[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of Peters Township 12-17-2007 by Ord. No. 696 (Ch. 10, Part 3, of the 1981 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Alarm systems — See Ch. 105.
Building and grading activities — See Ch. 134.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 165.
Fees — See Ch. 195.
Nuisances — See Ch. 274.
Sewers and sewage disposal — See Ch. 337.
Solid waste — See Ch. 363.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 371.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 376.
Zoning — See Ch. 440.
Title. These regulations shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code of Peters Township," hereinafter referred to as "this code."
Scope. The provisions of this code shall apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises and constitute minimum requirements and standards for premises, structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, life safety, safety from fire and other hazards including environmental, and for safe and sanitary maintenance; the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for administration, enforcement and penalties. Provided, however, that this chapter is not intended to supersede any other ordinance of Peters Township currently in effect which is not in direct conflict herewith.
Intent. This code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises. Existing structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions shall be altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and safety as required herein.
General. The provisions of this code shall apply to all matters affecting or relating to structures and premises, as set forth in § 315-1. Where, in a specific case, different sections of this code specify different requirements, the most restrictive shall govern.
Maintenance. Equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this code or a previous regulation or code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order. No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this section to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling, except for such temporary interruption as necessary while repairs or alterations are in progress. The requirements of this code are not intended to provide the basis for removal or abrogation of fire protection and safety systems and devices in existing structures. Except as otherwise specified herein, the owner or the owner's designated agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of buildings, structures and premises.
Application of other codes. Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the International Building Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Residential Code, International Mechanical Code and the ICC Electrical Code. Nothing in this code shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside any provision of the Peters Township Zoning Ordinance or Building Fire Code.
Existing remedies. The provisions in this code shall not be construed to abolish or impair existing remedies of the jurisdiction or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or demolition of any structure which is dangerous, unsafe and unsanitary.
Workmanship. Repairs, maintenance work, alterations or installations which are caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this code shall be executed and installed in a workmanlike manner and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Historic buildings. The provisions of this code shall not be mandatory for existing buildings or structures designated as historic buildings when such buildings or structures are judged by the code official to be safe and in the public interest of health, safety and welfare.
Referenced codes and standards. The codes and standards referenced in this code shall be those that are listed in § 315-24 and considered part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where differences occur between provisions of this code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.
Requirements not covered by code. Requirements necessary for the strength, stability or proper operation of an existing fixture, structure or equipment, or for the public safety, health and general welfare, not specifically covered by this code, shall be determined by the code official. No structure, the construction and use of which complied with all code and other such requirements in effect at the time of construction shall be required to be altered in use or structure by the provisions of this code, except in the case of a clear public safety hazard. In the case of a clear public safety hazard, the code official shall be authorized to enforce a provision of this code, or other recognized relative codes retroactively.
Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with these requirements, except as otherwise provided for in this code. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises which are not in a sanitary and safe condition and which do not comply with the requirements of this chapter. Occupants of a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit are responsible for keeping in a clean, sanitary and safe condition that part of the dwelling unit, rooming unit, housekeeping unit or premises which they occupy and control.
Vacant structures and land. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
General. The enforcement of this chapter shall be the responsibility of the Building Inspector and Zoning Officer of Peters Township hereinafter referred to as "code officials."
Appointment of code official. The Peters Township Manager shall have the authority to designate Township employees to serve as the role of code officials, including, but not limited to, Peters Township police officers.
[Added 1-28-2019 by Ord. No. 839]
The code officials charged with the enforcement of this code, while acting for the jurisdiction, shall not thereby be rendered liable personally, and are hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of an act required or permitted in the discharge of official duties.
Any suit instituted against any officer or employee because of an act performed by that officer or employee in the lawful discharge of duties and under the provisions of this code shall be defended by the legal representative of the jurisdiction until the final termination of the proceedings. The code official or any subordinate shall not be liable for costs in an action, suit or proceeding that is instituted in pursuance of the provisions of this code; and any officer of the Department of Property Maintenance Inspection, acting in good faith and without malice, and shall be free from liability for acts performed under any of its provisions or by reason of any act or omission in the performance of official duties in connection therewith.
Fees. Any costs for activities and services performed by the Department in carrying out its responsibilities under this code shall be assessed to the property not in excess of $500 per incident.
General. The code officials shall enforce the provisions of this code.
