City of Caruthersville, MO
Pemiscot County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Cross References — Electricity, ch. 505; fire prevention and protection, ch. 205; flood damage prevention and control, ch. 415; planning, ch. 400; plumbing, ch. 515; streets, sidewalks and public places, §§535.100535.120; excavations, ch. 530; utilities, Title VII; subdivision regulations, ch. 410; zoning, ch. 405.

Section 525.010 Title.

[CC 1983 §6-45; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
This Chapter shall be known as the "Nuisance, Dangerous and Unsafe Structures Ordinance" of the City.

Section 525.020 Purpose and Scope.

[CC 1983 §6-46; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
It is the purpose of this Chapter to provide a just, equitable and practicable method for requiring the repair, vacation or demolition of buildings or structures which are detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants of such buildings or of the general public, and this Chapter shall apply to all structures constituting a nuisance, as hereafter defined, which are now in existence or which may hereafter exist in the City.

Section 525.030 Dangerous Buildings Declared Nuisance — Other Conditions Constituting a Nuisance.

[CC 1983 §6-47; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
A. 
All dangerous buildings, within the terms of this Chapter, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as provided in this Chapter. The existence of any one (1) or more of the following conditions in or on a building or structure shall cause such building or structure to constitute a nuisance:
1. 
Those that have any bearing wall, earth retaining wall, column or other vertical structural member which leans or buckles to such an extent that it is reasonably likely to partially or completely collapse. It shall be presumed that a structural member is reasonably likely to partially or completely collapse if a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base.
2. 
Those having a floor, roof, wall, structural member or connection which is overloaded, has insufficient bearing capacity or which has insufficient strength to be safe for the purpose used so as to be reasonably likely to collapse.
3. 
Those that exclusive of the foundation, show thirty-three percent (33%) or more damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or fifty percent (50%) or more damage or deterioration of the non-supporting enclosing walls or coverings.
4. 
Those suffering from disrepair, neglect or lack of maintenance so as to be unsanitary, insect, vermin or rat infested, filthy, contaminated or lacking in ventilation, sanitary facilities, heating facilities or other equipment reasonably common to structures used for the same or a similar purpose as the intended use for the subject structure to the degree that the structure is detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or members of the public.
5. 
Those that have been damaged by fire, earthquake, rain, flood, wind or other causes so as to become detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or members of the public.
6. 
Those that have any part thereof so attached that it is reasonably likely to fall.
7. 
Those evidencing faulty or abandoned construction or demolition; open, vacant, abandoned or insecure structures; structures that are damaged or incomplete to the extent that the structure does not provide secure shelter from the elements.
8. 
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, fire escapes or other adequate means of evacuation.
9. 
Those that because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the people of this City.
10. 
Where a structure is deemed to be a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this Chapter or any ordinance of this City or Statute of the State.
11. 
Where the structure is deemed to be a hazard to life or limb existing or erected in violation of the terms of this Chapter or any ordinance of this City or Statute of the State.
12. 
Any condition in a building or structure which, as constructed, is not in compliance with any building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing or fire prevention code adopted by the City in Title V of the Code of Ordinances of the City.
13. 
Any condition in a building or structure not in compliance with the City's zoning regulations set forth in Title IV of this Code.
14. 
Any pre-owned or previously occupied modular building or structure, manufactured home or other manufactured building or structure that is offered for sale:
a. 
That has any condition described in Subsections (1) through (13) of this Section,
b. 
That is maintained on any property in utter disregard for the effect that the condition of such structure has on property values of other properties within the City,
c. 
That is so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary that it utterly fails to provide the amenities essential to decent living in the condition in which it is offered for sale, or
d. 
That is not adequately anchored so as to protect members of the public.

Section 525.040 Standards for Repair, Vacation or Demolition.

