City of Pittston, PA
Luzerne County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Pittston as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 165.
Condemned property — See Ch. 186.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 191.
Grass, weeds and other vegetation — See Ch. 281.
Littering — See Ch. 307.
Solid waste — See Ch. 412.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 424.
[Adopted 7-18-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-19]
A certain document, one copy of which is on file in the office of the City Administrator of the City of Pittston, being marked and designated as the International Property Maintenance Code, 2009 Edition, as published by the International Code Council, be and is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the City of Pittston, in the State of Pennsylvania, for regulating and governing the conditions and maintenance of all property, buildings and structures by providing the standards for supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary and fit for occupation and use and the condemnation of buildings and structures unfit for human occupancy and use and the demolition of such existing structures as herein provided and by providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees therefor, and each and all of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of said Property Maintenance Code on file in the office of the City Administrator are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof, as if fully set out in this chapter, with the additions, insertions, deletions and changes, if any, prescribed in § 370-2 of this chapter.
The following sections are hereby revised:
A. 
Section 101.1: insert "City of Pittston."
B. 
Section 103.5: insert Fee Schedule.
C. 
Section 112.4: insert "not less than $500" and "not more than $1,000."
D. 
Section 302.4: insert "eight inches."
E. 
Section 304.14: insert "January to December."
F. 
Section 602.3: insert "January to December."
G. 
Section 602.4: insert "January to December."
Nothing in this chapter or in the Property Maintenance Code hereby adopted shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding pending in any court or any rights acquired or liability incurred or any cause or causes of action acquired or existing under any act or ordinance hereby repealed, nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this chapter.
[Adopted 5-16-2018 by Ord. No. 3-2018]
Lack of maintenance of properties; littering; improper storage of refuse, trash, and recycling; storage of inoperative/nonregistered vehicles; vendor operations without permits, high grass and weeds; graffiti and accumulation of snow and ice are costly problems that contribute to the deterioration of property values and general disorder in a community. These problems degrade the physical appearance of the City, which reduces business and tax revenue inhibiting economic development. The quality of life and community pride of the citizens of the City are negatively impacted by the occurrences and existence of these activities. Recognizing these are community problems, the purpose of this article is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the City by helping create a clean environment for the citizens of the City.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall be defined as follows, unless context clearly indicates otherwise:
AUTHORIZED LITTER RECEPTACLE
Is a litter collection receptacle which is placed on the public right-of-way or on public property by the City for use by the public to deposit small quantities of hand-held trash, but not household or commercial waste.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
A motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight of greater than 6,000 pounds and is primarily used for business purposes, including but not limited to making service calls, transporting equipment used in a business or in accomplishing physical work as part of a business (such as hauling material).
DEBRIS
Any material upon the premises that is a residue of structural demolition, or any other material that is not neatly stored, stacked, or piled in such a manner so as not to create a nuisance or become a harboring place or food supply for insects and rodents.
DUMPING
Includes, but is not limited to, depositing of litter, depositing durable goods (refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.), small appliances, furniture, carpets, tires, vehicles, vehicle parts and automotive products, and other such municipal waste, hazardous waste, residual waste and construction or demolition debris on public or private property, except as authorized by law.
GARBAGE
The animal or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, and consumption of food.
HAZARDOUS WASTE
Any waste material or a combination of solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material that because of its quantity, concentration, physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics may:
A. 
Cause, or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating illness.
B. 
Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of or otherwise managed.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW)
Waste which would be chemically or physically classified as a hazardous waste, but is excluded from regulation as a hazardous waste because it is produced in quantities smaller than those regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and because it is generated by persons not otherwise covered as hazardous waste generators by those regulations. Such HHW materials meet one of the following four classifications: toxic, flammable, reactive, or corrosive. HHW consists of numerous products that are common to the average household such as: pesticides and herbicides, cleaners, automotive products, paints, and acids.
