Town of Poughkeepsie, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie 6-3-2009 by L.L. No. 23-2009. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 71.
Graffiti — See Ch. 124.
Solid waste — See Ch. 171.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 192.
Zoning — See Ch. 210.

§ 159-1 Legislative intent.

A. 
The Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie hereby declares that it is necessary for the health, safety, appearance and general welfare of the public, the residents of the Town of Poughkeepsie, and the owners of real property located within the Town of Poughkeepsie to provide a method whereby vacant and improved properties, including roads and rights-of-way, within the Town are properly maintained, properly repaired, kept clean, and kept free from vermin, nuisances, hazards, debris and litter.
B. 
Properties which are not properly maintained and repaired may serve as an attractive nuisance, may result in injuries therein, may be a point of congregation by vagrants and transients, may attract rodent or insects and may also attract illegal drug activity.
C. 
Properties which are not adequately maintained and repaired tend to diminish or lessen the appearance thereof or detract from the appearance of adjoining properties, which may lead to the progressive deterioration of a neighborhood.
D. 
It is further found and declared that if the same are not curtailed and removed, the aforesaid conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate in time the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same, and that by reason of timely regulations and restrictions as herein contained, the growth of blight may be prevented, and the desirability and amenities of neighborhoods enhanced and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.

§ 159-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDON or ABANDONED
To withdraw or give up by leaving the premises or ceasing to operate or inhabit the premises; to relinquish or renunciate an interest, claim, privilege, possession or right in a real property or an improvement on real property especially with the intent of never again resuming or reasserting it; more than a seasonal absence from the premises.
BLIGHT
Premises which are not properly maintained so as to diminish or lessen the appearance thereof, or so as to detract from the appearance of adjoining properties, which leads, or may lead, to the progressive deterioration of a neighborhood.
BUILDING
Any structure which is built upon the land and has one or more floors and a roof supported by walls or columns and is intended for the shelter, housing or enclosure of persons, animals or chattel.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The Building Inspector of the Town of Poughkeepsie or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
DETERIORATE or DETERIORATION
The condition or appearance of a building or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, excessive use or lack of maintenance.
DWELLING, DWELLING UNIT
A building or portion thereof providing complete housekeeping facilities for one family, including independent kitchen, sanitary and sleeping facilities, and physically separate from any other dwelling unit, whether or not in the same building. (Note: The term "dwelling," "single-family dwelling," "multifamily dwelling" or "dwelling unit" shall not be deemed to include a hotel, motel, rooming house, dormitory, nursing home or any other accommodation used for transient occupancy.)
DWELLING, MULTIFAMILY
As used herein shall mean:
A. 
A building containing living, sanitary and sleeping facilities occupied by one or two families and more than four lodgers residing with either one of such families.
B. 
A building containing three or more dwelling units.
C. 
A building with one or more sleeping rooms, other than a one- or two-family dwelling, used or occupied by permanent or transient paying guests or tenants.
D. 
A building with sleeping accommodations for more than five persons used or occupied as a club, dormitory, fraternity or sorority house or for similar uses.
E. 
A community residence.
DWELLING, SINGLE-FAMILY
A detached building, designated for or occupied exclusively by one family and containing not more than one dwelling unit.
DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY
A detached or semidetached building where not more than two individual family or dwelling units are entirely separated by vertical walls or horizontal floors, unpierced except for access to the outside or to a common hallway or cellar. A two-family dwelling includes a flat. A single structure containing two semidetached units, side-by-side, is considered a two-family dwelling, regardless of individual ownership of either half of its structure, provided that they are on the same zoned lot of record.
EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
Any premises, or any part thereof, or any building, or any part thereof, which may be lawfully viewed by the public, or any member thereof, from a sidewalk, street, alleyway, licensed open-air parking lot or from any adjoining or neighboring premises.
EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
Those portions of a building which are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.
FACADE
The exterior wall or walls of a building which identify the front of a building, and which face a street or public way.
FIRE HAZARD (also see "NUISANCE")
Any thing or any act which increases or may cause an increase of the hazard or menace of fire to a greater degree than that customarily recognized as normal by persons in the public service with the duty and responsibility of preventing, suppressing, or extinguishing fire; or which may obstruct, delay or hinder, or may become the cause of an obstruction, a delay, a hazard or a hindrance to, the prevention, suppression or extinguishment of fire.
GARBAGE
Putrescible animal and vegetable waste, liquid or solid, resulting from the handling, preservation, preparation, cooking or consumption of food; any readily combustible material such as paper, cardboard, wood, excelsior, cloth, food and drink cans, glass food and drink containers or any like material or object which may be discarded by a person; any dead birds, cats, dogs and other small animals or fish; any organic waste substance of any kind which may emit offensive odors.
