On June 5, 2015, Commonwealth Court held that Charleroi Borough could enforce an ordinance establishing a monthly fee to pay for the construction and installation of the Borough’s new storm water collection system through a summary proceeding.

An owner of property in the Borough, Cicci, was found guilty of violating Charleroi Borough Ordinance No. 976, requiring titled property owners to pay a monthly fee for the construction and installation of new stormwater collection systems in the Borough.

Cicci was issued four citations for failing to pay the assessments for two properties.  After a district justice convicted Cicci of four summary offenses, Cicci appealed to the trial court, arguing that the ordinance violated the Borough Code and the Unites States and Pennsylvania Constitutions.  The trial court refused to hear Cicci’s constitutional argument, and found him guilty.

On appeal, Commonwealth Court considered: (1) whether the Borough was authorized to enforce the ordinance through a summary proceeding and (2) if that enforcement violated the Borough Code or the United States or Pennsylvania Constitutions.

In affirming the trial court’s order, the Commonwealth Court held that the ordinance was a valid exercise of the Borough’s power to regulate for the public health, safety and welfare.  The court concluded that the ordinance did not violate the Borough Code, the United States Constitution, or the Pennsylvania Constitution.

This case demonstrates the ability of municipalities to enforce ordinances through summary proceedings, even where the activity is not one generally considered “criminal” in nature.

Click here to read: Commonwealth of PA v. R. Cicci, 2184 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Cmwlth. June 5, 2015)

Edited by:

MEP for PAZ Website Michael E. Peters, Esq.