[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Athens 1-11-1990 by L.L. No. 1-1990 (Ch. 17 of the 1976 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 116.
This chapter may be known and cited as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Village of Athens."
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 Village of Athens by providing a method for the removal or repair of buildings that, from any cause, may be or become dangerous or unsafe to the public.
No person, firm, corporation or association owning, possessing or controlling a building in the Village of Athens shall permit, suffer or allow said building now or hereafter to be or become dangerous or unsafe to the public from any cause whatsoever, as that term is defined in § 120-4.
Structures which have any of the following defects shall be deemed unsafe or dangerous within the meaning of this chapter:
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle third of its base.
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors and roofs or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire or the elements so as to be dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Village of Athens.
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the basic amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease or to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein or to the populace of the Village of Athens.
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication.
Those in which parts of the structure are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
The Code Enforcement Officer of the Village of Athens or other designee of the Village Board, if there is no such Code Enforcement Officer, is hereby duly appointed to make inspections of all unsafe buildings and collapsed structures within the Village of Athens. The Code Enforcement Officer shall report to the Village Board all unsafe buildings and collapsed structures which from time to time may be found within the limits of the Village. When it shall be reported to the Village Board that a building is in an unsafe or dangerous condition or that it is a collapsed structure, the Village Board shall request the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect the same and to report the condition of the same and the finding to the Village Board with all convenient speed.
The Village Board shall thereafter consider the Code Enforcement Officer's report and determine if the report warrants that further action be taken. If so, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give notice to the owner of the property in the form and manner set forth in § 120-7.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
The particulars in which the building is alleged to be unsafe. The report of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be sufficient for this item.
The date, time and place at which the owner may appear before the Village Board to be heard on the issue of whether the building is unsafe and, if so, the action which the owner will take to repair or remove the building.
The consequences to the owner should the Village Board determine the building to be unsafe.
The notice shall be served upon the owner personally if the owner actually resides within the Village and if that can conveniently be effected or, if not, then by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by posting upon the building. Notice shall be deemed served upon personal delivery or upon mailing and posting, as the case may be. Notice shall be served not less than 10 days prior to the owner's hearing.
After the hearing, the Village Board shall, by resolution, determine whether the building is unsafe and, if so, shall order the owner to repair or demolish the building within a reasonable, short period of time.
If the owner fails to comply with the order, then the Village Board may cause the building to be repaired or demolished and removed without further notice to the owner and without resort to judicial proceedings.
The Village Board may bring a special proceeding against the owner for a judgment determining the building to be unsafe, permitting the Village Board to cause the building to be repaired or demolished and removed and directing that all costs associated therewith be assessed and levied against the premises.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Village in connection with an unsafe building, including the cost of actually repairing or demolishing and removing the building, attorneys' fees, court costs and other professional fees, shall be assessed to and levied against the real property involved and shall be added to and included in the Village of Athens real property tax.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Board of Trustees may, by resolution, authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 120-11 hereof.