HAZARD
To expose to danger or harm.
HAZARDOUS MATERIAL
Any item or agent (biological, chemical, physical) which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals; or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.
LOT; PARCEL
Land that is occupied, or to be occupied, or capable of being occupied, by principal and accessory buildings, and principal and accessory uses, and that may include open space or open spaces.
MIXED-USE BUILDING OR LOT
A lot(s), parcel(s), building(s), or structure(s) in which a variety of residential and/or nonresidential uses are located within a complementary and integrated design.
MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT
Use of a lot(s), land(s), building(s), or structure(s) for a variety of residential and/or nonresidential purposes in a complementary and integrated design.
A. 
Any public nuisance known at common law or in equity jurisprudence, or as provided by the statutes of the State of New York, or the laws, codes or regulations of the Town of Poughkeepsie;
B. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the premises of a building or upon an unoccupied lot, including, but not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, motor vehicles, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors;
C. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the condition exists;
D. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health, in violation of this code;
E. 
Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings;
F. 
Fire hazards.
OWNER
The owner of record of a tract, lot, or parcel.
PERSON IN CONTROL
The owner, the attorney for the owner, the trustee in bankruptcy, a referee of foreclosure or a real estate broker or any other person exercising implied or express control of the premises, to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
RUBBISH
All combustible and noncombustible waste, except garbage.
SEWAGE
Liquid waste containing animal or vegetable matter in suspension or solution, and which may include industrial wastes and liquids containing chemicals.
SOLID WASTE, DEBRIS and LITTER
Any unwanted or undesired material, substance, waste material, including but not limited to garbage or other putrescible substance, refuse, tobacco products and packaging, rubbish, tires, inoperable vehicles and parts, discarded furniture, appliances, water heaters, bottles, cans, plastic containers, pipes, bags of fertilizer, pet excrement, building or construction materials or supplies when stored outside on a site where no active construction or use of land is taking place, discarded or strewn papers or material or other junk substances, tree stumps, logs, wood, brush or any other matter attractive to vermin, likely to breed disease, present a fire hazard, create offensive odors or otherwise be prejudicial to good health; or being so unsightly of appearance as to be offensive to surrounding properties.
STORAGE CONTAINER
A container designed so as to prevent the contents from leaking, dripping, flowing, blowing upon, on, over, or about the property on which it is placed or onto any neighboring property.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires location on, in or under the ground or attached to something having location on the ground.
STRUCTURE, ACCESSORY
A subordinate structure detached from but located on the same lot as the principal structure, the use of which is incidental and accessory to that of the principal structure.
STRUCTURE, PRINCIPAL
The structure which houses the use permitted under the zoning classification in accordance with the zoning district regulations as set forth in Chapter 210.
UNOCCUPIED
Lack of habitual presence of human beings.
USE
The specific purpose for which land or a building is designed, arranged, intended or for which it is or may be occupied or maintained.
USE, ACCESSORY
A use customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use or building and located on the same lot with such principal use or building.
USE, PRINCIPAL
The main use permitted under the zoning classification in accordance with the zoning district regulations as set forth in Chapter 210.
VACANT
Any unoccupied land, structure, building, or part thereof, that is available and suitable for occupancy.
VACANT STRUCTURE
Any building, structure or portion thereof designed or used for residential or commercial purposes which, except for seasonal absence, is unoccupied or unused for a period of two consecutive months or longer. Specifically excluded are all agricultural structures such as barns and field houses.
YARD
That portion of the open area of a lot extending open and unobstructed from the ground upward, along a lot line for a depth or width as specified by the bulk regulations of the district in which the lot is located. No part of such yard shall be included as part of a yard or other open space similarly required for buildings on another lot.
YARD, FRONT
A space on the same lot with a main building, extending the full width of the lot and situated between the street line and the closest point on the front line of the building projected to the side lines of the lot. The depth of the front yard shall be measured between the closet point on the front line of the building and the street line. Covered porches, whether enclosed or unenclosed, shall be considered as part of the main building and shall not project into a required front yard.
YARD, REAR
A space on the same lot with a main building, extending the full width of the lot and situated between the rear lot line and the closest point on the rear line of the building projected to the side lines of the lot. The depth of the rear yard shall be measured between the rear lot line or the center line of the alley, if there be an alley, and the closest point on the rear line of the building.
YARD, SIDE
A space on the same lot with a main building, situated between the side line of the building and the adjacent side line of the lot and extending from the rear line of the front yard to the front line of the rear yard. If no front yard is required, the front boundary of the side yard shall be the front line of the lot, and if no rear is required, the rear boundary of the side yard shall be the rear line of the lot.

