[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Robinson as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-9-2019 by Ord. No. 2-2019]
This article shall be known as the "Robinson Township Neighborhood Blight Protection and Enforcement Ordinance."
There are deteriorated properties located within the Township as a result of neglect by their owners in violation of applicable state and municipal codes. These deteriorated properties create public nuisances which have an impact on crime and the quality of life of our residents and require significant expenditures of public funds in order to abate and correct the nuisances. The purpose of this article is to provide for certain protections and safeguards in order to address deteriorated properties, public nuisances, and properties in serious violation of state law and/or municipal codes and to protect the public health, safety, and well-being of the general public.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Zoning Hearing Board or other body granted jurisdiction
to render decisions in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities
Planning Code, the State Second Class Township Code, the Robinson Township Code of Ordinances or a board authorized
to act in a similar manner by law.[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
- A residential, commercial or industrial building or structure and the land appurtenant thereto, including a vacant lot on which a building has been demolished.
- MUNICIPAL PERMITS
- Privileges related to real property granted by a municipality, including but not limited to building permits, parking permits, occupancy permits, and relief granted by from Chapter 420, Zoning, of the Code of the Township of Robinson. The terms also includes approval pursuant to a land use ordinance other than decisions on the substantive validity of a zoning ordinance or map or the acceptance of a curative amendment.
- MUNICIPAL SERVICES
- Services provided at a cost by the Township or other municipal entity, including water service, sanitary sewer service, refuse collection and parking allotments/facilities, which benefit individual properties and also serve to benefit the overall welfare, safety, and health of all residents of the Township.
- The holder or holders of title to, or of a legal or equitable interest in, a residential, commercial or industrial building. The term shall include an heir, assignee, trustee, beneficiary and lessee, provided the ownership interest is a matter of public record.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- A property that, because of physical condition or use, has been declared by the appropriate official a public nuisance in accordance with the local housing, building, health, fire or related code or is determined to be a public nuisance by the court.
- SERIOUS VIOLATION
- A violation of state law or Township Code (as both terms are defined herein) or other applicable code that poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of the dwelling occupant, occupants in surrounding structures, or passersby. Property found to be a public nuisance is also considered to be a serious violation.
- STATE LAW
- A statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or a regulation of an agency charged with the administration and enforcement of commonwealth law.
- SUBSTANTIAL STEP
- An affirmative action, as determined by a Township official or officer of the court, on the part of the property owner or managing agent to remedy a serious violation of state or local law, including, but not limited to, physical improvements or repairs to the property.
- TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTY
- Tax delinquent real property as defined under the Real Estate
Tax Sale Law (72 P.S. § 5860.101 et seq.), the Municipal
Claim and Tax Lien Law (53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.) or the laws
governing the Second Class City Treasurer's Sale and Collection Act
(53 P.S. § 27101 et seq.) located in any municipality in
this commonwealth.[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
- THE ACT
- The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act (53 Pa.C.S.A. § 6101 et seq.).
- Township of Robinson, Washington County, Pennsylvania, its Board of Supervisors, agents, and employees.
- TOWNSHIP CODE
- A building, housing, property maintenance, fire, health or other public safety ordinance enacted or adopted by the Township, including those ordinances, regulations and resolutions which establish and assess fees for municipal services and privileges such as sewer, water, refuse collection, and parking/parking arrangements. For purposes of this article, the term does not include a subdivision and land development ordinance or a zoning ordinance enacted by the Township.
In addition to any other remedy available at law, including those remedies available under the Act, remedies available in equity or other remedies as provided for in the Township Code, the Township may institute the following actions against the owner of any property that is in serious violation of the Township Code or for failure to correct a condition which causes the property to be regarded as a public nuisance:
In personam action.
An in personam action may be initiated for a continuing violation for which the owner takes no substantial step to correct within the six months following receipt of an order by the Township to correct the violation, unless the order is subject to a pending appeal before an administrative agency or court.
Notwithstanding any law limiting the form of action for the recovery of penalties by a municipality for the violation of a Township Code, the Township may recover, in a single action under this section, an amount equal to the penalties imposed against the owner and any costs of remediation lawfully incurred by, or on behalf of, the Township to remedy any Code violation.
A proceeding in equity.
A lien may be placed against the assets of an owner of real property that is in serious violation of the Township Code or is regarded as a public nuisance after a judgment, decree, or order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction against the owner of the property for an adjudication under either an in personam action or a proceeding in equity as set forth above. In the case of an owner that is an association or trust, this does not authorize a lien to be placed upon the individual assets of the general partner or trustee, except as otherwise allowed by law, limited partner, shareholder, member, or beneficiary of the association or trust.