INDOOR FURNITURE
Any and all pieces of furniture which are made for only inside use including, but not limited to, upholstered chairs and sofas, etc.
A. 
Any vehicle which presents a hazard or danger to the public or is a public nuisance by virtue of its state or condition of disrepair.
B. 
The following conditions, if present, are examples of a state or condition of disrepair:
(1) 
Rusted and/or jagged metal on or protruding from the body of the vehicle.
(2) 
Broken glass or windows on or in the vehicle.
(3) 
Leaking of any fluids from the vehicle or deflated or flat tire(s).
(4) 
Unsecured and/or unlocked doors, hood, or trunk.
(5) 
Storage or placement of the vehicle in an unbalanced condition, on concrete blocks, or other similar apparatus.
(6) 
Harboring of rodents, insects, or other pests.
C. 
The foregoing examples are not inclusive of all conditions which may constitute a state or condition of disrepair. See also "motor vehicle nuisance."
LITTER
Includes, but is not limited to, all waste material, garbage, trash, i.e. waste paper, tobacco products, wrappers, food or beverage containers, newspapers, etc., municipal waste, human waste, domestic animal waste, furniture or motor vehicles seats, vehicle parts, automotive products, shopping carts, construction or demolition material recyclable material and dirt, mud and yard waste that has been abandoned or improperly discarded, deposited, or disposed.
LOCAL AGENT
Any person residing or working within the County of Luzerne designated to accept service on behalf of a legal owner or operator of a rental dwelling unit.
MOBILE VENDOR
A vendor or seller of food and/or goods from a vehicle or other conveyance upon the public streets or alleys of the City that does not typically remain stationary for more than approximately 10 minutes each hour.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any type of mechanical device, capable or at one time capable of being propelled by a motor, in which persons or property may be transported upon public streets or highways, and including trailers or semitrailers pulled thereby.
MOTOR VEHICLE NUISANCE
A motor vehicle with one or more of the following defects:
A. 
Broken windshields, mirrors, or other glass, with sharp edges.
B. 
Broken headlamps, tail lamps, bumpers, or grills with sharp edges.
C. 
Any body parts, truck, firewall, or floorboards with sharp edges or large holes resulting from rust.
D. 
Protruding sharp objects from the chassis.
E. 
Missing doors, windows, hood, trunks, or other body parts that could permit animal harborage.
F. 
One or more open tires or tubes which could permit animal harborage.
G. 
Any vehicle suspended by blocks, jacks, or other such materials in a location which may pose a danger to the public, property owners, visitors, or residents of the which said vehicle is found.
H. 
Any excessive fluids leaking from vehicle which may be harmful to the public or the environment.
I. 
Disassembled body or chassis parts stored in, on or about the vehicle.
J. 
Vehicles that do not display a current valid license and registration.
K. 
Such other defects which the Fire Department determines to be a danger to the general public or property.
L. 
Motor vehicles parked, drifted, or otherwise located which may interfere with flow of pedestrians or automobile traffic or impede emergency efforts.
MUNICIPAL WASTE
Any garbage, refuse, industrial, lunchroom, or office waste, and other material including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material resulting from operation or residential, municipal, commercial, or institutional establishments or from community activities, and which is not classified as residual waste or hazardous waste as defined herein. The term does not include source separated recyclable materials or organic waste.
NOTICE OF VIOLATION
A written document issued to a person in violation of a City ordinance which specifies the violation and contains a directive to take corrective action within a specified time frame or face further legal action.
NUISANCE
Any condition, structure, or improvement which constitutes a danger or potential danger to the health, safety, or welfare of citizens of the City, or causes a blighting effect in City neighborhoods. See also "public nuisance."
PEDDLER
Any person, whether a resident of this City or not, travelling from house to house, or from street to street, for the purpose of selling or soliciting for sale, goods, wares, merchandise or services; and shall also mean and include any person transacting a temporary business within the City at an established place of business.
