The Department of Code Administration, led by Director Yvonne Green, regulates the maintenance, construction, and demolition of structures and properties within the City. We assist with the acquisition of required permits for projects such as roofing, erecting fences, new buildings, demolition, opening a business, etc. We also enforce the City's property maintenance code which aims to ensure properties are maintained with the interests of public health, safety, and blight remediation in mind.
Our Code Enforcement Officers regularly monitor the City to identify potential violations and additionally accept and respond to concerns from the public. We encourage residents to make us aware of any property that's causing an issue in their neighborhood so we can promptly address the problem. We take pride in our ability to form working relationships with members of our community and develop solutions together.
The Zoning Office is housed within the Department of Code Administration and operates to enforce the City's Zoning Ordinance. Established in 1968 and most recently amended in 1996, the Zoning Ordinance aims to regulate the use of land within Oil City to protect surrounding property values, encourage development that compliments future growth, and implement the objectives of the Oil City Comprehensive Plan.
Zoning Hearing Board:
The Zoning Hearing Board functions to hear any appeals to enforcement notices or determinations given by the Zoning Enforcement Officer as well as requests for a variance or special exception to the Zoning Ordinance. Current board members include Chairman Eric Reamer, Mike Fedorek, Lonnie Knight, Matt Caldwell, and William Hopkins. Please contact the Zoning Office to determine if you will need to schedule a hearing before the Board and for more information on the hearing process.
Why Contact the Zoning Office?
Obtain zoning approval for a new building, fence, pool, driveway, etc.
Obtain a sign permit
Request to be heard before the Zoning Hearing Board
Change the use of a structure or property
Open a new business
Move an existing business
Discuss a notice received from us about your property
What are the most common violations?
High Grass and Weeds
This section of the Property Maintenance Code establishes criteria for enforcing the removal of overgrown weeds and grass on neglected properties. Ensuring all grass and weeds are properly maintained throughout the growing season helps prevent a blighting condition, the harborage of pests and rodents, and reduces problems caused by pollen dust.
302.4 Weeds: "Premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of ten (10) inches. Noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens."
This section of the Property Maintenance Code establishes criteria for acceptable vehicle storage. Disabled vehicles or automotive repairs made in the public view can have a large blighting influence on the neighborhood and have the potential to become a public nuisance or safety hazard. For these reasons, all vehicles must be properly licensed and maintained when stored in the public view. The removal of improperly stored vehicles on private property can be addressed through the Code Department, while disabled or abandoned vehicles parked within the street should be addressed through the Police Department.
302.8 Motor Vehicles: "...no 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. Exception: A vehicle of any type is permitted to undergo major overhaul, including body work, provided that such work is performed inside a structure or similarly enclosed area designed and approved for such purposes."
Parking in the Yard or on the Sidewalk
Parking within yards on an unimproved surface is prohibited by the Zoning Ordinance. Without a proper driveway in place, repeatedly parking in the yard can destroy the grass and create an unsightly, muddy mess. Furthermore, if you park on or drive over the sidewalk to get to the yard you may damage the sidewalk or utility curb boxes in your neighborhood. Damaged sidewalks create tripping hazards for pedestrians which the adjacent property owner could be held liable for and damaged curb boxes can interfere with utility services to your house. Whether the sidewalk, the curb box, or both are damaged, the adjacent property owner could be held responsible for costly repairs.
407.2(b): "In residential districts or in other districts where the primary use of the property is for residential purposes, parking areas shall only be permitted in the rear or side yards, or in driveway areas in the front yard that are constructed in accordance with Section 407.2(g). No motor vehicle may be parked upon any premises zoned for residential use unless within a garage or upon a concrete, paved, or compacted, crushed stone driveway leading directly from the street… In no case will parking be allowed upon any unimproved surface."
Open Storage and Collection of Items in Public View
This ordinance, which was an amendment to the adopted Property Maintenance Code, sets forth the guidelines for the open storage of various items within the public view. Intended to expand upon the section of the code which prohibits excessive accumulation of rubbish and garbage, this Anti-Clutter Ordinance is used to enforce the removal of items being openly stored on porches and within yards. As the name suggests, the ordinance combats cluttered appearances caused by excessive outdoor storage of items, thus removing the blighting influence it causes on the surrounding neighborhood.
304.1(A): "No person within or upon any property designated as or used for residential purposes situated within the municipal limits of the City of Oil City shall store, collect, park, leave, deposit, maintain, reserve, put aside for future use, permit or allow to remain on any porch, balcony, roof, patio, yard or curtilage of any residential building or structure, other than in a completely enclosed building or structure, any of the following.
A. Junk, rubbish, clutter, litter, debris, disabled automobiles, other motor vehicles or motorized equipment, implements or machinery or any component parts or accessories thereof, household appliances or any component parts or accessories thereof.
B. Lumber or other building materials or equipment, except for those materials or equipment related to projects for which a current valid building permit has been issued.