§ 159-3 Applicability.

A. 
This chapter shall apply to the following properties:
(1) 
Lots, plots or parcels of land on which residential, nonresidential, and mixed-use buildings are located, which are vacant, unoccupied, or abandoned.
(2) 
Principal and accessory buildings and structures used for or intended to be used for residential, nonresidential, and mixed uses or occupancies, which are vacant, unoccupied, or abandoned.
B. 
Every building, structure or use, and the premises on which it is situated, which is used or intended to be used for residential or nonresidential or mixed-use occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such building, structure or use shall have been established, constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this chapter, and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the buildings, structures or premises for the use, occupancy, construction or repair of the building or structure, or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities, or for the installation or repair of accessory structures and improvements prior to the effective date of this code. This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such buildings and structures and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the buildings, structures, equipment or facilities contained therein.
C. 
The provisions of this chapter shall supplement the local laws, codes and regulations of the Town of Poughkeepsie. When a provision of this chapter is found to be inconsistent with any provision of any other local law, code or regulation of the Town, the provision or requirement which is the more restrictive or which establishes the higher standard shall prevail. A greater penalty shall not be considered as more restrictive or a higher standard.
D. 
After the date of enactment hereof, all licenses, permits, and approvals of any agency or board of the Town shall be issued conditionally upon compliance with this chapter as well as compliance with the local law, code or regulation under which such license, permit or approval is granted.
E. 
No license, permit, approval, other certification of compliance with this chapter shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other local law, code or regulation of the Town of Poughkeepsie applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner or operator from complying with any such other provision or with the order of any official of the Town.

§ 159-4 Disposal of debris and litter.

A. 
The owner, tenant or occupant or person in control of a premises or property shall not abandon, leave, dump, store or keep any nuisance, hazardous material, debris, and litter, or any matter, including matter attractive to vermin, upon any private or public premises, public highway, road, street, alley or thoroughfare, including any portion of the right-of-way thereof or any other public lands or upon any privately owned property within the Town of Poughkeepsie.
B. 
The owner, tenant or occupant or person in control of a premises or property being used for multifamily dwelling and nonresidential purposes located within the Town of Poughkeepsie is hereby required to maintain at all times one or more covered dumpsters, containers or enclosures of adequate size to temporarily store all nuisance, hazardous material, debris and litter until removed. The failure to comply with this subsection shall be deemed an offense.
C. 
Unless approved by the Planning Board pursuant to § 210-150, no dumpster shall be located within the front yard of any premises and shall be surrounded on all sides by an opaque fence or wall enclosure of durable construction no lower than one foot above the height of the dumpster. All nonconforming, preexisting dumpsters shall be conformed to this requirement within six months of the adoption of this chapter. The failure to comply with this subsection shall be deemed an offense.
D. 
The owner, managing agent or person in charge of any multifamily dwelling, nonresidential building, or mixed-use building or premises shall provide an enclosed bin or shed-type structure for housing the dumpster or garbage containers/receptacles to meet the needs of the occupants therein. The site of the bin or shed shall be in a location approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 210 of the Town Code, and shall be landscaped or screened in accordance with the provisions of the Zoning Law of the Town of Poughkeepsie.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E, regarding curbside pickup of trash containers, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 2-17-2016 by L.L. No. 4-2016.

§ 159-5 Maintenance of landscaping for vacant and abandoned buildings.

