Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia 3-13-1995 by Ord. No. 662. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Existing structures, property maintenance and fire prevention — See Ch. 112.
Solid waste — See Ch. 181.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 186.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 190.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.
It shall be unlawful to wreck, demolish, raise or remove (hereinafter collectively referred to as "demolish") any building, structure, vegetative screenings or impervious surface within the Borough of Columbia without first securing a permit therefor. It shall not be necessary to obtain a demolition permit for the demolition of any building, structure or vegetative screening used primarily for accessory residential use.
An application for a permit to demolish any building, structure, vegetative screening, or impervious surface within the Borough of Columbia shall be made in writing to the Borough Manager or his designated agent, who, within 10 days of receipt thereof, shall provide a copy to the Planning Commission. Such application shall give the location of the building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface which is intended to be removed and shall specify all buildings, structures, vegetative screening or impervious surfaces within 200 feet in any and all directions of the building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface to be demolished. A plot plan showing property boundaries, street and avenue location and intended lot changes and future lot uses shall be submitted along with the formal application. Included in the application shall be the date of projected demolition and the company or entity performing the demolition. Upon approval and issuance of a demolition permit the applicant shall submit a certificate of worker's compensation insurance coverage.
A. 
Prior to a building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface being demolished, the applicant shall notify in writing all utilities having service connections within, on, or with the structure, building, vegetative screened area, or impervious surface, including but not limited to the water, gas, sewer, and electric utilities. A permit to demolish a building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface shall not be issued until a release is obtained from each such utility and submitted to the Borough Manager or his designated agent who shall provide a copy to the Planning Commission. Such releases shall state that the utility's service connections and appurtenant equipment, such as meters, transformers, regulators, and telephone/electric poles, have been removed, sealed and plugged in a safe manner.
B. 
A permit to demolish a building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface shall not be granted until the applicant submits to the Borough Manager or his designated agent a copy of a written notice sent from the applicant to the owners of adjoining buildings and lots, as well as owners of buildings, lots, facilities and appurtenances wired and connected for power and communication where the temporary removal of such infrastructure is necessitated by the proposed demolition. Such notices shall be by certified mail (restricted delivery) with "return receipt request." Copies of such written notice shall be made available to the Planning Commission. Applicant shall submit copies of the mail receipt to the Borough Manager or his designated agent along with the written notice. Said notices shall direct that any and all such comments be directed to the Planning Commission within 30 days. The Planning Commission shall consider all such comments prior to making its recommendation on the application.
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
A. 
Before a permit may be issued, the applicant shall deposit with the Borough Secretary/Treasurer the following sums to insure that the property is in a proper and safe condition after such demolition:
(1) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 3,000 square feet: $1,000.
(2) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 10,000 square feet: $1,500.
(3) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 20,000 square feet: $2,000.
(4) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 50,000 square feet: $3,000.
(5) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 100,000 square feet: $4,000.
(6) 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces exceeding 100,000 square feet, plus an additional $1,000 for each additional 100,000 square feet: $4,000.
B. 
By "proper and safe condition," it is meant that all debris resulting from the demolition has been removed from the site; excavated areas such as trenches and basements have been backfilled with "clean fill" as that same is defined by ordinary and customary use in the industry; in the case of future construction over excavated areas, such areas will be surrounded by a non-climbable (site tight) fence at least six feet in height; and all excavated and disturbed areas will be regraded and seeded with grass seed and graded so that the site will be mowable, such final grading and seeding to be accomplished within 90 days of the date of completion of the demolition.
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
C. 
If the Planning Commission or its authorized inspection agent finds that such property has been put into the proper condition as provided for in this section and § 105-7 hereof, then it shall instruct the Borough Secretary/Treasurer to return the deposit to the applicant. If the site is not cleared, or put into a safe condition, or put into a condition in compliance with § 105-7 hereof, or work is not commenced to do so within 10 days of the demolition, the Borough may proceed with the work, and the cost of such work shall be deducted from the deposit. If any amount is left from such deposit after the Borough has performed the work, such balance shall be returned to the applicant. If the Borough's cost of completing the work exceeds the deposit, the applicant shall be responsible for payment of same, plus any reasonable costs, including attorneys' fees, incurred by the Borough in collecting same from the applicant.
