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 9-21-2011 by L.L. No. 24-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 159.

§ 159A-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 of assuring that the lawns of occupied properties within the Town are properly maintained.
B. 
Occupied properties which are not properly mowed may serve as an attractive nuisance, may result in injuries therein, may be a point of congregation by vagrants and transients, and may attract rodents or insects.
C. 
Occupied properties which are not properly mowed tend to diminish or lessen the appearance thereof and 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 occupied properties are not regularly mowed, 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.

§ 159A-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
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.
HAZARD
To expose to danger or harm.
LAWN
A plot of grass which is usually and customarily tended and mowed, such as around a residence or in a park or estate.
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.
OCCUPANT
A person who lawfully uses and maintains a physical presence at a property either continually or intermittently.
OCCUPIED
A structure or premises on which there is a habitual and regular presence of one or more persons.
OPERATOR
A person or company that manages a lot or parcel or any activity located thereon.
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.
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.
TENANT
A person occupying or entitled to occupy a residential rental premises who is a party to the lease or rental agreement for such premises, whether written or oral.
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.

§ 159A-3 Applicability.

A. 
This chapter shall apply to the following properties:
(1) 
Occupied lots, plots or parcels of land, which are one acre or less in size, including those on which residential, nonresidential, and mixed-use buildings are located.
(2) 
Occupied principal and accessory buildings and structures used for or intended to be used for residential, nonresidential, and mixed uses or occupancies.
B. 
Every building, structure or use, and the premises on which it is situated, which is occupied for or intended to be occupied 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 deemed to 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.

§ 159A-4 Mowing.

The owner, or occupant, or tenant, or operator, or person in control as the case may be, of any occupied building or premises within the Town of Poughkeepsie shall comply with the following: Lawns shall be kept trimmed to a height of no greater than 12 inches.

§ 159A-5 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, within five days of the service of written notice as provided in Subsection B below.
B. 
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.

§ 159A-6 Penalties for offenses.

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.

§ 159A-7 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.
(1) 
At the close of the public hearing provided by Subsection A, the Town Board shall consider whether the failure of the owner, tenant or occupant to comply with this chapter of the Town Code results in a threat to the public health, safety or welfare; and
(2) 
If the Town Board finds that there is a threat to the public health, safety or welfare, the Town Board shall determine the area of the lawn necessary which must be mowed in order to abate the threat to the public health, safety or welfare (hereinafter referred to as "the necessary area").
B. 
If the Town Board, after a public hearing as provided by Subsection A, finds that there is a threat to the public health, safety or welfare, it may cause and continue to cause the mowing of the necessary area, 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 mowing 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 mowing 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.
C. 
Mowing by the Town of Poughkeepsie or its agents shall not operate to excuse such owner, tenant or occupant from mowing the premises as required by this chapter, and such owner, tenant or occupant shall, notwithstanding such action by the Town, be subject to any other penalties as provided for herein.

§ 159A-8 Emergencies.

A. 
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 by the owner, tenant or occupant, or person in control as is necessary to remove or abate the hazard or danger immediately or within a specific time contained in the notice.
B. 
Upon the failure of the owner, tenant or occupant or person in control to comply, the Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector, or Fire Inspector, may direct the remediation of the hazard or danger by the Town, or its agent, which may include a private contractor. 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. Any emergency remediation undertaken by the Town shall be limited to the area necessary to abate the direct hazard or the immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare.
C. 
If the Town wishes to assess the cost of the proceeding and the cost of the remediation, including any additional or continuing remediation which may be required, against the record owner of the property, it may, within 45 days after the hazard or danger has been remediated by the Town or its agent, as provided in Subsection B, above, thereafter 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. After the public hearing, the Town Board may assess against the record owner of the property the cost incurred by the Town to remediate the hazard or danger. 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.
D. 
Any remediation undertaken by the Town 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.

§ 159A-9 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.

§ 159A-10 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.