[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Easttown 12-15-2014 by Ord. No. 424-14. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Easttown Township Property Maintenance Code."
The purposes of this chapter are to establish minimum standards of property maintenance to: (1) protect, preserve and promote the safety, physical and mental health and social well-being of the citizens of Easttown Township and the general public; and (2) to reduce environmental hazards to health. Further purposes of this chapter are to establish the responsibilities of owners and occupants for compliance with the standards included herein, to make provision for administration and enforcement and to fix penalties for violations thereof.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply uniformly to the maintenance and use of all buildings, structures and premises, including residential, commercial, office, industrial, and institutional uses. The provisions shall apply uniformly to existing premises, buildings and structures, irrespective of when or under what codes said buildings were originally constructed, altered or repaired, and to all buildings and structures hereafter constructed.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings indicated in this section. Words used in the present tense include the future, the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular. Where terms are not defined in this section but are defined in the Township Building Code, they shall have the meanings ascribed to them as in the Building Code. Where terms are not defined under the provisions of this chapter or under the provisions of the Building Code, they shall have ascribed to them their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context herein may imply.
- Relatively stable decomposed or decomposing organic matter.
- The exterior condition of a building or part thereof, characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay, resulting from neglect, inadequate maintenance or excessive use.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises or any part thereof, or any building or any part thereof, which may be lawfully viewed by the public from a public street, sidewalk or right-of-way.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents, vermin and other pests.
- Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food or other organic materials.
- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises which constitutes a health hazard.
- The carrying on, engaging in, committing or, when in possession of control or responsibility, permitting any practice, act, trade, manufacture, business or profession which is injurious or dangerous to the health, safety, comfort or welfare of persons or damaging to the property of others or which prevents the reasonable use or enjoyment of the property of others by reason of, among other things, odor, smoke, dust, gas, noise, dirt, vibration, or the emission of radioactivity or electromagnetic waves.
- Any person or entity who has charge, care or control of a building premises or a part thereof, whether with or without the knowledge and/or consent of the owner.
- OUTSIDE PREMISES
- Open space on the premises outside of any building thereon.
- Any person or entity who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or shall have charge, care or control of any premises as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, administrator, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person or entity who is a lessee subletting or reassigning any part or all of any premises shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon, which is subject to the provisions of this chapter.
- Liable to undergo putrefaction; becoming rotten and foul-smelling.
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste (except body wastes), including but not limited to glass, garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, uninspected or unregistered vehicles and solid market and industrial wastes.
- Nonputrescible solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials.
- Any rank vegetative growth, including, but not limited to, poison ivy, jimsonweed, burdock, ragweed, thistle, nettle, sumac, goldenrod, tall grasses in excess of 12 inches in height, cocklebur, plants of obnoxious odors or any other plant or vegetation whatsoever not edible or planted for ornamental or agricultural purposes. Weeds shall not include trees, shrubs, crops, cultivated flowers or gardens.
Outside premises. All outside premises, whether occupied or vacant, shall be kept free of unsanitary conditions and of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing or exposed to the premises. Unsanitary conditions, nuisances and hazards include, but are not limited to, the following for any outside premises:
Vegetation, defined as:
Hedges, trees, shrubs or other vegetation that obstruct the approach sight distance of any highway, street, driveway, traffic signal, traffic signal sign or crosswalk.
Dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which by reason of location above ground level constitute a danger of falling on and causing injury or damage to persons or property in the vicinity thereof.
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions, including holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions, uncleared snow and excretion of animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas, and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises.
Recurring accumulations of stormwater. Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
Sources of infestation. All structures and outside premises shall be kept free from insect infestation and rodent harborage.
All sidewalks, walkways, public driveways, parking spaces, and similar areas shall be maintained free from conditions that are hazardous to pedestrians, including but not limited to obstructions. Branches or limbs that overhang such walkways shall be no less than seven feet above the walkway below.
No uninspected or unregistered motor vehicle shall be stored on an outside premises at any time in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled for longer than 30 days. Inoperable vehicles may not be stored on an outside premises for longer than 30 days.
