City of Bradford, PA
Mckean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Bradford 6-26-2001 by Ord. No. 2936.4. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Administration of government — See Ch. 3.
A. 
The citizens of the City of Bradford, Pennsylvania (hereinafter the "city") have an imperative need to be free from diverse public nuisances which injure, or which threaten to injure, their health, safety and welfare, including, but not limited to, any inadequately protected well, shaft, basement, excavation, abandoned or nondrivable motor vehicle or equipment, structurally unsound fence or building, lumber, trash, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, or other condition which is or may be detrimental to the safety or health of persons, any condition which may prove attractive but detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building on the premises or upon an unoccupied lot, physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist, whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings, fire hazards and any public nuisance known at public law or in law or equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the ordinances of the city.
B. 
Accordingly, these regulations of the city's Board of Health (as prescribed in 53 P.S. § 37301, hereinafter the "Board") are promulgated to better enable the city to remove, abate, suspend, alter, prevent or avoid public nuisances, to better enable the city to recover any and all costs pertaining to the removal, abatement, suspension, alteration, prevention or avoidance of public nuisances, to ensure adequate notice to property owners and to those responsible for public nuisances, to afford property owners and those responsible for public nuisances an opportunity to eliminate public nuisances at their own cost prior to the imposition of fines, penalties and the costs of the city's abatement action, to provide due process to persons adversely affected by orders of the Board and to afford a record appeal to persons adversely affected by formal action of the Board.
The Board is the local agency with the duty and with the authority to, inter alia, ascertain whether a public nuisance, as defined in 53 P.S. § 37320, exists and to order it removed, abated, suspended, altered or otherwise prevented or avoided.
The Health Officer, the Building Inspector, the Code Enforcement Officer and all Health Department and code enforcement personnel employed by the city shall be, and hereby are appointed, duly authorized agents of the Board. They shall, inter alia, make such investigations, examinations and reports as shall suffice to inform the judgment of the Board, and they shall faithfully execute its orders.
A. 
An order of the Board shall set forth the information prescribed by 53 P.S. § 37322.
B. 
An order of the Board shall provide that any and all expenses, costs and charges incurred by the Board and by the city, including, but not limited to, the labor and personnel cost of their agents and employees, the cost of any and all services utilized by them and the cost of any and all materials employed by them, shall be charged to any person determined, in an order of the Board, to be responsible for a nuisance.
C. 
An order of the Board shall provide that any and all expenses, costs and charges shall be promptly and fully paid upon presentation. An order of the Board shall state that failure or refusal to promptly pay said expenses, costs and changes upon presentation shall be a violation of the Board's order within the meaning of 53 P.S. § 37340.
D. 
An order of the Board may also contain sufficient directives to permit the Board and the city and any of their agents, employees, representatives, experts and contractors to take any compliance action authorized by, inter alia, Article XXIII of the Third Class City Code and by these regulations.
E. 
An order of the Board may also contain a directive that no person shall obstruct, impede or otherwise interfere with the entry and conduct of the Board or its agents, employees, representatives, experts or contractors. An order of the Board may also contain ancillary directives not inconsistent with the laws of the commonwealth.
The notice of the Board's order shall clearly specify:
A. 
The place and manner of the nuisance or anticipated nuisance as determined by the Board.
B. 
The nature or condition thereof.
C. 
The Board's order with respect to the nuisance or anticipated nuisance.
D. 
The names of the persons found by the Board to be responsible therefor or concerned therewith and the name of the owner, if any, of the land or premises involved.
E. 
The date of the Board's order and the number of days therefrom allowed for compliance with it.
F. 
The alternative remedy of the Board in case of noncompliance.
G. 
Notice that the persons affected thereby may apply, within the time set for compliance with the order, to the Board for a hearing and may request such stay of execution or modification or rescission of said order as they shall believe just and proper.
H. 
The signature of the President of the Board, attested by the Secretary.