Prosecution of violation. The Township Manager shall have the authority to authorize the institution of enforcement proceedings against a violator of this chapter by directing the Township Solicitor to institute the appropriate proceedings at law or in equity, including, but not limited to, the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania to restrain, correct, or abate such violation or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the structure in violation of the provisions of this code.
[Amended 1-28-2019 by Ord. No. 839]
Inspections. The code officials shall make all of the required inspections, or shall accept reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. All reports of such inspections shall be in writing and be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible individual. The code official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
Right of entry. The code officials are authorized to enter the structure or premises only upon probable cause of violation, and at reasonable times to inspect subject to constitutional restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures. Prior to entering into a space not otherwise open to the general public, the code officials shall make reasonable effort by telephone or letter to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises, present proper identification and request entry. If entry is refused or not obtained, the code official is authorized to pursue recourse as provided by law.
Identification. The code officials shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures or premises in the performance of duties under this code.
Notices and orders. The code officials shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure compliance with this code.
Department records. The code officials shall keep official records of all business and activities of the department specified in the provisions of this code. Such records shall be retained in the official records as long as the building or structure to which such records relate remains in existence, unless otherwise provided for by other regulations.
Modifications. Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the code officials shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, provided the code official shall first find that a unique hardship or circumstance makes the strict letter of this code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code and that such modification does not lessen health, life and fire safety requirements. The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the Department files.
Alternative materials, methods and equipment. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material or method of construction shall be approved where the code official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.
Required testing. Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of this code, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this code, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the code official shall have the authority to require tests to be made as evidence of compliance at no expense to the jurisdiction.
Test methods. Test methods shall be as specified in this code or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the code official shall be permitted to approve appropriate testing procedures performed by an approved agency.
Test reports. Reports of tests shall be retained by the code official for the period required for retention of public records.
Material and equipment reuse. Materials, equipment and devices shall not be reused unless such elements are in good repair or have been reconditioned and tested when necessary, placed in good and proper working condition and approved.
Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to be in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this code.
Notice of violation. The code official shall serve a notice of violation or order in accordance with § 315-7.
Prosecution of violation. Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a Magisterial District Judge, pay a fine of not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Any action taken by the authority having jurisdiction on such premises shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
Abatement of violation. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the legal officer of the jurisdiction from instituting appropriate action to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises, or to stop an illegal act, conduct, business or utilization of the building, structure or premises.
Notice to person responsible. Whenever the code official determines that there has been a violation of this code or has grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, notice shall be given in the manner prescribed in § 315-7B and C, to the person responsible for the violation as specified in this code. Notices for condemnation procedures shall also comply with § 315-8H.
Form. Such notice prescribed in § 315-7A shall be in accordance with all of the following:
Be in writing.
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
Include a statement of the violation or violations and why the notice is being issued.
Include a correction order allowing a reasonable time to make the repairs and improvements required to bring the dwelling unit or structure into compliance with the provisions of this code.
Inform the property owner of the right to appeal.
Method of service. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy thereof is:
Penalties. Penalties for noncompliance with orders and notices shall be as set forth in § 315-6C.
Transfer of ownership. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the code official and shall furnish to the code official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation.
General. When a structure or equipment is found by the code official to be unsafe, or when a structure is found unfit for human occupancy, or is found unlawful, such structure shall be condemned pursuant to the provisions of this code.
Unsafe structures. An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.
Holes, tanks, and child traps. Remove, or fill where filling will abate the nuisance, all holes, cisterns, open cesspools, open or unsanitary septic tanks, excavations, open foundations, refrigerators or similar appliances, or iceboxes with unlocked attached doors and any other similar substance, material or condition which may endanger neighboring property or the health or safety of the public or occupants of the property.
Unsafe equipment. Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.
Structure unfit for human occupancy. A structure is unfit for human occupancy whenever the code official finds that such structure is unsafe, unlawful or, because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, lacks sanitary facilities, is vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this code, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public.
Unlawful structure. An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted under this code, or was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law according to the current IBC.
Closing of vacant structures. If the structure is vacant and unfit for human habitation and occupancy, and is not in danger of structural collapse, the code official is authorized to post a placard of condemnation on the premises and order the structure closed up so as not to be an attractive nuisance. Upon failure of the owner to close up the premises within the time specified in the order, the code official shall cause the premises to be closed and secured through any available public agency or by contract or arrangement by private persons and the cost thereof shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate and may be collected by any other legal resource.
