Township of Union, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Union 11-21-1994 by Ord. No. 94-3. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Code enforcement — See Ch. 79.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 82.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 149.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Any building or structure, completed or in the process of construction or any portion thereof, which threatens to endanger human life or safety or the public health or welfare because it is:
Structurally unsafe, dangerous or unsanitary;
Deficient in adequate means of egress, ventilation or light;
A fire hazard;
Used, occupied or maintained in an illegal or improper manner;
In a state of general disrepair or deterioration;
A vacant structure that is not secured against entry; or
Violative of any applicable laws or regulations of the federal, state, county or municipal government.
Upon receiving a complaint that any structure within the Township may be a dangerous structure, the Township Secretary shall complete or shall cause the complainant to complete a complaint form that shall, if reasonably possible, be signed by the complainant. The complainant may be any member of the public, a public official, a member of the Board, a Township employee or the Township Engineer or Code Enforcement Officer.
Immediately after receiving a complaint about the potential existence of a dangerous structure within the Township, the Township Secretary shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer who shall immediately cause an investigation or examination to be made of such structure. After the completion of the investigation and examination, the Code Enforcement Officer shall prepare a written report:
Explaining the condition of the structure;
Stating whether the structure appears to be a dangerous structure; and
Either stating that the structure is incapable of repair or stating, with specificity, what remedial measures must be taken in order to render the structure safe and no longer a dangerous structure.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall submit such report to the Board and shall serve such report upon the owner(s) of the property upon which the potential dangerous structure is located, within 15 days of the date that the initial complaint was received. The copy of the report that is served upon the property owner(s) shall contain a notice:
Stating that the Board will consider and deliberate upon the findings at the next regular or special meeting of the Board; and
Requesting that the property owner(s) cause the necessary remedial actions to be taken at the property in advance of the Board meeting or to prepare a plan of remediation for presentation at the Board meeting.
The Board shall review the complaint and the investigation report and shall receive public comment and comment from the property owner(s), if present, at the next regular or special meeting of the Board. If, at that time, the Board believes that the structure may constitute a dangerous structure and the conditions at the property have not been remedied or are not likely to be immediately remedied by the property owner(s), the Board shall schedule a hearing for a factual determination of whether the structure, in fact, constitutes a dangerous structure. Notice of the hearing shall be served upon all property owner(s) at least 10 days before the hearing.
The Board shall conduct a hearing in accordance with the Local Agency Law or other applicable statute. Such hearing shall be transcribed at the cost of the Township so that a written record of the proceedings may be produced. At such hearing, the Board shall receive all relevant evidence and testimony and the property owner(s) shall be provided with a reasonable opportunity to be heard, to examine or cross-examine witnesses and to present evidence. The property owner(s) may choose to be represented by legal counsel at the hearing.
Within 10 days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall prepare and serve upon the property owner(s) written findings of fact and a resolution declaring that the structure is or is not a dangerous structure and requiring the repair or removal of the dangerous structure. If the Board determines that the structure is a dangerous structure, the resolution shall include a list of steps that must be taken in order to render the structure no longer a dangerous structure. If the structure is found to be a dangerous structure, the resolution shall require that the property owner(s) commence the repair or the removal of such structure within 10 days of receipt of the resolution and that such repair or removal be completed by the property owner(s) within 30 days of receipt of the resolution; provided, however, that in any case where the resolution prescribes the repair of any structure, the property owner(s) shall have the option to remove such structure instead of making the repairs thereto, within the stated time period.
If a property owner receives the notice required by § 64-4 of this chapter and does not make the recommended repairs and does not submit a remediation plan to the Board before the Board holds a hearing regarding the condition of the structure, such property owner shall be liable for reimbursing the Township for the costs incurred by the Township in conducting the hearing (including attorneys fees and transcription costs), provided that the Board ultimately determines that the structure was a dangerous structure. The Township may seek to collect such costs from a property owner by any method available at law or by equity.
[Amended 9-20-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-14]
If a property owner does not comply with a resolution declaring a structure to be a dangerous structure, the property owner shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty, of this Code.
If the property owner(s) does not comply with a resolution declaring a structure to be a dangerous structure, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Township Engineer or any member of the Board shall be empowered to cause such the structure to be repaired or removed at the initial expense of the Township and the cost and expenses thereof, with a penalty of 10% shall be collected from the property owner(s) of such structure in any manner provided by law, including, but not limited to the imposition of a municipal lien upon the property. This remedy shall be in addition to the imposition of fines in accordance with § 64-8.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall limit the rights of the Township or the Board to diligently pursue any all other lawful remedies, including, but not limited to, the initiation of lawsuits against property owners at law or in equity and shall not prohibit or constrain the Township from taking emergency remediation measures pursuant to the BOCA Code then in effect in the Township.
Whenever this chapter requires notice to be served upon a property owner, service may be effectuated by hand delivery to the property owner by a competent adult or by mailing the notice by registered mail, return receipt requested to the last known address of the owner and to the property, if different than the last known address of the owner. In the event that a property owner can not be located or the property owner does not accept service by mail of the notice, a copy of the notice shall be conspicuously posted at the property and sent by regular mail to the property owner at the property owner's last known address.
All prior ordinances of the Township or sections thereof are repealed and declared unenforceable insofar as they are inconsistent with any provisions of this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall affect any act done or liability incurred, or any suit or prosecution pending or to be instituted under any of those repealed or superseded ordinances. The provisions of this chapter, so far as they are the same as or coextensive with those of ordinances and regulations in force immediately before the enactment of this chapter, are intended as a continuation of those earlier ordinances and not as new enactments.