Mayor Ed Pawlowski and members of Allentown City Council are looking to improve the quality of life of residents in city neighborhoods by approving a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance.
At a morning news conference in City Council Chambers Pawlowski and City Councilperson Candida Affa, accompanied by City Councilpersons Cynthia Mota and Daryl Hendricks, announced that the ordinance will be introduced Wednesday and is expected to be sent to council’s Public Safety Committee for review.
A committee has spent months putting together an ordinance designed to take action against serious violators to improve the quality of life for city residents.
The measure creates a progressive point system for recurring violations at properties used for business, commercial, or industrial purposes that incur penalties, sanctions and the closure of operations after successive violations to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Allentown.
“Our residents should not have to put up with things like unreasonable noise and disorderly conduct or worse coming from a single source,” said Pawlowski. “We want to make property owners vigilant in preventing public nuisances on or in their own property and want to hold them accountable. This ordinance creates a point system that could result in the closing of the building in order to abate the nuisance.”
“Our job is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Allentown,” said Councilperson Affa. “Our business owners need to be good neighbors. Those that aren’t will see that are prepared to get tough with persistent violators. We want business owners to prosper, but it can’t be at the expense of the quality of life of our residents.”
A public nuisance shall be deemed to exist whenever, through violation of any of the provisions of the ordinance resulting from separate documented incidents 12 or more points are accumulated within a period of six (6) months, or 18 or more points are accumulated within a period of twelve (12) months. Violations range from three to 12 points. Points shall be removed from a property twelve (12) months after a violation occurred.
Upon a Determination of Public Nuisance, the Director of the Bureau of Building Standards and Safety or his/ her designee shall be authorized to seek a court ordered injunction to have the property be closed immediately.
The length of time that the premises are closed and/or secured shall be for one year unless otherwise determined by court order. Upon expiration of the time period for closure, owner or tenant must reobtain all necessary certificates and licenses before reopening, which may include any and all necessary inspections.
At any time and at the City’s discretion, the City may enter into a written Nuisance Abatement Agreement with the property owner wherein the property owner agrees to take specific actions, as approved by the City, to abate, terminate or eliminate the public nuisance activity on the property in exchange for the City of Allentown reserving its rights and agreeing not to initiate any of its enforcement remedies.
The bill establishes a five member Nuisance Abatement Board of Appeals to hold hearings to review all appeals of assessments of points or determinations of public nuisance for properties.
If approved by City Council, the ordinance will take effect on May 22, 2017.