Township of Halfmoon, PA
Centre County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Halfmoon 7-9-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 100.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 240.
This chapter shall be known as the "Halfmoon Township Public Nuisance Ordinance."
Provisions of this chapter are not intended to interfere, aggregate or annul other rules, regulations or ordinances, including Title 18 (Crimes Code) and Title 75 (Vehicle Code), Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. If more stringent regulations concerning nuisances are contained in the other rules, regulations or ordinances, the more stringent regulation shall apply.
It shall be unlawful for any person to maintain, carry on, cause or allow the existence or maintenance of a public nuisance within the limits of Halfmoon Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania.
A public nuisance shall be defined as including, but not limited to, the following activities when they adversely affect the peace, health, safety, or general welfare of the Township:
A. 
The accumulation of or permitting the accumulation of trash, garbage, refuse or rubbish on private or public property.
B. 
The storage, accumulation or permitting the storage or accumulation of abandoned, wrecked or junked automobiles, scrap metal or other scrap materials on private or public property (except in places where a junkyard business is regularly conducted within the Township limits and in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Township ordinances by license).
C. 
The carrying on of any offensive manufacture or business, or any other use or activity upon property that by raising noxious odors or fumes, excessive illumination, excessive noise, vibration or dust or air pollution unreasonably interferes with the reasonable use, comfort and enjoyment of property in the vicinity, or endangers the health or safety of the occupants of property in the vicinity.
D. 
The existence of any dangerous structure or improvement on public or private grounds which constitutes a fire hazard, or endangers surrounding buildings, or shelters rats or other vermin, or constitutes an attraction to children playing thereabout, and a hazard to their safety or which is unsafe for human occupancy.
E. 
Health and safety:
(1) 
The burning of any tires, shingles, roofing materials or construction materials, rags, automobiles, machines or other toxic or waste materials, which results in the excessive emission of noxious odors or which cause fire hazards or which pollutes the air.
(2) 
The storage of gasoline, kerosene or other petroleum products above ground or underground, without complying with the regulations thereto adopted by the Pennsylvania State Police.
(3) 
The maintenance or existence of any unfenced or inadequately fenced excavation which constitutes a hazard to children or other persons in the vicinity, and by failure to adequately light said excavation as a safeguard for the protection of other persons in the vicinity.
(4) 
The use of private property in such manner as to unreasonably interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of property by occupants of property in the vicinity by creating unsightly conditions and appearances in said premises.
(5) 
The maintenance or existence of any other condition on private or public property which constitutes a fire hazard or endangers surrounding buildings, or results in the sheltering of rats or other vermin, or constitutes an attraction to children and a hazard to their safety or otherwise endangers the health and safety of occupants of property in the vicinity, and the failure to reasonably and promptly remove snow or other kind of debris or matter from sidewalks abutting on private property.
F. 
Disturbance of the peace. For the purpose of this chapter, "vehicle" shall be defined as any and all motorized vehicles designed or redesigned (whether or not required to be licensed by the commonwealth) to be used on surfaces other than paved or unpaved public or private streets, including but not limited to all-terrain vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles, trail bikes, dirt bikes, mini-bikes, go-carts, dune buggies, snowmobiles, quads and the like, regardless of the number of wheels or lack of wheels. Vehicles shall not include farm equipment or equipment manufactured for home lawn/garden work or maintenance. Vehicles shall also not include any vehicles which are powered exclusively by electricity (i.e., those with noninternal combustion engines).
G. 
The use of private property in such manner as to unreasonably interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of property by occupants of property in the vicinity by creating unsightly conditions and appearances in said premises, such as but not limited to the following:
(1) 
No vehicles as herein defined shall be operated beyond the defined streets, roads, highways and driveways within Halfmoon Township without the prior express approval of the owners or occupiers of said private property.
(2) 
No vehicle subject to this chapter shall be operated on any public property within Halfmoon Township except in such areas within which said vehicles may be operated, but in no event shall such designated areas be deemed to include sidewalks, walkways, bike paths, parks or paved rights-of-way which are otherwise primarily used for pedestrian or other vehicle traffic.
(3) 
Nothing contained in this chapter shall authorize the operation of vehicles on the public or private streets, roadways or highways within Halfmoon Township in such instances where said vehicles could not otherwise be lawfully operated under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, as amended from time to time.
(4) 
No person shall operate a vehicle such that the operation of said vehicle emits loud noise which is determined to be objectionable because of the volume or frequency shall be muffled or otherwise controlled, except for fire sirens and related apparatus used solely for public safety purposes.
(5) 
No vehicle shall be operated in such a manner that is unreasonably dangerous to the safety and well being of any person or real or personal property in its immediate vicinity.
(6) 
To further implement and foster the content of this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate, cause to be operated or to participate in the operation of any vehicle off road on any single property within a distance of 50 feet of any property line without first obtaining the prior written consent of the owner(s) or lessee(s) of such property.
(7) 
No vehicle shall be operated in such a manner as to create an unreasonable amount of dust or dirt. An "unreasonable amount" of dirt or dust shall mean suspended particle matter visible to the unaided or naked eye from a distance of 35 or more feet.
(8) 
Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the use of a vehicle(s) when such is incidental to farm, home lawn/garden work, snow removal, or maintenance.
