the Township of Swatara. Said Code Enforcement Officer and other personnel shall consist of employees directly hired and compensated by the Township of Swatara.
B. 
Approved inspection agencies. The Code Enforcement Officer shall make all the required inspections or may accept reports of inspections by authoritative and recognized inspection agencies or individuals, which satisfy requirements as to qualifications and reliability. All inspection reports shall be in writing and shall be certified by the approved authority or responsible officer of the agency or the individual when expert inspection services are accepted. The Code Enforcement Officer may engage such expert opinion as may be deemed necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that may arise subject to the approval of the appointing authority. When required by the provisions of the code or by the approved rules, materials or assemblies shall be inspected at the point of manufacture or fabrication.
A. 
Enforcement of codes. The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce and administer all of the provisions of this article and of those other applicable codes and ordinances which establish the Office of Code Enforcement as their official administration and enforcement authority.
B. 
Duties. The duties of the Code Enforcement Officer shall include the receipt of applications and issuance of permits for the erection, addition to, alteration, repair, removal, demolition, installation of service equipment (plumbing, electrical, mechanical), and structures; the issuance of all necessary notices and orders to abate illegal or unsafe conditions to insure compliance with this article, and those other applicable codes and/or ordinances for the safety, health and general welfare of the public; the making of inspections to determine compliance with the applicable codes and ordinances; the undertaking of investigations; and other activities as may be required.
C. 
Credentials. The Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative shall disclose proper credentials of their respective office for the purpose of inspecting any and all buildings and premises in the performance of duties under the applicable code and or ordinance where requested.
D. 
Coordination of enforcement. Whenever, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, initiating an inspection under the applicable codes and/or ordinances, it is deemed necessary or desirable to have inspections by any other department, the Code Enforcement Officer shall make reasonable effort to arrange for the coordination of such inspections so as to minimize the number of visits by the Board of Commissioners and to confer with the other departments for the purpose of eliminating conflicting orders before any are issued. The assistance and cooperation of all other officials, including police and fire departments, shall be available to the Code Enforcement Officer to assist in the performance of his duties.
E. 
Right of entry. Except in case of an emergency or a mutually convenient time agreed to by the Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative in discharging his duties to safeguard the safety, health and welfare of the public and upon showing proper identification where requested, the Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to enter and inspect between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. any structure or premises in the Township of Swatara to enforce the provisions of this article and of those other applicable codes and ordinances. Every occupant, owner or operator of a structure or premises, or their agent or employee, shall give access to any part of such structure or its premises at reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspection, maintenance, repairs, or alterations as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this code.
F. 
Access entry refused. If any owner, operator, occupant or other person in charge of a structure refuses, impedes, inhibits, interferes with, restricts or obstructs 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 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 article from a court of competent jurisdiction, or may seek and obtain an administrative search warrant from the Magisterial District Judge in whose jurisdiction the structure or premises are located. 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.
[Amended 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-6]
G. 
Rule making authority. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have such power as may be necessary in the interest of public safety, health and general welfare to interpret the intent of the applicable codes in specific cases where it clearly appears that, by reason of special conditions, undue hardship would result from a literal application of any section of the applicable codes. Where such undue hardship clearly appears, the Code Enforcement Officer may permit a variance form the literal provision of the code, but such variance shall not have the effect of waiving working stresses or fire protection requirements specifically provided in the code or violating accepted engineering practice involving public safety, but will comply with the spirit and intent of the code. If additional nonconforming conditions are encountered during the course of any approved alteration or repair which were not considered or known initially, the Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to require compliance with this article and other codes and/or ordinances of the Township.
H. 
Preliminary inspections. Before issuing a permit, the Code Enforcement Officer may examine or cause to be examined all buildings, structures and sites for which an application has been filed for a permit to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, demolish or change the use thereof.
I. 
Required inspections. After issuing a permit, the Code Enforcement Officer or designated inspection agency shall conduct such required inspections from time to time during and upon completion of the work for which a permit has been issued. A record of all such examinations and inspections and of all violations of this code shall be maintained by the Code Enforcement Officer. Upon completion of the building or structure, and before the issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy, a final inspection shall be made and all violations of the approved plans and permits shall be abated. 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 certificate of use and occupancy shall have been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. Required inspections shall be as follows:
(1) 
Building.
