Borough of Northampton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Northampton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Planning Commission — See Ch. 47.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 125.
Numbering of properties — See Ch. 162.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 180.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 203.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 215.
Zoning — See Ch. 250.
[Adopted 10-9-1972 by Ord. No. 823 (Ch. 5, Part 1, of the 1993 Code of Ordinances)]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Code Enforcement Ordinance of the Borough of Northampton."
A. 
Creation of Office of Code Enforcement. There is hereby created by the Council of the Borough an office of the Borough to be known as the "Office of Code Enforcement." Said office shall have the responsibility for administering and enforcing the provisions of this article and of those other codes and/or ordinances of the Borough which designate said Office of Code Enforcement as their official administrative and enforcement agency.
B. 
Appointment of Code Enforcement Officer. There shall be appointed by the Borough Council, a Code Enforcement Officer who shall be in charge of the Office of Code Enforcement of the Borough of Northampton. The Code Enforcement Officer shall supervise such other employees or assistants as shall be necessary for the administration and execution of the responsibilities of said Office.
C. 
Relief from personal liability. The Code Enforcement Officer or other official or employee shall not, while acting for the Borough, render himself liable personally because of any act or omission as required or permitted in the discharge of his official duties. Any suit instituted against such Code Enforcement Officer, official or employee, because of any act performed by him in the lawful discharge of his duties, shall be defended by the Solicitor of the Borough and in no case will said officer, official or employee be liable for costs in any action, suit or proceeding.
D. 
Official record. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the Office of Code Enforcement and all such records shall be open to the public for inspection at all appropriate times.
A. 
Enforcement by Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce and administer all of the provisions of this article and of those other applicable codes and ordinances which establish the Office of Code Enforcement as their official administration and enforcement agency.
B. 
Duties of Code Enforcement Officer. The duties of the Code Enforcement Officer shall include the receipt of applications, the issuance of permits, notices, certificates and orders, the making of inspections to determine conformance with applicable codes and ordinances, the undertaking of research and investigations, the establishment of appropriate rules, the keeping of records, the issuance of written annual reports and such other activities as may be required.
C. 
Right of entry.
(1) 
In the discharge of his duties, the Code Enforcement Officer or his authorized representative shall, upon showing proper identification, have the authority to enter, at any reasonable hour, any structure or premises in the Borough to enforce the provisions of this article and of those other applicable codes and ordinances. The assistance and cooperation of all other Borough officials, including Police and Fire Departments, shall be available to the Code Enforcement Officer to assist in the performance of his duties and in securing right of entry.
(2) 
The owner, operator or occupant or other person in charge of any structure or premises shall give the Code Enforcement Officer free access thereto and it shall be unlawful to refuse or impede entrance of the Code Enforcement Officer to said structure or premises for the purpose of making any required inspection.
(3) 
If any such owner, operator or other occupant or other person in charge refuses or impedes any required or lawful inspection, the Borough may seek, in a court of competent jurisdiction, an order that such owner, occupant or person in charge shall cease and desist with such interference.
[Amended 5-7-1981 by Ord. No. 939; 7-15-1993 by Ord. No. 1048]
A. 
Permit required. An application for a permit shall be required in accordance with the provisions of those other applicable codes and ordinances which the Office of Code Enforcement has the responsibility to administer. Said application shall be submitted in such form as may be prescribed by the Code Enforcement Officer and shall be accompanied by any required fee.
B. 
Action on application. The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine said application to determine compliance with those other applicable codes and ordinances of the Borough and shall, within 15 days after filing, either approve or reject said application. If said application is rejected, the Code Enforcement Officer shall inform the applicant in writing, stating the reasons for such rejection.
C. 
Required fees.
(1) 
Applicants for permits required by any of the following applicable codes and ordinances shall pay, at the time of application, to the Code Enforcement Officer, for use by the Borough, fees as established, from time to time, by resolution of Borough Council:
(a) 
BOCA National Building Code.
