Kittanning Borough is tightening up its stance toward the maintenance of properties by its owners.
Solicitor Ty Heller said the Borough has received ongoing complaints about various properties in disrepair. Codes Officer Rick McMillen said the current ordinances are not stringent enough to force property owners to act.
Heller said there would be ample notice of a violation before action would be taken.
“It sets for the need for an initial notice of the initial violation. Then it provides a time period in which the initial notice of violation is to be corrected. If it (isn’t corrected), it provides for much more stringent penalties. The idea being: we are going to give you a chance to do this – we will give you lots of notice. In fact, we are giving you notice twice. But if you don’t do that, we are going to hit you with something that actually hurts.”
The ordinance calls for a timeframe of no less than 21 calendar days between the first notice and the second notice.
If the property owner does not remedy the situation after the first notice, a fine of $50 is assessed.
According to section 6 of the proposed ordinance, after the second notice of violation, property owners would be subject to a fine of $500 plus the costs of prosecution.
Heller said the emphasis on building maintenance came as a result of the recent revitalization of Market Street.
“Millions of dollars have been spent downtown. Let’s build from that momentum and fix the properties that need to be fixed.”
Heller said the new ordinance is not specifically for the Business District, but is borough-wide.
To assist Business District property owners with performing specific maintenance, such as painting their building, installing new awnings, and other enhancements, the Borough has applied for a grant known as the “Façade Program” that could reimburse the property owner up to $5,000 for approved projects in which they spend $10,000 or more. Details of applying for funds will be available if the grant is approved. Approval is expected by late Spring.