(a) 
Footing and setback: to be made after trenches or basement areas are excavated and forms erected and any required reinforcing steel is in place and prior to placing concrete.
(b) 
Foundation walls: to be made after parging and tamp proofing is in place and prior to backfilling.
(c) 
Framing: to be made after the roof, all framing, fire stopping and bracing are in place and prior to interior covering.
(d) 
Final: prior to occupancy and certification.
(2) 
Electrical.
(a) 
Required inspections:
[1] 
Service: prior to power company connection.
[2] 
Rough wire: prior to covering.
[3] 
Final: prior to occupancy.
(b) 
The above inspections are to be made by listed electrical inspection agencies as approved by the Township of Swatara under this chapter.
(3) 
Plumbing.
(a) 
Under slab: prior to pouring concrete.
(b) 
Rough in: prior to covering.
(c) 
Final: prior to occupancy
(4) 
Other inspections.
J. 
Accounting. The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep an accurate account of all fees collected; and such collected fees shall be deposited in the Township Treasury or otherwise disposed of as required by law.
A. 
When permit is required.
(1) 
Class A. This type of permit shall be issued for all new construction on vacant land or land where a building was demolished in preparation for construction or where construction adds to the livable area of a residence or additional floor area of a commercial building. Fees shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.
(2) 
Alteration permit. This type of permit shall be issued when, in the opinion of the Building Official, the work involved does not increase the livable area of the residence or the floor area of a commercial building and is not considered to be normal maintenance or repairs. Any change in size, shape, height, type of materials, etc., necessitates an alteration permit. The application of any type of siding (brick, block, coating or facing of any type, shingles, aluminum or composition siding, etc.) requires a permit. Fees shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.
(3) 
Garage permit. This type of permit shall be issued for the construction of a one- or two-car private garage when either detached from the dwelling or connected by a breezeway. The fee shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.
(4) 
Demolition permits. This type of permit shall be issued for the wrecking of a building. The fee shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Commissioners. No fee shall be charged when removal of the building has been ordered by the Building Official.
(5) 
Sign permit. This type of permit shall be issued for the erection of advertising signs attached to a building or mounted on stands or poles separate from the building. The fee shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.
B. 
The term "estimated cost" as used in this section means the reasonable value of all services, labor, materials, equipment, scaffolding erection and other appliances or devices entering into and necessary to the prosecution and completion of the work ready for occupancy, including any and all excavation necessary for cellar or basement or private sewerage disposal system. If, in the opinion of the Building Official, the estimated cost of the work is insufficient, the Building Official shall estimate a fair value and the applicant shall be required to pay the permit fee on this amount.
C. 
Where work, for which a permit is required by the code, is started or proceeded with prior to obtaining said permit, the fee shall be doubled, but payment of such double fee shall not relieve any person from fully complying with the requirements of the code in the execution of the work nor from any penalties prescribed by the code.
D. 
Forms of application. The application for a permit shall be submitted in such form as the Code Enforcement Officer may prescribe and shall be accompanied by the required fee pursuant to the fee schedule.
E. 
By whom application is made. The responsibility for applying for and obtaining a required permit rests jointly with the owner or occupant and the person or persons doing the work. The full name and address of the owner, lessee, applicant and/or the responsible officers, if the owner or lessee is a corporate body, shall be stated in the application.
F. 
Description of work. The application shall contain a general description of the proposed work, its location, the use and occupancy of all parts of the building or structure and of all portions of the site or lot not covered by the building or structure, and such additional information as may be required by the Code Enforcement Officer.
G. 
Plans and specifications. The application for the permit shall be accompanied by one copy of specifications and of plans, drawn to scale, with sufficient clarity and detail dimension to show the nature and character of the work to be performed. When quality of materials is essential for conformity to the codes, specific information shall be given to establish such quality; and the code shall not be cited, or the term "legal" or its equivalent be used as a substitute for specific information. The Code Enforcement Officer may waive the requirement for filing plans when the work involved is of a minor nature. If, in the course of work, it is found necessary to make any changes from the approved plans and specifications on which a permit has been issued, amended plans and specifications shall be submitted and, if approved, a supplementary permit shall be issued to cover the change after the same conditions required to secure the original permit have been satisfied.