A certificate showing that public liability insurance in the following amounts has been obtained by the applicant shall accompany any such application:
A. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 3,000 square feet: $100,000.
B. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 10,000 square feet: $200,000.
C. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 20,000 square feet: $300,000.
D. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces not exceeding 50,000 square feet: $400,000.
E. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screening, or impervious surfaces exceeding 50,000 square feet: $500,000.
Before any such permit shall be granted, the Planning Commission shall direct an authorized agent to inspect the premises where the demolition work is to take place, and ascertain that provision for proper care has been made so as not to endanger any sewer or water systems. Any such costs of inspection shall be borne by the applicant.
A. 
Plan submission.
(1) 
Along with the application, the applicant shall submit a plan detailing the maintenance of the property upon completion of the demolition work. The contents of that plan are dependent upon the intended use of the property:
(a) 
Intent: vacant lot. Applicant's plan must identify the manner in which it will maintain the property. Vacant lots will be required to have topsoil applied and seeded with grass. Coniferous and deciduous trees must be planted in order to form buffer areas in accordance with Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development.
(b) 
Intent: construction or use of land subject to Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development. Applicant must submit a plan in conformity with the procedures of Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development. The granting of a permit shall be authorized by the Planning Commission for the demolition within 90 days of submission, providing that the Planning Commission believes that adequate measures have been addressed in the plan for maintenance of the property subsequent to the demolition and prior to approval of the plan by the Planning Commission.
(c) 
Intent: use not subject to Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development. The plan must contain adequate measures for maintenance of the property subsequent to completion of the demolition and prior to implementation of the subsequent use. Any measures for maintenance of the property subsequent to completion of the demolition must be enacted within five days following any such demolition.
(2) 
As part of its plan, the applicant must agree to abide by all applicable local, state and federal regulations, including, without limitation: Chapter 112, Existing Structures, Property Maintenance and Fire Prevention, of the Code of the Borough of Columbia, and in particular any provisions dealing with stagnant water, sanitation, insect and rat control, public areas, weeds, rubbish, garbage and extermination; Chapter 181, Solid Waste, of the Borough Code, provisions dealing with accumulation of garbage and refuse; Chapter 220 of the Borough Code, dealing with zoning; and Chapter 190 of the Borough Code, dealing with subdivision and land development. The plan shall state with particularity how the applicant intends to comply with said provisions and the time frame for doing so.
[Amended 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726]
B. 
The Planning Commission shall review the plan to determine whether the plan provides for compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations regarding property maintenance, including, but not limited to, those cited in Subsection A of this section. The Planning Commission shall furnish a recommendation to Borough Council whether the demolition permit should be approved, and Borough Council shall consider the Planning Commission's recommendation at the next regularly scheduled meeting of Council, provided that the meeting occurs at least five days following the recommendation of the Planning Commission, and shall grant or deny the permit.
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
The Planning Commission shall, within 90 days after receipt of a properly submitted application, make a recommendation whether Council should approve or disapprove the application for a permit. The Planning Commission shall issue to applicant and Council a written recommendation setting forth its reasons. If an application is incomplete or is inconsistent with the standards set forth herein, the Borough Manager shall neither accept the application nor forward same to the Planning Commission for consideration.
The fee schedule for the issuance of a demolition permit is as follows:
A. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screenings or impervious surfaces not exceeding:
(1) 
Three thousand square feet: $100.
(2) 
Ten thousand square feet: $200.
(3) 
Twenty thousand square feet: $400.
(4) 
Fifty thousand square feet: $500.
(5) 
One hundred thousand square feet: $1,000.
B. 
For buildings, structures, vegetative screenings or impervious surfaces exceeding 100,000 square feet: $50 per 1,000 square feet for each 1,000 square feet over 100,000 square feet. The base fee of $1,000 per 100,000 square feet is also applicable.
