Township of Derry, PA
Mifflin County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Derry 6-17-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Junkyards and junk dealers — See Ch. 130.
Solid waste — See Ch. 177.
Zoning — See Ch. 215.
This chapter shall be known as the "Derry Township Nuisance Ordinance of 2013."
This chapter is ordained and enacted pursuant to the power of the Board of Supervisors to prohibit nuisances as per Section 1529, Nuisances, of the Second Class Township Code, as amended (53 P.S. § 66529, as amended), Section 2326, Obstructions and Nuisances, of the Second Class Township Code (53 P.S. § 67326) and the general powers of the Township to make or adopt ordinances necessary for the proper management, care and control of the Township and the maintenance of peace, good government, health and welfare of the Township and of its citizens per Section 1506 of the Second Class Township Code, as amended (53 P.S. § 66506, as amended) and otherwise per law.
A. 
The Township Supervisors deem it to be necessary for the health, general welfare, cleanliness and safety of the Township, its citizens, residents and visitors to the Township to adopt an ordinance relating to certain nuisances and find:
(1) 
That the accumulation of rubbish and/or the accumulation of abandoned or junked motor vehicles and/or the existence of grass in excess of the height herein indicated and harmful vegetation create a hazard and danger to citizens, residents and visitors to the Township because such conditions provide a haven for insects, rodents and vermin and/or otherwise create unhealthful and unsafe conditions;
(2) 
That the accumulation of rubbish and/or the accumulation of abandoned or junk motor vehicles and/or grass in excess of the height herein indicated and harmful vegetation creates an attractive nuisance for children who are not aware of the dangers involved;
(3) 
That the accumulation of rubbish and/or the accumulation of abandoned or junk motor vehicles and/or existence of grass in excess of the height herein indicated and harmful vegetation creates an unhealthful, unclean and unsafe condition for those citizens, residents and visitors of and to the Township whose real estate abuts the affected real estate and who otherwise come into contact with the abandoned or junk motor vehicles, and/or the accumulation of rubbish and/or the existence of grass in excess of the height herein indicated and harmful vegetation;
(4) 
That the infestation of real estate and all types of structures thereon with insects and/or rodents and/or which are a haven and/or a breeding area for insects and/or rodents is unhealthful, unclean and unsafe for those owners or occupants of real estate whose real estate abuts the affected real estate as well as those citizens, residents, visitors and others who otherwise come into contact with the affected real estate and/or the insects and/or rodents which are sheltered or harbored by such real estate and the structures thereon; and
(5) 
That the obstructing of a public road or committing of any nuisance thereon by felling trees, making fences, turning the road, diverting water onto or in any other way and who does not, on notice given by the Board of Supervisors, immediately remove the obstruction or nuisance and repair the damages, if any, is a nuisance and that such conditions and activities must be prohibited for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and residents of the Township and visitors to the Township.
B. 
Furthermore, such conditions must otherwise be prohibited for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens, residents and visitors to the Township and for the proper management and good government of the Township.
The Supervisors of Derry Township hereby declare the storing and/or accumulating of rubbish and/or the parking, placing or leaving of abandoned motor vehicles or junk motor vehicles on any public or private tract of land and/or the failure to cut grass in excess of the height hereinafter indicated and/or to eliminate harmful vegetation and/or permitting by action or inaction and thereby allowing the infestation of real estate and the structures thereon by insects and/or rodents and/or the obstructing of a public road or committing of any nuisance thereon by felling trees, making fences, turning the road, diverting water onto or in any other way and who does not, on notice given by or on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, immediately remove or correct the nuisance, as aforesaid, and/or the obstruction of a public road and repair the damages, if any, done to the road, as applicable, is a public nuisance.
Unless otherwise expressly stated or unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the following terms and conditions when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings next ascribed to them:
ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE
A motor vehicle shall be presumed to be abandoned under any of the following circumstances:
A. 
The vehicle is physically inoperable and is left unattended on a highway, street, alley or other public property for more than 48 hours.
B. 
The vehicle has remained illegally on a highway, street, alley or other public property for a period of more than 48 hours.
C. 
The vehicle is left unattended on or along a highway, street, alley or other public property for more than 48 hours and does not bear all of the following:
(1) 
A valid registration plate.
(2) 
A current certificate of inspection.
(3) 
An ascertainable vehicle identification number.
D. 
The vehicle has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for more than 24 hours.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The Derry Township Supervisors.