A person who lives or has a principal place of residence outside this commonwealth, who owns property in this commonwealth against which Township Code or other applicable code violations have been cited and the person is charged under 18 Pa.C.S.A. (relating to crimes and offenses), and who has been properly notified of the violations may be extradited to this commonwealth to face criminal prosecution to the full extent allowed and in the manner authorized by 42 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 91 (relating to detainers and extradition).
Where, after reasonable efforts, service of process for a notice or citation for any Code violations for any real property owned by an association or trust cannot be accomplished by handing a copy of the notice or citation to an executive officer, partner, or trustee of the association or trust or to the manager, trustee, or clerk in charge of the property, the delivery of the notice or citation may occur by registered, certified, or United States Express Mail, accompanied by a delivery confirmation:
To the registered office of the association or trust;
Where the association or trust does not have registered office, to the mailing address used for real estate tax collection purposes, if accompanied by the posting of a conspicuous notice on the property and by handing a copy of the notice or citation to the person in charge of the property at that time;
In the case of a corporation, notice shall be sent to the registered office on file with the Department of State.
The Township or Board may deny issuing to an applicant a municipal permit if the applicant owns real property in any municipality in this commonwealth for which there exists on the real property:
Tax and/or municipal services delinquencies on account of the actions of the owner; or
A serious violation and the owner has taken no substantial step to correct the serious violation within six months following notification of the violation and for which fines, penalties or a judgment to abate or correct were imposed by a Magisterial District Judge or municipal court or a judgment at law or in equity was imposed by a Court Of Common Pleas. No denial shall be permitted if a judgment is subject to a stay or supersedeas by order of court, or if the municipal permit is necessary to correct a violation of state law or Township Code.
The municipal permit denial as above-described shall not apply to an applicant's delinquency on taxes and/or municipal services charges that are under appeal or otherwise contested through a court or administrative process.
In issuing a denial of a municipal permit, the Township or the Board shall indicate the street address, the municipality, and county in which the property is located and the court and docket number for each parcel cited as a basis for the denial. The denial shall also state that the applicant may request a letter of compliance from the appropriate state agency, municipality, or school district in the form specified by such entity.
All municipal permits denied in accordance with this section may be withheld by the Township until an applicant obtains a letter of compliance from the appropriate state agency, municipality or school district indicating the following:
The property in question has no tax or municipal services delinquencies;
The property in question is now in compliance with state law, Township Code, or other applicable codes; or
The owner of the property has presented and the appropriate entity has accepted a plan to begin remediation of a serious violation of state law, Township Code, or other applicable codes. Acceptance of the plan may be contingent on:
Beginning the remediation plan within no fewer than 30 days following acceptance of the plan or sooner, if mutually agreeable to both the owner and the Township.
Completing the remediation plan within no fewer than 90 days following commencement of the plan or sooner, if mutually agreeable to both the owner and the Township.
If a letter of compliance or a letter of noncompliance, as the case may be, is not issued within 45 days of the request, the property shall be deemed to be in compliance for the purposes of this section. The appropriate state agency, municipality, or school district shall specify the form in which the request for a compliance letter shall be made. Such letters shall be verified by the appropriate municipal officials before issuing to the applicant a municipal permit.
Boards, including the Township Zoning Hearing Board, may deny approval of municipal permits, which includes special exception approval and variance relief, if warranted as set forth above to the extent that approval of such a municipal permit is within the jurisdiction of the Board.
The Township may appear to present evidence that the applicant is subject to denial by a Board in accordance with this section.
A municipal permit may only be denied to an applicant other than an owner if the applicant is acting under the direction or with the permission of the owner and that owner owns real property that is subject to denial as set forth herein above.
In the event of a conflict between the requirements of this article and federal requirements applicable to demolition, disposition, or redevelopment of buildings, structures or land owned by or held in trust for the Government of the United States and regulated pursuant to the United States Housing Act of 1937 (50 Stat. 888, 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq.) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, the federal requirements shall prevail.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abridge or alter the remedies now existing at common law or by statute, but the provisions of this article are in addition to such remedies.
Where property is inherited by will or intestacy, the devisee or heir shall be given the opportunity to make payments on reasonable terms to correct Code violations or to enter into a remediation agreement with the Township to avoid subjecting the devisee's or heir's other properties to asset attachment or denial of municipal permits and approvals on other properties owned by the devisee or heir. Such opportunity shall be given at the Township's discretion and subject to the revocation upon the devisee's or heir's failure to proceed with a payment plan or to progress forward and complete a remediation plan.
The provisions of this article are declared to be severable, and, if any provision of this article shall for any reason be held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the article as a whole or any other part or part thereof.
Any and all ordinances and/or resolutions, or parts thereof, conflicted herewith are repealed insofar as the matters herein are affected.
This article shall become effective five days after enactment.