Mount Carmel Township adopts blight ordinance
ATLAS - Mount Carmel Township Supervisors took steps to fight blight and code violations by making those responsible for causing such conditions accountable with the passage of one ordinance and plans to advertise a second.
At their meeting Wednesday evening, the supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the "Mount Carmel Township Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Ordinance," which authorizes supervisors to deny permits and approvals for serious code violators until their violations are corrected.
The ordinance, recommended by the Northumberland County Blight Task Force, is adopted from a state law by the same name that went into effect in April 2011.
If a code violation is left unaddressed by a property owner for six consecutive months, the law allows a municipality to take action, including having an out-of-state offender extradited for prosecution. Also, punishment can include placing a lien against other properties owned by the alleged offender, or against a mortgage lender, limited partner and others, to recoup costs.
The motion was made by vice chairman Reynold Scicchitano and seconded by secretary-treasurer Joe ZanellaChairman Charles Gasperetti also voted yes.
In addition, the board voted 3-0 to advertise another ordinance which regulates the occupancy of dwelling units by the prior issuance of a occupancy permit, establishes fees for inspection and penalities for violations.
The ordinance, which amends one that was enacted in 1994, establishes a $25 fee for a housing inspection by the code enforcement officer prior to receiving the occupancy permit, adding a $25 fee if deficiencies in the inspection are not corrected within five days, and setting the fines for violations from $100 to $300 per day, along with a 30-day imprisonment if there is a default on the fines.
Other items approved at the meeting inlcluded the appointment of Brian Carnuccio as liaison for the police department and entering into collective bargaining negotiation with the police officers on a new contract. The current pact expires Dec. 31, 2013.
Rich Mychak, of Shady Acres, made supervisors aware that cracks are appearing in a street paving job done approximately three years ago, and asked what steps the supervisors will take to correct the measures.
"When the job was done in the past, the contractor did not follow the original agreement for the contract, and the company got belligerent with me," Mychak said.
Mychak said it might be the best interest of the township to hire qualified inspectors when work is done for the township in order to make sure it is done properly.
Solicitor Vince Rovito said he would research the past contract if any remedy is available to take care of the problem.
A representative from Congressman Lou Barletta's office will be conducting a community outreach program at the township building from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, March 12. Also noted was that any organization outside of Mount Carmel Township that wishes to solicit donations from the residents must first contact the township supervisors by letter to ask for permission.