All premises shall be kept free from an accumulation of garbage, rubbish and refuse. The owner of every occupied premises shall supply leakproof containers with tight-fitting covers for rubbish and garbage, and the owner of the premises shall be responsible for the removal of rubbish and garbage. Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of all rubbish and garbage in a sanitary manner by placing such rubbish in containers. Composting material placed in piles, ventilated bins or pits shall not be considered garbage, rubbish or refuse, provided the material is periodically turned or mixed. Refrigerators and similar equipment not in operation shall not be discarded, abandoned or stored on an outside premises without first removing the doors.
Landscaping. Premises with landscaping and lawns, hedges, and bushes shall be kept from becoming overgrown and unsightly where exposed to public view, so that they do not constitute a blighting factor to adjoining property.
Exterior of buildings and structures. The following maintenance requirements shall apply to the exterior of all buildings and structures, including accessory buildings and structures:
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure shall be maintained in a condition or state of repair which is free of broken or missing glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick, excessive peeling paints, rotted wood or other condition indicative of deterioration or inadequate maintenance to the end that the property itself may be preserved in good condition, safety and fire hazards eliminated and so rain, rodents, insects, vermin or other pests or animals likely to cause deterioration shall be prevented from entering.
Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs, fire escapes, banisters, railings and decorative features shall be kept structurally sound and properly maintained.
Foundation walls, columns, posts, piers, chimneys, handrails, guards and other structural members shall be kept structurally sound and free from defects and damage.
Windows, exterior doors and basement egress shall be substantially tight, within frames when closed, and kept in sound condition and repair, without open cracks or holes.
Roofs and flashing shall be sound, tight, and not have defects that admit rain. 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 public nuisance.
Swimming pools shall be maintained in good repair and in a sanitary condition.
In the event that the exterior surface of any structure or building on any public or private property has been defaced or damaged by a marking, carving or graffiti, it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to remove or repair any such marking, carving or graffiti.
Additional maintenance of nonresidential uses. In addition to the maintenance requirements for outside premises and exterior structures of Subsections A through C above, the owner and/or the lessees, assignee or entity responsible by contract for maintenance of any nonresidential use shall be responsible for:
Full maintenance, repair and cleanliness of all roadways, parking areas, lawns, landscaped areas, and buffer strips and other outside premises, including the regular removal of garbage, rubbish and refuse and mowing of lawn areas.
Repainting or remarking of traffic lines and lanes indicating parking spaces, traffic flow, fire lanes, pedestrian walkways and other traffic control designations, so as to be clear and conspicuous at all times.
The maintenance and replacement or repair of paving, bumper blocks, guide rails and lighting installations in parking areas and entrances thereto.
The maintenance of any fences along the perimeter of the premises.
The prompt removal or abatement of any nuisance and any hazard to the health and safety of occupants, pedestrians, motorists and other persons utilizing or exposed to the premises.
The maintenance of plantings or other landscaping features which were required as a condition of site plan or other approval, but which did not survive.
The maintenance of awnings. Such awning shall not show evidence of discoloration, ripping, tearing or other deterioration and shall not constitute a nuisance or safety hazard.
Closing of vacant structures. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a safe, secure, and sanitary condition so as not to adversely affect public health or safety. If a structure is vacant and unfit for human habitation and occupancy and is not in danger of structural collapse, the Zoning Officer is authorized to order the structure closed up so as not to be a nuisance. Upon failure of the owner to close up a vacant premises within the time specified in the order, the Zoning Officer shall cause the premises to be closed and secured through any available public agency or by contract or arrangement by private persons or entities, 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 means available at law or in equity.
Emergency measures. When 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, the Zoning Officer is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith. The Zoning Officer 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 Zoning Officer." 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 demolishing the same. The Zoning Officer shall order the necessary work to be done, including the boarding up of openings, to render such structure temporarily safe and shall cause such other action to be taken as the Zoning Officer deems necessary to meet such emergency. The Township may institute appropriate action at law or in equity against the owner of the premises where the unsafe structure is or was for the recovery of any costs incurred by the Township in the performance of emergency work.
Demolition. The Zoning Officer shall order the owner of any structure which is so old, dilapidated or has become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary 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 when there has been a cessation of normal construction of any structure for a period of more than two years, to demolish and remove such structure. If the owner of a structure fails to comply with a demolition order within the time prescribed, the Zoning Officer shall cause the structure to be demolished and removed, either through an available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons or entities, 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 and may be collected by any other means available at law or in equity.
[Added 1-15-2018 by Ord. No. 433-18]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, including reasonable attorneys' fees. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.