The owner, or occupant, or tenant, or operator, or person in control as the case may be, of any vacant, unoccupied, or abandoned building within the Town of Poughkeepsie shall comply with the following:
A. 
The premises shall be properly maintained and landscaped. Lawns or other ground cover shall be kept trimmed to a height of no greater than six inches. Hedges, bushes, and shrubs located within a front yard setback shall be maintained at a height no greater than 3 1/2 feet. Hedges, bushes, and shrubs located within a side or rear yard setback shall be maintained at a height no greater than eight feet. All hedges, bushes, and shrubs shall be kept from becoming overgrown and unsightly where exposed to public view and where the same constitute a blighting condition or factor that may depreciate the value of adjoining and nearby property, or which may impair the appearance of the neighborhood.
B. 
The premises shall be free of nuisance, hazardous, debris, litter, unsanitary conditions and unsightly materials.
C. 
All dead, damaged or diseased trees or shrubs, or any portion thereof, as determined by a qualified arborist, which present any hazard to life or property shall be removed.
D. 
Properties shall be maintained so as to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation.
E. 
Firewood kept on the premises shall be neatly stacked and properly stored and kept free of rotted wood.
F. 
All green waste, such as yard waste, wood chips, brush, leaves, grass clippings and firewood, shall be placed not less than 10 feet from any property line. In bringing a complaint of noncompliance with this provision, it shall be the responsibility of the complainant to have the property line staked out by a New York State licensed land surveyor in the area where the alleged violation is purported to exist so as to allow Town officials to determine whether a violation of this provision in fact exists. Alternatively, a complainant may provide proof of a violation of this provision by a recent certified land survey from which the Town code enforcement personnel are able to determine in the field that a violation in fact exists. This section shall not apply to green waste placed at the curb for removal by the Town of Poughkeepsie or by a private carter, provided such placement is in accordance with the Town of Poughkeepsie Highway Department's requirements and schedule for removal.
G. 
This section shall not prevent nor prohibit the maintenance of a compost site/area in an approved and properly functioning manner, in an area no greater than 10 feet by 20 feet (200 square feet) and provided such composite site/area is not located within any front yard, side yard, or rear yard setback.
H. 
Walks and steps shall be maintained in good condition and shall be repaired or replaced as necessary.
I. 
Loose and overhanging objects which, by reason of their location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof shall be repaired or removed.
J. 
Cracks, projections, or obstructions on paths, walks, driveways, parking areas and other parts of the premises shall be repaired or removed.
K. 
All holes, excavations, breaks, trenches, and digging left open shall be appropriately filled and repaired replaced.

§ 159-6 (Reserved)

§ 159-7 (Reserved)

§ 159-8 (Reserved)

§ 159-9 Enforcement and compliance; notice of violation.

A. 
On any residential, nonresidential or mixed-use premises, any owner, tenant or occupant or person in control of any premises which has been determined to be in violation of this chapter shall cure or remove such violation when ordered to do so by the Zoning Administrator, a member of the Police Department, Fire Inspector or assistant, Building Inspector or subordinate with code enforcement authority, or Superintendent of Highways or designee, regarding right-of-way violations, within five days of the service of written notice as provided in Subsection C below.
B. 
Any person or person in control responsible for the creation of a violation under this chapter affecting a public street or other public property within the Town of Poughkeepsie shall remove such offense when ordered to do so by the Zoning Administrator, by a member of the Police Department, Fire Inspector, or assistant, Building Inspector or subordinate with code enforcement authority, Superintendent of Highways or designee within five days of the service of written notice as provided in Subsection C below.
C. 
All written notices under this section shall either be served on the owner, tenant or occupant or person in control of any property located within the Town of Poughkeepsie and by mailing a copy of such notice by certified mail to the owner, tenant or occupant or person in control of the property as shown on the current assessment records of the Town, or by posting a copy of such violation notice upon the front portion of the property or upon the main structure and by mailing a copy of such notice by certified mail to the owner of the property as shown on the current assessment records of the Town. In the case of any person responsible for the creation of an offense existing upon a public street or public property, notice may be personally served on such person or mailed by certified mail to such person at such person's last known address.
D. 
The Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector and any subordinate of the Building Inspector with code enforcement authority shall be responsible to direct the proper securing of dumpsters, containers or enclosures upon all properties other than public property, and such officer shall provide written notice of noncompliance to the owner, tenant or occupant as provided in Subsection C, which shall require the removal within five days of any nuisance, hazard, debris or litter not properly secured within a dumpster, container or enclosure.

