[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Matamoras 12-4-1984 as Ord. No. 200, approved 12-4-1984. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Building Ordinance of the Borough of Matamoras" and is promulgated pursuant to the authority contained in § 1201(5) of the Borough Code, Act of Feb. 1, 1966 (1965 P.L. 1656, No. 581) as amended.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 46202(5).
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Borough of Matamoras. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as a point of congregation by vagrants and transients. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. Debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground and not removed constitute a dangerous, unhealthy and unsightly condition. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Borough of Matamoras by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building or structure, including fences or portions thereof, used for residential, business, industrial, recreational or other purpose.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Zoning Officer of the Borough of Matamoras or such other person appointed by the Borough Council to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- PORTION OF BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any debris, rubble or parts of buildings which remain on the ground or on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or structure or portion thereof which:
- A. Because of its structural condition, is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public; or
- B. Is open at the doorways or windows or walls making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under eighteen (18) years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers; or
- C. Is or may become a place of rodent infestation; or
- D. Consists of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty; or
- E. Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the Borough of Matamoras to maintain such building or structure or portion of any building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe, as defined in § 49-3 of this Code.
When, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, any building or structure located in the Borough of Matamoras shall be deemed to be dangerous or unsafe to the public, as defined in § 49-3, the Building Inspector shall make a formal inspection thereof and report, in writing, to the Borough Council his findings and recommendations in regard to the building's or structure's removal or repair or such other action as he deems appropriate.
The Borough Council shall thereupon consider said report, and if it finds that such building or structure is dangerous and unsafe to the public, it shall, by resolution, order such action as it deems appropriate, including but not limited to its repair if the same can be safely repaired and, if not, its removal and demolition, and shall further order that a hearing be held before the Borough Council at a time and place therein specified and on at least five (5) days' notice to the owner of the building or structure or persons having an interest therein to determine whether said order shall be affirmed or modified or vacated and, in the event of modification or affirmation, to assess all costs and expenses incurred by the borough pursuant to said order against the land on which said building or structure is located. Said order shall also provide that the action required under said order shall commence within thirty (30) days after service of notice and shall be completed within sixty (60) days thereafter.
The notice shall contain the following statements:
The name of the owner or person in possession as appears from the tax and deed records.
A brief description of the premises and its location.
A description of the building or structure which is unsafe or dangerous and a statement of the particulars in which it is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or to be removed.
That the securing or removal of said building or structure shall commence within thirty (30) days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within sixty (60) days thereafter.
The time and place of the hearing to be held before the Borough Council, at which hearing the owner or occupant shall have the right to contest the order and findings of the Borough Council.
That in the event that such owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall fail to contest such order and fail to comply with the same, the Borough Council will order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the town and that the town will assess all costs and expenses incurred in such removal against the land on which such building or structure is located.
A copy of said notice shall be personally served upon the owner or some one (1) of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or other person having a vested interest in the premises as shown on the county tax records or in the records in the Pike County Recorder of Deeds' office.
If no such person can be reasonably found for personal service, then a copy of said notice shall be mailed to such person by registered mail addressed to his last known address as shown on said records and by personally serving a copy of said notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises or by securely affixing a copy of said notice upon said building or structure.
The Borough Council shall conduct the public hearing at the time and place specified in the notice specified in § 49-7. It may adjourn the hearing from time to time until all interested parties are heard and until the hearing is completed. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Borough Council shall determine, by resolution, to revoke the order to repair or remove, modify said order or to continue and affirm said order and direct the owner or other person to complete the work within the time specified in the order or such other time as shall be determined by the Borough Council. It shall not be required that a stenographic record of said hearing be supplied, but the Borough Secretary shall keep minutes of the hearing.
In the event of the refusal, failure or neglect of the owner or person so notified to comply with said order of the Borough Council within the time specified in said order and after the public hearing, the Borough Council shall provide that such building or structure be made safe and secure or removed and demolished by borough employees or by independent contractors. Except in emergency cases as herein provided, any contract for repair or demolishing and removal of a building or structure in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000.) shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All expenses incurred by the borough in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, plus a penalty of ten percent (10%) thereof, shall be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the manner as provided by law for the collection of municipal claims or by an action of assumpsit, and the borough may seek relief by a bill in equity.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless an unsafe building or structure is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Borough Council may, by resolution, authorize the Building Inspector to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building or structure. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 49-11 hereof.
[Amended 9-6-1988 by Ord. No. 217]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.), plus costs of such proceedings, or, upon default of payment of such fines and costs of such proceedings, by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than thirty (30) days. The continuation of such violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense, for which separate punishment as above provided may be meted.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon adoption.