HOMER CITY: New, revised ordinances to take effect on Sunday
May 08, 2014 10:55 AM
by ELLEN MATIS

HOMER CITY — Homer City Borough Council approved seven new and updated ordinances at a meeting on Tuesday.

The ordinances go into effect on Sunday, five days from their approval by council and the borough’s mayor, Ken Cecconi.

According to Matt Black, borough council president, some of the ordinances are completely new to the borough, while others have been updated.

“We mainly needed to update them because a lot of them were outdated and we’ve had past issues,” Black said.

Some of the “issues” he cited were complaints about properties not being maintained, grass not being cut and junk in property owners’ yards.

In addition, he said, some of the ordinances were updated to bring the borough “up to speed” with other municipalities.

“They had to be done because a lot of other municipalities had similar ordinances,” Black said.

The ordinances ratified at Tuesday’s meeting were:

• An ordinance providing for the vacating, removal, repair or demolition of any structures dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the borough and setting forth the procedure and rules for determining dangerous structures.

According to this ordinance, “dangerous buildings” refers to those damaged by wind, fire or other causes that fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living, have become dangerous to the occupant or the people of the borough or those which are dilapidated, decayed and unsafe.

• An ordinance regarding the limitation of excessive noise within the borough. This is defined by the ordinance as unnecessary or excessive noise or any noise of such character, intensity or duration as to be detrimental to the health or life of any individual or in the disturbance of the public peace.

It also addresses the playing of any radio, phonograph or musical instrument at a volume that annoys or disturbs the quiet of others and yelling, shouting and other noises that do the same.

In addition, the ordinance addresses animals, birds or fowl in one’s possession that makes frequent or long, continued noise that disturbs others.

“There have been a lot of noise complaints in a variety of areas in town,” Black said.

• An ordinance regarding the maintenance and removal of trees overhanging streets and sidewalks that requires property owners to keep trees trimmed to the required clearance of 15 feet above the surface of a roadway or nine feet above the surface of a sidewalk. It also requires property owners to remove trees causing damage to sidewalks.

• An ordinance establishing fees for return check charges, establishing service charge fees for tax collector-written certifications as to the payment status of real estate taxes, streetlight taxes and appointing the tax collector as the municipal official authorized to provide tax certifications and establishing a fee for providing tax certification copies and duplicate tax bills.

• An ordinance prohibiting the harboring of an animal nuisance. This includes those animals that create excessive odors, noise or unsanitary conditions that are a menace to the health or safety of the public; frequently loud animals; an animal that scratches, digs or defecates upon any property other than the owners’; and those animals causing a nuisance on public property including schools and parks.

This ordinance is punishable by fines up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third.

• An ordinance requiring landlords to list all tenants over age 18 to the borough secretary. Those in violation of the ordinance face fines between $25 and $300.

According to Black, this ordinance was mainly created so tenants living in a building can be held accountable when bills, such as for water or sewage, are not paid.

• An ordinance relating to the maintenance of properties within the borough in regard to the cutting of grass, weeds or other vegetation; the removal of snow from sidewalks; and prohibiting the storage of junk.

According to the ordinance, all grass or weeds should be cut to a height of 4 inches or less.

Police Chief Louis Sacco said at Tuesday’s meeting that there are properties in the borough currently violating the ordinance that will be addressed.

“It’s that time of year,” he said. “Keep your grass cut.”

In addition, Sacco reminded residents not to blow grass onto the street when mowing.

Those in violation of the ordinance can be punished with fines between $25 and $300.

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