H. 
The use of private property in such manner as to unreasonably interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of property by occupants of property in the vicinity by creating unsightly conditions, excessive use, and dust appearances in or on/off said premises.
I. 
The maintenance or existence of any other condition on private or public property which constitutes an endangering structure or building(s), abandon or discontinued use of a structure, or results in the providing of habitat for the sheltering of rats or other vermin, or constitutes an attraction to children and a hazard to their safety, or otherwise endangers the health and safety of occupants of the property or in the vicinity of, or other kind of debris or matter from being transferred onto any abutting private property.
J. 
Noise. Any noise source, including but not limited to music, loud speakers, barking dogs, vehicles, tools or equipment which due to intensity, frequency, duration, location, lack of shielding or other reason which causes injury, damage, hurt, inconvenience, annoyance, or discomfort to others in the legitimate use and enjoyment of their rights of person or property.
Public nuisances shall not include the following:
A. 
The temporary storage of any item preparatory to its removal from the premises. Storage in excess of 30 days is presumed to be permanent storage.
B. 
The carrying on of any manufacture or business in a manner permitted under any license or permit issued by the Township or in any other proper and lawful manner.
C. 
Any vehicle used by the Township or any other governmental body in conducting official business or any activity performed by the Township or any other governmental body.
D. 
Any property regulated or administered under provisions of 3 Pa.C.S.A. § 313, Certain local government unit actions prohibited, effective July 6, 2005, Act 2005-38, Legislation Section 2 of 2005, July 6, P.L. 112, No. 38, imd. (Halfmoon Township agricultural security area).
In the event any person shall maintain a public nuisance, as heretofore defined, upon determining that such public nuisance exists or is being maintained, at the Township's option, the Township may singularly or severally proceed as follows:
A. 
Order the immediate termination of the public nuisance or the removal or abatement of the dangerous structure, improvement or excavation by causing written notice to be served.
(1) 
The written notice shall be served by one or more of the following methods:
(a) 
Personal delivery to owner or occupant;
(b) 
Fixing a copy to the door of the building on the premises of the violation; or
(c) 
Sending registered or certified mail to the last known address of the owner and occupant.
(2) 
If the nuisance is found on any public property or premises, or on any public right-of-way, notice, in writing, shall be given to the person responsible for the nuisance in accord with this chapter and all other provisions of this chapter shall apply.
(3) 
The notice shall enumerate the conditions which constitute a nuisance and what action is required to abate the nuisance and shall require the owner to commence corrective action as therein set forth within 10 days and to complete such corrective action fully within a reasonable time thereafter, not to exceed 30 days.
(4) 
If appropriate, Halfmoon Township may require the corrective action to be fully completed within the initial ten-day notice period.
B. 
Should any person cause or permit the continuation of a public nuisance without the commencement of corrective action within the initial 10 days from the date of the receipt of the notice specified in Subsection A hereof, or if such person shall fail to proceed to complete the corrective action within the time specified in the notice, the Township may cause the removal, correction or abatement of the public nuisance by such means as appear necessary The Township shall, in such event, where necessary, have the right and power to enter into the offending premises to accomplish the foregoing. The Township shall have the ability to extend the time for corrections if the circumstances warrant an extension and the owner or occupant is making a good faith effort to correct the violations.
C. 
In the event the Township shall have expended monies to remove, correct or abate any public nuisance under the terms of this section, it may recover the costs thereof, together with a penalty of 10% of such costs and attorneys' fees of 5% of such costs by municipal claim proceedings, or by such other remedies as may be provided by law, at the election of the Township.
D. 
In lieu of removal, correction or abatement of any public nuisance by the Township, the Township may, whenever the Township deems it appropriate, institute proceedings in the courts of equity to compel the removal, correction or abatement of such condition, and to seek such other relief as the court is empowered to afford.
The remedies herein provided for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, or of any remedy afforded by law, shall not be deemed mutually exclusive and may be empowered simultaneously or consecutively, at the direction of the Township or the court.
Failure to comply with any provision of this chapter, and/or failure to comply with an order to abate a nuisance, shall be violations of this chapter. Any person who has violated or permitted the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding, pay a fine not less than $250 for the first offense and any second or subsequent offense a fine not less than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Halfmoon Township as a result thereof. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. All fines, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid over to the Halfmoon Township. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgement, the Halfmoon Township may enforce the judgement pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Board of Supervisors may appointment one or more enforcement officers, who may be an individual, firm or agency of the Township, to conduct inspections, make reports and administer other parts of this chapter as determined by the Board of Supervisors. In the conduct of his or her duties, the enforcement officer, with the authorization of the Board of Supervisors, may engage the services of competent engineers or other consultants to determine the nature and extent of the nuisance. Additionally, any authorized law enforcement officer may enforce the provisions of this chapter.
A temporary waiver from strict compliance with the standards specified herein may be granted to persons for activities conducted in accordance with special activity permits upon application to the Board of Supervisors.
The requirements and regulations contained in this chapter are in addition to any federal or commonwealth laws, rules or regulations, and a waiver from the Township shall not be deemed or construed in any way to certify compliance with any federal or commonwealth requirements which may be in effect from time to time.