[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Masontown 7-27-1964 by Ord. No. 188, approved 7-27-1964; amended in its entirety 5-22-2018 by Ord. No. D-2-5-22-18, approved 5-22-2018. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter may be cited as the "Borough of Masontown Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Ordinance."
There are deteriorated properties located in the Borough of Masontown as a result of neglect by their owners in violation of applicable state and municipal codes; and
These deteriorated properties create public nuisances which have an impact on crime and the quality of life of our residents and require significant expenditures of public funds in order to abate and correct the nuisances.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- The act of October 27, 2010 (P.L. 875, No. 90), 53 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 61, known as the "Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act."
- BLIGHTED PROPERTY
- Any of the following:
- A. Premises which, because of physical condition or use, have been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction as a public nuisance at common law or have been declared a public nuisance in accordance with the local housing, building, plumbing, fire and related codes and ordinances, including nuisance and dangerous building ordinances.
- B. Premises which, because of physical condition, use or occupancy, are considered an attractive nuisance to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations and unsafe fences or structures.
- C. A dwelling which, because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested or lacking in the facilities and equipment required under the housing code of the municipality, has been designated by the municipal department responsible for enforcement of the code as unfit for human habitation.
- D. A structure which is a fire hazard or is otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property.
- E. A structure from which the utilities, plumbing, heating, water, sewage or other facilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective so that the property is unfit for its intended use.
- F. A vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground in a predominantly built-up neighborhood which, by reason of neglect or lack of maintenance, has become a place for accumulation of trash and debris or a haven for rodents or other vermin.
- G. An unoccupied property which has been tax delinquent for a period of two years.
- H. A property which is vacant but not tax delinquent and which has not been rehabilitated within one year of the receipt of notice to rehabilitate from the appropriate code enforcement agency.
- A residential, commercial or industrial building or structure and the land appurtenant to it.
- A building, housing, property maintenance, fire, health or other public safety ordinance enacted by a municipality.
- The Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County.
- MORTGAGE LENDER
- A business association defined as a "banking institution" or "mortgage lender" under 7 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 61 (relating to mortgage loan industry licensing and consumer protection) that is in possession of or holds title to real property pursuant to, in enforcement of or to protect rights arising under a mortgage, mortgage note, deed of trust or other transaction that created a security interest in the real property.
- A city, borough, incorporated town, township or home rule, optional plan or optional charter municipality or municipal authority in this commonwealth and any entity formed pursuant to the act of Dec. 19, 1996 (P.L. 1158, No. 177), § 1, 53 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 23 (relating to intergovernmental cooperation).
- A holder of the title to residential, commercial or industrial real estate, other than a mortgage lender, who possesses and controls the real estate. The term includes, but is not limited to, heirs, assigns, beneficiaries and lessees, provided this ownership interest is a matter of public record, including lessees under leases for which a memorandum of lease is recorded in accordance with the act of June 2, 1959 (P.L. 254 (Vol. 1), No. 86), 21 P.S. § 405.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Property which, because of its physical condition or use, is regarded as a public nuisance at common law or has been declared by the appropriate Masontown Borough official a public nuisance in accordance with the applicable Borough ordinances, or by the court.
- REMEDIATION PLAN
- A plan for the correction of violations of state law or code that is part of an agreement between the owner and the municipality in which the real property containing the violations is located.
- SERIOUS VIOLATION
- A violation of a state law or a code that poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of a dwelling occupant, occupants in surrounding structures or passersby.
- STATE LAW
- A statute of the commonwealth or a regulation of an agency charged with the administration and enforcement of commonwealth law.
- SUBSTANTIAL STEP
- An affirmative action as determined by a property codes official or officer of the court on the part of a property owner or managing agent to remedy a serious violation of a state law or municipal code, including, but not limited to, physical improvements or repairs to the property, which affirmative action is subject to appeal in accordance with applicable law.
- TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTY
- Tax delinquent real property as defined under:
- A. The act of July 7, 1947 (P.L. 1368, No. 542), known as the Real Estate Tax Sale Law;
- B. The act of May 16, 1923 (P.L. 207, No. 153), referred to as the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Act;
- C. The act of October 11, 1984 (P.L. 876, No. 171), known as the Second Class City Treasurer's Sale and Collection Act, located in any municipality in this Commonwealth; or
- D. Any successor law to any of the above statutes.
Actions. In addition to any other remedy available at law or in equity, the Borough of Masontown may institute the following actions against the owner of any real property that is in serious violation of a code or for failure to correct a condition which causes the property to be regarded as a public nuisance.
In personam action.
An in personam action may be initiated for a continuing violation for which the owner takes no substantial step to correct within six months following receipt of an order to correct the violation, unless the order is subject to a pending appeal before the administrative agency or court.
As authorized by the Act, the Borough of Masontown reserves the right to recover in a single action under this section an amount equal to any penalties imposed against the owner and any costs of remediation lawfully incurred by or on behalf of the municipality to remedy any code violation.
A proceeding in equity.
General rule. A lien may be placed against the assets of an owner of real property that is in serious violation of a code or is regarded as a public nuisance after a judgment, decree or order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction against the owner of the property for an adjudication under § 50-4A (relating to actions).
Limitations under the Act. In proceedings under the Act, except as otherwise allowed by law, where the owner is an association or trust no lien shall be imposed upon the individual assets of any limited partner, shareholder, member or beneficiary of the owner.
Reservation of rights and remedies under law other than the Act. The Borough of Masontown reserves all rights and remedies existing under statutes other than the Act, its ordinances implementing them, and applicable case law to obtain recovery for the costs of preventing and abatement of code violations and public nuisances to the fullest extent allowed by law from mortgage lenders; trustees, and members of liability companies, limited partners who provide property management services to the real property as well as general partners of owners; and officers, agents, and operators that are in control of a property as an owner or otherwise hold them personally responsible for Code violations as well as owners themselves. Such owners, mortgage lenders, partners, members of limited liability companies, trustees, officers, agents and operators in control of a real property with Code violations shall be subject to all actions at law and in equity to the full extent authorized by such statutes, ordinances and applicable case law. Such action may be joined in one lawsuit against responsible parties with an action brought under the Act.
Conflict with other law. In the event of a conflict between the requirements of this chapter and federal requirements applicable to demolition, disposition or redevelopment of buildings, structures or land owned by or held in trust for the government of the United States and regulated pursuant to the United States Housing Act of 1937 (50 Stat. 888, 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq.) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, the federal requirements shall prevail.
Relief for inherited property. Where property is inherited by will or intestacy, the devisee or heir shall be given the opportunity to make payments on reasonable terms to correct code violations or to enter into a remediation plan in accordance with Section 6131(b)(1)(iii) of the Act and Subsection 5.b(2)(a)(iii) (relating to municipal permit denial) with the Borough of Masontown to avoid subjecting the devisee's or heir's other properties to asset attachment or denial of permits and approvals on other properties owned by the devisee or heir.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith be and are hereby repealed, except any ordinance or parts of ordinances that authorize greater remedies than this chapter are preserved.
The provisions of this chapter shall be severable, and if any of its provisions are found to be unconstitutional or illegal, the validity of any of the remaining provisions of this chapter shall not be affected thereby.