Any condition or usage whatsoever in or about the buildings, structures or land, or the streets or private ways and places, or elsewhere, within the city, whether public or private, which the Board shall find to be detrimental to the public health is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. Whenever in these regulations the words "public nuisance" or "nuisance" is used, they shall be deemed to mean a nuisance detrimental to the public health unless a different meaning is specified. The powers of investigation and entering upon premises vested in the Board and its agents and employees pursuant to its orders shall be available for the determination of public nuisances. The agents of the Board are authorized to enter any structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect, subject to constitutional restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures. If entry is refused or not obtained, the agents of the Board are authorized to pursue recourse as provided by law, including, but not limited to, seeking the issuance of a search warrant.
Whenever the Board shall determine, after such examination, investigation or hearing as shall suffice to inform its judgment, that a public nuisance exists or is about to exist, it may order the nuisance to be removed, abated, suspended, altered or otherwise prevented or avoided. Notice of such order, bearing the official title and the official seal of the Board and the number of days for compliance therewith and the alternative remedy of the Board in case of noncompliance, shall be served upon the person, if any, whom the Board deems responsible therefor or concerned therein, and upon the owner or abutting owner of the land, premises or other places whereon such a nuisance is or is about to be, if any. In case no such party or parties can be discovered by the Board, the order shall be served by posting a copy or copies thereof conspicuously upon the premises for a period of at least 10 days.
A. 
In any case where the persons ordered by the Board to abate or prevent a public nuisance or anticipated public nuisance refuse or neglect to do so within the time specified in the original or any subsequent order of the Board, then, unless the said order shall have been suspended by a proper appeal to the McKean County Court of Common Pleas and proper bond posted, the Board may direct its Health Officer and employees to execute said order; or if the execution of said order requires the grading, paving or repaving of private alleys or any similar work upon any property whatsoever within the city or any other work or services that may best be performed or contracted for by the agencies and employees of the city itself, then the Board shall certify its order to City Council under its official seal, and Council shall thereupon proceed to cause the execution of the order.
B. 
In any case where the Board or the Council thus abates or prevents or causes the abatement or prevention of a public nuisance, the cost and expense of such work, services and materials shall be charged to the persons affected in their proper proportions; and upon nonpayment of such charges, the city may file a lien therefor upon the affected premises in the name of and for the use of the city, as provided by law for municipal claims, in addition to the other remedies available for collection of debts due the city. The lien shall attach as of the time the work was commenced, which shall be fixed by the certificate of the Health Officer or of the City Engineer filed with the City Clerk.
A. 
If a violation of the Building Ordinance, the Housing Ordinance, the Property Maintenance Ordinance, the Fire Prevention Ordinance, the Electrical Ordinance or the Plumbing Ordinance[1] is determined by the Board to constitute a nuisance in fact which poses a threat to the public's health, safety or property and the person responsible for the nuisance does not comply with the terms of the Board's order, said noncompliance shall constitute a second violation if the continuing and uncorrected nuisance in fact constitutes a violation of the same subsection of any such ordinance on the same property. An order of the Board may provide that, in such event, the person responsible for the nuisance shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Chs. 80, Building Construction, 127, Housing Standards, 163, Property Maintenance, 111, Fire Prevention, 103, Electrical Standards, and 159, Plumbing, respectively.
B. 
Any order of the Board may further provide that, in the event the city does not, for whatever reason, remove, abate, suspend, alter or otherwise prevent or avoid the nuisance within five calendar days after the compliance date set by the Board, the continuing and uncorrected nuisance in fact which poses a threat to the public's health, safety or property shall constitute a third violation if the continuing and uncorrected nuisance in fact constitutes a violation of the same subsection of such ordinance on the same property. Any order of the Board may provide that, in such event, the person responsible for the nuisance shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000.
C. 
If the nuisance is not determined by the Board to constitute a nuisance in fact which poses a threat to the public's health, safety and or property based upon a violation of such ordinances, any order of the Board may provide that, if the person responsible for the nuisance does not comply with the terms of the Board's order, they shall be fined not more than $1,000.
D. 
An order of the Board shall provide that any and all costs, charges and expenses necessarily incurred in carrying these regulations into effect, including, but not limited to, the costs of temporarily housing any innocent persons displaced by an order of the Board and the costs of proceedings incident thereto, shall be recoverable for the use of the city.
E. 