Notice. Whenever the code official has condemned a structure or equipment under the provisions of this section, notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such notice and served on the owner or the person or persons responsible for the structure or equipment in accordance with § 315-7C. If the notice pertains to equipment, it shall also be placed on the condemned equipment. The notice shall be in the form prescribed in § 315-7B.
Placarding. Upon failure of the owner or person responsible to comply with the notice provisions within the time given, the code official shall post on the premises or on defective equipment a placard bearing the word "Condemned" and a statement of the penalties provided for occupying the premises, operating the equipment or removing the placard.
Placard removal. The code official shall remove the condemnation placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated. Any person who defaces or removes a condemnation placard without the approval of the code official shall be subject to the penalties provided by this code.
Prohibited occupancy. Any occupied structure condemned and placarded by the code official shall be vacated as ordered by the code official. Any person who shall occupy a placarded premises or shall operate placarded equipment, and any owner or any person responsible for the premises who shall let anyone occupy a placarded premises or operate placarded equipment shall be liable for the penalties provided by this code.
Imminent danger. When, in the opinion of the code official, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure which endangers life, or when any structure or part of any structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, or when there is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors or the presence of toxic fumes, gases or materials, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the code official is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith. The code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice reading as follows: "This Structure is Unsafe and its Occupancy Has Been Prohibited by the Code Official." It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition or of demolishing the same.
Temporary safeguards. Notwithstanding other provisions of this code, whenever, in the opinion of the code official, there is imminent danger due to an unsafe condition, the code official shall order the necessary work to be done, including the Boarding up of openings, to render such structure temporarily safe whether or not the legal procedure herein described has been instituted; and shall cause such other action to be taken as the code official deems necessary to meet such emergency.
Closing streets. When necessary for public safety, the code official shall temporarily close structures and close, or order the authority having jurisdiction to close, sidewalks, streets, public ways and places adjacent to unsafe structures, and prohibit the same from being utilized.
Emergency repairs. For the purposes of this section, the code official shall employ the necessary labor and materials to perform the required work as expeditiously as possible.
Costs of emergency repairs. Costs incurred in the performance of emergency work shall be paid by the jurisdiction. The legal counsel of the jurisdiction shall institute appropriate action against the owner of the premises where the unsafe structure is or was located for the recovery of such costs.
Hearing. Any person ordered to take emergency measures shall comply with such order forthwith. Any affected person shall thereafter, upon petition directed to the appeals board, be afforded a hearing as described in this code.
General. The code official shall order the owner of any premises upon which is located any structure which in the code official's judgment is so old, dilapidated or has become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, insanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy, and such that it is unreasonable to repair the structure, to demolish and remove such structure; or if such structure is capable of being made safe by repairs, to repair and make safe and sanitary or to demolish and remove at the owner's option; or where there has been a cessation of normal construction of any structure for a period of more than 12 months, to demolish and remove such structure.
Failure to comply. If the owner of a premises fails to comply with a demolition order within the time prescribed, the code official shall cause the structure to be demolished and removed, either through an available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons, and the cost of such demolition and removal shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
Salvage materials. When any structure has been ordered demolished and removed, the governing body or other designated officer under said contract or arrangement aforesaid shall have the right to sell the salvage and valuable materials at the highest price obtainable. The net proceeds of such sale, after deducting the expenses of such demolition and removal, shall be promptly remitted with a report of such sale or transaction, including the items of expense and the amounts deducted, for the person who is entitled thereto, subject to any order of a court. If such a surplus does not remain to be turned over, the report shall so state.
Application for appeal. Any person directly affected by a decision of the code official or a notice or order issued under this code shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Appeals, provided that a written application for appeal is filed within 20 days after the day the decision, notice or order was served. An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of this code or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this code do not fully apply, or the requirements of this code are adequately satisfied by other means. All appeals concerning this code shall be heard before the Construction Code Board of Appeals, as established.
Application. Any building or structure for which a building permit has been issued, and except for circumstances beyond the property owner's control (e.g., labor strikes, inclement weather, etc.), all construction work shall be diligently pursued to completion. Any construction project, upon which no substantial work has been undertaken for a period of 12 months, shall be deemed abandoned. Upon any construction project being deemed abandoned, all buildings or structures not completed to the degree such buildings or structures have been indicated on the plans submitted in support of a building permit, shall have all building material and construction equipment removed from the site and the unfinished building or structure secured and/or demolished. All costs incurred by the Township in enforcing this section shall be placed in lien on the property in violation.