(b) 
BOCA National Plumbing Code.
(c) 
National Electrical Code.
(d) 
BOCA National Fire Prevention Code.
(e) 
CABO One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code.
(f) 
BOCA Mechanical Code.
(2) 
All permits granted under any of the above applicable codes and ordinances shall be good for a period of one year, provided that extensions may be granted by the Code Enforcement Officer for good reason; except that any permit granted for demolition activities shall be valid for six months only and if such demolition work is not completed within that time, any bond posted by the applicant shall be forfeited.
D. 
Certificates. The following certificates shall be required in accordance with the provisions of those other applicable codes or ordinances which the Office of Code Enforcement has the responsibility to administer:
(1) 
Certificate of use and occupancy. In accordance with the applicable section of the BOCA Basic Building Code, a certificate of use and occupancy shall be required, and no new building or portion of an existing building which is enlarged or altered, shall be used or occupied in whole or in part, until such a certificate of use and occupancy shall have been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer.
(2) 
Certificate of approval. In accordance with the applicable sections of the BOCA Basic Building Code, a certificate of approval shall be required for any electrical or plumbing work completed under the provisions of the applicable codes and ordinances. All applicants shall apply to the Office of Code Enforcement for such a certificate of approval within 30 days of the completion of the building, structure, work or premises.
(3) 
Other certificates. Any other permits, certificates or licenses as required by the applicable codes and ordinances shall be obtained by the applicant in accordance with the provisions of said applicable codes and ordinances. Application for such permits, certificates or licenses shall be made to the Code Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 7-18-1974 by Ord. No. 879; 7-15-1993 by Ord. No. 1048]
A. 
Procedure in case of violations. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this article, or of the other applicable codes and ordinances, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the responsible owner, operator or occupant as provided hereafter. Said notice shall consist of the following:
(1) 
It shall be in writing and shall be signed by the Code Enforcement Officer.
(2) 
It shall include a statement of the reasons why the notice is being issued and the remedial actions required.
(3) 
It shall allow a reasonable time for the initiation and correction of the violation alleged or of the remedial actions required except where emergency conditions exist which require immediate corrective action.
B. 
Penalties. Any person who shall violate any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 and costs and, in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Provided: each day's failure to comply with any such provision or requirement or any such order shall constitute a separate offense. Provided further: the imposition of penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the solicitor representing the Borough from initiating appropriate actions or proceedings at law, or in equity, to effect the purposes of this article.
[Amended 8-13-1981 by Ord. No. 944; 7-15-1993 by Ord. No. 1048]
A. 
Code Hearing Board. There is hereby established a Code Hearing Board consisting of five members as appointed by the Borough Council of the Borough of Northampton, said members to be appointed at the regular meeting of Borough Council in January of each year to hold office for two-year terms with the exception that the original Board, however, shall have three members thereof appointed for three years and two members thereof appointed for two years, and thereafter two members shall be appointed during the odd-numbered years and three members shall be appointed during the even-numbered years.
B. 
Powers of the Code Hearing Board. The Code Hearing Board shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
Interpretation. On appeal from a determination of the Code Enforcement Officer or on request of any Borough official, the Code Hearing Board shall decide any questions involving the interpretation of any provision of this article or of those other applicable codes and ordinances.
(2) 
Variances. The Code Hearing Board may grant a variance where the strict application of this article or of those other applicable codes would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship and where the public health and safety shall not be jeopardized.
(3) 
Decide appeals. The Code Hearing Board shall hear all appeals made to it and, depending on its findings, shall decide whether such appeals shall be granted.
C. 
Requests for appeals or variances. Any person requesting a variance or aggrieved by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or by any other employee or official charged with the administration and enforcement of this article or of those other applicable codes or ordinances, may take an appeal to the Code Hearing Board. All appeals shall be made in writing stating the grounds upon which the appeal is based and shall be transmitted to the Office of Code Enforcement. An appeal must be taken within 15 days of the action or of the receipt by written notice of any decision or ruling which is being appealed.