PERSON
Every natural person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, or institution.
PLANTER STRIP
The nonconcrete space in the sidewalk area filled with dirt and/or grass.
PRIVATE PROPERTY
Any land and the improvements thereon owned by any person and includes front, side, and rear yards; vacant lots, buildings, and other structural improvements; walkways and alleyways; and parking areas, designed or used either wholly or in part for private residential, industrial, or commercial purpose, whether inhabited, temporary, continuously uninhabited, or vacant, including any yard, grounds; walk, driveway, porch, steps; vestibule, or mailbox belonging to or appurtenant to such dwelling, house, building, or other structure.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
Any conditions or premises which are unsafe, unsanitary or disruptive.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The City Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Officer, City Health Officer, City Fire Code Inspector or a City police officer,
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
The total width of any land used, reserved, or dedicated as a street, alley, driveway, sidewalk, or utility easement, including curb and gutter areas.
RECYCLABLE MATERIAL
Material which would otherwise become municipal waste, which can be collected, separated, or processed, and returned to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials or products. These materials may include, but not be limited to, aluminum cans, ferrous and bi-metal cans, glass containers, plastic bottles and containers, mixed paper, white goods, major appliances, televisions, tires, and large auto parts.
RESIDUAL WASTE
Any discarded material or other waste including solid, semisolid, or contained gaseous materials resulting from construction, industrial, mining and agricultural operations, excluding municipal water and sewer operations.
RUBBISH
Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage; the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke, and other combustible materials, paper, rags cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral latter, glass, crockery, and dust and other similar materials.
SHADE TREE
Unless otherwise specified, includes all trees, shrubs, and woody vegetation in the public right-of-way.
SIDEWALK AREA
The public right-of-way between the property line and the curb line or the established edge of the roadway.
SOLID WASTE
Any waste including, but not limited to, municipal, residual, or hazardous wastes, including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous materials.
STORAGE
The containment of any municipal waste on a temporary basis in such a manner as not to constitute disposal as such waste, and it shall be presumed that the contain.
STREET VENDOR
Any person travelling by foot, wagon, motor vehicle or any other type of conveyance from place to place, house to house, or street to street carrying, conveying or transporting goods, wares or merchandise and offering and exposing them for sale, or making sales and delivering articles to purchasers; or who, without traveling from place to place, sells or offers for sale such products from a wagon, handcart, pushcart, motor vehicle, conveyance or from his person or who solicits orders and, as a separate transaction, makes deliveries to purchasers.
TRACTOR OF A TRACTOR-TRAILER
A truck with a minimum of three axles that is primarily intended to pull a trailer, as defined below, and not primarily to carry goods itself.
TRAILER OF A TRACTOR-TRAILER
A commercial vehicle with a length of 20 feet or more that is not self-propelled, that is intended to haul materials, vehicles, goods, gases or liquids and that is intended to be pulled by a tractor, and that is not a "recreational vehicle."
TREE WELL
The nonconcrete area surrounding a shade tree planted in a sidewalk area.
VEGETATION
Any planting that is cultivated and managed for edible or ornamental purposes such as vegetable gardens, trees, shrubs, hedges, flowers, etc.
VIOLATION TICKET
A form issued by a police officer or other code enforcement officer to a person who violates a provision of this article. The violation ticket is an offer by the City extended to a person to settle a violation by paying the fine in lieu of a citation being issued against the violator.
A. 
Shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants, and vegetation, which meet any of the following criteria:
(1) 
Exceeds eight inches in height.
(2) 
Exhale unpleasant noxious odors or pollen such as ragweed, dandelion, and miscellaneous other vegetation commonly referred to as weeds or brush.
(3) 
May conceal filthy deposits or serve as breeding places for mosquitoes other insects, or vermin.
(4) 
Encroaches onto neighboring properties by way of leaders on roots without property owners consent.
(5) 
May cause a public nuisance.
B. 
