Township of Derry, PA
Mifflin County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Derry 6-15-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-3. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as "Derry Township Dangerous Structure Ordinance."
This chapter is ordained and enacted pursuant to the power of the Board of Supervisors to prohibit and remove dangerous structures per Section1533 of the Second Class Township Code, as amended (53 P.S. § 66533, as amended), and the General Powers of the Township to make or adopt ordinances necessary for the proper management, care and control of the Township and the maintenance of peace, good government, health and welfare of the Township and of its citizens per Section 1506 of the Second Class Township Code, as amended (53 P.S. § 66506, as amended), and otherwise per law.
This chapter shall apply uniformly to all persons, business organizations, nonprofit organizations, and all other legal entities; and, it shall apply uniformly to all property and all property owners within the Township of Derry.
A. 
Unless otherwise specifically defined below, words or phrases used herein shall be interpreted so as to give them the same meaning as they have in common usage and so as to give this chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
BOARD or BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The Board of Supervisors of the Township of Derry (see "Township" herein below).
DANGEROUS STRUCTURE or DANGEROUS STRUCTURES
All buildings or structures, including but not limited to residences, dwellings, garages, sheds, outhouses, barns, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings, which have one or more of the following defects:
(1) 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, or other cause so as to fail utterly to provide the amenities essential to decent living and are unfit for human habitation;
(2) 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, or other cause so as to have become dangerous to the life and safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or other people of the Township;
(3) 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living so that they are unfit for human habitation;
(4) 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living are likely to cause accidents, sickness, or disease, so as to incur injury to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the people of the Township;
(5) 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they might fall and injure members of the public or cause damage to adjoining property; or
(6) 
Those which because of their general condition are unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the citizens, residents and visitors to the Township.
OCCUPANT
That person leasing or otherwise occupying the real estate.
OWNER
That person who is the actual legal title holder of the real estate or is in charge of any real estate, including the personal representative of an estate, the trustee of trust, an attorney-in-fact, an agent, or a guardian of the person in whom legal title is vested.
PERSON
A natural person, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited-liability partnership, limited-liability corporation, association, corporation or other legal entity.
SHALL
Is always mandatory and not merely directory.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Derry, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.
B. 
Words used in the present tense include the future and past tense, words in the plural number include the singular, words in the singular number include the words in the plural, and words either in the feminine, masculine, or neuter, shall include words of the other two genders.
A. 
All dangerous structures are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated, or demolished.
B. 
Each day a nuisance in the form of a dangerous structure continues, after notice is given pursuant to § 83-8 of this chapter that said dangerous structure is to be repaired, vacated, or demolished, shall constitute a separate offense in violation of this chapter.
Whenever it shall be reported or come to the attention of any Township official that any structure, completed or in the process of construction, or any portion thereof, is in a dangerous condition, such Township official shall report same to the Board of Supervisors in person at a regularly scheduled Township meeting or by written letter, signed by the complainant, identifying the property in question, naming the property owner, and briefly explaining the nature of the dangerous structure. The Board of Supervisors shall immediately designate a Township official, employee, or construction code official or other properly qualified person or agent of the Board of Supervisors to make an investigation and examination of such structure. If such investigation or examination indicates such structure to be a dangerous structure, a written report of such investigation shall be sent to the Board of Supervisors, specifying the exact condition of such structure and setting forth whether or in what respect the structure is dangerous and whether the structure is capable of being properly repaired or whether it shall be removed as a dangerous structure.
The following standards shall be followed by the Board of Supervisors in ordering the repair, vacation, or demolition of a dangerous structure:
A. 
If the dangerous structure can be repaired as determined by the Board of Supervisors so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered to be repaired.
B. 
If the dangerous structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
C. 
If the dangerous structure cannot be reasonably repaired as determined by the Board of Supervisors, it shall be demolished and the debris from such demolition shall be properly disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, after the demolition and debris removal have been completed, the ground disturbed by such demolition and debris removal shall be returned to grade with clean fill, seeded and mulched.
D. 
If the dangerous structure is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter, any other ordinance of the Township, or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished and the debris from such demolition shall be properly disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, after the demolition and debris removal have been completed, the ground disturbed by such demolition and debris removal shall be returned to grade with clean fill, seeded and mulched.
A. 