H. 
Site plan. There shall also be a site plan showing to scale the size and location of all the new construction and all existing structures on the site, distances from lot lines, the established street grades and the proposed finished grades; and it shall be drawn in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey. In case of demolition, the plot plan shall show all construction to be demolished and the locations and size of all existing structures and plan shall show the location of water service and sewer connections with respect to any building in which a plumbing system is to be installed. Vent stack terminations shall be shown with respect to building ventilation openings which could allow introduction of sewer gases into the building or any adjacent building.
I. 
Engineering details. The Code Enforcement Officer may require adequate details of structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical work to be filed, including computations, stress diagrams and other essential technical data. All engineering plans and computations shall bear the signature of the engineer or architect responsible for the design. Plans for building more than two stories in height shall indicate where penetrations will be made for electrical, mechanical, plumbing and communications conduits, pipes and systems and the materials and methods for maintaining the required structural integrity, fire resistance rating and firestopping.
J. 
Other permits required. At the time of filing an application for a permit, the applicant shall present to the Code Enforcement Officer evidence that he has obtained all necessary permits, licenses, approvals and/or variances as may be required by the laws of the Township, and the commonwealth. Individuals, agencies, boards and commissions issuing aforesaid permits, licenses, approvals and/or variances shall include, but not be limited to, the Zoning Officer or Zoning Hearing Board, County Planning Commission, Sewage Enforcement Officer, Fire Chief, State Police Fire Marshal, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
K. 
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 30 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. If the Code Enforcement Officer is satisfied that the proposed work conforms to the requirements of the applicable codes, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a permit therefor as soon as possible.
A. 
Compliance with codes. The permit shall be a license to proceed with the work and shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside application. All work shall conform to the approved application and plans for which the permit has been issued and any approved amendments thereto.
B. 
Signature of permit. The Code Enforcement Officer's signature shall be attached to every permit; or the Code Enforcement Officer may authorize a subordinate to affix such signature thereto.
C. 
Payment of fees. A permit to begin work shall not be issued until the permit fee prescribed by resolution adopted by the Board of Commissioners has been paid; nor shall an amendment to a permit necessitating an additional fee because of additional work involved be issued until the additional fee shall have been paid.
D. 
Previous approvals. This article or the applicable codes shall not require changes in the plans, the plumbing, electrical or mechanical system, or the construction or designated use of a building for which a lawful permit has been issued or otherwise lawfully authorized and the construction of which has been actively prosecuted within 90 days after the effective date of this article and is completed with dispatch.
E. 
Approvals in part. The Code Enforcement Officer may issue permits for the construction of foundations or any other part of a building or structure before the entire plans and specifications for the whole building or structure have been submitted, provided adequate information and detailed statements have been filed complying with all the pertinent requirements of the codes. The holder of such permits shall proceed at the holder's own risk with the building operation and without assurance that permits for the entire structure will be granted.
F. 
Permit expiration dates.
(1) 
New construction: one year, provided that an extension may be requested, in writing, and such extension may be granted by the Code Enforcement Officer for good reason. Such extension not to exceed one year.
(2) 
Repairs, remodeling, alterations and additions: one year.
(3) 
Demolition: three months only, and if such demolition work is not completed within that time, any bond posted by the applicant shall be forfeited.
(4) 
Abate violations cited: same as deadline stated in violation notice.
G. 
Revocation of permits. The Code Enforcement Officer may revoke a permit or approval issued under the provisions of the codes in case of any false statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the plans on which the permit or approval was based.
H. 
Posting of permit. A true copy of the building permit and placard shall be kept on the site of operations open to public inspection during the entire time of prosecution of the work and until the completion of the same.
I. 
Notice of inspection. At least 24' hours notice in advance for required inspections indicated on the permit shall be given to the Code Enforcement Officer or certified inspection agency.
A. 
