[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors (now Board of Commissioners) of the Township of 7-16-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 145.
Insurance proceeds; emergency responses and alarms — See Ch. 230.
Zoning — See Ch. 470.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded Ord. No. 39, included as Ch. 6, Sub. A, Sections 6.1 through 6.5, (Buildings, Unfit) of the 1982 Code.
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Pocono Township Dangerous Structure Ordinance."
This chapter shall apply uniformly to all persons, business organizations, nonprofit organizations, and all other legal entities; and, it shall apply uniformly to all property and all property owners within the Township.
Unless otherwise specifically defined below, words or phrases used herein shall be interpreted so as to give them the same meaning as they have in common usage and so as to give the chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
- The Board of Commissioners of the Township.
- DANGEROUS STRUCTURE
- All buildings or structures, including but not limited to residences, dwellings, garages, sheds, outhouses, barns, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings, which have one or more of the following defects:
- (1) Those which have suffered damage or deterioration as a result of fire, water, wind, earth movement, act of God, act of man, or other cause so as to fail utterly to provide the amenities essential to decent living and are unfit for human habitation;
- (2) Those which have suffered damage or deterioration as a result of fire, water, wind, earth movement, act of God, act of man, or other cause so as to have become dangerous to the life and safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or other people of the Township;
- (3) Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living so that they are unfit for human habitation;
- (4) Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living are likely to cause accidents, sickness, or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the people of the Township;
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they might fall and injure members of the public or cause damage to adjoining property; or
- (6) Those which because of their general condition are unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the people of the Township.
- Is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- The Township of Pocono, County of Monroe, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Words used in the present text include the future and past, words in the plural number include the singular, words in the singular number include the words in the plural, and words either in the feminine, masculine, or neuter shall include words of the other two genders.
All "dangerous structures" are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated, or demolished as hereinabove and hereinafter provided.
Whenever it shall be reported or come to the attention of any Township official that any structure, completed or in the process of construction, or any portion thereof, is in a dangerous condition, such person shall report same to the Board in person at a regularly scheduled Township meeting or by written letter, signed by the complainant, identifying the property in question, naming the property owner, and briefly explaining the nature of the dangerous structure. The Board shall immediately designate a Township official, employee, or Zoning Officer to make an investigation and examination of such structure. If such investigation or examination indicates such structure to be a dangerous structure, a written report of such investigation shall be sent to the Board, specifying the exact condition of such structure and setting forth whether or in what respect the structure is dangerous and whether the structure is capable of being properly repaired or whether it shall be removed as a dangerous structure.
The following standards shall be followed by the Board in ordering the repair, vacation, or demolition of a dangerous structure:
If the dangerous structure can be repaired as determined by the Board so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered to be repaired.
If the dangerous structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
If the dangerous structure cannot be reasonably repaired as determined by the Board, or if its potential to harm the life and safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or other people of the Township cannot be mitigated by repair, it shall be demolished and the debris from such demolition shall be properly disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
If the dangerous structure is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter, any other ordinance of the Township, or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished and the debris from such demolition shall be properly disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
If any structure is deemed to be a "dangerous structure" pursuant to the standards of this chapter, the Board shall forthwith cause notice to be served upon the owner or owners of such dangerous structure as determined by the records in the office of the Recorder of Deeds/Tax Assessment office in and for the County of Monroe, or failing to find any owner or owners, then such notice shall be posted on the property for a period of not less than 10 days and mailed to the last known address of the owner.
The notice required by this section shall be sent by certified mail to the owner or owners of a dangerous structure at the last known address according to the records in the Tax Assessment office in and for the County of Monroe.
Such notice shall identify the structure deemed dangerous, contain a statement of the particulars which made this structure a dangerous structure, and include an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to conform with the terms of this chapter; provided further in any case where the notice prescribes the repair of any structure, the owner thereof shall have the option to remove such structure in lieu of making the repairs thereto within the time period provided.
Such notice shall require any person notified to repair, vacate, or demolish any structure to commence the work or act required by the notice within 15 days of such notice and to comply with such repair, vacation, or demolition within 60 days from the receipt of such notice.
All fines provided for in this section shall be in addition to costs.
This chapter shall be enforced by action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Any person who shall fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate, or demolish any "dangerous structure," which notice is served in accordance with this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution, and, in default of the payment of the fine and costs of prosecution, shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Any person who wrongfully removes the notice provided for in § 382-7A shall, upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge in an action by or on behalf of the Township, be subject to a fine of $100.
Any person having an interest in any structure who fails to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate, or demolish any dangerous structure by commencing said repair, vacation, or demolition within 15 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure, does empower the Board to cause such structure to be repaired, vacated, or demolished by the Township and to cause the costs of such repair, vacation, or demolition together with a penalty of 10% to be charged upon the land upon which the structure exists as a municipal lien, or alternatively to recover such costs and penalty together with reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township, in a suit at law against the owner or owners, but, failing to recover same, the judgment therefor shall be charged upon the land as a lien; and, this subsection is separate from and in addition to the fine, penalty, and costs which may be imposed by any other subsection of this chapter.
In all cases where it reasonably appears that the continued existence of a dangerous structure in its then-present form presents an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or group of persons in the Township unless such dangerous structure is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Township official, employee, or Zoning Officer inspecting the dangerous structure shall report such facts to the Township and the Township shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such "dangerous structure." The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 382-8 hereof.