[Adopted 10-25-2012 by Ord. No. 1663]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. III, Disorderly House, adopted 6-25-2009 by Ord. No. 1616.
It is the purpose of this article and the policy of City Council of the City of Butler, in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish a means for controlling disruptive activity taking place in properties located within the City and to charge the cost of enforcement resulting from authorities being called to a disruptive property to the property owner in order to deter repeated violations of state and local laws, and to pursue charges against the owner and/or occupant of a disruptive property when disruptive activity remains unabated over an unreasonably long period of time. Nothing in this article is intended to deter individuals in the City from requesting public safety services when they are in legitimate need of such.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ENFOREMENT OFFICER
- Any member of the City of Butler Police Department.
- DISRUPTIVE ACTIVITY
- Any form of conduct, action, omission, incident or behavior perpetrated, caused or permitted on a property by the owner(s), tenant(s), occupant(s), or their invitee(s), which constitutes a violation of any of the ordinance of the City of Butler or the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania related to the following:
- A. Any public order offense;
- B. Any violation involving a minor;
- C. Any firearms or other weapons offense;
- D. Any violation related to the maintenance of property free from noxious weeds, excessively high grass or refuse;
- E. Any public decency offense;
- F. Any offense against property;
- G. Any sanitation violation;
- H. Any animal offense; and
- DISRUPTIVE PROPERTY
- Any property on which disruptive activity has occurred on three or more separate occasions within any sixty-day period.
- A person on the premises with the actual or implied consent of the occupant, tenant or owner.
- An individual who resides on the premises, whether or not as the owner, with or without a written lease.
- One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal or equitable title to the property, including a mortgage holder, corporation, partnership or other entity, and shall include the partners, shareholders, directors, officers or other principals as the case may be.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Property that has been declared a disruptive property where disruptive activity continues to occur on three separate occasions within a one-year period following the declaration of disruptive property.
- RENTAL UNITS
- For rental properties, each individual rental unit shall be considered a separate property for purposes of enforcement of this article. Any occurrence of disruptive activity in the common area of a rental property shall be charged to the specific rental unit that the occupant/tenant/invitee occupies and not the property in whole.
When the owner, tenant, occupant or invitee on a property has either been arrested or issued a citation or summons for disruptive activities occurring on the property on three or more separate occasions within any sixty-day period, the enforcement officer may declare the property to be a disruptive property and proceed with the notice and enforcement procedures set forth in this article.
Any citation, summons or arrest for disruptive activity perpetrated by a tenant who is already in the process of being evicted shall not count towards the declaration of a disruptive property pursuant to Subsection A, above, provided that the property owner can prove that an eviction action has been commenced in a court of law and that the property owner is actively prosecuting said eviction against the tenant.
After a property has been declared a disruptive property, if enforcement officers are not called upon to respond to any disruptive activities for a period of 12 consecutive months, the property will no longer be classified as a disruptive property.
The enforcement officer shall provide a separate written notice to the owner for each citation, summons or arrest made for a disruptive activity at the owner's property.
The notice shall be deemed to be properly delivered if sent either by first-class mail to the owner's registered address or, if unavailable, to the owner's last known address or as my be found in public records, or if delivered in person to the owner or left at the owner's usual place of abode in the presence of a competent adult residing there. If a current address cannot be located, notice shall be deemed sufficient if posted on the potential disruptive property with a copy sent to the last known address of the owner.
The notice shall contain the following information:
The street address or legal description sufficient for identification of the property;
A description of the disruptive activity and the date on which the citation, summons or arrest was made;
A statement that the property is declared to be a disruptive property, or, if the property has not yet been declared a disruptive property, a statement of the number of subsequent citations, summons and/or arrests for disruptive activity which will result in such a declaration;
A statement that, if the property has been declared a disruptive property, the occurrence of any subsequent disruptive activity at this property within three months following the date of the notice will result in the property being charged with the costs of administrative and law enforcement actions taken by the City in response to the disruptive activity; and
A statement that the property owner within 15 days of the date of the notice respond in writing to the enforcement officer detailing a course of action by which disruptive activities will be abated at the property. The time period for implementation of any proposed plan shall not exceed 60 days from the date of submission.
If the property has been declared a disruptive property and subsequent disruptive activity has occurred within the time period noted in § 192-9C(4) above and the property owner has failed to take any action to abate the disruptive activity at the property, the enforcement officer shall file a complaint or citation with the District Magistrate.
If, after a property has been declared a disruptive property pursuant to the provisions of this article, the City's enforcement officer is called upon to respond to disruptive activity occurring at the property on three separate occasions within a one-year period following the declaration of disruptive property, such property is hereby deemed to be a public nuisance, which shall result in the filing of misdemeanor charges against the owner and/or occupant of the disruptive property, as may by applicable by the provisions of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.
Editor's Note: See 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
The declaration of a disruptive property or the charging or assessment of costs by the City on a property under this article does not affect or limit the City's right or authority to bring criminal prosecution or other legal action against any person for violation of the City Code or state law.
If the property is declared a disruptive property and the owner failed to abate the disruptive activity, the owner may be assessed all costs incurred by the City in providing public safety services to the property in response to the subsequent disruptive activity. Within 30 days of the incurring of the costs set forth in this section, the enforcement officer shall issue a citation to the property owner with a written demand for payment containing a description/summary of all costs incurred. Failure to pay any such costs shall be cause for the City to file an in rem judgment against the property and/or an in personam action against the owner for recovery of the costs incurred by the City.
Costs of providing public safety services shall be determined based on the time required to respond to the disruptive activity multiplied by an hourly rate based upon the wages and benefits of the City employee, dispatch costs, vehicle and equipment costs, and supervisory and administrative costs.
If a property has been declared a public nuisance in accordance with § 192-10B above, the enforcement officer may revoke the occupancy permit of the property and shall perform any other actions to ensure the abatement of the nuisance. Costs for such actions shall be assessed to the property owner. The revocation of the occupancy permit shall remain in effect until such time as the nuisance has been fully abated.
In addition to the aforenoted costs, any violation of this article shall constitute a civil offense punishable, upon conviction thereof, by a fine no less than $300 or more than $1,000 for each offense plus costs of prosecution. Each day the violation continues following issuance of the initial notice shall constitute a separate offense. The City may institute proceedings under this section by the issuance of a "notice of violation letter," assessing a civil penalty ranging from $10 to $1,000 for each offense, and provide the parties in violation of said Code section the opportunity to abate the violation and pay said civil penalty in lieu of the institution of proceedings and the imposition of the other stated penalties set forth herein.