Scope. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have the meanings shown in this chapter.
Interchangeability. Words stated in the present tense include the future; words stated in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural, the singular.
Terms defined in other codes. Where terms are not defined in this code and are defined in the International Building Code, International Fire Code, International Zoning Code, International Plumbing Code, International Mechanical Code or the ICC Electrical Code, such terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them as stated in those codes.
Terms not defined. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.
Parts. Whenever the words "dwelling unit," "dwelling," "premises," "building," "rooming house," "rooming unit," "housekeeping unit" or "story" are stated in this code, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Approved by the code official.
- An enclosed area of a structure partly or completely below grade.
- A room containing plumbing fixtures including a bathtub or shower.
- Any room or space used or intended to be used for sleeping purposes in either a dwelling or sleeping unit.
- Unsightly conditions of a building, structure, accessory building, fence, landscaping or property characterized by neglect, lack of maintenance, damage or any other similar conditions of disrepair, or deterioration. Examples include but are not limited to the accumulation of debris, wood, scrap iron or other metal, boxes, paper, vehicle parts, tires, inoperable equipment or vehicles, discarded appliances; or any items that may harbor insect or vermin infestation or create a fire hazard; landscaping that is overgrown, dead or damaged; fences that are broken, rotted, damaged or leaning; buildings or structures exhibiting general disrepair or dilapidation, including but not limited to deteriorated shingles, peeling paint, broken doors or windows or any other evidence of neglect or lack of maintenance.
- CODE OFFICIAL
- The official who is charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or any duly authorized representative.
- To adjudge unfit for occupancy.
- DWELLING UNIT
- One or more rooms for living purposes, together with individual cooking and sanitary facilities, which are accessible from the outdoors either directly or through an entrance hall shared with other dwelling units.
- A right of limited use of private property granted but not necessarily dedicated for public or quasi-public purposes, and within which the landowner and/or developer of the lot shall not erect any permanent structure but shall have the right to make any other use of the land which is not inconsistent with the rights of the grantee.
- EXTERIOR PROPERTY
- The open space on the premises and on adjoining property under the control of owners or operators of such premises.
- The animal or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- A building component or a system of building components located at or along open sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking surface to a lower level.
- HABITABLE SPACE
- Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.
- HOUSEKEEPING UNIT
- A room or group of rooms forming a single habitable space equipped and intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating, which does not contain, within such a unit, a toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower.
- IMMINENT DANGER
- A condition which could cause serious or life-threatening injury or death at any time.
- Devices, equipment, appliances, or materials to which has been affixed a label, seal, symbol or other identifying mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, inspection agency or other organization concerned with product evaluation that maintains periodic inspection of the production of the above-labeled items and by whose label the manufacturer attests to compliance with applicable nationally recognized standards.
- LET FOR OCCUPANCY or LET
- To permit, provide or offer possession or occupancy of a dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit, building, premises or structure by a person who is or is not the legal owner of record thereof, pursuant to a written or unwritten lease, agreement or license, or pursuant to a recorded or unrecorded agreement of contract for the sale of land.
- The purpose for which a building or portion thereof is utilized or occupied.
- Any individual living or sleeping in a building, or having possession of a space within a building.
- OPENABLE AREA
- That part of a window, skylight or door which is available for unobstructed ventilation and which opens directly to the outdoors.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a structure or premises which is let or offered for occupancy.
- Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court.