D. 
Appeals and variance procedure.
(1) 
Public hearing. The Code Hearing Board shall meet and conduct a hearing within 30 days of the receipt of an appeal or a request for a variance. All hearings shall be public and all persons whose interest may be affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. A record shall be kept of all evidence and testimony presented at the hearing.
(2) 
Decision of the Board. All decisions of the Board shall be in writing and a copy of each decision shall be sent to the applicant and to the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Hearing Board shall also retain in its files a copy of each decision, which files shall be available for inspection by the public. Each decision shall set forth fully the reasons for the decision of the Code Hearing Board and the findings of fact on which the decision was based. The Code Hearing Board shall make an order on its decision and the Code Enforcement Officer shall take immediate action to carry out said order.
E. 
Appeals from the decision of the Code Hearing Board. Any person or persons aggrieved by any final order or decision of the Code Hearing Board may appeal such order or decision within 30 days to the Court of Common Pleas in accordance with, as far as practicable, the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Supreme Court regarding appeals from administrative agencies.
F. 
Reports by the Code Hearing Board. The Code Hearing Board shall report to the Council of the Borough periodically, at intervals of not later than 12 months. The report shall summarize all applications and appeals made to it since the last report and shall contain a summary of the Board's decision on each case. A copy of the report shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Hearing Board may also submit to the Council of the Borough advisory reports recommending changes and modifications in this article or in those other applicable codes or ordinances.
G. 
Code Hearing Board fee. The following fees will be established from time to time by resolution of Borough Council:
(1) 
For appeals to the Code Hearing Board of decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer relating to residential construction.
(2) 
For appeals to the Code Hearing Board of decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer relating to commercial or industrial construction.
[Adopted 6-3-2004 by Ord. No. 1122]
The Borough of Northampton hereby elects to administer and enforce the provisions of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, Act 45 of 1999, 35 P.S. §§ 7210.101-72.10.1103, as amended from time to time, and its regulations.
The Uniform Construction Code, contained in 34 Pa. Code, Chapters 401-405, as amended from time to time, is hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference as the municipal building code of the Borough of Northampton.
Administration and enforcement of the Code within the Borough of Northampton shall be undertaken in any of the following ways as determined by the governing body of the Borough of Northampton from time to time by resolution:
A. 
By the designation of an employee of the Borough of Northampton to serve as the municipal code official to act on behalf of the Borough of Northampton;
B. 
By the retention of one or more construction code officials or third-party agencies to act on behalf of the Borough of Northampton and, as such, the Borough of Northampton hereby appoints Michael Edelman, as an independent contractor/agency to act on behalf of the Borough of Northampton;
C. 
By agreement with one or more other municipalities for the joint administration and enforcement of this Act through an intermunicipal agreement;
D. 
By entering into a contract with another municipality for the administration and enforcement of this Act on behalf of the Borough of Northampton;
E. 
By entering into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for plan review, inspections and enforcement of structures other than one-family or two-family dwelling units and utility and miscellaneous use structures.
A Board of Appeals shall be established by resolution of the governing body of the Borough of Northampton in conformity with the requirements of the relevant provisions of the code, as amended from time to time, and for the purposes set forth therein. If at any time enforcement and administration is undertaken jointly with one or more other municipalities, said Board of Appeals shall be established by joint action of the participating municipalities. Said election for joint administration may be made by resolution of the Borough Council of the Borough of Northampton.
All building code ordinances or portions of ordinances which were adopted by the Borough of Northampton on or before July 1, 1999, are hereby superseded and replaced by the Uniform Construction Code and, further, all ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are specifically repealed.
Fees assessable by the Borough of Northampton for the administration and enforcement undertaken pursuant to this article and the code shall be established by the governing body by resolution from time to time.