All work on such demolition shall be performed in a workmanlike manner and with control of dust and noise, as much as possible. No work shall be performed before 6:00 a.m. nor after 7:00 p.m. except with special permission from the Borough Zoning Officer or his agent. Care shall be taken to protect neighboring structures, buildings, vegetative screenings and impervious surfaces from destruction. Adequate shoring, fencing and other construction industry methods shall be utilized to protect same. Signs stating "WRECKING AND DEMOLITION WORK GOING ON -- NO TRESPASSING" shall be erected on each side of the building, structure, vegetative screening or impervious surface that faces on a public street or alley. Adequate protection shall be provided to prevent injury to any Borough or public utility or appurtenances. Adequate protection shall also be provided to prevent injury to any pedestrian. It shall be the duty of all persons working on or responsible for such demolition to see to it that children are warned away from such premises and are not permitted to play in, on, near nor frequent such buildings, structures, vegetative screenings or impervious surfaces demolition sites.
A. 
The Borough Manager or his designated agent may supervise such demolition and may, at its option and in its discretion, inspect such premises during such demolitions at such times as he deems appropriate.
B. 
Inspections by the designated Borough Engineer or other hired agents of the Borough will be billed to the applicant on an hourly basis. Such billing shall not exceed the standard hourly rate of the Engineer or other hired Borough agents plus 15% for normal overhead and administration cost.
A. 
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 for each violation, at the discretion of the court. All fines collected for such violations shall be paid over to the Borough of Columbia and deposited in the general fund of the Borough.
B. 
In addition to the aforesaid criminal penalties, any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined by the Borough not more than $500 for each violation, and a separate violation shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. All such fines collected by the Borough shall be deposited in the general fund of the Borough.
C. 
In addition to the above penalties and fines, in the event of violation, the Borough of Columbia may also initiate appropriate legal proceedings in law or equity before any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the demolition of any building, structure, vegetative screening, or impervious surface, and for additional purposes, including but not limited to requiring compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter, including the requirement of submitting the plans in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
D. 
Failure to timely restore the property as provided in § 105-4B above within 90 days of the completion of demolition shall be deemed a violation of the chapter and each day thereafter that the property has not been finally graded and seeded, with a grade suitable for mowing, shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter.
[Added 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
A. 
The provisions of this chapter are intended as a minimum standard for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. If the literal compliance with any mandatory provision hereof is shown by the applicant, to the satisfaction of a majority of the members of the Borough Council present at a scheduled meeting, to be unreasonable or to cause undue hardship as it applies to a particular building, structure, vegetative screening, or impervious surface, or if the applicant shows that an alternative proposal will allow for equal or better results, the Borough Council may grant a waiver from such mandatory provision, so that substantial justice may be done and the public interest secured while permitting the reasonable demolition of the building, structure, vegetative screening, or impervious structure. The granting of such a waiver, however, shall not have the effect of making null and void the intent and purpose of this chapter.
B. 
In granting waivers, the Borough Council may impose such conditions as will, in its judgment, secure substantially the objectives of the standards and requirements of this chapter.
C. 
A request for waiver shall be submitted along with the application for permit. All such requests shall be in writing and shall identify the specific provision of this chapter which is requested to be waived; provisions proposed as an alternative to the requirements; and justification for the waiver. The Borough Council shall review the request to determine if compliance with the provisions of the chapter creates an undue hardship or appears to be unreasonable as it applies to that particular building, structure, vegetative screening, or impervious surface; or if the applicant demonstrates that an alternative proposal will allow for equal or better results, and take such action as it shall deem necessary or advisable in the public interest. If the request is denied, such denial shall be in writing and shall include the justification for the denial.
The Planning Commission shall keep an accurate public record of its findings, decisions and recommendations relevant to all applications submitted pursuant to this chapter.
This chapter is to work in conjunction with and as a supplement to Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development, and Chapter 220, Zoning. If any provision hereof or action taken pursuant hereto shall be in conflict with or in violation of same, Chapters 190 and 220 are to control.
Wherever there is a difference between the minimum applicable standards specified herein and those included in other applicable municipal regulations, whether local, state or federal, the more stringent requirement shall apply.
[Amended 12-10-2019 by Ord. No. 920]
After considering the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the Borough Council shall accept, reject, or modify the recommendation by a recorded vote. The findings and reasons for the disposition of the application shall be stated on the record and a copy shall be given to the applicant and the Planning Commission.
This chapter shall be known as and referred to as the "Borough of Columbia Demolition Permit Act."[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A, Application for Consideration of Building Permit, and Appendix B, Permit Approval Checklist, which accompanied this ordinance, are on file in the office of the Borough Clerk.