- An individual, corporation, partnership or any other group acting as a unit.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, easement or public way, including any structures thereon.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- When a building, structure or dwelling or part thereof, and/or exterior property surrounding such building, structure or dwelling or any vacant/abandoned building, structure or dwelling or property is determined by the code officials to be unsafe or unfit for human occupancy due to one or more of the following conditions, such building, structure, dwelling or premises, occupied, vacant or abandoned, shall be declared a public nuisance dangerous to the public and safety:
- A. The physical condition or use of any premises is regarded as a public nuisance at common law; or
- B. Any physical condition, use or occupancy of any premises or its appurtenances considered an attractive nuisance to children, including but not limited to abandoned cars, wells, shafts, basements, excavations and unsafe fences or structures; or
- C. Any premises or structures which have unsanitary sewerage or plumbing facilities; or
- D. Any premises or structures designated as unsafe for human habilitation or use; or
- E. Any premises which are manifestly capable of being a fire hazard, or are manifestly unsafe or unsecure as to endanger life, limb or property; provided, however, any such premises which have received a permit for such use from the Township or applicable state or federal agency shall not be deemed within the provision of this subsection;
- F. Any premises from which the plumbing, heating and/or facilities required by Township codes have been removed, or from which utilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective, or the required precautions against trespassers have not been provided; or
- G. Any premises which are unsanitary, or which are littered with rubbish or garbage, or which have an uncontrolled growth of weeds, grasses; or
- H. Any premises which are unsanitary due to rat, rodent, or insect infestation; or
- I. Any structure, building or dwelling that is in a state of dilapidation, deterioration or decay; faulty construction, overcrowded, open, vacant or abandoned; damaged by fire to the extent as not to provide shelter; in danger of collapse or failure and is dangerous to anyone on or near the premises.
- PUBLIC WAY
- Any street, alley or similar parcel of land essentially unobstructed from the ground to the sky, which is deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use.
- ROOMING HOUSE
- A building arranged or occupied for lodging, with or without meals, for compensation and not occupied as a one- or two-family dwelling.
- ROOMING UNIT
- Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit occupied or intended to be occupied for sleeping or living, but not for cooking purposes.
- 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 matter, glass, crockery and dust and other similar materials.
- SLEEPING UNIT
- A room or space in which people sleep, which can also include permanent provisions for living, eating and either sanitation or kitchen facilities, but not both. Such rooms and spaces that are also part of a dwelling unit are not sleeping units.
- STRICT LIABILITY OFFENSE
- An offense in which the prosecution in a legal proceeding is not required to prove criminal intent as a part of its case. It is enough to prove that the defendant either did an act which was prohibited, or failed to do an act which the defendant was legally required to do.
- Anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground, or attached to something having a fixed location on the ground, including, but not necessarily limited to, buildings, accessory buildings, decks, spas, TV dish antennas, pools, utility sheds, tennis courts, air conditioners. For the purposes of this chapter, signs, fences and walls shall not be structures. Covered patios or porches are considered structures.
- An occupant of land or premises who occupies, uses, and enjoys real property for a fixed time, usually through a lease arrangement with the property owners.
- TOILET ROOM
- A room containing a water closet or urinal but not a bathtub or shower.
- The natural or mechanical process of supplying conditioned or unconditioned air to, or removing such air from, any space.
- Executed in a skilled manner; e.g., generally plumb, level, square, in line, undamaged and without marring adjacent work.
- An open space at grade between the building setback line and the adjoining lot line(s), unoccupied and unobstructed by any portion of a structure from the ground upward.
Sanitation. All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupant shall keep that part of the exterior property which such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition.
Grading and drainage. All premises shall be graded and maintained to prevent the erosion of soil and to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water thereon, or within any structure located thereon. Exception: approved retention areas and reservoirs.
Sidewalks and driveways. All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas open to the public and in regular use shall be kept in a proper state of repair, and maintained free from hazardous conditions including snow, ice, mud and debris. If any sidewalks or driveway, or portion thereof, by virtue of its state of repair shall constitute a hazard to public health and safety, the sidewalk or driveway or a portion thereof shall be replaced in accord with Township regulations.
Weeds/grass. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or grass in excess of 10 inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs; provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated and well-maintained flowers and gardens, wooded sections, vetch hillsides, open fields, meadows, prairies and other natural areas. Woodlands and other natural areas may be left in their natural condition. Upon failure of the owner or agent having charge of a property to cut and destroy weeds after service of a notice of violation, he shall be subject to prosecution in accordance with § 315-6C and as prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction or contractor hired by the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and cut and destroy the weeds growing thereon, and the costs of such removal shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property.
Responsibility for removal or cutting. The owner of any premises, as to vacant premises or premises occupied by the owner, and the occupant thereof, in case of premises occupied by other than the owner thereof, shall remove, trim or cut grass, weeds or other vegetation growing or remaining upon such premises in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
Notice of violation. The code officials are hereby authorized to give notice by personal service or by registered mail, to the owner or occupant, as the case may be, of any premises whereon grass, weeds or other vegetation is growing or remaining in violation of the provisions of this chapter, directing or requiring such owner or occupant to remove, trim or cut such grass, weeds or vegetation so as to conform to the requirements of this chapter within the prescribed period of time set forth in such notice.