BUILDING
A structure, either temporary or permanent, used or occupied as a roofed shelter without walls or a roofed enclosure with walls for persons, animals or property. The word "building" shall be construed as if followed by the words "or any part thereof."
INFESTATION
The act of infesting; something that infests. "Infest" is defined as to be present persistently or to be present in large numbers or to overrun.
JUNK MOTOR VEHICLE
A vehicle shown to be junk under any one or more of the following circumstances:
A. 
A vehicle for which a certificate of junk, a certificate of salvage or other like certificate has been issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or for which a certificate of junk, a certificate of salvage or other like certificate has been issued by an appropriate official designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or by any other applicable state.
B. 
A vehicle where the engine or parts of which have been removed for more than 15 days.
C. 
A vehicle where one or more of the tires have been deflated or the wheels removed for more than 15 days.
D. 
A vehicle where one or more of the windows thereof shall be cracked, smashed, missing or otherwise broken for more than 15 days.
E. 
A vehicle bearing no official inspection sticker or a sticker not currently valid, or not bearing a current registration plate or an ascertainable vehicle identification number.
F. 
A vehicle not capable of being moved under its own power.
G. 
A vehicle otherwise so derelict, discarded, rusted, disabled, scrapped, or substantially worthless as a motor vehicle to be deemed "junk" in the common definition and accepted meaning of the word "junk."
MOTOR VEHICLE
A vehicle which is self-propelled except one which is propelled solely by human or animal power or by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated on rails.
OCCUPANT
That person leasing or otherwise occupying real estate.
OWNER
That person who is the actual legal title holder or the custodian of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles or that person owning or in charge of any real estate, including the personal representative of an estate, the trustee of trust, an attorney-in-fact, an agent, or a guardian of the person in whom legal title is vested.
PERMIT
To suffer, allow, consent, let; to give, leave or license; to acquiesce by failure to prevent, or to expressly accept or agree to the doing of any act.
PERSON
A natural person, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited-liability partnership, limited-liability corporation, association, corporation or other legal entity.
PEST ELIMINATION
The control or elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible items or materials that serve as their food or water, by approved and legal pest elimination methods.
RUBBISH
Useless waste or rejected matter, including, but not limited to, parts of vehicles, appliances or parts thereof, discarded or deteriorated childrens' toys, rags, rubber, plastic, wire or the like; combustible trash, including paper, cardboard, cartons, boxes, barrels, wood, excelsior, wood furniture, bedding; noncombustible trash, including glass, metals, scrap metals, tin cans, metal furniture, crockery; junk material such as, but not limited to, unused or abandoned machinery, equipment, rusted, deteriorated machinery or equipment or parts thereof; and all forms of waste and refuse of any type of material; provided that "rubbish" shall not include earth from building operations, nor shall it include leaves, tree or bush trimmings, or brush, nor shall it include cornstalks, stubble or other vegetable material generated in the course of harvesting agricultural crops.
STRUCTURE
A man-made object having an ascertainable, stationary location on or in land or water, whether or not affixed to the land or something located on the land. The term "structure" shall include buildings, fences, walls, towers, swimming pools, porches, garages or the like, or any part thereof.
TOWNSHIP
Township of Derry, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, sometimes referred to as Derry Township, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.
Nuisances, including, but not limited to, the following, are hereby declared to be unlawful:
A. 
Unlawful to store or accumulate rubbish. It shall be unlawful to accumulate "rubbish" upon private or public property, specifically including, but not limited to: useless waste or rejected matter, including, but not limited to, parts of vehicles, appliances or parts thereof, discarded or deteriorated childrens' toys, rags, rubber, plastic, wire or the like; combustible trash, including paper, cardboard, cartons, boxes, barrels, wood, excelsior, wood furniture, bedding; noncombustible trash, including glass, metals, scrap metals, tin cans, metal furniture, crockery; junk material such as, but not limited to, unused or abandoned machinery, equipment, rusted, deteriorated machinery or equipment or parts thereof; and all forms of waste and refuse of any type of material; provided that "rubbish" shall not include earth and wastes from building operations, nor shall it include leaves, tree or bush trimmings, or brush, nor shall it include cornstalks, stubble or other vegetable material generated in the course of harvesting agricultural crops.
B. 
