Recently Approved Legislation
- ACT 8 of 2013 - This ACT created a standard for commercial manufactured and industrialized structures similar to those already in place for similar residential structures.
- Act 36 of 2013 - Previously the PA MPC required that municipalities whom wished to make a change to their zoning map notify those that owner property within said zoning district be notified via mail as well as the required public posting. This act not only allows residents to be notified via e-mail, but takes it one step further and requires those who would like personal notification to request it in writing. Reading between the lines it would seem that this legislation was not intended to ease the notification procedures for local municipalities; rather, its true intent seems to be decreasing the potential of resistance in areas ripe for fracking.
- ACT 54 of 2013 - This act, aptly know as the permit extension act, extends the already previously extended blanket government approvals until July of 2016. While the base intent of this act, allowing larger projects to weather this prolonged financial storm, may be good, its lazy poor wording allows smaller projects to drag on. These weekend warrior projects often become eyesores that draw the ire of frustrated neighbors whom in turn look to their local government for answers, only to find more frustration.
- ACT 68 of 2013 - This act expands and clearly defines storm water management requirements and enforcement procedures for municipalities. This won't be a big deal in developing communities, but existing urban and semi urban municipalities who already struggle with handling rainwater will have the heat turned up to begin addressing the issue retroactively.
- ACT 104 of 2013 - The purpose of this law is to ease the burden of the State L&I Boiler Division by allowing properly qualified third party inspection of boilers and pressure fired vessels under their jurisdiction. While this doesn't have a direct affect on most code officials it may at least speed the boiler repair/replacement process for apartment buildings where it becomes difficult to explain to angry residents that we have no jurisdiction.
- ACT 110 of 2013 - This act simply allows municipalities to post their Township, City, etc. code online, rather than making a hard copy publicly available as as previously required.
- ACT 121 of 2013 - An act that requires the disclosure agreement to contain information on whether or not CO detectors are present in residential properties being sold. In addition, landlords of multi-family dwellings are required to ensure that their rental units have a working CO detector every time they get a new tenant. Once they provide the working CO detector to the tenant, it becomes the responsibility of said tenant to maintain it in a working manner. This does not super cede any UCC requirements. While the law isn't quite clear on enforcement responsibilities, violations are classified as a summary offense; therefore, call the cops???
- ACT 11 of 2014 - Allows municipalities to file ordinances at the county level electronically, if the county is willing.
- ACT 31 of 2015 - This legislation clarified that the permit extension act applied just about every government approval imaginable, and the clock on such approvals was not extended to July of 2016; rather, it was suspended until then, and any original time remaining when it was suspended begins again in July of 2016.
- ACT 34 of 2015 - This ACT shows a lot of faith in municipal enforcement officials and the justice systems to be reasonable. It essentially amends the PA criminal code to be more applicable to property maintenance, building, fire, and other similar municipal codes. Previously repeated violations of such ordinances were summary offenses until 4 & 5 offenses were accrued in a short period of time. Now, a minimum of two offenses could warrant a 2nd degree misdemeanor charge, and three offenses moves it to a 1st degree misdemeanor charge. In addition some of the language on the continuity of such offenses has been softened. What is the big deal with changin some technicalities? Well, 2nd degree misdemeanors can come with 2 years in prison and fines up to $5,000, and 1st degree misdemeanors can come with 5 year prison terms and $10,000 fines. Luckily, the original version of the bill that came with minimum prison sentences and fines was scrapped in favor of a more logical edition that does not contain mandatory minimal punishments.
- ACT 42 of 2015 - Allows for alternate members to be appointed to planning commissions.
- ACT 51 of 2015 - Makes it clear that First Class Townships can adopt a property maintenance code so long as any standards that exceed the requirements of the UCC go through the appropriate amendment process. It also allows First Class Townships to adopt model codes should the UCC be repealed at any point.
- ACT 69 of 2015 - Amends the second class township code by adding a section specifically allowing for the adoption of a property maintenance ordinance, and for the adoption of a national standard building code should the UCC be repealed at any point.
- ACT 48 of 2016 - Requirements for CO detectors in residential care facilities.
- Act 26 of 2017 - Allows alternative methods for ACT 537
- HB 118 now Act 40 of 2017 – This act contains fee increases for many State related items including your UCC and Third party certifications and renewals to $100 and $300 respectively. This extra money will likely go to training and certification No, that is my mistake the extra money will be logically directed toward opioid abuse issues.
HB 542 now Act 43 of 2017 – This opens up some of the restrictions on consumer and display fireworks at the State level. There are still regulation options via zoning at the municipal level, and for those in urban areas still worried about their citizens using fireworks responsibly the cool new stuff is still not permitted to be used within 150’ of an occupied structure which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room in population dense areas. I get that fireworks can be worrisome in some people’s hands, but at some point you have to have some faith in the personal responsibly of your fellow man’s personal responsibility lest you become New Jersey and deem your population to sketchy to pump their own fuel.
HB 176 now Act 35 of 2017 – An exemption for small temporary sales tents and road stands for seasonal agricultural stands. Not a big deal. Again something that should have always been addressed with zoning; rather, than the UCC.
HB 409 now Act 36 pf 2017 – The long awaited overhaul of the code adoption process in our complicated commonwealth.
The RAC has been expanded a bit. The leaders of the parties in the House and Senate each get to appoint a member, and the Governor gets to hand out appointments like he is Oprah.
RAC members must actually attend meetings and maintain their original qualifications or they will be replaced. Although attendance should be easier now that members are permitted to use technology.
It monetizes the process a bit by allowing compensation of “experts” who participate in the process for technical support.
Creates another set of branches on the RAC tree by allowing 12 member non-compensated technical advisory committees for each code.
The 2015 I-Codes will be re-reviewed using the same information from the original review beginning on 11/23/17. On 12/23/17 a 30 day public comment window will be open, and there will be one public meeting in Harrisburg within 30 days of the end of the public comment window. The final adoption of 2015 sections will occur sometime prior to 9/30/18 and will be in full effect by 10/01/18.
The 2018 codes will begin being reviewed 6/25/19 with a 120 day public comment window beginning 7/25/19, and there will be three public meetings at some point distributed geographically in thirds of the State. A report of which code sections make the cut will be due by 6/25/21 and subsequently go into effect on 5/25/22. (Except of course for any accessibility related provisions which will be in effect 12/31 of the code edition year.) Seems super-efficient, but don’t worry about it getting too confusing because we can totally pay the ICC to develop a PA specific code now.
Projects designed under previous editions must apply for permits within six months of a regulation change in order to maintain their validity.
Philadelphia is special.
As of 10/25/17 The State juice on UCC permits is now $4.50 per permit essentially to pay for travel expenses and “experts.”
Beginning 5/25/17 municipalities will legally permitted to use the same mechanisms as the State concerning uncertified buildings.