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.
  • 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!

    • It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the code official for all required inspections.

    Application for Electrical 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
    • Click here to view listings of those permits which have been issued by this department.

  • 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.

    • 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 2015 International Property Maintenance Code.

    Grass

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    • 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..

    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 https://eriecountypa.gov/departments/clerk-of-records/recorder-of-deeds-land-records/ 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.

  • Andy Zimmerman
    Manager of Code Enforcement

    (814) 870-1470

    Gail Normandeau
    Office/Licensing Cordinator

    (814) 870-1475

    Scott Heitzenrater
    Building Inspector

    (814) 870-1471

    Sam Santana
    Electrical Inspector

    (814) 870-1472

    Michael Lavery
    Demolition Coordinator

    (814) 870-1509

    Andrea Kensill
    Permit Technician

    (814) 870-1473

    Jennifer Puz
    Permit Technician

    (814) 870-1313

    Jake Binney
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1512

    Donna Carson
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1484

    Tony Lombardi
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1487

    Anthony Maggio
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1483

    Bud Palotas
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1496

    Steve Yurkewicz
    Code Enforcement Officer

    (814) 870-1510

    Jake Welsh
    Chief Zoning Officer

    (814) 870-1273

    Jenna Gorney
    Zoning Officer

    (814) 870-1265

    Darlene Blanks
    Rental License Compliance Clerk

    (814) 870-1478

    Kristy Williams
    Rental License Data Entry Clerk

    (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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