The Municipal Council of Norristown on Dec. 1 approved an ordinance creating a new program to handle certain Code violations in the municipality.
Ordinance 20-19 creates a new chapter in the Municipal Code: Chapter 240- Property Maintenance Quick Ticket Program. This program defines 15 Quality of Life (QOL) violations that are subject to an immediate citation without warning. Building and Codes Enforcement Manager Amrinder Singh said at the Dec. 1 council meeting that these are common property maintenance and building safety violations.
The violation ticket number, a description of the violation and the applicable fines are as followed:
QOL.001 Accumulation of rubbish or garbage $50
QOL.002 Animal maintenance and waste/feces cleanup $50
QOL.003 Disposal of rubbish or garbage/dumping $50
QOL.004 High weeds, grass or plant growth $50
QOL.005 Motor vehicles (unregistered/uninspected, inoperative, disrepair) $50
QOL.006 Outside placement of indoor appliances/furniture $50
QOL.007 Snow and ice removal from sidewalks $50
QOL.008 Storing containers for waste or trash $50
QOL.009 Storing or discarding of appliances $50
QOL.010 Storing of hazardous material $100
QOL.011 Storing of recyclables $50
QOL.012 Swimming pools (be sure they are clean and maintained) $100
QOL.013 Historic District violation $100
QOL.014 Failure to obtain permit (Building, mechanical, plumbing, etc.) $100
QOL.015 Failure to post permit placard in conspicuous location $100
None of these violations are new to the Municipal Code.
Before the adoption of Ordinance 20-19, accumulation of rubbish/garbage, high grass and weeds, and snow/ice removal from sidewalks were the only violations subject to quick tickets without a warning (violations found under Municipal Code Chapters 270, 202 and 315, respectively). Condensing these 15 violations under one chapter in the Municipal Code will make it easier for property owners and residents to be educated regarding their rights, responsibilities and duties for maintaining code compliant properties. Included in the ordinance is an appeals process where property owners can contest the alleged violation.
“These problems degrade the physical appearance of the Municipality of Norristown, which reduce business and tax revenue, inhibiting economic development,” reads a portion of Chapter 240 in the Municipal Code. “The quality of life and community pride of the citizens of Norristown are negatively impacted by the occurrences and existence of these activities.”
According to Codes Manager Singh, a majority of violations go to rental property owners, citing over 11,000 proactive violations in 2019, of which 8,100 were addressed to rental properties. In 2018, over 7,000 violations of 10,800 issued were addressed to rental properties. All other violations from those years were addressed to owner-occupied properties.
“The Municipality is not selectively enforcing proactive enforcement to only rental property owners, we are responding to residents’ concerns and the Municipal Council’s goal of proactively addressing quality of life concerns all over Norristown,” said Crandall Jones, Municipal Administrator.
The ordinance went into effect five days after passage.