Code Enforcement


  • The policy of the Code Enforcement Department is to protect and promote the existence of sound buildings and wholesome neighborhoods.
  • Code Enforcement responds to concerns from citizens that affect the quality of life within the city such as zoning, overgrown lots or yards, the proper maintenance of structures, illegal signs and public nuisances.
  • Inspections are performed throughout the city to ensure that properties are in compliance with city code.
  • In November, 2012, the City, School District County taxing bodies adopted ordinances to provide for an investment incentive for new construction within the City of Erie. This is commonly referred to as LERTA.
    Click here to view the Lerta Zone Map.
  • Click here to view listings of those permits which have been issued by this department.
  • Responsibilities of Code Enforcement:

    • Weeds, High Grass, and/or Debris on a Property
    • Safety of Interior and Exterior Conditions of a Structure
    • Light, Ventilation, and Occupancy Limitations
    • Standard of Living Conditions
    • Abandoned Vehicles on Private Property

    If you have any concerns about your living conditions or complaints about the appearance of a neighbor’s property please contact the inspector of your area.

    (Insert Map of 5 Code Enforcement Officers)

    Violations Enforced By Other City Departments:

    Engineering

    • Storm Water Complaints
    • Snow & Ice Removal
    • Sidewalks
    • Issues in Public Right of Way

    City Arborist

    • Trees

    Animal Control

    • Any Issues or Complaints Involving Animals

    Police Department

    • Abandon Vehicles in Public Right of Way

  • Standards

    Frost Depth: 48 inches
    Ground Snow-Load: 40lbs
    Wind-speed: 90 mph
    Riser Height max: 8 ¼”
    Minimum Tread Depth: 9”

    (Link to UCC)
    (Link to ICC)

    The City of Erie currently uses the 2015 International Code Council Codes and 2014 National Electrical Codes adopted by the State of Pennsylvania.

  • Electrical Inspection

    • The City of Erie has adopted the International Electrical Code, and strives to provide safety and protection from potential hazards that may arise from the constant use of electricity.
    • In order to minimize the threat to public safety, inspections of all electrical work done in our community is necessary. By requiring inspections, the City of Erie ensures that qualified installers are doing the work in compliance with our codes and high standards.
    • All electrical work done in the City of Erie must be performed by an electrical contractor licensed by the City of Erie.
    • However, if you own and reside in a single family dwelling, you are permitted to perform electrical work provided that an electrical permit has been taken out and the work is inspected.

    Lightbulb

    For questions and further information, feel free to contact Sam Santana, Electrical Inspector, at 814-870-1472 ssantana@erie.pa.us

    Electrical Permits

    An electrical permit application may be filed in the Code Enforcement Office, Room 407 of City Hall.

    • After review of the plans and fee payment, a permit shall be issued.

    Permit must be displayed at job site!

    • An Electrical Real Estate Inspection for existing electric is available for $75. An Erie County Health Department Pool Inspection is available for $325.
    • It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the code official for all required inspections.

    Application for Electrical Permit (PDF)
    Application for Real Estate Permit (PDF)

    A permit is NOT required for the following minor jobs:

    • Replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles
    • Replacement of a receptacle, switch or lighting fixture rated at 20 amps or less and operating at less than 150 volts to ground with a like or similar item. This shall not include replacement of receptacles in locations where ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection is required.
    • Replacement of installed electrically-operated equipment such as doorbells, communication systems and any motor operated device
    • Replacement of dishwashers, kitchen range hoods or battery-powered smoke detectors

    • The Fire Inspection Department is responsible for fire-related construction plan review and inspection to ensure the proper installation of life safety requirements, extinguishing systems and fire alarms.
    • The Fire Inspection Department also conducts routine fire inspections of commercial, industrial and residential buildings to ensure public health and safety.
    • They inspect and obtain information on existing structures and address hazardous materials to provide for the safety of building occupants, firefighters and our community.
    • For Further information, contact the
      Chief Fire Inspector, at 814-870-1402

      Links

  • The following categories require a license to perform work in the City of Erie.
    Only Master License holders are able to obtain a permit.