Notice. Whenever a condition constituting a nuisance is maintained, the Board of Supervisors shall cause written notice, by one authorized so to do, to be served upon the owner and the occupant of the property, if applicable, in one of the following manners:
(1) 
By making personal service or delivery of the notice to the owner and, if applicable, to the occupant of the premises; or
(2) 
By handing a copy:
(a) 
At the residence of the owner to an adult member of the family with whom he resides; but if no adult member of the family is found, then to an adult person in charge of such residence; or to an adult person in charge of the property where the condition located; or
(b) 
At the residence of the owner to the clerk or manager of the hotel, inn, apartment house, boarding house or other place of lodging at which he resides; or
(c) 
At any office or usual place of business of the owner or his agent or to the person for the time being in charge thereof; or
(3) 
By mailing a copy of the notice to the last known address of the owner, and, if applicable, the occupant, by United States Certified Mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery, and concomitantly mailing a copy of said notice by United States First Class Mail, as evidenced by a postal certificate of mailing. The notice required by this section shall be sent to the owner or owners of a dangerous structure at the last known address according to the records in the Tax Assessment Office in and for the County of Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
Subsection A(1) through (3) above are alternative methods of service and are not intended to be preferential in the order of their numbering.
(4) 
If the Certified Mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery, and the United States First Class Mail mailings are both returned by the postal authorities, and if service cannot reasonably and expeditiously be made in any other manner under Subsection A(1) through (3), service shall be made by conspicuously posting a copy of the notice and order in a conspicuous place visible to the public and to any owner or occupant of the property, on the property which is the subject of or is the property affected by the notice and order.
B. 
Order to correct. Such notice shall contain an order to correct which shall include:
(1) 
A description sufficient to identify the condition and the location of the condition;
(2) 
An order to such owner and/or occupant to take action to correct the condition within a specified time no less than within 10 days after the date of the notice and, thereafter, to comply fully with its terms of the notice with reasonable dispatch as is deemed necessary by the Township to correct the condition under the circumstances;
(3) 
A warning substantially to the effect that if the condition is not corrected within the time fixed in the order, the failure to correct the condition could result in the imposition of a fine and court costs, and, in addition, could result in the condition being abated by the Township as a public nuisance at the cost and expense of the owner of the property; and
(4) 
Both the owner and the occupant shall be responsible for carrying out or complying with the order.
In that this chapter regulates building, housing, property maintenance, health, fire and public safety, it shall be enforced pursuant to Section 1601(c.1) (2), of the Second Class Township Code, as amended [53 P.S. 66601(c.1)(2), as amended], as applicable. Enforcement thereof shall be by an action brought before a Magisterial District Judge (formerly known as a "District Justice") in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine in an amount not to exceed $1,000 per violation and the costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs of prosecution, shall undergo imprisonment of not more than 90 days; provided, further, that each day's continuance of a violation shall constitute a separate event.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
The Township, by means of a complaint in equity, may compel the owner and, if applicable, the occupant of the premises to comply with the terms of any notice of violation, or otherwise may seek any such other relief as any court of competent jurisdiction is empowered to afford.
In addition to any other penalties and remedies set forth in this chapter, any owner who shall create, continue, maintain, or permit a dangerous structure and/or dangerous structures on their or its premises within the Township, as applicable, and/or permit such conditions to exist and continue unabated, shall, within 10 days or such greater reasonable time as determined by the Township Board of Supervisors, after notice and order, as above, from the Township Supervisors, to do so, legally remove the same and legally dispose of any debris from the same as required by the provisions of this chapter, as applicable. If such owner shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of the notice and order aforesaid within the time limit set forth therein, the Township Supervisors shall have authority, in person or by their agents and/or employees, to abate the nuisance and to remove said dangerous structure, and in so doing, shall have authority to enter upon the property of such person in default and, thereupon, the Township Board of Supervisors shall collect the cost and expense of such removal from any owner who created, continued, caused, maintained or permitted such violation to exist, such owner having failed, neglected or refused to comply with the notice and order when so requested, by the filing of a municipal claim in the manner provided by law for the collection of municipal claims or by an action in assumpsit (a civil action).
The imposition of the remedies or penalties herein prescribed are not exclusive, but, on the contrary, they are cumulative and the exercise of one remedy or penalty shall not preclude the Township from instituting an appropriate action, in law or equity, or taking appropriate action under this chapter or otherwise to restrain, correct or abate the violation and/or stop any illegal act or conduct.