Township of Union, PA
Berks County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Union 6-20-1988 by Ord. No. 88-5; amended in its entirety 8-18-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-04. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 64.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 82.
The term "applicable codes and ordinances" and the enforcement thereof as referenced in this chapter shall apply to those codes of Union Township vesting enforcement powers in the Code Enforcement Officer. Excluded from the term "applicable codes and ordinances" as referred to in this chapter shall be the land use codes where enforcement is vested in the Zoning Officer and the sewage codes where enforcement is vested in the Sewage Enforcement Officer.
A. 
Appointment of Code Enforcement Officer. There shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the municipality a Code Enforcement Officer. 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.
B. 
Relief from personal liability. The Code Enforcement Officer, or other official or employees, shall not, while acting for the municipality, render himself liable personally because of any act or omission as required or permitted in the discharge of his official duties. Any suit instituted against such Code Enforcement Officer, official or employee of his duties, shall be defended by the Solicitor of the municipality, and in no case will said Officer, official or employee be liable for costs in any action, suit or proceeding.
C. 
Official record. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the Office of Code Enforcement, and all such records shall be open to the public for inspection at appropriate times, to the extent those records are a public document pursuant to the provisions of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Act, as amended from time to time.
A. 
Enforcement by Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce and administer the applicable codes and ordinances which invest authority for administration and enforcement in the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Duties of Code Enforcement Officer. The duties of the Code Enforcement Officer shall include the receipt of applications, the issuance of permits, notices, certificates and orders, the making of inspections to determine conformance with applicable codes and ordinances, the undertaking of systematic inspection programs, the undertaking of search and investigations, the recommendation of appropriate administrative rules for review and adoption by the Board of Supervisors, the keeping of records, the issuance of written annual reports, and such other activities as may be required.
C. 
Right of entry. In the discharge of his duties and upon reasonable cause of a code violation, the Code Enforcement Officer, or his authorized representative, upon showing proper identification where requested, is hereby authorized to enter and inspect, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., any structures or premises in the municipality to enforce the provisions of this chapter, and of those other applicable codes and ordinances. The assistance and cooperation of all other municipality officials, including police and fire departments, shall be available to the Code Enforcement Officer to assist in the performance of his duties and in securing right of entry.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer and the owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge of any structure or premises subject to the provisions of this chapter may agree to an inspection by appointment at a mutually convenient time.
(2) 
The owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge of any structure or premises shall give the Code Enforcement Officer entry and free access thereto, and to every part of the structure or to the premises surrounding the structure.
(3) 
If any owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge fails or refuses to permit 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 a 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 chapter from a court of competent jurisdiction. 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.
A. 
Permit required. An application for a permit shall be required in accordance with the provisions of those applicable codes and ordinances which the Code Enforcement Officer has the responsibility to administer. Said application shall be submitted in such form as may be prescribed by the Code Enforcement Officer and shall be accompanied by any required fee.
B. 
Action on application. The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine said application to determine compliance with those other applicable codes and ordinances of the municipality and shall, within 90 days after filing, unless another time period is specified, 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.
C. 
Required fees. Applicants for permits required by any of the applicable codes and ordinances shall pay, at the time of application, to the Code Enforcement Officer, for use by the municipality, fees as established by resolution of the Board.
D. 
Time limit on application. An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned six months after the date of filing, unless such application has been diligently prosecuted or a permit shall have been issued, except that for reasonable cause, the Code Enforcement Officer may grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each.
E. 
All permits granted under any of the above applicable codes and ordinances shall be good for a period of one year, provided that extensions may be granted by the Code Enforcement Officer for good reason, except that any permit granted for demolition activities shall be valid for three months only, and if such demolition work is not completed within that time, any bond posted by the applicant shall be forfeited.
A. 
Procedure in case of violations. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, or of the other applicable codes and ordinances, or of any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, he shall proceed as follows:
(1) 
Serve notice, in writing, of the alleged violation, which shall be signed by the Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative. Said notice shall be served personally to the responsible owner, occupant, operator or other person in charge; or served by registered mail with a return receipt requested; or where such responsible person in charge cannot be found, service may be made by posting a notice in or about the structure or premises, or by publishing such 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.
(2) 
Said notice shall include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued, the sections of the code and/or ordinances which have been violated, and the remedial actions required.
(3) 
Said notice shall allow a reasonable time, not to exceed 60 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.
(4) 
Said notice shall contain a statement indicating any appeal provisions of the applicable codes and ordinances.
B. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any person who fails to correct a violation or institute a remedial action as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer, or who violates a provision or fails to comply with any requirements of this chapter or of any of the other applicable codes or ordinances, shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty, of this Code.
(2) 
The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the Solicitor representing the municipality from initiating, and he is hereby ordered to initiate appropriate actions or proceedings in law, or in equity, to effect the purposes of this chapter.