    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
    • Mechanical

    Other licenses include:

    • Refrigeration
    • Water Tender
    • 2nd Class Stationary Engineer
    • Chief Stationary Steam

  • The City of Erie requires permits for:

    • Construction of New Structures
    • Construction of Additions to Existing Structures
    • Renovation and Repair of Existing Structures
    • Demolition of Entire or Portions of a Structure and Accessory Structures
    • Any Electrical, Plumbing, or Mechanical Work
    • Installation or Improvement to Fire Suppression Systems, Data Communications, or Alarms

    • The City of Erie residents take pride in their homes and neighborhoods. To keep Erie looking great, the City has adopted ordinances regulating property maintenance in both residential and commercial areas. The City is currently enforcing the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code.
    • The Property Maintenance Team responds to complaints regarding the upkeep of properties and regularly patrols the City to identify violations. When property maintenance violations are identified, enforcement action is taken. This may include warnings and Notices to Appear in Magisterial Court.
    Reporting a Code Violation
    If you think a property in your neighborhood is not being maintained in compliance with City Codes, contact the Code Enforcement Office at (814) 870-1475.

    Upon receiving the complaint, one of our Code Enforcement Officers will perform an inspection of the property. If violations are observed, the owner/resident will be notified of the violations and instructed to correct the violation(s).

    Grass

    Common Property Maintenance Violations

    Most Common Property Maintenance Violations
    If you think a property in your neighborhood is not being maintained in compliance with City Codes, contact the Code Enforcement Office at (814) 870-1313 or (814) 870-1473.

    Maintenance of Structures

    Paint & Protective Treatment – All exterior surfaces shall be maintained in good condition. Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by paint or other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.

    Addresses/Premise Identification – Buildings shall have approved address numbers placed in a position to be plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabic numerals or alphabet letters. Numbers shall be a minimum or 4 inches high with a minimum stroke width of 0.5 inch.

    Foundations – All foundation walls shall be maintained plumb and free from open cracks and breaks and shall be kept in such condition so as to prevent the entry of rodents and other pests.

    Exterior Openings – All exterior openings shall be fitted with window, door, or other appropriate covering and shall be maintained in good condition.

    Windows – Every window, other than a fixed window, shall be easily openable and capable of being held in position by window hardware. Operable windows located in whole or in part within 6 feet above ground level or a walking surface below that provide access to a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit that is rented, leased or let shall be equipped with a window sash locking device.

    Window Screens – During the period of May 1st through August 31st, every door, window and other outside opening required for ventilation of habitable rooms, food preparation areas, food service areas or any areas where products to be included or utilized in food for human consumption are processed, manufactured, packaged or stored, shall be supplied with approved tightly fitting screens of not less than 16 mesh per inch, and every swinging door shall have a self-closing device in good working condition.

    Handrails and guards – Every handrail and guard shall be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition.

    Roof, Gutters and Downspouts – The roof and flashing shall be sound, tight and not have defects that admit rain. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the structure. Roof drains, gutters and downspouts shall be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions. Roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a public nuisance.

    Accessory Structures – All accessory structures, including detached garages, fences and walls, shall be maintained structurally sound and in good repair.

    Fences – Fences shall be properly maintained in good condition free of damage, breaks or missing structural members. A fence may be placed up to the property line, and not exceed 6’6” on a residential property, or 8’6” on any commercial property.

    Sidewalks & Driveways – All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair and maintained free from hazardous conditions.

    Occupancy

    Overcrowding – Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum area requirements found in the Property Maintenance Code.

    Animals – No more than four (4) adult pets shall be allowed to reside on a premise.

    Lawn Maintenance

    Weeds – All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.

    Trees – Trees shall be trimmed to a minimum height of fourteen (14) feet above the street and nine (9) feet above the sidewalk.

    Bushes – Bushes, hedges, trees, etc. shall be trimmed in such a manner as to not obstruct a public sidewalk or intersection.

    Rubbish and Garbage

    Accumulation of Rubbish or Garbage – All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.

