City of Monessen, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Monessen as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-27-2015 by Ord. No. 2-2015]
The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, Subchapter A, 53 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6101 through 6103; Subchapter B, 53 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6111 through 6114; Subchapter C, 53 Pa.C.S.A. § 6131; and Subchapter D, 53 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6141 through 6145, be and are hereby adopted by the Council of the City of Monessen for the purpose of regulating, governing and safeguarding of life and property from deteriorated properties as result of neglect by their owners and, furthermore, regulating deteriorated properties that create public nuisances which have an impact on crime and the quality of life of the residents of the City; and each and all of the regulations, provisions, conditions and terms of the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act hereby referred to are adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set forth in this section, and as attached hereto and marked as Exhibit A.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is on file in the City offices.
[Adopted 12-28-2020 by Ord. No. 13-2020]
This article may be cited as the "Monessen Nuisance Property Ordinance."
Unless the language or context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended, the following words, terms and phrases, for the purpose of this article, shall have the following meanings:
BUILDINGS or DWELLINGS
Any building or dwelling arranged, designed or used in whole or part to provide living facilities for one or more families or a building or dwelling that is used for a commercial purpose, including, but not limited to, single-family, multifamily, boarding, lodging, rooming, hotel, motel, offices, retail, bar, restaurant, and manufacturing building. This shall include enclosed areas within any building or dwelling as well as exterior premises of said building or dwelling within the boundary lines of all real property on which the building or dwelling is located.
CITY
The City of Monessen.
CITY CODE
The Code of the City of Monessen.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Code Enforcement Officer of the City of Monessen.
OCCUPANT
Any person who lives in or has possession of, or holds an occupancy interest in, a building or dwelling; or any persons residing in or frequenting the premises of a building or dwelling as a guest or customer of the building or dwelling with actual or implied permission of the owner or lessee.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having legal or equitable interest in the building or dwelling, or recorded in official governmental records as holding title to the building or dwelling, or otherwise having control of the building or dwelling, 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 such property by a court.
This article applies to any and all real property, buildings, dwellings, accessory dwellings, or any other structure within the City of Monessen.
A nuisance property designation is a building or dwelling within which, or on the premises of which, any of the following has occurred within a 180-day period:
A. 
Three or more violations of criminal statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or the ordinances of the City of Monessen arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances and which occur in a building or dwelling or on the premises of a building or dwelling or property in close proximity to a building or dwelling or to the premises of a building or dwelling;
B. 
Three or more violations of the City Code relating to property maintenance arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances;
C. 
Three or more violations of the City Code relating to zoning arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
D. 
A combination of three offenses from any of the above categories arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances and which have been investigated, found to have substance, and appropriately documented by the Code Enforcement Officer of members of the Monessen Police Department, and regardless of whether the violation resulted in the initiation of formal court action.
A. 
No owner, occupant, guest, or customer of any building or dwelling shall allow or permit such building or dwelling to be, or become, a nuisance property designation.
B. 
An owner and/or occupant, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have allowed or permitted a building or dwelling to be, or become, a nuisance property designation if:
(1) 
The owner or occupant has personally committed the acts set forth in § 273-5 of this article;
(2) 
Such acts were committed by invitees of the occupant or owner;
(3) 
Such acts were committed by persons attending events or functions sponsored, permitted, or allowed by the occupant;
(4) 
Such acts were committed by a combination of Subsection B(1), (2) or (3); or
(5) 
The owner or occupant has been provided with the written notice of a nuisance property designation pursuant to § 273-7 below, the facts alleged therein are true, and the owner or occupant fails or refuses to abate the nuisance property designation.
A. 
No person shall be prosecuted for violation of § 273-6 until the Code Enforcement Officer shall serve such person with the notice provided herein, and the person has either failed or refused to abate the nuisance property designation. The Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees shall jointly sign and give the notice provided herein to the owner or occupant after a second or subsequent act or acts as set forth in § 273-5 of this article. Said notice shall advise the owner or occupant of the specific acts which constituted the nuisance property designation and that any subsequent acts set forth in § 273-5 of this chapter will result in an informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police or their respective designees.
B. 
In the event of any subsequent acts set forth in § 273-5 herein, an informal conference will be scheduled with the City Administrator, Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees, at which time the owner or occupant will have an opportunity to present his or her arguments as to why the Code Enforcement Officer or the police should not file a citation for violation of this article with the Magisterial District Justice.