In the event of noncompliance with any order of the Board, the city may cause the removal, abatement, suspension or alteration of the nuisance or otherwise prevent or avoid the nuisance and, thereafter, may, in the manner prescribed by law, recover any and all costs thereof, together with a penalty of 10% per annum of such costs from the person responsible for the nuisance.
In addition to any fines imposed by the Board for noncompliance with its orders, any person violating any order of the Board, or who shall obstruct or interfere with any person in the execution of any order of the Board, or willfully and illegally omit to obey any such order, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $100 or undergo imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or both, at the discretion of the Court.
A. 
Any order of the Board and any subsequent notice required to be given by the Board pursuant to Article XXIII of the Third Class City Code and these regulations shall conclusively be deemed to have been properly served if a copy thereof is:
(1) 
Delivered personally; or
(2) 
Sent by certified or first class mail addressed to the party's last known address.
B. 
In case no responsible parties or property owners can be discovered by the Board, its order may be served by posting a copy or copies thereof conspicuously upon the premises for a period of at least 10 days.
If any person affected by an order of the Board shall apply for a hearing within the time provided in the order, the Board shall promptly notify all interested parties of the time and place of the hearing. The Board shall enter upon its minutes the facts and proofs as it may receive and its proceedings on such hearing and thereafter may rescind, modify or reaffirm its order and require execution of the original or of a new or modified order as it shall determine and direct. The persons affected shall be notified of the Board's final order and within 10 days from the mailing or personal delivery of such notice may appeal therefrom to the Court of Quarter Sessions, which appeal may operate as a supercedes if the Court, upon proper cause shown, so orders, and provided that the appellants post bond, approved by the Court, for the use of the city, with sufficient surety to cover all the expense and costs of executing the Board's order.
A. 
The application for an appeal hearing before the Board shall have attached to it a copy of the Board's order. The application for an appeal hearing shall precisely and thoroughly set forth, in separate numbered paragraphs, any and all factual and legal bases upon which the person adversely affected by the Board's order seeks to challenge said order at the appeal hearing. The application for an appeal hearing shall set forth the address to which the Board shall deliver notice of when and where the appellant is to appear for the appeal hearing. The application for an appeal hearing shall set forth the appellant's telephone number. Any appellant from an order of the Board shall file a minimum of 10 copies of his application for an appeal.
B. 
The request for an appeal hearing before the Board shall be filed with the Secretary of the Board on the second floor of Bradford City Hall, 24 Kennedy Street, Bradford, Pennsylvania, 16701. Subject to the time limitations set forth in the order of the Board, a request for an appeal hearing before the Board may be filed by mail. Subject to the time limitations set forth in the order of the Board, a request for an appeal hearing before the Board may also be filed in person at the aforesaid address Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., prevailing time. Any request for an appeal hearing before the Board which is received after the filing deadline shall be rejected as untimely filed.
C. 
In all cases in which a corporation is a property owner of record or is adversely affected by the order of the Board, all requests for hearings before the Board shall be executed by an officer of said corporation, stating the title of such officer, or by a duly authorized employee of the corporation which shall be accompanied by a verified certification that he is authorized to act on behalf of the corporation. In all cases in which a partnership or sole proprietorship is a property owner of record or is adversely affected by the order of the Board, a principal of such business organization shall execute the request for an appeal hearing before the Board.
D. 
The application for an appeal hearing, any subsequent communications with the Board and any documents or written matter sought to be introduced before the Board at the appeal hearing shall be submitted in a minimum of 10 copies. The required number of copies of any and all documentary evidence sought to be introduced before the Board shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Board on the second floor of Bradford City Hall, 24 Kennedy Street, Bradford, Pennsylvania 16701, not later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled appeal hearing. Failure to comply with this requirement shall, in the discretion of the Board, constitute grounds to disqualify the proposed documentary evidence.
E. 
The Board will generally allow approximately one hour for an appeal hearing. If the appeal hearing involves unusually complex issues of law or fact, additional time may, in the discretion of the Board, be allotted only if said request is made with the filing of an application for an appeal hearing.
F. 