C. Upholstered furniture, mattresses, materials and other similar products or secondhand items or goods not normally intended, designed, built or manufactured for outdoor use unless such is located entirely within an enclosed porch, balcony, deck or patio attached to the primary residential building."
Accumulation of Rubbish and Garbage
This section of the Property Maintenance Code is used to remedy unsightly and sometimes hazardous conditions caused by properties which have excessive amounts of rubbish or garbage. If improperly stored and not disposed of, accumulations of rubbish and garbage not only cause a blighting influence but can create unsafe and insanitary conditions for occupants and their neighbors. It can also attract rodents, insects, and other pests leading to infestations.
308.1 Accumulation of rubbish or garbage: "Exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.
Improper Placement of a Pool
While having a pool creates great summer time fun for children and adults alike, they can also pose a danger and come with potential liability issues should something go wrong. Because of this, the City's Zoning Ordinance helps to regulate where a pool can be placed. If you're looking to install a pool you must speak with the Zoning Enforcement Officer to understand where it can be placed and to obtain all necessary permits. We advise that you seek this information before purchasing a pool or supplies as some properties unfortunately may not have a suitable installation location, and may be denied approval from the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
403.4: "Swimming pools shall be permitted in the rear yards only, provided that the pool is located not less than ten (10) feet from any side yard line, and ten (10) feet from the rear yard line."
Erecting a Fence above Height Restrictions
Installing a fence is a common way to create a more private back yard or a safe space for your pets to enjoy the outdoors. However, many people are unaware of the height restrictions the Zoning Ordinance places on fences. While a building permit or zoning approval are not required, we highly recommend anybody wishing to erect a fence consult the Zoning Office prior to purchasing materials and beginning construction. Our Zoning Officer is more than happy to schedule an inspection of your property to answer any questions and help ensure your proposed fence will be in compliance before you begin.
403.3: "In residential districts, a wall or fence less than six (6) feet six (6) inches in height and paved terraces without walls, roofs or other enclosures may be erected within the limits of any rear yard…Fences may be permitted in front yard areas [between the setback line and the front lot line and in the side yard area(s)] provided they are no higher than four (4) feet and do not obstruct the required free sight triangle at intersections."
Permits and Applications
Demolition Permit Requirements
Prior to commencing a demolition project on any primary or accessory structure, a demolition permit must be obtained through the Code Department for each structure being demolished. Obtaining a permit both notifies the Code Department of the work to be completed so they may inspect the site to ensure work is done properly, as well as notifies the County of a demolition project which may cause a reassessment of the property taxes. Without obtaining a demolition permit, the proper City or County officials may not be aware of the demolition and the property taxes may not be reassessed to exclude the structure which has been razed.
The erection of signs within the City is regulated by our Zoning Ordinance to restrict the use of such signs that may be obstructive, distractive, or have other negative effects on the surrounding neighborhood. To determine if a sign you wish to erect on your property or for your business will be within regulation and to obtain a permit, contact the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
Before beginning construction of any primary or accessory structure or deck, performing roofing work, or making other major improvements to your property, a building permit must be obtained and zoning approval acquired. To do this, first speak with the Zoning Enforcement Officer to determine if your proposed project falls within the guidelines of the Zoning Ordinance. After learning about the applicable zoning regulations and obtaining approval, work with the Department of Code Administration to obtain a building permit, which will allow you to commence the work.
Any person or firm wishing to operate a business within Oil City must first apply for and obtain a business license from the Department of Code Administration and renew such license on a yearly basis. Landlords for any residential or commercial buildings must also obtain a license. If your business is new to the City, please work with the Zoning Enforcement Officer to determine if your potential business location is zoned to accommodate your type of business.
Any person who owns a rental unit within the City shall be responsible for submitting this form to the Code Department. In this report, the property owner shall provide the names and addresses of all persons 18 years of age or older who reside in each rental they are responsible for. The provisions of this section of the code were enacted to provide for the uniform and equitable collection of earned income, residence, and per-capita taxes levied within the City. The form also gives property owners the opportunity to list the contact information for other parties who have a stake in or are responsible for the property so they may be contacted by the Code Department in the event of an emergency or to be notified of a property maintenance issue.
The owner of any property which is considered vacant or abandoned, as defined by ordinance, shall submit a registration form for the property to the Department of Code Administration and ensure the structure is locked up and secured from unauthorized entry. Registration of such properties assists the Code Department in keeping track of vacant properties which can become blighting influences or public nuisances over time. We ask that all owners of vacant structures speak with the Code Department to register their property as such and to formulate a plan to bring the property back into productive operation.
Often when asked to remove electronic waste or old tires from a property, which the trash services won't pick up, property owners ask us how to get rid of them. The perfect way is to find out when the next tire or electronic waste disposal day will be. Once per year and on separate occasions, the Utility Department organizes a waste disposal day at the City Garage for tires and electronics. This is a no cost and hassle free solution if you have no other means to dispose of these items. Check out our calendar to find out when the next one will be.