[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Carroll Township 9-11-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-239. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This ordinance shall be known as and may be cited as "Carroll Township Dangerous Structure Ordinance."
This ordinance shall apply uniformly to all persons, business organizations, nonprofit organizations, and all other legal entities; and, it shall apply uniformly to all property (real or personal) and all property owners within Carroll 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 ordinance is most reasonable application consistent with its intent. It shall be interpreted to allow for the maximum protection for the health, safety, peace and general welfare for the community.
- The Board of Supervisors of Carroll Township (also herein referred to as "Township").
- DANGEROUS STRUCTURE
- All buildings or structures, including but not limited to: residences, dwellings, garages, assembled structures, outhouses, barns, pools, decks, commercial buildings, cabins, silos, stables, kennels, well houses, car washes, stores, offices, restaurants, warehouses, condominiums, cemeteries, and industrial buildings, which has one or more of the following defects:
- (1) Those structures meant for human residence and occupation, which have been damaged by fire, flooding, wind, earthquakes, rot, or other cause or act of God that make the Dangerous Structure unfit for human habitation, thus the Dangerous Structure has breached the implied warranty of habitability for the said property.
- (2) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, or other cause so as to have become dangerous to the life and safety, peace 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 present an injury to the health, peace, safety, or general welfare of the people of the Township;
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which 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, peace, safety or general welfare of the people of the Township.
- (7) Those which have become an attractive nuisance for children that put a child or children in danger, including but not limited: risk of bodily harm, drowning, impalement, and falling into a well or hole.
- (8) Those which become abandoned structures or substantially abandoned, and whereby the structure is utilized as an opium or other illicit drug den, place for usage of illegal substances or the sale thereof, or a place for underage alcohol consumption.
- (9) Those which become premises with an accumulation of trash and debris, or a haven for vermin or insects which may transfer disease, including but not limited to: West Nile Virus, Rabies, Zika, Encephalitis, Lyme, Histoplasmosis, Avian Flu, Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis (LCM), Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).
- (10) Those which have environmental contamination or hazardous conditions that are not being addressed or properly maintained, contained and/or appropriate barriers to prevents trespass, to protect children and/or people of the Township.
- (11) Those which are abandoned or not maintained, which presents a danger for fire, flooding, blocking flow of water, environmental pollution, spread of disease or illness, or magnet to crime.
- Always mandatory and not merely directory.
- Any man-made object having an ascertainable location on or in land or water whether or not affixed to land.
- The Township of Carroll, County of York in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- TOWNSHIP OFFICIAL
- Person or persons designated or appointed by the Board of Supervisors as agent or authorized representative.
- The action of leaving something one previously occupied; to vacate the Dangerous Structure.
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.
Properties subject to these Sections shall be maintained in a secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons.
A secure manner shall include, but not be limited to, the closure and locking of windows, doors, gates and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure. Broken windows, doors, gates and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure must be repaired. Broken windows shall be secured by re-glazing of the window.
All Dangerous Structures are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished.
Each day a nuisance in the form of a Dangerous Structure continues, after notice is given pursuant to Section 8 of this ordinance that said Dangerous Structure is to be repaired, vacated or demolished, shall continue a separate offense in violation of this ordinance.
Anyone reporting a Dangerous Structure to the Township shall do so by written letter signed by the complainant, identifying the property in question and briefly explaining the nature of the dangerous structure or by filling out a Township Complaint Form and submitting it to the Township Office, or by oral presentation at a Board of Supervisors Meeting during the Public Comment period. Upon receipt of the Complaint it will be given to the Township Zoning Officer, or Township Official who will conduct a preliminary investigation and present the complaint to the Board for action.
The investigative person(s), constable or Township Official shall be able to enter upon the land to conduct the initial investigation and any subsequent investigations related to the Dangerous Structure, these intrusions shall not constitute trespass.
The Board shall designate a construction code official, Township Official or independent contractor to conduct an on-site investigation or examination, accompanied by a Pennsylvania certified constable, and issue a written report of such investigation, which shall be submitted to the Board, specifying the exact condition of such structure and setting forth whether or in which 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. If the written report establishes that the structure is a Dangerous Structure, the costs of such report and the costs of the constable's service shall be the responsibility of the owner and shall be recovered in accordance with Section 9, Penalties.
Upon receipt of a report in accordance with the investigation procedure provided hereinabove in Section 6 of this Ordinance, the Township shall give written notice to the owner or owners of such Dangerous Structure as determined by the records in the County assessment and Recorder of Deeds offices in and for York County, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or failing to find any owner or owners, then notice shall be given to the occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent or any other person found with an interest in said Dangerous Structure as the Township may discover, and said notice shall inform the owner or other party to appear before the Board on a date specified to show cause why the building or structure reported as a Dangerous Structure should not be repaired, demolished or vacated in accordance with any written report to Board or determination made by the Board.
Within not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days from the date of such notice, hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee or other person having an interest in said Dangerous Structure shall offer related to the Dangerous Structure.
Within 30 days of such Board hearing, the Board shall make written findings of fact from the testimony offered pursuant to the hearing as to whether or not the building or structure in question is a Dangerous Structure, and hereof, issue an order, based upon findings of fact and if appropriate demand the owner of said Dangerous Structure to repair, demolish or vacate any 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 reasonably repaired as determined by the Board so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this ordinance, it shall be ordered to be repaired.
If the Dangerous Structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, peace, 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, it shall be demolished and the debris from such demolition shall be properly disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, after the demolition and debris removal have been completed, the ground disturbed by such demolition and debris removal shall be returned to grade with clean fill, seeded and stabilized from eroding.
If the Dangerous Structure is a fire or flood hazard or is existing or erected in violation of the terms of this ordinance, 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. In addition, after the demolition and debris removal have been completed, the ground disturbed by such demolition and debris removal shall be returned to grade with clean fill, seeded and stabilized from eroding.
Such Order from the Board Hearing in Section 6 shall require any person notified to repair, vacate or demolish any structure to commence the work or act required by the 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.
All cost associated with the Board Hearing if repair, vacation or demolition is Ordered shall be the responsibility of the owner, including attorney fees, and if not paid shall constitute a municipal lien against the property.
All costs of repair, vacation and demolition, shall be the responsibility of the owner, and if not paid, shall constitute a municipal lien against the property.
All fines provided for in this section shall be in addition to costs.
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 ordinance shall, upon conviction as a summary offense before a Magisterial District Judge, shall be subject to a fine of $1,000, and in default of payment of the fine and costs shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 90 days. Every day that a person fails to comply with any notice or orders to repair, vacate or demolish any Dangerous Structure shall be deemed a separate violation of this ordinance.
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 within 60 days of the receipt of such notice, by such failure, does hereby 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 to include costs of an independent contractor, 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 judgement therefore shall be charged upon the land as a lien; and, this subsection is separate from an in addition to the fine, penalty, and costs which may be imposed by any other subsection of this ordinance.
It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Carroll that several provisions of this Ordinance are separable. If any Court of competent jurisdiction shall declare any words, sentences, sections or provisions of the Ordinance to be invalid, such a ruling shall not affect any other words, sentences, sections or provisions of this Ordinance not specifically included in said ruling.
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 Structure the Board shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such Dangerous Structure. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such Dangerous Structure and shall be collected as provided for in Section 9 C. of this Ordinance from the property owner.