[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Larksville 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 5-1999 (Ch. 75 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Larksville Borough Dangerous Buildings 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 Borough of Larksville.
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 this chapter its most reasonable application consistent with its intent.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Larksville, County of Luzerne in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- The current elected or appointed members of the Larksville Borough Council.
- DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
- All the buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects, and all such buildings or structures shall be deemed dangerous buildings:
- (1) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other cause so as to fail utterly to provide the amenities essential to decent living and which are unfit for human habitation.
- (2) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other cause so as to become dangerous to the life and safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Borough.
- (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 that they are unfit for human habitation and are likely to cause accidents, sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, safety or general welfare of those living therein as well as other citizens living in the Borough.
- (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 and are likely to cause accidents, sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, safety or general welfare of those living therein as well as other citizens living in the Borough.
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they might fall and injure members of the public or adjoining property.
- (6) Those which, because of their general condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the people of the Borough.
The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
Words included in the present text include the future and past; words in the plural number include the singular; words in the singular include words in the plural; the words either in the feminine, masculine or neuter shall include words of the other two genders.
All dangerous buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished.
Each day a nuisance in the form of a dangerous building continues, after notice is given that said dangerous building is to be repaired, vacated or demolished, shall constitute a separate offense in violation of this chapter.
Whenever it shall be reported or come to the attention of any Borough official or police officer that any building or structure, completed or in the process of construction, or any portion therein, is in a dangerous condition, such person shall report the same to the Council; and the Council shall immediately designate a Borough official, employee or police officer to make an investigation and examination of such building or structure. If such investigation or examination indicates such building or structure to be a dangerous building, a written report of such investigation shall be sent to the Council, specifying the exact condition of such building or 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 building.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Council in ordering repair, vacation or demolition of a dangerous building:
If the dangerous building can be repaired, as determined by the Council, so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the dangerous building is in such condition to make it dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of its occupants it shall be ordered to be vacated.
If the dangerous building cannot be reasonably repaired, as determined by the Council, it shall be demolished.
If the dangerous building is a fire hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter, any other ordinance of the Borough or any statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished.
If any structure is deemed to be a dangerous building within the standards of this chapter, the Council shall forthwith use notice to be served upon the owner or owners of such dangerous building as determined by the record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for the County of Luzerne in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or, failing to find any owner or owners, then such occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent or any other person with an interest in said dangerous building who may be located.
The notice required by this section shall be served personally upon the owner or owners of a dangerous building if such owner resides or such owners reside in the Borough or personally upon his agent if such agent resides within the Borough. If personal service required herein cannot be obtained, such notice shall be sent to the owner or owners of a dangerous building by certified mail to the last known address according to the records available in the Tax Assessment Office in and for the County of Luzerne in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Such notice shall identify the building or structure deemed dangerous, contain a statement of the particulars which made this building or structure a dangerous building and include an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to conform with the terms of this chapter; provided, further, that 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 provided.
Such notice shall require any person notified to repair, vacate and/or demolish any building to commence the work required by notice within 10 days of such notice and to comply with such repair, vacation or demolition within 60 days from the receipt of such notice.
The Council shall cause to be placed on all dangerous buildings a notice reading substantially as follows:
This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Borough Council for the Borough of Larksville, County of Luzerne in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given to the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or agent of the building. It is unlawful to remove this notice served on the above-named party.
All fines provided for in this section shall be in addition to costs.
Any person who shell fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any dangerous buildings, which notice is served by any person authorized to do so by the Council, shall, upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge, be subject to a fine not exceeding $300; and, in default of payment of the fine and costs, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Any person removing the notice provided for in § 145-7 shall, upon conviction before a Magisterial District Judge, be subject to a fine not exceeding $100; and, in default of payment of the fine and cost, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days.
Any person having any interest in any building who fails to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate and/or demolish any dangerous building within 60 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure, does empower the Council to cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished by the Borough and to cause the costs of such repair, vacation and/or demolition, together with a penalty of 10%, to be charged upon the land on which the building exists as a municipal lien, or alternatively to recover such costs and penalty in a suit at law against the owner or owners but failing to remove same to have the judgment therefor to 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 section.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there exists an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person caused or created by a dangerous building, the Council shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected as provided for in § 145-8 of this chapter.