Notice to responsible owner, operator, occupant or other person in charge. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of this article or of the other applicable codes and ordinances, or whenever the Code Enforcement Officer orders a dangerous, unsafe or unfit for human habitation structure to be closed up and secured, vacated, repaired and/or demolished, a notice shall be given to the responsible owner, operator, occupant or person in charge of the structure or premises in the manner prescribed below.
B. 
Form. Notice to the responsible owner, operator, occupant or person in charge shall:
(1) 
Be in writing, signed by the Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative.
(2) 
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
(3) 
Include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued, the sections of this code and/or ordinances which have been violated.
(4) 
Include a correction order allowing a reasonable time, not to exceed 120 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.
(5) 
Include a statement indicating that the notice will become an order if no request and approval for an extension of time is made to the Code Enforcement Officer or if no petition for an appeal or hearing is requested by the owner to seek modification before the Code Hearing Board within 10 days from receipt of said notice.
C. 
Service. The notice shall be served personally on the responsible owner, occupant, operator, or other person in charge or served by certified mail with a return receipt requested, or where such responsible person in charge cannot be found, service may be made by posting a notice on or about the structure or premises and taking a picture of said notice, or by publishing said 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.
A. 
Vacation of structures. When, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, an emergency exists on any premises or in any structure or part thereof, or in any defective equipment (plumbing, electrical, mechanical) which requires immediate action to protect the public's health and safety or that of the occupants thereof, or if there is actual and immediate danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure or any part thereof, or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the building or structure, the Code Enforcement Officer may, with proper notice and service, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring the vacating of the premises or such action taken as the Code Enforcement Officer deems necessary to meet such emergency. Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, such order shall be effective immediately and the premises or equipment involved shall be placarded immediately upon service of the order. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply immediately therewith and may thereafter upon petition directed to the Code Hearing Board be afforded a hearing as prescribed in this article.
B. 
Temporary safeguards. When in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer there is actual and immediate danger of collapse or failure of a building or structure or any part thereof which would endanger life, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the necessary work to be done to render such building or structure or part thereof temporarily safe, whether or not the legal procedure herein described has been instituted.
C. 
Closing streets. When necessary for the public safety, the Code Enforcement Officer may temporarily close sidewalks, streets, buildings and structures and places adjacent to such unsafe structures and prohibit the same from being used. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such building or structure except for the purpose of making the required repairs or demolishing the same.
A. 
General. All buildings or structures that are or hereafter shall become unsafe, unsanitary, unfit for human occupancy or use, or deficient in adequate exit facilities, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life or the public welfare or are found unlawful involving illegal or improper use, occupancy and maintenance shall be condemned pursuant to the provisions of this article and may be placarded and vacated. It shall not be reoccupied without approval of the Code Enforcement Officer. Unsafe equipment shall be placarded and placed out of service. A vacant building or structure unguarded or open at door or window shall be deemed a fire hazard and unsafe.
B. 
Unsafe structure. An unsafe structure is one in which all or part thereof is found to be dangerous to life, health, property, or the safety of the public or its occupant by not providing minimum safeguards for protection from fire or because it is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe, or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that it is likely to partially or completely collapse. All unsafe structures shall be declared a public nuisance and shall be taken down and removed or made safe and secure as the Code Enforcement Officer deems necessary.
C. 
Unsafe equipment. Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that it is found to be a hazard to life, health, property, or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure. Unsafe equipment may contribute to the finding that the structure is unsafe or unfit for human occupancy or use.
D. 
Structure unfit for human habitation. A structure is unfit for human occupancy or use whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that it is unsafe, unlawful, or because of the degree in which it lacks maintenance or is in disrepair, is unsanitary, vermin- or rat-infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by the codes, or because its location constitutes a hazard to its occupants or to the public.
E. 
Unlawful structure. An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted under this code, or was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law.
F. 
Restoration of unsafe structure. A building or structure condemned by the Code Enforcement Officer may be restored to safe condition provided change of use or occupancy is not contemplated nor compelled by reason of such reconstruction or restoration; except that if the damage or cost of restoration or reconstruction is in excess of 50% of its replacement value, exclusive of foundations, such structures shall be made to comply with the Township's building, plumbing, and electrical codes in all respects with the requirements for materials and methods of construction of structures.
G. 
