Property Maintenance in Ridgway Borough

Lack of maintenance of properties and structures, improper storage of rubbish and trash, high grass and weeds, storage of inoperable/non-registered vehicles, accumulation of snow and ice, and unlawful construction practices are costly problems that contribute to the deterioration of property values and general disorder in a community. These problems degrade the physical appearance of the Borough, which reduces business and tax revenue inhibiting economic development. The community standard and community pride of the residents and visitors of Ridgway are negatively impacted by the occurrences and existence of these conditions.

Recognizing these as community problems, the purpose of this Ordinance is to assure owners of properties in the Borough maintain their properties in accordance to the established community standards and to provide for a mechanism for the issuance of tickets. A violation ticket rather than a citation is beneficial to a person who believes that he or she may have been in violation to pay the ticket thereby avoiding the issuance of a citation and a costly and protracted legal hearing before a Magisterial District Court Judge and unnecessary appeals. The resolution in this manner is beneficial to the borough from a two-fold perspective in that it permits the Borough to maintain and enforce its laws and permits a person so accused to resolve the dispute in a manner that does not unduly burden the person by requiring the issuance of a citation and a court hearing. It also does not deprive the person the right to dispute the ticket and receive the full benefit of procedural and substantive due process of law.

Code Enforcement

The purpose of code enforcement is to improve the quality of life and preserve property values within the Borough of Ridgway. Code enforcement administers the Borough Ordinances and the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) to protect and improve the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors.

ORDINANCE No. 676: An Ordinance Adopting the Community Standard and Violation Process in the Borough of Ridgway

Community Standard

A person, owner, or responsible person commits a community standard violation by any of the following:

1. Accumulation of Refuse. All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of garbage, ashes, rubbish, riffraff, litter, commercial refuse, industrial refuse and building debris. [12]

2. Animal Maintenance and Waste/Feces Clean-Up. People owning, harboring, or keeping an animal within the Borough of Ridgway shall not permit any waste matter/feces from the animal to collect and remain on their property to cause or create an unhealthy, unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive living condition.

3. High Weeds, Grass or Plant Growth. All exterior and premises property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of six (6) inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. [13]

4. Motor Vehicles. It shall be unlawful to store, park, or place any unregistered, uninspected, inoperative, unlicensed, or nuisance motor vehicle on any premises, except within acceptable limits as necessary for a recognized business. No vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Painting of vehicles is prohibited unless conducted inside an approved spray booth. Exception: A vehicle of any type is permitted to undergo major overhaul, including body work, provided that such work is performed inside a structure or similarly enclosed area designed and approved for such purposes. [14]

5. Outside Placement of Indoor Appliances/Furniture. It is prohibited to store or place any/all appliances or furniture including, but not limited to ranges, refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, washers, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, mattresses, recliners, sofas, interior chairs, or interior tables on the exterior of any property for the purpose of sale or any other reason, except for the temporary purpose to perform maintenance on said property, except within acceptable limits as necessary for a recognized business. If maintenance is being performed, or if the items are actively being sold in a yard sale, the items shall not be left unattended.

6. Snow and Ice Removal from Sidewalks. The owner, occupant or tenant of every property abutting upon or alongside of any of the streets of the Borough of Ridgway is hereby required to remove or cause to be removed from all of the sidewalks in front of or alongside of such property all snow or ice thereon within a period of eighteen (18) hours from the time said snow has fallen or formed; Provided, that snow or ice that has fallen or formed after 10 o’clock of any evening shall be removed before 7:00 o’clock of the next evening; Provided, further that the owner of a property shall be responsible for conforming to the requirements of this Section where such property is occupied by such owner or is unoccupied; the tenant or occupier thereof, where such property is occupied by such tenant or occupier only; and the owner thereof where the property is a multiple-business of multiple dwelling property, occupied by more than one (1) tenant or occupier.

7. Garbage and Refuse Collection. The owner and/or occupant of every premises shall supply approved containers for waste/trash, as well as be responsible for the removal of rubbish. Refuse containers shall not be placed on the public right-of-way earlier than 6:00 p.m. on the day preceding the scheduled pickup and shall be removed from the public right-of-way not later than 8:00 p.m. on the day of the pickup.

8. Storage of Tires. It shall be unlawful for any property owner and/or occupant to store or allow the storage of tires on any premises, except in a fully enclosed structure or within acceptable limits as necessary for a recognized business. Tires for sale at a business may be displayed outside. If the tires are actively being sold, the tires shall not be left unattended.

9. Building Permits to be Displayed and Followed. It shall be unlawful for an owner or contractor to perform work to a building or structure without a permit, where permits are required. Building Permits shall be displayed in a fashion that makes them visible from the roadway. Should a permittee be unable to comply with this requirement, they shall have to notify the Code Official and seek immediate authorization/approval. Once the Borough provides notice to a property owner that a permit is necessary, any additional work to the property shall allow the Borough to fine the property owner.

[12] (Section 308.1, 2015 International Property Maintenance Code. Copyright © 2014 International Code Council, Inc. All rights reserved.)
[13] (Section 302.4, 2015 International Property Maintenance Code. Copyright © 2014 International Code Council, Inc. All rights reserved.)
[14] (Section 302.8, 2015 International Property Maintenance Code. Copyright © 2014 International Code Council, Inc. All rights reserved.)