Unlawful to park, place or leave an abandoned or junk motor vehicle on any private or public tract of land. It shall be unlawful and it shall be a violation of this chapter for any person or owner or occupant (including a tenant or lessee):
(1) 
To park, place or leave an abandoned or junk motor vehicle on any public highway, street, alley or other public property within the Township for a period longer than 72 consecutive hours; or
(2) 
To park, place or leave an abandoned motor vehicle or junk motor vehicle on any private tract of land within the Township for a period longer than 30 consecutive days unless such abandoned motor vehicle or junk motor vehicle is stored in an enclosed building and provided that the same is permitted pursuant to the Chapter 215, Zoning, as amended or supplemented from time to time, and any other applicable ordinances of the Township.
C. 
Unlawful to fail to cut grass or eliminate harmful vegetation.
(1) 
Every person who owns or occupies, or who has charge, care, or control of, any real estate in the Township shall:
(a) 
Keep the grass on the real estate so cut that the grass at no time exceeds six inches in height; and
(b) 
Keep the grounds or premises of the real estate at all times free of harmful vegetation; and
(c) 
Keep hedges, bushes or vines inside the property line of the real estate and not permit them to extend onto the sidewalk or the public road.
(2) 
For purposes of this provision, the following words and terms shall have the meanings or interpretations next ascribed to them:
GRASS
Shall not be deemed to mean or to include that kind of herbage which is grown for a proper or lawful agricultural use of the real estate. For example, the word "grass" does not mean herbage grown for feed or browse for grazing livestock or herbage grown for hay or silage on real estate where agricultural use is lawful.
HARMFUL VEGETATION
Any vegetation which emits fumes, odors, pollen, dust or seeds which, if carried or allowed to escape or spread beyond the boundaries or confines of the real estate, could be physically discomforting, harmful or dangerous to animals, crops, lands, soils, property or inhabitants of adjacent real estate or to persons or property in a public place. For example, the term "harmful vegetation" could mean or include, but is not limited to, ragweed, goldenrod, Canadian thistle, multiflora rose and the like.
D. 
Unlawful by action or inaction to permit or allow the infestation of real estate and structures thereon by insects and/or rodents. Every person who owns or occupies, or who has charge, care, or control of any real estate and any structures thereon in the Township shall not permit either by action or by inaction and otherwise shall not allow the infestation of the real estate and the structures thereon, or any part thereof, by insects and/or rodents. All such persons shall have a duty of pest elimination to control and eliminate any infestation by insects or rodents of the real estate and the structures thereon, or any part thereof.
E. 
Unlawful to obstruct or commit any nuisance on any public road.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct any public road or commit any nuisance thereon by felling trees, making fences, turning the road, diverting water onto or in any other way and who does not, on notice given by the Board of Supervisors, immediately remove the obstruction or nuisance and repair the damages, if any, done to the road.
(2) 
Nothing herein shall debar a prosecution of any nuisance as in the case of misdemeanor at common law.
(3) 
It shall specifically be a violation of this provision to permit trees on or along real estate to have untrimmed branches within the public right-of-way, including sidewalks, to endanger pedestrians as well as motorists and/or to extend lower than seven feet above the surface of the ground, or to obstruct the view of motorists or to obstruct street or traffic lights.
It is the intent of this chapter that for a violation hereof to be a public nuisance, there must be a nuisance in fact.
A. 
Notice.
(1) 
Whenever a condition constituting a nuisance is maintained, the Board of Supervisors shall cause written notice, by one authorized so to do, to be served upon the owner and the occupant of the property, by one of the following manners:
(a) 
By making personal service or delivery of the notice to the owner and, if applicable, the occupant of the premises; or
(b) 
By handing a copy:
[1] 
At the residence of the owner to an adult member of the family with whom he resides; but if no adult member of the family is found, then to an adult person in charge of such residence, or to an adult person in charge of the property where the condition is located; or
[2] 
At the residence of owner to the clerk or manager of the hotel, inn, apartment house, boarding house or other place of lodging at which he resides; or
[3] 
At any office or usual place of business of the owner or his agent or to the person for the time being in charge thereof; or
(c) 
By mailing a copy of the notice to the last known address of the owner, and, if applicable, the occupant, by certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery and concomitantly mailing a copy of said notice by United States first-class mail, as evidenced by a postal certificate of mailing.
(2) 
Subsection A(1)(a) through (c) above are alternative methods of service and are not intended to be preferential in the order of their numbering.
(3) 
If the certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery and the United States first-class mail are both returned by the postal authorities, and if service cannot reasonably and expeditiously be made in any other manner under Subsection A(1)(a) through (c), service shall be made by posting a copy of the notice and order in a conspicuous place visible to the public and to any owner or occupant of the property, on the property which is the subject of or is the property affected by the notice and order.