Closing of vacant structures. If the structure or part thereof is vacant and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use and is not in danger of structural collapse, the Code Enforcement Officer may post a placard of condemnation of the premises and may order the structure closed up so it will not be an attractive nuisance to children. The exterior of the structure must be maintained in compliance with the Township's Existing Structures Code (Section ES 302.0, Exterior; see Article VII). The windows and doors are to be boarded up with one-half-inch exterior grade plywood, a similar material acceptable to the code officer, finished on one side with the finished side out.
A. 
Vacation of structure. If the responsible owner, operator, occupant, or person in charge of the structure or premises fails to comply with an order to repair or alter a structure condemned as unfit for human habitation, within the time given, the structure shall be vacated within a reasonable time, as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Placarding of structure. Upon issuance of an order to vacate, the Code Enforcement Officer may placard the structure or parts thereof or on defective equipment bearing the words "Unsafe for human occupancy or use," and a statement of the penalties provided for any occupancy or use or for removing the placard.
C. 
Removal of placard. The Code Enforcement Officer shall remove the condemnation placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding actions were based have been eliminated. Any person who defaces or removes a condemnation placard without the approval of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be subject to the penalties provided by this article.
D. 
Prohibited use. Any person who shall occupy a placarded premises or structure or part thereof, or shall use placarded equipment, and any owner or any person responsible for the premises who shall let anyone occupy a placarded premises shall be subject to the penalties provided by this article.
A. 
General. The Code Enforcement Officer shall make periodic inspections of any structure vacated as unfit for human habitation or any other vacant structure.
B. 
Option by owner. If a structure is so old, deteriorated or has become so out of repair as to be unsanitary or unfit for human habitation, but can be made safe by repairs, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue a notice requiring the owner to make the necessary repairs to bring the structure into compliance with the Township's codes and/or ordinances or to demolish and remove the structure at the owner's option. Such notice shall require the person thus notified to immediately disclose to the Code Enforcement Officer his acceptance or rejection of the terms of the order.
C. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, Unreasonable repairs, was deleted 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-6.
D. 
Service connection. Before a structure can be demolished or removed, the owner or agent shall notify all utilities having service connections within the structure, such as water, electric, gas, sewer, and other connections. A permit to demolish or remove a structure shall not be issued until a release is obtained from the utilities, stating that their respective service connections and appurtenant equipment, such as meters and regulators, have been removed or sealed and plugged in a safe manner.
E. 
Notice to adjoining owners. Only when written notice has been give by the applicant to the owners of adjoining lots and to the owners of wired or other facilities, of which the temporary removal may be necessitated by the proposed work, shall a permit be granted for removal of a building or structure.
F. 
Determination by Code Enforcement Officer. In the event that the owner or agent is unable to obtain the releases, the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the premises for which application has been made, to determine that the utility service connections and appurtenant equipment have been removed or sealed and plugged in a safe manner.
A. 
Notice to the owner. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that work on any building or structure is being prosecuted contrary to the provisions of the Township's codes and/or ordinances in an unsafe and dangerous manner, the responsible owner of the property involved or the owner's agent or the person doing the work shall be notified that such work be immediately stopped.
B. 
Unlawful continuance. Any person who shall continue any work in or about the structure after having been served with a stop-work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe conditions, shall be subject to the penalties provided by this article.
A. 
Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, remove, demolish, use or occupy any building or structure or plumbing, electrical, mechanical equipment and fire suppression system regulated by this article and/or the Township's codes, or cause same to be done, in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this article and/or the Township's codes.
B. 
Occupancy without use and occupancy certificate. Any new building hereafter erected for which a building permit was issued shall not be used or occupied in whole or in part until a certificate of use and occupancy shall have been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. Notice of this requirement shall be given to each recipient of a building permit and failure to secure a use and occupancy certificate before use or occupancy of a building is subject to immediate fine and costs as prescribed in this article. No further notification as required under this article shall be required. The building owner by signing the building permit agrees not to violate any provision of the Township's codes and/or ordinances and is so notified. The use and occupancy certificate is a "license" to occupy and use the building.
C. 
Failure to comply. Whenever an order to vacate, secure, 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, closed up, and secured, repaired and/or demolished or take such other action as is necessary to abate the nuisance. Abatement under this subsection 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.