Failure of any person adversely affected by the Board's order to appear at the appeal hearing, after due notice thereof, shall be considered an abandonment of the appeal hearing request and shall cause the dismissal of the appeal. The Board may, at its discretion, grant an appeal hearing continuance of no more than 30 days. All requests for a continuance of any appeal hearing shall be made in writing and shall, unless wholly impracticable, be filed with the Board at least five business days before the date set for the appeal hearing. Said written postponement request shall, in numbered paragraphs, precisely and thoroughly set forth the grounds relied upon in support thereof.
G. 
The Board will not be bound by the strict rules of evidence normally applied in the Courts. The Board may, in its discretion, hear any and all evidence which it considers probative and helpful in deciding the appeal hearing.
H. 
All parties will be required to exercise proper and appropriate decorum during the appeal hearing. Eating and drinking, with the exception of water for counsel and persons on the witness stand, are not permitted in the hearing room. The Board's telephones are not available for use by parties, counsel or witnesses unless calls are, in the judgment of the Board, necessary to assure the orderly conduct of the appeal hearing. All copying of materials required for the appeal hearing before the Board shall be done by the parties prior to the hearing. When the need for copies could not be anticipated beforehand, copies may be made on the Board's copying machine at a cost of $2 per page and $10 per one-half hour of Board staff time, where applicable. At the close of each hearing, the parties are responsible for assuring that any discarded papers and other refuse on the counsel table and seating area occupied by the party and its witnesses are disposed of in the proper containers in either the hearing room or outside its doors.
I. 
In all cases, any person appealing from an order of the Board shall submit, not later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled appeal hearing, a list of all proposed witnesses, together with a brief synopsis, not exceeding one paragraph per witness, of each witness's anticipated testimony. Failure to comply with this requirement shall, in the discretion of the Board, constitute grounds to disqualify the testimony of any proposed witness.
J. 
In all cases involving expert witnesses, the written qualifications of any proposed expert witness, including proof of compliance with Pennsylvania licensing and certification, and the written reports of any proposed expert witness shall be submitted to the Board at least 72 hours prior to the proposed expert testimony. Expert witnesses shall not be permitted to express opinions other than those contained in their submitted report. Failure to comply with this requirement shall, in the discretion of the Board, constitute grounds to disqualify the proposed expert witness.
K. 
Notwithstanding the foregoing, failure to timely produce the requisite number of any documents or written matter required by these regulations may, in the discretion of the Board, constitute a failure to perfect the appeal and may result in a dismissal, with prejudice, of the appeal.
L. 
The Board expressly reserves the right to waive any specific requirement with regard to these regulations which, in its judgment, shall expedite the appeal hearing and better enable it to make a final determination.
A. 
All appeal hearings before the Board shall be open to the public and shall be conducted in accordance with these regulations and in accordance with the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa.C.S.A. § 557 et seq. All testimony before the Board shall be stenographically recorded, and a full and complete record shall be kept of the proceedings before the Board. All factual findings of the Board shall be supported by substantial evidence.
B. 
At the conclusion of the hearing before the Board and after such review and consideration as may be required, the Board will render its decision and therein may rescind, modify or reaffirm its order and may require execution of the original or of a new or modified order.
C. 
The order of the Board after hearing shall be entered in its minutes by the Secretary of the Board, and a copy of such order shall, within five days after the appeal hearing before the Board, be delivered to the person(s) who appealed from the Board's order, either in person or by mail to the address shown on the application for hearing. The agents of the Board shall, unless excused, attend each appeal hearing of the Board and shall furnish the Board with such information relating to the nuisance as the Board may require.
A. 
When approved, printed and advertised by the City Council as required in the case of ordinances, these regulations shall have the force of ordinances of the city.
B. 
All prior ordinances, rules and regulations and parts thereof inconsistent with these regulations are hereby specifically repealed.
Nothing contained in an order of the Board or in these regulations is intended, or shall be construed, as a waiver by the Board or by the city of their rights to take additional or further enforcement actions or investigations with respect to any violations of law or nuisances caused by a party to an order of the Board or existing on property owned or occupied by a party to an order of the Board.
If any sentence, clause, section or part of these regulations is, for any reason, found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality or invalidity shall not affect or impair the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts of these regulations. It is hereby declared, as the intent of the City Council and of the Board, that these regulations would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid sentence, clause, section or part hereof not been included herein.
This amendment shall take effect upon final passage.