B. 
Order to correct. Such notice shall contain an order to correct which shall include:
(1) 
A description sufficient to identify the condition and the location of the condition; and
(2) 
An order to such owner or occupant to take action to correct the condition within a specified time no less than within 10 days after the date of the notice and, thereafter, to comply fully with its terms of the notice with reasonable dispatch as is deemed necessary by the Township to correct the condition under the circumstances; and
(3) 
A warning substantially to the effect that if the condition is not corrected within the time fixed in the order, the failure to correct the condition could result in the imposition of a fine and court costs, and, in addition, could result in the condition being abated by the Township as a public nuisance at the cost and expense of the owner of the property; and
(4) 
Both the owner and the occupant of a premises/property shall be responsible for carrying out or complying with the order.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
The Township, by means of a complaint in equity, may compel the owner and, if applicable, the occupant of the premises to comply with the terms of any notice of violation, or otherwise may seek any such other relief as any court of competent jurisdiction is empowered to afford.
[Amended 10-21-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-9]
A. 
In addition to any other penalties and remedies set forth in this chapter, any owner who shall create, continue, maintain or store or accumulate rubbish, and/or park, place or leave an abandoned or junk motor vehicle on any private or public tract of land, and/or fail to cut grass or eliminate harmful vegetation at any place within the Township, as applicable, and/or permit by action or inaction or allow the infestation of real estate and structures thereon by insects and/or rodents and/or the obstruct a public road or commit any nuisance thereon by felling trees, making fences, turning the road, diverting water onto or in any other way, and/or permit such conditions to exist and continue unabated shall, within 10 days, or such greater reasonable time as determined by Township Supervisors, after notice and order, as above, from the Township Supervisors, to do so, remove and legally dispose of said rubbish, and/or remove and dispose of said abandoned or junked motor vehicle(s) and/or cut said grass and/or eliminate harmful vegetation and/or eliminate the infestation of insects and/or rodents of real estate and structures thereon and/or cease the obstructing of a public road or committing of any nuisance thereon by felling trees, making fences, turning the road, diverting water onto or in any other way, as required by the provisions of this chapter, as applicable. If such owner shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of the notice and order, aforesaid, within the time limit set forth therein, the Township Supervisors shall have authority, in person or by their agents and/or employees, to abate the nuisance and to remove said rubbish and/or remove said abandoned and/or junked motor vehicle(s) and/or cut said grass and/or eliminate harmful vegetation and/or eliminate the infestation of insects and/or rodents of real estate and structures thereon and/or eliminate or remove the obstruction of a public road or the committing of any nuisance thereon caused by the felling of trees, the making of fences, the turning of the road or the diverting water onto the road or in any other way, and, in so doing, shall have authority to enter upon the property of such person in default and, thereupon, the Township Supervisors shall collect the cost and expense of such elimination, removal, and abatement from any owner who created, continued, caused, maintained or permitted such violation to exist, such owner having failed, neglected or refused to comply with the notice and order when so requested, by the filing of a municipal claim in the manner provided by law for the collection of municipal claims or by an action in assumpsit (a civil action).
B. 
In relation to the disposal of abandoned motor vehicles, the Township of Derry shall follow the procedure set forth in the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, Act No. 81, Section 1, as amended, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq., as amended, and the Township Secretary is hereby designated to be the person to process all vehicles presumed to be abandoned so as to permit a licensed salvor to remove, possess and further process the abandoned vehicle, all in accordance with the amendment to the Vehicle Code, as set forth in the Act of December 9, 2002, P.L. 1278, Act No. 152, Section 11, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7303.1, as it may be amended from time to time, and otherwise per the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.
The imposition of the remedies or penalties herein prescribed are not exclusive, but, on the contrary, they are cumulative and the exercise of one remedy or penalty shall not preclude the Township from instituting an appropriate action, in law or equity, or taking appropriate action under this chapter or otherwise to restrain, correct or abate the violation and/or stop any illegal act or conduct.
The provisions of this chapter, so far as they are the same as those ordinances in force immediately prior to the enactment of this chapter, are intended as an amendment and a continuation of such ordinances and not as new enactments. The provisions of this chapter shall not affect any such suit or prosecution pending or to be instituted to enforce any right or penalty or to punish any offense under the authority of any ordinance amended or repealed by the ordinance adopting this chapter.