A Harrisburg homeowner believes that they are being targeted by the codes office.

The very next day after I wrote publicly on facebook about how the codes offices fines people for sidewalk snow removal after the trucks plow the snow back on – the codes office writes me a $200 fine for less than 1/4 inch of snow. – Beau Brown 

Harrisburg, PA – Homeowners in the City of Harrisburg have more than their fair share of maintenance responsibilities. This is especially true in the Allison Hill section, where many of the basic infrastructure fundamentals have long been neglected by the city. Allison Hill makes up more than half of the City’s land and population, however it receives much less attention than the districts along the river side. Complicating matters is the fact that the Codes Department is fining homeowners $200 after 1/4″ of snowfall in January.

27946401_10156094693728158_345124775_o

28 driveways Sullivan Alley serves and the city never plows it. This is from yesterday 2/9/2018, 2 days after the snow.

It has now been 3 days since our last winter storm, yet today ice and snow remain on many thoroughfares, alleys and sidewalks on city property. The city is nowhere to be found when it’s time to clean up the mess, however they are quick to cite owners for snow removal. Similar complaints have been made on street cleaning days in Harrisburg City, regarding parking citations being given out on days when no actual street cleaning is performed.

For the livelihood of their families, Harrisburg homeowners and residents feel obligated to personally contribute to help make up for the lack of service from Harrisburg City. In years past, Harrisburg homeowner Beau Brown has paid out of pocket to have a Harrisburg City alley plowed for his neighbors when the city failed to fulfill its duty after large snow storms. For almost 20 years Brown has personally paid for a variety of other services that are the actually the City’s responsibility.

Although the city is not properly plowing and clearing ice from the city streets, they have no hesitation to impose fees on upstanding members of the community. Beau Brown believes he is being targeted by the Harrisburg Bureau of Codes to generate revenue for the City.

A similar scenario has drawn attention in York County. In that case, data from the National Weather Service shows the area received a trace amount of snowfall on 1/16/2018 and owners are being fined 100’s of dollars.

The situation in Harrisburg is far more egregious as the Bureau of Codes office appears to be specifically targeting the homeowner as payback for his critical facebook post, and it may be a politically motivated revenge for criticism of the city government and his published report on the codes department.

Brown believes the heavy fine of over $200 for less than a 1/4″ of snow was unwarranted and he contends that he fully shoveled all 270′ of sidewalk on his property, just as he has always done for his 18+ years of being a city homeowner. Brown has never had a codes violation. It was also noted that a neighbor who did not shovel their sidewalks after the same storm was not fined.

Brown pleaded not guilty to the citation and plans to fight in court. He also intends to bring attention the misuse of office that he believes to be occurring within the City of Harrisburg.

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Brown’s 6 year old son shoveling after large blizzard

“I have invested hundreds of thousands into this block, and have renovated two of the most prominent properties that were in complete disrepair. I chased away drug dealers and trash dumpers, and our neighbors all look out for each other. This is a great street. But for all that investment, this is the lack of service that we get in return,” Brown said.

According to the snow removal Code, much of the city is currently in violation, including many properties and streets that are owned by the City of Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority.

§ 3-357.3Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and points of egress.

[Amended 4-8-1997 by Ord. No. 3-1997]
The owners, tenants, occupiers and all others having charge, control or supervision of any vacant lots, lands, houses, stores, buildings, and all other premises fronting on any public street or highway in the City shall clean or remove, or cause to be cleaned or removed, from the sidewalk in front of or along the subject property and from a structure’s primary point of egress to the public sidewalk in a continuous path not less than two feet six inches in width all the snow, ice, hail, or sleet thereon fallen or formed within 24 hours after the same shall have ceased to fall or to be formed.
The ice to be removed as required herein is such as may be formed into ridges or mounds or is of such formation as to be an obstruction and renders the sidewalk dangerous to public travel. In addition to the penalties imposed by Chapter 3-399, Penalty, whoever violates this section shall be liable for all damages sustained by any person by reason of the neglect or failure of such owner, tenant, occupier or other person to comply with the provisions of this chapter.[1]
Editor’s Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1-303).

https://ecode360.com/13739472


Beau Brown, a respected Commercial Real Estate Developer, issued analysis and criticism of the codes department in this Op Ed from 2017


Harrisburg City did nothing in February when streets and walks were covered in ice. A woman who slipped on an uncleared path at Green & Hamilton landed on the ground covered in coffee in Midtown Harrisburg, PA 

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One Comment

  1. EdwardFowler 12 Feb 2018 at 6:35 am

    Thanks for this helpful article! Winter is coming, the beauty is only in seeing it not experiencing it and I want to make sure that we are prepared when it comes. You can make your winters more comfortable by using services of Onata. They are offering a huge number of services and Snow removal service is one of them. To know more about services visit https://onata.com/oip

    Like

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