§ 159-10 (Reserved)

§ 159-11 (Reserved)

§ 159-12 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
A violation of this chapter or regulation is hereby declared to be an offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each 24 hours during which a violation shall continue constitutes a separate and distinct violation within the meaning of this chapter. However, for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers generally, violations of this chapter or regulations shall be deemed violations and, for such purpose only, all provisions of law relating to violations shall apply to such offenses.
B. 
In addition to any other remedies set forth herein authorizing the Town to enforce the provisions of this chapter, establishing penalties, and setting forth additional remedies, the person charged with the responsibility to enforce the provisions of this chapter may impose a civil fine or agree to a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day for each day of the violation. If said civil fine is imposed, then the alleged violator may appeal to the Town Board.

§ 159-13 Removal by Town; charges.

A. 
Upon the failure of an owner, tenant or occupant or person in control with notice to correct a condition complained of, the Town Board shall hold a public hearing. The public hearing shall be held upon notice published in the official paper, posted conspicuously on the affected property and, if obtainable, forwarded to the last known address of the property owner, as it appears on the current assessment records of the Town, by certified mail, return receipt requested. Posting, forwarding and publication shall be made not less than 10 days prior to the date of the public hearing.
[Amended 6-1-2011 by L.L. No. 11-2011]
B. 
The Town Board, after a public hearing as provided by Subsection A, may cause and continue to cause the removal of any building, structure, vermin, nuisance, hazard, debris or litter as defined in this chapter, or any vehicle parked or stored in violation of this chapter, to be removed from any premises within the Town of Poughkeepsie, upon the failure, or the continued failure, of such owner, tenant or occupant to comply with any requirements and/or conditions of the Town Board. Said removal may be performed by the Town of Poughkeepsie or by its designee, or agent, including a private contractor. The Town Board shall ascertain the cost of the proceeding and the costs of removal and assess such expense against the record owner of the property. The expense so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the real property on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other Town charges.
[Amended 8-4-2010 by L.L. No. 17-2010]
C. 
The removal of any building, structure, nuisance, hazard or litter by the Town of Poughkeepsie or its agents shall not operate to excuse such owner, tenant or occupant from properly maintaining the premises as required by this chapter, and such owner, tenant or occupant shall, notwithstanding such action, be subject to any other penalties as provided for herein.

§ 159-14 Emergencies.

Whenever the Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector, or Fire Inspector at any stage of the proceedings instituted under the provisions of this code finds that a violation of this code exists which, in his opinion, requires immediate action to abate a direct hazard or immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the occupants of a building or of the public, he may, without prior notice or hearing, issue an order citing the violation and directing that such action be taken as is necessary to remove or abate the hazard or danger. Such order may include an order to vacate. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, such an order shall be effective immediately upon service and shall be complied with immediately or as otherwise provided.

§ 159-15 Transfer of ownership.

No owner of any building, structure or other premises upon which any notice or order pursuant to this code has been served shall sell, transfer, grant, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such property to another until compliance with the provisions of such notice or order has been secured; or until such owner shall furnish to the purchaser, transferee, grantee, mortgagee, or lessee, prior to such sale, transfer, grant, mortgage, or lease, a true copy of such notice or order and, at the same time, give adequate notification to the Zoning Administrator, Building Inspector, or Fire Inspector of his intent to sell, transfer, grant, mortgage or lease, and supply to the Zoning Administrator, Building Inspector, or Fire Inspector, in writing, the name and address of such person, persons, or firm to whom or to which the sale, transfer, grant, mortgage or lease is proposed. A purchaser, transferee, grantee, mortgagee, or lessee who has been informed of the existence of any notice or order issued pursuant to the code shall be bound thereby.

§ 159-16 Severability; repealer.

A. 
If any provision, paragraph, word, section or article of this chapter is invalidated by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions, paragraphs, words, sections and articles shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect.
B. 
All other chapters, ordinances or local laws and any parts thereof which are inconsistent or conflict with any part of this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of any inconsistency or conflict.

§ 159-17 Right of appeal.

Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any final order of the Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector, or Fire Inspector may appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals.