Appeal from the Order of the Department of Labor and Industry in case of In Re: James Righter Office & Apartments, Order No. 336035, dated January 27, 1984.
James D. Righter, petitioner, for himself.
Richard C. Lengler, Assistant Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
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This appeal follows an order of the Industrial Board of the Department of Labor and Industry (Board) dated January 27, 1984, granting the petitioner, James D. Righter, a conditional variance from
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 647]
cited violations of the Fire and Panic Act (Act), Act of April 27, 1927, P.L. 465, as amended, 35 P.S. §§ 1221-1235, provided petitioner comply with certain conditions.
In 1978, the Department of Labor and Industry (Department) cited Richard and Bernice Knepp, the prior owners of 29 Chestnut Street, Lewistown, Pennsylvania, under the Fire and Panic Act, and revoked the occupancy permit. The Knepps submitted plans, as required under Section 8 of the Act, that would bring the building into compliance. The Department approved the plans. The Department, however, never issued a new occupancy permit since the Knepps never implemented these plans. In 1979, petitioner purchased the building from the Knepps. The Department reinspected the premises in January 1981, and found the same violations that had existed in 1979. In June 1981, the Department again issued a citation, this time in Righter's name. In August 1983, the Department initiated proceedings for him to show cause why he should not comply with the citation.
At the hearing before the Board, petitioner was able to prove that he had made improvements which rendered the building relatively safe for the tenants. As a result, the Board was willing to waive strict statutory compliance if the petitioner agreed to install an inter-connected smoke and heat detector system. At the hearing, petitioner agreed to install such a system; petitioner was given a conditional variance provided the work was completed within three months. Within three weeks, however, petitioner informed the Board he would appeal the order unless the Board dropped the condition of installing the inter-connected smoke and heat detection system which petitioner alleges is cost-prohibitive and mechanically questionable. When the Board informed petitioner it could not convene to
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 648]
consider his request until after the appeal period had run, petitioner filed this appeal.
Petitioner first contends that he should not be required to bring the building into compliance since the original citation was not issued to him. He also contends that the Department should force the prior owners to bring the building into compliance. This Court has stated in connection with ...