    Disposal of Rubbish – Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of all rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such rubbish in approved containers. The owner of every dwelling shall supply one of the following: an approved mechanical food waste grinder in each dwelling unit; an approved incinerator unit in the structure available to the occupants in each dwelling unit; or an approved leak proof, covered, outside garbage container.

    Vehicle Parking & Storage

    Motor Vehicles – Not more than one inoperative or unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Painting of vehicles is prohibited unless conducted inside an approved spray booth. No property owner shall permit a motor vehicle to be parked on their property other than on a driveway or parking lot.

    Recreational Vehicles – Not more than one (1) house trailer, travel trailer, recreational vehicle, camper trailer, utility trailer, boat trailer, or boat may be stored on any residential lot, provided that it shall be stored at least three (3) feet from the property line and behind the principal structure.

    Commercial Vehicles – Commercial vehicles may not be permanently parked in residential areas.

    • There is a growing concern in the community with the general decline in the physical condition of residential rental units.
    • The Residential Rental Registration program provides for a systemic inspection program, registration and licensing of residential rental units, and the charge of penalties for those who are not in compliance.

    Registration Forms

  • Policy on Residential Structure Conversion
    Prior to the issuance of a new zoning certificate, the following must be completed

    Reduction in the Number of Units (per unit to be removed)

    1. Removal of all kitchen appliances
    2. Removal of the kitchen sink. Water supply and waste lines must be capped by a licensed plumber
    3. All utility meters must equal the number of dwelling units being requested
    4. Smoke Alarms must be installed and maintained at all of the following locations:
      1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
      2. In each room used for sleeping purposes
      3. In each story of the dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics
    5. All floors must be fully integrated on the interior of the structure

    Conversion of a Rooming House to a single or multiple family dwelling

    1. Each unit proposed must have it’s own bathroom, kitchen and a minimum of 120 square foot living area
    2. Only passage locks will be allowed on bedroom doors
    3. Each dwelling unit must have separate utilities
    4. A house meter for common areas must be installed.
    5. With the exception of an entrance vestibule, no common entrances or areas shall be shared between dwelling units.
    6. Smoke Alarms must be installed and maintained at all of the following locations:
      1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
      2. In each room used for sleeping purposes
      3. In each story of the dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the hours of operation?
    The zoning office is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. We recommend that if someone is coming in to file an application that they come in no later than 3:00 p.m. The front counter and cashier for Code Enforcement closes at 4:00.

    Do building permits require zoning approval?
    All building permits require zoning approval, including those for interior renovations. However, only some will require a plot plan (change of use, new parking, additions, etc.). Contact the Zoning Officer to find out more.

    Can I come in to look at someone’s plans or a specific file?
    Yes. All of our files are public information. Once an application has been filed, it’s public record.

    How can I find out if there is an occupancy permit for a property?
    Contact Building Inspection at 870-1471.

    Can a single-family home be turned into a two-family home if the zoning is R-2?
    Not necessarily. The district allows a two-family dwelling but certain code requirements must be met, including side yard setbacks, lot area, and parking requirements. You should speak to one of the zoning specialists

    How do I change zoning?
    You will need to speak to the Zoning Officer. Make sure your intention is to change the zoning of a property rather than simply wanting to change the use of the property. For complete sequence of the procedure, see Rezoning Procedures.

    When is a zoning certificate required?
    Zoning certificates shall be obtained at the request of the property owner, at the time of a change of a nonconforming use to another nonconforming use, at the time of a creation of a nonconforming use, or when changing a nonconforming use to a conforming use.

    How can I resolve a dispute about a property line?
    There isn’t anything that can be done by the City. You should contact a private surveyor, and afterwards a District Justice or an Attorney.

    What are the restrictions on putting up a fence?
    Fence Details are shown at this link. Maximum height is 6’6” in a Residential District and 8’6” in a Non-Residential District. Any enclosure may be placed up to, but Not Exceed the property line. You may also refer to the Zoning Ordinance, Article 2 section 204.19.