Weeds shall not include cultivated and managed vegetation planted for edible or ornamental purposes such as vegetable gardens, trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.
YARD
An open space on the same lot with a structure.
A. 
Operating as a peddler or street vendor illegally. It shall be unlawful to operate as a peddler or street vendor without the proper permits and/or inspections. It shall also be unlawful to operate as a peddler or street vendor while any portion of a peddling/vending conveyance is inoperable.
B. 
Operating or vending without the proper permit/license. It shall be unlawful for any person, business, partnership, or entity to operate including, but not limited to, any business, vending cart, store, or establishment without the proper permits/licenses.
C. 
Storing of hazardous material. It shall be unlawful for any person, business or entity to store combustible, flammable, explosive, or other hazardous materials including, but not limited to, paints, volatile oils and cleaning fluids, or combustible rubbish including, but not limited to, wastepaper, boxes or rags unless the storage of said materials is stored in compliance with the applicable Building Codes.
D. 
Storing or serving of potentially hazardous food. No individual or entity operating a business shall store or serve potentially hazardous food. Including, but not limited to, out of date food, food being stored above or below the appropriate temperature, food being stored directly on a flooring surface, infestation problems at the location, or serving food that had previously been open are considered a violation of this article.
E. 
License presentation violation. It shall be unlawful for any individual, person, entity, business, or corporation purchasing a license as required by the City to not have the license readily available for inspection by any authorized code enforcement officer.
F. 
Temporary dumpster/POD permit required. Each temporary dumpster or portable on-demand storage container (POD), whether placed on private property or in a public right-of-way, shall display a valid permit issued by the City.
G. 
City permits to be displayed and followed. All City permits shall be displayed in a fashion that makes them visible from the roadway. In cases of demolition, the permit shall be displayed in the back window of a construction vehicle parked on site, and visible from the roadway. Should a permittee be unable to comply with this requirement, they shall have to notify the Building Inspectors office and seek immediate authorization/approval. Once the City provides notice to a property owner that a permit is necessary, any additional work to the property shall allow the City to fine the property owner and/or the person(s) performing the work for violation of this section.
H. 
Accumulation of rubbish or garbage. All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of waste, trash, rubbish, or garbage.
I. 
Animal maintenance and waste/feces clean-up. People owning, harboring, or keeping an animal within the City shall not permit any waste matter/feces from the animal to collect and remain on the property so as to cause or create an unhealthy, unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive living condition. All waste from animals must be cleaned up on a daily basis.
J. 
Disposal of rubbish or garbage/dumping. Improper disposal of rubbish or garbage, or dumping or disposing of rubbish or garbage on vacant, unoccupied, or other property.
K. 
High weeds, grass or plant growth. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in-excess of eight inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants, and vegetation. Cultivated flowers, gardens, trees and shrubs shall not be included as a violation of this section.
L. 
Littering or scattering rubbish. No person shall throw, dump, place, weep, or dispose of any waste, trash, garbage, or rubbish upon any public sidewalk, alley, street bridge, public passageway, public parking area, or on any public property.
M. 
Motor vehicles. It shall be unlawful to store, park, or place any unregistered, uninspected, inoperative, unlicensed, or nuisance motor vehicle on any premises. No vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Painting of vehicles is prohibited unless conducted inside an approved spray booth.
N. 
Outside placement of indoor appliances/furniture. It is prohibited to store or place any/all appliances or furniture including, but not limited to ranges, refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, washers, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, mattresses, recliners, sofas, interior chairs, or interior tables on the exterior of any property for the purpose of sale or any other reason, except for the temporary purpose to perform maintenance on said property. If maintenance is being performed, or if the items are actively being sold in a yard sale, the items shall not be left unattended.
O. 