Municipality may do work in case of noncompliance. In the case where any person shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with such notice, the Municipality or its agents may remove, trim or cut such grass, weeds or vegetation, and the cost thereof, together with a penalty of 10% thereof, may be collected by the Municipality from such person in the manner provided by law.
Exhaust vents. Pipes, ducts, outdoor fireplaces and chimneys, conductors, fans, or blowers shall not discharge gases, steam, vapor, hot air, grease, smoke, odors or other gaseous or particulate wastes directly upon abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.
Structures. All structures, including detached garages, storage units, fences, walls and retaining walls, shall be maintained structurally sound.
Defacement of property. 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. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.
Drainage swales. Swales are to be maintained by the owners of the premises on which they are located, and at no time will anyone plant shrubs and/or trees, or discharge, empty or place any material, fill or waste into any swale so as to divert or impede drainage flow. Swales should be mowed as part of the yard. In meadow situations, the swales should be mowed less frequently in order to allow grasses to grow taller to retard runoff and prevent erosion. Swales in woodland areas should be left in their natural condition leaving understory growth to retard runoff and prevent erosion.
Safe sight distance. Nor person, firm or corporation owning or occupying any property within Peters Township zoned or utilized for residential, business, commercial or industrial purposes shall permit any trees, bushes or shrubbery, of whatsoever kind or nature, to grow or remain upon such premises so as to encroach upon adjoining sidewalks, streets, highways, or alleys in such manner as to interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic lawfully using such sidewalks, streets, highways or alleys. Likewise, no property as set forth herein shall be permitted to allow any trees or other growth as identified above to cover, conceal or interfere with any fire hydrant or other fire service connection. Any trees, hedges, bushes or shrubbery growing upon any premises zoned or utilized for residential, business, commercial or industrial purposes in the Township in violation of any of the provisions of this section is hereby declared to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of Peters Township.
Swimming pools. Swimming pools shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, and in good repair. It is not permitted to have stagnant water, in which mosquitoes, flies, or insects multiply. Aboveground pools that do not comply with the side wall height restriction requirements must have a protective cover installed when not in use (or must meet the fence requirement for pool).
General. The exterior of a structure shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary, so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.
Protective treatment. All exterior surfaces, including, but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks and fences, shall be maintained in good condition.
Premises identification. Properties with buildings shall have approved address numbers placed in a position to be plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabic numerals or alphabet letters. Numbers shall be a minimum of four inches (102 mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 0.5 inch (12.7 mm).
Structural members. All structural members shall be maintained free from deterioration, and shall be capable of safely supporting the imposed dead and live loads.
Foundation walls. All foundation walls shall be maintained plumb and free from open cracks and breaks and shall be kept in such condition so as to prevent the entry of rodents and other pests.
Exterior walls. All exterior walls shall be free from holes, breaks, and loose or rotting materials; and maintained weatherproof and properly surface coated where required to prevent deterioration.
Roofs and drainage. The roof and flashing shall be sound, tight and not have defects that admit rain. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the structure. Roof drains, gutters and downspouts shall be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions. Roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a concentrated flow onto adjacent or adjoining properties.
Decorative features. All cornices, belt courses, corbels, terra-cotta trim, wall facings and similar decorative features shall be maintained in good repair with proper anchorage and in a safe condition.
Overhang extensions. All overhang extensions, including, but not limited to, canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, fire escapes, standpipes and exhaust ducts, shall be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored so as to be kept in a sound condition. When required, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Stairways, decks, porches and balconies. Every exterior stairway, deck, porch and balcony, and all appurtenances attached thereto, shall be maintained structurally sound, in good repair, with proper anchorage and capable of supporting the imposed loads.
Chimneys and towers. All chimneys, cooling towers, smokestacks, and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally safe and sound, and in good repair. All surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Handrails and guards. Every handrail and guard shall be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition.
Window, skylight and door frames. Every window, skylight, door and frame shall be kept in sound condition, good repair and weathertight.
Glazing. All glazing materials shall be maintained free from cracks and holes.
Openable windows. Every window, other than a fixed window, shall be easily openable and capable of being held in position by window hardware.
Doors. All exterior doors, door assemblies and hardware shall be maintained in good condition. Locks at all entrances to dwelling units and sleeping units shall tightly secure the door. Locks on means of egress doors shall be in accordance with § 315-21C.
Basement hatchways. Every basement hatchway shall be maintained to prevent the entrance of rodents, rain and surface drainage water.
Building security. Doors, windows or hatchways for dwelling units, room units or housekeeping units shall be provided with devices designed to provide security for the occupants and property within.
Doors. Doors providing access to a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit that is rented, leased or let shall be equipped with a dead-bolt lock designed to be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the need for keys, special knowledge or effort and shall have a lock throw of not less than one inch (25 mm). Such dead-bolt locks shall be installed according to the manufacturer's specifications and maintained in good working order. For the purpose of this section, a sliding bolt shall not be considered an acceptable dead-bolt lock.
Windows. Operable windows located in whole or in part within six feet (1,828 mm) above ground level or a walking surface below that provide access to a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit that is rented, leased or let shall be equipped with a window sash locking device.
Basement hatchways. Basement hatchways that provide access to a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit that is rented, leased or let shall be equipped with devices that secure the units from unauthorized entry.
Retaining walls. All retaining walls shall be maintained free from deterioration and shall be capable of safely supporting the imposed loads.
General. Drainage of roofs and paved areas, yards and courts, and other open areas on the premises shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a concentrated flow onto adjacent or adjoining properties.
Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the minimum conditions and standards for firesafety relating to structures and exterior premises, including firesafety facilities and equipment to be provided.
Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall provide and maintain such firesafety facilities and equipment in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy any premises that does not comply with the requirements of this chapter.
General. A safe, continuous and unobstructed path of travel shall be provided from any point in a building or structure to the public way. Means of egress shall comply with the International Fire Code.
Aisles. The required width of aisles in accordance with the International Fire Code shall be unobstructed.
Locked doors. All means of egress doors shall be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the need for keys, special knowledge or effort, except where the door hardware conforms to that permitted by the International Building Code.
Emergency escape openings. Required emergency escape openings shall be maintained in accordance with the code in effect at the time of construction, and the following. Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with the code that was in effect at the time of construction and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.
Fire-resistance-rated assemblies. The required fire-resistance rating of fire-resistance-rated walls, fire stops, shaft enclosures, partitions and floors shall be maintained.
Opening protectives. Required opening protectives shall be maintained in an operative condition. All fire and smoke-stop doors shall be maintained in operable condition. Fire doors and smoke-barrier doors shall not be blocked or obstructed or otherwise made inoperable.
General. All systems, devices and equipment to detect a fire, actuate an alarm, or suppress or control a fire or any combination thereof shall be maintained in an operable condition at all times in accordance with the International Fire Code.
Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained in Groups R-2, R-3, R-4 and in dwellings not regulated in Group R occupancies, regardless of occupant load at all of the following locations:
On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.
In each room used for sleeping purposes.
In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split-levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level, provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in other groups in accordance with the International Fire Code.
R-2 Residential occupancies containing sleeping units or more than two dwelling units where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature including:
Congregate living facilities with 16 or fewer occupants are permitted to comply with the construction requirements for Group R-3.
R-3 Residential occupancies where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature and not classified as Group R-1, R-2, R-4 or I, including:
Buildings that do not contain more than two dwelling units.
Adult-care facilities that provide accommodations for five or fewer persons of any age for less than 24 hours.
Child-care facilities that provide accommodations for five or fewer persons of any age for less than 24 hours.
Congregate living facilities with 16 or fewer persons.
Adult- and child-care facilities that are within a single-family home are permitted to comply with the International Residential Code.
R-4 Residential occupancies shall include buildings arranged for occupancy as residential/assisted-living facilities including more than five but not more than 16 occupants, excluding staff.
Group R-4 occupancies shall meet the requirements for construction as defined for Group R-3, except as otherwise provided for in this code, or shall comply with the International Residential Code.
Power source. In Group R occupancies and in dwellings not regulated as Group R occupancies, single-station smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring, provided that such wiring is served from a commercial source and shall be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms shall emit a signal when the batteries are low. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than as required for overcurrent protection. Exception: Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in residential buildings where no construction is taking place, buildings that are not served from a commercial power source and in existing areas of buildings undergoing alterations or repairs that do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for building wiring without the removal of interior finishes.