(1) 
Such notice may be served on any person by personal service; or in the case of an occupant, by registered mail addressed to the address of the dwelling; or in the case of a non-occupant-owner, by registered mail to his/her last known address; or if not, to the address to which any tax statement is provided to such owner for the building or dwelling; or by posting of the building or dwelling, either on the structure or at a location on the exterior premises; or by any other method of service reasonably calculated to give actual notice.
(2) 
Such notice shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
(a) 
That a nuisance property designation exists, as defined by § 273-5, at the location specified in the notice.
(b) 
The date of the commission of the acts which constitute the basis of the nuisance property designation, the name(s) of the person(s) committing such acts, if known, and all other facts and circumstances that the City relies upon to allege that such acts form the basis for the nuisance property designation.
(c) 
The date, time and place where the person is to appear and meet with the City prior to the citation being filed.
(d) 
That failure to appear, or failure to make satisfactory arrangements for an alternate date and time, at the time, place and manner designated in the notice may result in prosecution of a violation of § 273-6 and the imposition of penalties as proscribed by this article.
(3) 
At the informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees, the owner and/or occupant shall discuss the facts constituting the nuisance and shall attempt to explain why the Code Enforcement Officer or the police should not file a citation for violation of this article with the Magisterial District Justice.
At the conclusion of the informal conference, the City Administrator may include a list of specific actions and a specific schedule of deadlines for said actions to abate the nuisance property designation, or the City Administrator may recommend that the Code Enforcement Officer or the police file a citation for violation of this article with the Magisterial District Justice. The City Administrator may impose one or more of the following conditions or requirements on the owner and/or occupant:
A. 
Institution of eviction proceedings of identified individual(s) from the building or dwelling in question.
B. 
Written notification from the owner and/or occupant to an identified individual(s) that they are prohibited from entering onto the premises of the dwelling.
C. 
Utilization of written leases containing a provision(s) requiring eviction for criminal activity.
D. 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the building or dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime, including, but not limited to, the erection of fences, installation of security devices upon the entrances or increased lighting.
E. 
Any other reasonable condition or requirement designed to abate the nuisance property designation, including, but not limited to, ceasing any commercial activity in the building.
The Code Enforcement Officer or the police may commence prosecution alleging a violation of this article under the following circumstances:
A. 
The owner and/or occupant commits a violation described in § 273-6 of this article.
B. 
The owner and/or occupant does not attend the informal conference with the City Administrator, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, or their respective designees as described previously.
C. 
The owner and/or occupant fails or refuses to comply with the conditions or requirements set forth by the City Administrator within the prescribed time period.
In addition to prosecution of the offense defined in this article or pursuing any other remedies available under this Code, the Code Enforcement Officer, upon receipt of reliable information that any building or dwelling within the corporate limits of the City is being maintained as a nuisance property designation, may prosecute an action for equitable relief, in the name of the City, to abate the nuisance and to enjoin any person(s) who may own, rent or occupy the dwelling in question from using or permitting its use in violation of the provisions of this article.
A. 
Any person(s) who shall violate a provision of this article, or fail to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, shall be prosecuted within the limits provided by state or local laws. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to other remedies, any violation may be deemed a municipal infraction and prosecuted as such. The penalty for violation shall be a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.
B. 
Upon a finding of guilt under this article, the court may, in addition to other remedies permitted by the Code, impose any or all of the following conditions:
(1) 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime and criminal activity, including, but not limited to, the erection of fences, installation of security devices or increased lighting.
(2) 
Requirement of a written lease for occupants, which includes provisions requiring eviction for criminal activity.
(3) 
Submitting tenancy lists on a periodic basis to the Police Department.
(4) 
Any other condition reasonably related to the objective of abating the disorderly house nuisance.
In the event any provision, section, sentence, clause or part of this article shall be held to be invalid, such invalidity shall be severable and shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sections, sentences, clauses, or parts of this article, it being the intent of the City of Monessen that the remainder of the article shall be and shall remain in full force and effect.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abridge or alter the remedies now existing at common law, by statute or by ordinance, but the provisions of this article are in addition to such remedies.
This article shall become effective immediately upon approval because it is an ordinance providing for the preservation of public peace, health, safety, and the general welfare.