Ownership presumption of waste, trash, and/or recyclables for illegal dumping and illegal hauling. It shall be the responsibility of every owner and/or occupant to dispose of their waste, trash, or recyclables in a proper manner. Any business or person who is unable to show proof that they have legally disposed of any waste, trash, or recyclable will be in violation of this section. Should any person or business use an unlicensed hauler to dispose of their waste, trash, or recyclables, said person or business shall be in violation of this section. Upon request of a Code Enforcement Officer, any owner or occupant must show proof of their appropriate trash and/or recyclable hauler. Any parts found within a municipal waste container, recycling container, garbage bag, or loose trash/waste displaying the name and/or address of a person and/or persons, that trash or waste shall be presumed to be the property of such person and/or persons. It shall be unlawful for any person, business partnership, or entity to remove or haul waste, trash, or recyclables without the proper approval or license. Any waste, trash, or recyclables found not to be disposed of in accordance with this section will be a violation of this section.
P. 
Placement of littering by private advertising matter. No person shall throw, place, sweep, or dispose of litter or private advertising matter upon any public sidewalk, alley, street, bridge, public passageway, public parking area, or any public property. No person, group, organization, or entity will hang, place, or advertise on any public property in any manner. No person, group, organization, or entity will hang, place, or advertise on any property that they do not have any ownership rights to without the written approval of said owner.
Q. 
Snow and ice removal from sidewalks. The conditions set forth in Pittston City Code Chapter 424, Article II, §§ 424-9 through 424-13 shall be followed.
R. 
Storage containers for waste or trash. The owner of every premises shall supply approved containers for waste/trash, as well as be responsible for the removal rubbish. All containers that store waste or trash shall be durable, water tight, and made of metal or plastic. Containers must have tight-fitting covers, and must be kept clean and odor free at all times. All containers must be stored in the rear of every property so said containers are not visible from the public right-of-way. Waste/trash containers may only be placed in front of any property when darkness occurs the night before the day of the scheduled waste/trash pick-up day. Once the licensed hauler removes the waste/trash from any property, all containers must be returned to the rear of any property before daybreak on the day following pick-up. (Example: Jim Smith's trash collection day is Wednesday. Jim Smith may place his trash containers out front of his property on Tuesday night, once night falls. Jim Smith must place his trash containers in the rear of his yard before daybreak, on Thursday morning.)
S. 
Storage of recyclables. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of all residential, commercial, and industrial property to ensure storage, collection, and disposal of all recyclables from their property in such a manner not to create a public nuisance. Storage of recyclables is only allowed in approved containers, which must be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
T. 
Swimming pools. Swimming pools shall be maintained in good repair at all times. They shall also be kept clean, safe, covered, and sanitary as well.
U. 
Prohibited occupancy. Any building, machine, or equipment which is condemned shall not be occupied or operated.
V. 
Shrubs and bushes. Bushes and shrubs on all premises and exterior property shall be maintained and kept in good order.
W. 
Dangerous trees. Any tree that is considered dangerous and unsafe to the public by a Code Enforcement Officer, due to overgrowth, instability, infestation, harmful insects or a dead tree.
X. 
Commercial/junk vehicles in a residential area. No commercial/junk vehicles shall be parked or stored in a residential district as defined in the Zoning Ordinance of the City.
Y. 
Vehicle repairs/maintenance in a residential district. No person shall operate repairs for profit in residential districts. This would include vehicles not owned by the property occupant and use of repairs and storage on street.
Z. 
Accessory structures. All accessory structures, including detached garages, fences, and walls shall be maintained structurally sound and in good repair.
AA. 
Defacement of property.
(1) 
No person shall willfully or wantonly damage, mutilate or deface any exterior surface of any structure or building on any private or public property by placing thereon any marking, carving or graffiti.
(2) 
It shall be the responsibility of the owner to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.
BB. 
Illegal signs/billboards. No person or business shall construct and display a sign/advertisement without the appropriate approval and permit from the Building Inspector's Office and/or Zoning Office.
