Sharon Hill Sprinkler Ordinance Overturned

Real Estate Agent

by Rich Schiffer, Weichert Realtors

A highly controversial Sharon Hill Ordinance has been overturned.

The ordinance (Sharon Hill Ordinance 1311) required single-family owner occupied dwellings converted to single-family or multi-family rental units to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems.  This created an undue burden and expense (often $10,000 or more) on owners.  The Suburban REALTORS Alliance, together with the PA Builders Association, the Home Builders Association of Chester and Delaware Counties, and several residents from the community challenged the ordinance.  Based upon findings by the Department of Labor and Industry in a December 18, 2006 hearing, this ordinance has been declared disapproved, null, and void, as exceeding the minimum requirements set for in the Uniform Construction Code.

The Borough failed to establish clear and convincing public health and safety circumstances that justify the local ordinance going so far beyond the UCC.

This does not mean that renters in Sharon Hill are unprotected.  There are fire safety standards in place for rental units. They are inspected annually, and must have a battery-operated smoke detector in each bedroom and on the first floor if it is a multi-unit/multi-floor property; they also must have a hard-wired smoke detector on the top of the second floor level and in the basement area.

Under a separate 1997 ordinance, new construction within Sharon Hill will still be required to be equipped with a sprinkler system.

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