D. 
Recovery of expenses. The expenses incurred pursuant to Subsection C of this section and other applicable sections of this code and other codes and ordinances shall be paid by the responsible owner, operator or occupant or by the persons who caused or maintained such public nuisance. The Code Enforcement Officer shall file on his records an affidavit stating with fairness and accuracy the items and date of the expenses incurred. The Board of Commissioners of the Township of Swatara may recover such expenses by the filing of a municipal claim in relation to the property, reducing said claim to judgment, and executing upon such judgment, or may institute a suit to recover such expense to be charged against the property as a lien or against the person or legal entity violating the code as a personal judgment.
[Amended 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-6]
E. 
Transfer of ownership. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who has received a compliance order upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the Code Enforcement Officer and shall furnish to the Code Enforcement Officer a signed and notarized statement to the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the correction or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation.
F. 
Penalties. Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provisions of this article or fail to correct a violation or institute a remedial action as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer, or who shall erect, construct, install, alter or repair a building, structure or any plumbing, electrical and mechanical equipment or systems in violation of an approved plan or directive of the Code Enforcement Officer or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of the Township's codes shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding before any Magisterial District Judge, be sentenced for each such violation to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, plus costs, and, in default of payment thereof, to undergo imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served in accordance with the terms and provisions hereof shall be deemed a separate offense.
G. 
Prosecution. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the Solicitor representing the Township from initiating, and he is hereby ordered to initiate, appropriate actions or proceedings at law or equity for the purpose of ordering that person:
(1) 
To restrain, correct or remove the violation or refrain from any further execution of work;
(2) 
To restrain or correct the erection, installation or alteration of such structure;
(3) 
To require the removal of work in violation;
(4) 
To prevent the occupation or use of the structure or part thereof erected, constructed, installed or altered in violation of, or not in compliance with, the provisions of this code, or in violation of a plan or specification under which an approval, permit or certificate was issued.
A. 
Code Hearing Board. There is hereby established a Code Hearing Board, which shall be composed of the same membership as the Swatara Township UCC Hearing Appeals Board.
[Amended 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-6]
(1) 
Quorum. A quorum of the Code of Hearing Board shall exist when any of five members of the Code Hearing Board are present.
(2) 
Financial interest. A member of the Board shall not participate in any hearing or vote on any appeal in which that member has a direct or indirect financial interest, or is engaged as a contractor, or is engaged in the preparation of plans and specification, or in which that member has any personal interest.
B. 
Powers of the Code Hearing Board. The Code Hearing Board shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
Appeals. The Code Hearing Board shall hear all appeals made to it and, depending on its findings, shall decide whether relief sought in such appeals shall be granted.
(2) 
Interpretation. The Code Hearing Board shall hear all appeals made to it and, depending on its findings, shall decide whether relief sought in such appeals shall be granted.
(3) 
Variances. The Code Hearing Board may grant a variance from the strict application of this article 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.
(4) 
Decision of the Board. A decision to affirm, modify or reverse the decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be made by a majority of those present and sitting as the Code Hearing Board in any specific case. All decisions of the 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 reason for the decision of the Code Hearing Board and the findings of fact on which the decision was based.
(5) 
Enforcement of decision. The Code Hearing Board shall make an order on its decision, and the Code Enforcement Officer shall take immediate action in accordance with the decision of the Board, to carry out said order.
C. 
Request for appeals or variances.
(1) 
Appeals or variances. Any person requesting a variance or aggrieved by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or by any other employee or official charged with the administration and enforcement of this article and of those applicable codes or ordinances may, upon petition, appeal to the Code Hearing Board. All appeals shall be made in writing, stating the grounds upon which the appeal is based and shall be filed with the Office of Code Enforcement. An appeal must be taken within 10 days of action or of the receipt of written notice of any decision or ruling which is being appealed.
(2) 
Public hearing. The Code Hearing Board shall meet and conduct a hearing within 30 days of the receipt of a petition for an appeal or 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.
(3) 
Court review. 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, as far as practicable, the rule of civil procedure of the Supreme Court regarding appeals from administrative agencies.