Interconnection. Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit in Group R-2, R-3, R-4 and in dwellings not regulated as Group R occupancies, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed. Exceptions:
Interconnection is not required in buildings which are not undergoing alterations, repairs, or construction of any kind.
Smoke alarms in existing areas are not required to be interconnected where alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes.
[Amended 3-14-2016 by Ord. No. 794]
This section lists the standards that are referenced in various sections of this document. The standards are listed herein by the promulgating agency of the standard, the standard identification, the effective date and title and the section or sections of this document that reference the standard. The application of the referenced standards shall be as specified in § 315-2.
[Added 8-26-2019 by Ord. No. 845]
Title. This section shall be known as the "Peters Township Quality of Life Ordinance."
The lack of maintenance of properties, littering, improper storage of trash and rubbish, and other nuisances are costly problems that contribute to the deterioration of property values and general disorder of a community. Recognizing this problem, the purpose of this section is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of Peters Township by helping to create a clean environment for the citizens while eliminating safety and welfare concerns for both residents and emergency service personnel.
Implementing a mechanism for the issuance of a ticket rather than citation permits the Township to maintain and enforce its laws and permits a citizen so accused to resolve the dispute in a manner that does not unduly burden the citizen by requiring the issuance of a citation and a court hearing.
Violations. This section shall allow for certain actions to be taken against property owners for violations of the following sections of the Peters Township Code of Ordinances.
Authority for issuance. Upon finding a quality of life violation, the Code Enforcement/Zoning Officer or an entity appointed by Township Council may issue quality of life violation tickets and/or citations to the owner and/or occupant of the property or to the individual responsible for the violation.
The quality of life ticket shall be in writing and shall identify the property address (if applicable), violation(s), specify the maximum time frame to take corrective action, and the fine.
The Peters Township Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer shall serve the quality of life ticket to the violator:
By handing the quality of life ticket to the violator;
By handing the quality of life ticket to be served to an adult member of the household or other person in charge of the residence at the residence of the person to be served;
By leaving or affixing the quality of life ticket to the property where the violation exists (if applicable);
By handing the quality of life ticket to the violator's agent or to the person in charge thereof at any office of usual place of business of the violator; or
By mailing the quality of life ticket to the violator's address of record.
Any person or business violating any of the referenced ordinances shall pay a fine as set forth herein for each offense:
The fine for the first quality of life ticket shall be $35.
If the violation is not addressed to the satisfaction of the designated officer and the quality of life ticket is not paid within 10 days of issuance of the first violation ticket, the designated officer shall issue a second quality of life ticket. The fine for the second quality of life ticket for the same violation shall be $50.
Failure to respond. If a person fails to make payment and the violation is not addressed to the satisfaction of the Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer in the abatement period provided, or the person fails to file an appeal within 10 days of a violation ticket, they shall be subject to a citation for failure to pay.
Repeated violations. Upon issuance of quality of life tickets for the same violation, right is reserved for a Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer to use a citation for all subsequent violations.
Continuous or egregious violations. If violations are continuous or egregious, the Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer has the right to issue a citation without first issuing a ticket, provided that notice has been given. Any previously issued violation tickets will be considered as notice given.
Citation fine. Any person, firm or corporation who shall fail, neglect, or refuse to comply with any of the terms or provisions of this chapter, or of any regulation or requirement pursuant hereto and authorized hereby shall, upon conviction, be ordered to pay a fine as established in § 315-6, Violations and penalties, Subsection C.
If the Township acts to correct the violation, the cost thereof shall be charged to the individual or property owner (if applicable) to whom the ticket has been issued. If the costs are not paid to the Township, the legal counsel of the jurisdiction shall institute appropriate action against the owner of the premises where the violation was abated by the Township.
Any person who receives a quality of life ticket for any offense under this section may, within 10 days of the service of the violation ticket, appeal to the District Magistrate, by filing his/her appeal request in writing, stating his/her reasons for appeal, accompanied by the appropriate fine amount. At the appeal, the person shall have the right to provide information at that time including the right to question any witnesses. Only evidence relevant to the violation in question shall be considered. The District Magistrate may decide to uphold the appeal, deny the appeal, or may modify the violation ticket and/or any associated costs, fines or penalty amounts as they deem appropriate, and will issue written notice of the decision along with any refunds applicable.