Borough of Pennsburg, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Pennsburg as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 42.
Shade trees — See Ch. 89.
[Adopted 6-2-1975 by Ord. No. 3-75; amended in its entirety 8-5-2002 by Ord. No. 7-02]
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association or corporation, or the officers thereof, owning, leasing, occupying or having any interest in any real estate, property or land within the Borough of Pennsburg, to permit any grass or weeds or any vegetation whatever not edible or planted or cultivated for some useful or ornamental purpose to grow or remain upon such premises so as to exceed a height of eight inches, or to throw off any unpleasant or noxious odor, or to conceal any filthy deposit, or to create or produce pollen. Any such grass, weeds or other vegetation growing or remaining upon any such premises in violation of this section is hereby declared to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety, comfort and convenience of the inhabitants of the Borough.
Wherever any such grass, weeds or other vegetation is permitted to grow or remain upon any property contrary to the provisions of this article, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause a notice to be served upon the owner, lessee or lessor, occupant or agent of the owner, lessee or lessor, or upon any person having any interest therein, requiring the removal of same within three days, in default of which such grass, weeds or other vegetation shall be cut and/or removed by or under the direction of the Code Enforcement Officer or such other person as may be designated by Council, and the cost thereof, together with a penalty of 10%, as provided by law in the case of nuisances, shall be collected in the manner provided by law for the collection of municipal claims, either by filing a lien or by action of assumpsit, or in any other authorized manner; provided, where the owner, lessor, lessee, occupant or agent for the owner of such land or real estate does not reside in the Borough or their presence cannot be determined, the aforesaid notice shall be posted upon the offending premises in lieu of service upon such owner.
Any person, firm, association or corporation, or the officers thereof, violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof before a District Magistrate, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $600 and costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days; provided that each refusal or neglect to comply with the terms or provisions of this article shall constitute a separate offense; and provided further that, for the purpose of enforcing the penal provisions of this article, it shall not be necessary to first notify the offender in order that the presence of such weeds may constitute an offense.
[Adopted 11-20-2018 by Ord. No. 2-2018]
The Borough has determined that is in the best interests of the citizens of the Borough of Pennsburg and the public at large to control the planting, cultivating and/or growing of bamboo plants and grasses within the Borough of Pennsburg. The purpose of this article is therefore to preserve and protect private and public property from the damage and spread associated with bamboo grasses, protect indigenous plant materials from the invasive spread of bamboo, and maintain the general welfare of the residents of the Borough of Pennsburg.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BAMBOO
Any type of the roughly 1,450 species of bamboo known throughout the world from the grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Fallopia japonica, commonly known as "Japanese knotweed," although not bamboo, is an invasive plant that resembles bamboo and shall also be considered bamboo for the purposes of this article.
BAMBOO OWNER
Any property owner or occupant who has planted or grows bamboo, or who maintains or cultivates bamboo on his/her property, or who permits bamboo to grow or remain on the property even if the bamboo has spread from an adjoining property. Any property owner of property on which bamboo is found shall be considered to be a bamboo owner unless the property owner has initiated timely steps for the removal of the bamboo from the property, including, but not limited to, remedies at law.
CLUMPING BAMBOO
Any sympodial or pachymorph rhizome structure bearing bamboo, including, but not limited to, Fargesia, Thamnocalamus, Chusquea, and Borinda. Clumping bamboos are also fast-growing but not as invasive as running bamboo. Clumping bamboo's thick root system, however, can be very damaging to roads and other structures.
RUNNING BAMBOO
Any monopodial or leptomorph rhizome structure bearing bamboo, including, but not limited to, Phyllostachys, and Pseudosasa, as well as golden bamboo and arrow bamboo. Japanese knotweed shall be considered running bamboo for the purpose of this article. Running bamboo is extremely fast-growing and highly invasive.
Upon the effective date of this article, the planting of bamboo is prohibited within the Borough of Pennsburg, subject to the exceptions contained in § 54-7; and any person who plants, cultivates, or grows bamboo, or causes or allows bamboo to be planted, cultivated or grown, within the Borough contrary to this section shall be deemed to be in violation of this article and shall be subject to such penalties as are set forth herein.
