Town of Potsdam, NY
St. Lawrence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Potsdam 10-9-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Fire Prevention and Building Code administration — See Ch. 62.

Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 68.

§ 49-1
Purpose. 

§ 49-2
Unsafe building or structure not permitted. 

§ 49-3
Definitions. 

§ 49-4
Inspections and reports.  

§ 49-5
Determination by Town Board.  

§ 49-6
Notice to repair or demolish.  

§ 49-7
Service of notice. 

§ 49-8
Filing of copy of notice.  

§ 49-9
Failure to comply with order.  

§ 49-10
Interference with enforcement.  

§ 49-11
Assessment of costs and expenses. 

§ 49-12
Transfer of title. 

§ 49-13
Penalties for offenses.  

§ 49-14
Emergency conditions.  

§ 49-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote and preserve the health, welfare and property of residents of and owners of property located within the Town of Potsdam, by providing a method for the removal or repair of buildings and structures within the limits of said town that, from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public.

§ 49-2 Unsafe building or structure not permitted.

No person, firm, corporation or association owning, possessing or controlling a building or structure in the Town of Potsdam shall permit, suffer or allow said building, now or hereafter, to be or become dangerous or unsafe to the public, from any cause whatsoever.

§ 49-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
All buildings and structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed unsafe or dangerous within the meaning of this chapter:
A. 

Those where any interior wall or walls or other structural load-bearing members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing from any overhead supporting member through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base.

B. 

Those which, exclusive of the foundations, show 33 1/3% or more of deterioration of the supporting member or members, or 50% or more damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or exterior walls or covering.

C. 

Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floor or roofs, or in which the floors or roofs are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by the New York State Building and Construction Code.

Editor's Note: Current standards are contained in the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as provided for in the Executive Law, Article 18, § 370, et seq.

D. 

Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Potsdam.

E. 

Those having inadequate or insufficient facilities for ingress or egress in the event of fire, panic or other emergency or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes, aisles, passageways, corridors or other means of access, and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by New York State Building and Construction Code.

Editor's Note: Current standards are contained in the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as provided for in the Executive Law, Article 18, § 370, et seq.

F. 

Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to cause injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.

G. 

Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live there.

H. 

Those which have parts thereof which are so attached or connected in such a manner that they may fall, collapse or cause damage and injury to the occupants thereof or other persons or property, a vacant building, unguarded or open at door or window.

I. 

An abandoned or unprotected well, open basement or excavation or hole which was a basement or is intended to be a basement, which is unprotected, dangerous or a nuisance.

§ 49-4 Inspections and reports.

[Amended 8-13-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]

The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Potsdam shall be the enforcement officer of this chapter and shall make inspections of all unsafe buildings and structures within the Town of Potsdam. The Code Enforcement Officer shall report to the Town Board all unsafe buildings and structures which, from time to time, shall be found within the town. When it shall be reported to the Town Board that a building or structure is in an unsafe or dangerous condition, the Town Board shall direct the building inspector to inspect the same and to report the condition of the same in his findings to the Town Board with all convenient speed.

§ 49-5 Determination by Town Board.

[Amended 8-13-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]

The Town Board shall thereafter consider the report of the Code Enforcement Officer and by resolution determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that said building or structure is unsafe and dangerous and order its removal or repair, if the same can be safely repaired, and further order that a notice shall be given to interested persons or corporations in a manner as hereinafter provided.

§ 49-6 Notice to repair or demolish.

[Amended 12-9-1980]

The notice shall contain the following:

A. 

A description of the premises.

B. 

A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe and dangerous.

C. 

An order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.

D. 

A statement that the securing or removal of said building shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter, unless, for good cause shown, such time shall be extended.

E. 

A date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board in relation to such dangerous or unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of service of the notice.

F. 

A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the cost of demolition, including legal expenses.

§ 49-7 Service of notice.

Said notice shall be served in the following manner:

A. 

By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner or someone of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises as shown by the last preceding completed assessment role of this town, said service to be complete and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence upon filing of an affidavit of personal service upon the owner with the Town Clerk; or

B. 

By mailing a copy of said notice to such owner as aforesaid, by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the owner and by affixing a copy of said notice to the premises, such service to be complete and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence 10 days after the filing of the return receipt and the affidavit of posting with the Town Clerk; and

C. 

By personal service of a copy of said notice upon any adult residing in or occupying said premises or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by posting a copy of said notice upon the premises.

§ 49-8 Filing of copy of notice.

[Amended 12-9-1980]

A copy of the notice served as provided herein shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of St. Lawrence.

§ 49-9 Failure to comply with order.

[Amended 12-9-1980]

In the event of the refusal or neglect of the person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board and after the hearing, the Town Board shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building or structure, either by town employees or by contract. Except in an emergency as provided in § 49-14 hereof, any contract for demolition or removal of a building in excess of $5,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.

§ 49-10 Interference with enforcement.

[Amended 8-13-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]

It shall be unlawful for any person, whether interested or not in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere, obstruct or hinder the Code Enforcement Officer, his representative or any person acting in his behalf in performing the work.

§ 49-11 Assessment of costs and expenses.

All costs and expenses incurred by the town in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said building or structure, shall be assessed against the land on which said buildings or structures are located.

§ 49-12 Transfer of title.

A transfer of title by the owner of the premises upon which an unsafe building or structure is located shall be no defense to any proceeding under this chapter.

§ 49-13 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 8-13-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]

Any person upon whom a notice, as provided in this chapter, has been served, who fails, neglects or refuses to place such unsafe building or structure in a safe condition as designated in such notice or who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or orders given pursuant thereto or who shall resist or obstruct the Code Enforcement Officer in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each week the violation continues shall constitute a separate and additional offense.

§ 49-14 Emergency conditions.

[Amended 8-13-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986]

Any provisions of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding where it reasonably appears that there is imminent danger to the life or safety of any person, unless a dangerous building or structure, as defined herein, is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Code Enforcement Officer on order of the Town Board shall cause the immediate repair, vacating or demolition of such dangerous building or structure. For this purpose, he may at once enter such structure or land on which it stands, or abutting land or structure with such assistance and at such cost as may be necessary. He may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades or such other means as may be necessary, and for this purpose may close a public or private way. The cost of such emergency repair, vacating or demolition of such dangerous building or structure shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 49-11 hereof. When emergency work is to be performed under this section, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the owner thereof to be served personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, and, if served by registered mail, shall post on the premises a notice that the town has corrected the emergency condition.