[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Mount Gretna 6-28-1974 by Ord. No. 103; amended in its entirety 6-11-2012 by Ord. No. 184. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as "Mount Gretna Borough Dangerous Buildings Ordinance."
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 Borough of Mount Gretna;
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 the chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- The Borough of Mount Gretna, County of Lebanon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- The Mount Gretna Borough Council (see "Borough" herein below).
- DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
- All the buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects; and, all such buildings or structures shall be deemed "dangerous buildings":
- (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 the people of the Borough;
- (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 and are likely to cause accidents, sickness, or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of those living therein as well as other citizens of the Borough;
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they might fall and injure members of the public or 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 people of the Borough.
Words used in the present text include the future and past, 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.
All dangerous buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished.
Each day a nuisance in the form of a dangerous building continues after notice is given that said dangerous building 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 Borough official or police officer that any building or structure, completed or in the process of construction, or any portion thereof, is in a dangerous condition, such person shall report same to the Board; and the Board shall immediately designate a Borough official, employee, qualified inspector, or police officer to make an investigation and examination of such building or structure. If such investigation or examination indicates such building or structure to be a dangerous building, a written report of such investigation shall be sent to the Board, specifying the exact condition of such building or 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 building.
The Mount Gretna Borough shall:
Upon receipt of a report in accordance with the investigation procedure provided for herein above in § 70-6 of this chapter, give written notice to the owner or owners of such dangerous building as determined by the record in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for the County of Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or failing to find any owner or owners, then such occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent, or any other person with an interest in said dangerous building who may be located, to appear before the Board on the date specified in the notice to show cause why the building or structure reported to be a dangerous building should not be repaired, demolished or vacated in accordance with the statement of particulars set forth in the notice provided for herein;
Within not less than 10 nor more than 60 days from the date of such notice, hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee or other person having an interest in said building shall offer related to it;
Within 30 days of such hearing, make written findings of fact from the testimony offered pursuant to the hearing as to whether or not the building in question is a dangerous building; and
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Board in ordering repair, vacating or demolition of a dangerous building:
If the dangerous building can be repaired as determined by the Board so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the dangerous building 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.
If the dangerous building cannot be reasonably repaired as determined by the Board, it shall be demolished.
If the dangerous building is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any other ordinance of the Borough or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished.
If any structure is deemed to be a dangerous building within the standards of this chapter, the Board shall forthwith cause notice to be served upon the owner or owners of such dangerous building as determined by the record in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for the County of Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or failing to find any owner or owners, then such occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent, or any other person with an interest in said dangerous building who may be located.
The notice required by this section shall be served personally upon the owner or owners or a dangerous building if such owner resides, or such owners reside, in the Borough or personally upon his agent if such agent resides within the Borough. If personal service required herein cannot be obtained, such notice shall be sent to the owner or owners of a dangerous building by certified mail at the last known address according to the records available in the Tax Assessment Office in and for the County of Lebanon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Such notice shall identify the building or structure deemed dangerous, contain a statement of the particulars which made this building or structure a dangerous building and include an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to conform with the terms of this chapter; provided further in any case where the notice prescribed the repair of any structure, the owner thereof shall have the option to remove such structure in lieu of making the repairs thereto within the time period provided.
Such notice shall require any person notified to repair, vacate or demolish any building to commence the work or act required by the notice within 10 days of such notice and to comply with such repair, vacation or demolition within 60 days from the receipt of such notice.
The Board shall cause to be placed on all dangerous buildings a notice reading substantially as follows:
All fines provided for in this section shall be in addition to costs, which include, but are not limited to, administrative costs, inspection costs, and attorney's fees.
Any person who shall fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous building, which notice is served by any person authorized to do so by the Board, shall, upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge, be subject to a fine not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus costs of prosecution and restitution. Each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense.
Any person removing the notice provided for in § 70-8E shall, upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 and costs of prosecution and restitution.
Conviction of a violation of this chapter shall be by summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Upon judgment against any person by summary conviction, or by proceedings by summons on default of the payment of the fine or penalty imposed and the costs, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Any person having an interest in any building who fails to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous building within 60 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure, does empower the Board to cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished by the Borough and to cause the costs of such repair, vacation or demolition together with a penalty of 10% to be charged upon the land upon which the building exists as a municipal lien, or alternatively to recover such costs and penalty in a suit at law against the owner or owners, but failing to recover same to have the judgment therefore to be charged upon the land as a lien; and this subsection is separate from and in addition to the fine, penalty and costs which may be imposed by any other subsection of this section.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there exists an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person caused or created by a dangerous building, the Board shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected as provided for in § 70-9E of this chapter.