    Do I need special approval to run my business out of my home?
    We refer to this as a home occupation. A home occupation is defined as ‘ A commercial or commercial activity administered or conducted as an accessory use which is clearly secondary to the use as a residential dwelling and which involves no customer, client or patient traffic, whether vehicular or pedestrian, pickup, deliver or removal functions to or from the premises, in excess of those normally associated with residential use.

    The commercial or commercial activity must satisfy the following requirements:

    (a) the commercial activity shall be compatible with the residential use of the property and surrounding residential uses
    (b) the commercial shall have no employees
    (c) there shall be no display or sale of retail goods and no stockpiling or inventory of a substantial nature
    (d) there shall be no outside appearance of a commercial use, including, but not limited to, parking, signs, or lights
    (e) The commercial activity may not use any equipment or process which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical or electronic interference,
    (f) The commercial activity shall be conducted only within the dwelling and may not occupy more than 25% of the habitable floor area
    (g) The business may not involve any illegal activity.

    Who do I contact about a subdivision of a property?
    You will need to speak to Jenna Bisel at (814) 870-1265.

    What are the requirements in combining two or more existing lots into one parcel?
    You, as the property owner, must prepare a “composite deed” which contains a revised metes and bounds description of the consolidated parcel. The deed must be recorded at the Erie County Recorder of Deeds office. For more information, you can visit the County website at www.eriecountygov.org or call the Recorder of Deeds office at (814) 451-6246

    Can I obtain a copy of the zoning code and/or maps?
    The Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Maps are available in print at the Department of Code Enforcement, (Erie City Hall, 626 State Street Room 407 in Downtown Erie) for $15 each.

    Please contact the Zoning Office at (814) 870-1265 with any questions concerning the zoning code.

    Who do I contact regarding group homes, person care boarding homes, and day care centers?
    You should contact Jenna Bisel, Zoning Officer, at (814) 870-1265.

    Who do I contact regarding floodplain information?
    Contact the Engineering Department at (814) 870-1371.

    How can I obtain a handicapped parking space on the street, have yellow lines painted, etc?
    Contact the Traffic Division of the Department of Engineering at (814) 870-1396.

  • Office of Code Enforcement Room 407
    Andy Zimmerman Manager of Code Enforcement Email: AZimmerman@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1470
    Scott Heitzenrater Building Inspector Email: SHeitzenrater@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1471
    Sam Santana Electrical Inspector Email: SSantana@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1472
    Jenna Bisel Zoning Officer Email: JBisel@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1265
    Jake Welsh Chief Zoning Officer Email: JWelsh@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1273
    Anthony Maggio Code Enforcement Officer Email: Amaggio@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1483
    Darlene Blanks Rental License Compliance Clerk Email: DBlanks@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1478
    Michelle Bozich Information Coordinator/Licensing Clerk Email: MBozich@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1475
    Michael Lavery Demolition Coordinator Email: MLavery@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1509
    Tony Lombardi Code Enforcement Officer Email: TLombardi@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1487
    Aaron Snippert Code Enforcement Officer Email: ASnippert@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1496
    Gail Normandeau Certified Permit Technician Email: GNormandeau@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1473
    Rochelle Scharrer Permit Technician Email: RScharrer@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1313
    Steve Yurkewicz Code Enforcement Officer Email: SYurkewicz@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1510
    Donna Carson Code Enforcement Officer Email: DCarson@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1484
    Jake Binney Code Enforcement Officer Email: JBinney@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1512
    Andrea Kensill Rental License Data Entry Clerk Email: AKensill@erie.pa.us
    Phone: (814) 870-1449

About PLI

The Building Division is responsible for the review, issuance and inspection of permits. We also issue contractor licenses and handle the processing and scheduling for appeals and modifications.

The Code Enforcement Division investigates complaints and performs inspections relating to property maintenance, quality of life, and the safety of occupants.

The Rental Division is responsible for the annual registration and bi-annual inspections of residential rental units per City Ordinance.

The Zoning Division is responsible for inspections and verification of compliance to the Zoning Ordinance. Zoning and Development are the first step to getting a building permit.

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