A. 
Any bamboo planted or otherwise permitted to grow on any property prior to the effective date of this article may remain on such property, provided the bamboo and/or its root system shall not be maintained or otherwise permitted to exist within any area located within 10 feet of the property line or 40 feet of the edge of any pavement or public road in the Borough; provided, however, that any bamboo planted or otherwise permitted to grow on any property prior to the effective date of this article may not be replanted or replaced in kind once such bamboo is or has become, for any reason, dead, destroyed, uprooted or otherwise removed.
[Amended 1-2-2019 by Ord. No. 2-2019]
B. 
Bamboo may hereafter only be planted and cultivated without a permit if the root system is entirely contained within an aboveground planter, barrel, or other vessel of such design, material, and location as to entirely prevent the spread of growth of the bamboo plants' root system beyond the container in which it is planted.
C. 
Clumping bamboo and/or its root system may hereafter be planted and cultivated within a barrier constructed in accordance with the following specifications, and only after a compliance inspection is performed and a permit issued by the Code Enforcement Officer, but nevertheless may not be maintained or otherwise permitted to exist within any area located within 10 feet of the property line or 40 feet of the edge of any pavement or public road in the Borough:
[Amended 1-2-2019 by Ord. No. 2-2019]
(1) 
The barrier itself shall be composed of a high-density polypropylene or polyethylene material with a thickness of at least 40 millimeters;
(2) 
Each portion worksheet of the barrier shall be secured or joined together by the use of stainless-steel clamps or stainless-steel closure strips designed to be used with such barriers;
(3) 
The barrier shall be installed not less than 30 inches deep;
(4) 
The barrier shall be circular or oblong-shaped;
(5) 
Not less than three inches of the barrier shall protrude above ground level around the entire perimeter of the clumping bamboo; and
(6) 
When installed, the barrier shall slant outward from the bottom of the barrier to the top.
D. 
Prior to planting any clumping bamboo as regulated by Subsection C, a property owner must provide to the Code Enforcement Officer a written certification from a certified Pennsylvania horticulturist or other similarly qualified individual that the bamboo being planted is in fact clumping bamboo, and obtain a permit for planting.
Whenever a complaint is received by the Borough regarding a violation of this article or whenever the Borough, on its own observations and inspections, determines that there is a violation of this article, the Borough shall give notice to the landowner, tenant and/or occupant in possession of the property, or both, at the Borough's discretion, and said notice shall be substantively in the conformance with the following:
A. 
The notice shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, properly addressed with sufficient postage, and notice by certified mail shall be deemed complete on the date of personal delivery. If the certified mailing is marked refused or unclaimed, then the notice shall be posted on the property in a conspicuous place, and notice shall be deemed complete at the time of posting.
B. 
The notice shall specify the nature of the violation.
C. 
The notice shall state that the violation must be corrected within 30 days from the date of mailing or posting, whichever is later.
D. 
The notice shall state specifically what must be done by the property owner to correct the violation.
E. 
The notice shall state that failure to comply within the 30 days will result in the removal of the violation by the Borough and/or in the issuance of a citation for each day the violation exists, the institution of civil proceedings against the property owner for injunctive relief or other civil relief, as well as the criminal penalties for such violations.
A. 
Any person determined by any court of competent jurisdiction to have violated this article shall be subject to pay a fine of not less than $25 per day nor more than $600 per day for each day the violation existed after the date for removal as set forth in the notice provided pursuant to § 54-8. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense for which a fine can be levied.
B. 
If a violation is not remedied within the time set forth in the notice provided pursuant to § 54-8, the Borough is authorized to remove or have removed any bamboo in violation of this article and take all reasonable steps to eradicate the growth giving rise to the violation and to restore such land to its normal condition prior to such removal or eradication. The costs of the corrective action, together with any civil penalties, legal fees, and other costs, shall be recoverable from the responsible party by civil action or through municipal lien claim.