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The Progress Home >> Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - Boro planners continue work on ordinance

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Boro planners continue work on ordinance
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
Clearfield Borough Planning Commission continued work on a new nuisance ordinance at its meeting yesterday.
The main goal of the nuisance ordinance is to require property owners to properly maintain their property and prevent blight. Yesterday, the planning commission decided to add a clause requiring residents to keep brush, leaves, grass clippings, etc. from going onto neighboring properties or streets. Last month, planning commission member James Kling suggested the clause be added to the nuisance ordinance.
Code Enforcement Officer Larry Mack said there are other municipalities in the state with similar ordinances and said in speaking with them they said it could be difficult to prove and requires a diligent formal investigation with pictures, etc.
He said it is used when problems with brush and leaves become excessive.
The planning commission voted 4-1 to add the clause. Chairman John Naddeo, Kling, Andy Spencer and Dave Gallaher Jr. voted in favor, and James Semelsberger voted no. Rick Hummel and Charles Swenson were absent.
The planning commission also discussed RV parking restrictions. The proposed nuisance ordinance includes language restricting people from living in an RV to 30 days for every six months unless the residents first get permission from the borough to do so. It also includes language allowing people to live in an RV if they have been displaced by a disaster and need to reside in there until repairs or construction are completed.
Kling said he knows of some residents who have RVs who own property in the borough and spend the winters in Florida and summers in Clearfield living in their RV and asked how the new ordinance would affect them. Mack said these residents could continue to do so but have to get prior permission from the borough first.
He said the purpose of this is to prevent blight and the proposed ordinance would allow the borough to inspect the RVs and the property before permission is given.
The proposed nuisance ordinance also has language placing restrictions on backyard recreational fires. These include that the fire must be contained in a fire pit; flames are not to exceed 18 inches above the rim of the pit; shall not emit any excessive smoke or odors; the fire shall be at least 25 feet from any structure, dwelling, street or utility; only dry, clean wood or wood products or other clean burning fuels shall be used; and a class 4a fire extinguisher or working garden hose shall be close by.
The planning commission discussed whether residents should first get a permit prior to having recreational fires to allow the borough to inspect the area first, but decided against this. It instead made it complaint-based, where residents are expected to follow the rules and the borough would investigate once a complaint is made to make sure the rules are being followed.
The planning commission voted to send the nuisance ordinance to borough council. Mack said council would next decide if the proposed ordinance is sent to the solicitor for his review and comments and to prepare the ordinance for passage. Once that is completed, council would have to vote to advertise the ordinance prior to voting on final passage.
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