Upon finding a quality of life violation, any public officer, as previously defined herein, may issue quality of life violation ticket(s) to the owner and/or occupant of the property at issue or to the individual(s) known to have violated this article.
A. 
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by any authorized officer from the Health Department or Building Inspector's Office, or any public officer, as previously defined herein.
B. 
Any violation of the provisions of this article may be cause for a citation, a violation ticket, and/or a notice of violation to be issued to the violator.
A violation ticket shall be served upon a violator by handling it to the violator, by handing it at the residence of the person to be served to an adult member of the household or other person in charge of the residence, by leaving or affixing the notice or violation ticket to the property where the violation exists, by handing it at an office or usual place of business of the violator, to his/her agent or the person for the time being in charge thereof, or by mailing the notice to the violator's address of record.
Each day a violation continues or is permitted to continue may constitute a separate offense for which a separate fine may be imposed.
A. 
Any person or business violating this article is hereby directed to satisfy the City, and its citizens, upon issuance of a quality of life ticket, by correcting the violation in question. A public officer is authorized and empowered to cause a violation to be corrected. The cost shall be determined by any authorized public officer in order that the City shall be compensated for both direct and indirect costs and expenses incurred.
B. 
The City and/or its contractor, per the direction of the City, reserves the right to abate the violation in question at the expense of the owner. If the City has affected the abatement of the violation, the total cost thereof to include hourly wages and all items and materials used may be charged to the owner of the property, tenant, or offending party. A bill/invoice will be generated to the violator for payment separate from the quality of life ticket, which will also be paid separately.
C. 
In all instances where the City abates the violation, in addition to the fine set forth in the quality of life ticket, the City is authorized to recover from the offending party, the owner of the property, or tenant the abatement charges and such other charges established by the authorized public officer and the rules and regulations.
D. 
City cleanup. The City reserves the right to perform any necessary work to abate any violation once 48 hours passes from the date of issuance of the quality of life ticket. Should the violation at the discretion of the authorized public officer present imminent danger and/or pose a health hazard and/or risk, the City reserves the right to perform the abatement immediately. The City will perform this work at a rate of $75 per hour, per man, and forward the cost of any material necessary for the abatement. The City reserves the right to charge an additional 20% on all material purchased to cover all miscellaneous expenses, such as wear and tear on equipment.
E. 
Contractor cleanup. The City reserves the right to direct a contractor to perform the abatement of the violation in question once 48 hours passes from the date of issuance of the quality of life ticket. Should the violation present imminent danger and/or pose a health hazard and/or risk, the City reserves the right to direct the contractor to perform the abatement immediately. The contractor will submit a bill for their work to the City and the City will forward these costs to the violator. The City reserves the right to add a 30% processing fee in addition to the cost of the contractor.
The City Council shall, by resolution, set forth a schedule of fines and penalties for the violation of this Ordinance and the recovery of fees associated therewith.
A. 
Nontraffic citations. In the event of the failure to remit payment of a fine or penalty imposed per § 320-12, a nontraffic citation may be issued. Upon conviction before the District Magisterial Judge, a fine shall be imposed of not less than $300 and not more than $1,000 plus all City-incurred court costs and legal fees. Upon default of payment of the fine and or costs, a sentence of not more than 30 days imprisonment shall be imposed. Each day the offense continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
B. 
Municipal liens. The City Solicitor, at the direction of the City Administrator, is authorized to place a municipal lien on the property for recovery of costs associated with any City-directed cleanup of the property as set forth in § 370-11. The lien may include the costs of title search and any and all legal costs associated with imposing the lien.
If any portion of this article is found to be invalid by a court of law, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
Anywhere this article conflicts with any other ordinance, the provisions of this article shall supersede. But nothing in this article shall prevent the enforcement of any other ordinance in the Pittston City Code as set forth in the Code.
Anyone who is aggrieved through the enforcement of this article may file an appeal with the City of Pittston Joint Building and Property Maintenance Code Appeals Board under the procedures set forth by that board.