[CC 1983 §6-48; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
A. 
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Code Enforcement Officer and the Building Commissioner in ordering the repair, vacation or demolition of any structure constituting a nuisance:
1. 
If the structure can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this Chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
2. 
If the structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated and repaired.
3. 
In all cases where a building cannot reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this Chapter, it shall be demolished.

Section 525.050 Duties of Code Enforcement Officer, Procedure and Notice.

[CC 1983 §6-49; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the duty under this Chapter to:
1. 
Inspect, or cause to be inspected, as often as may be necessary, all residential, institutional, assembly, commercial, industrial, garage, special or miscellaneous occupancy buildings for the purpose of determining whether any conditions exist which render such places a nuisance when he has reasonable grounds to believe that any such building is a nuisance under this Chapter.
2. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which complaints are filed by any person to the effect that a building, wall or structure is or may be existing in violation of this Chapter, and the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that such building is a nuisance under this Chapter.
3. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure reported by the Fire or Police Department of this City as probably existing in violation of this Chapter.
4. 
Notify in writing, either by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, or if service cannot be effected by either of these modes of service, then service may be had by publication in a newspaper qualified to publish legal notices for two (2) successive weeks, the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee, agent, and all other persons having an interest in the building or structure as shown on the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of Pemiscot County of any building declared by him to be a nuisance within the standards set forth in this Chapter. The notice required shall state that:
a. 
The owner of the structure is to vacate the structure, if such be the case, and recondition or remove the structure in accordance with the notice and this Chapter;
b. 
The occupant or lessee must vacate such structure or have it repaired in accordance with the notice and remain in possession;
c. 
The mortgagee, agent or other persons having an interest in such structure as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of Pemiscot County may at his own risk repair, vacate or demolish the structure or have such work done;
provided that, any person notified under this Subsection to repair, vacate or demolish any building shall have a reasonable time not exceeding thirty (30) days to commence the required work unless in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer it is determined to be necessary to extend such time to commence the work for good cause shown.
5. 
The notice provided in this Section shall state a description of the building or structure declared to be a nuisance, a statement of the particulars which make the building or structure a nuisance and an order requiring the designated work to be commenced within the time, or extension thereof, provided for in the above Subsection (4).
6. 
Report in writing to the Building Commissioner the non-compliance with any notice to vacate, repair or demolish.
7. 
Appear at all hearings conducted by the Building Commissioner and testify as to the condition of the structure.
8. 
Immediately report to the Building Commissioner concerning any building found by him to be inherently dangerous and which he determines to be a nuisance per se. The Building Commissioner may direct that such building be marked or posted with a written notice reading substantially as follows:
"This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Code Enforcement Officer. This notice is to remain on the building until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or agent of this building and all other persons having an interest in such building as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of the County. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such notice is complied with."
Provided however, that the posting of such notice shall not be construed to deprive all persons entitled thereto by this Chapter to the notice and hearing prescribed herein.

Section 525.055 Office of Building Commissioner Established.

[Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
There is hereby established the office of Building Commissioner. The Building Commissioner shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age. The Building Commissioner shall be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council. The Building Commissioner shall serve at the will of the Mayor and City Council. In the event the Building Commissioner recuses himself or herself from any matter or is otherwise unavailable to serve as the hearing officer on any matter, the Mayor shall have the authority to appoint another qualified person to act as Building Commissioner in such matter. The Building Commissioner may hold other offices or employment positions with the City.

Section 525.060 Duties of Building Commissioner — Hearings Held — Orders Issued — Liens on Property Established.

[CC 1983 §6-50; Ord. No. 418, 7-19-1971; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
A. 
The Building Commissioner shall have the power and duty pursuant to this Chapter to:
1. 
Supervise all inspections required by this Chapter and cause the Code Enforcement Officer to make inspections and perform all duties required of him by this Chapter. Upon receiving a complaint or report from any source to the effect that a building, wall or structure is or may be existing in violation of this Chapter, he shall cause an inspection to be made forthwith. If he deems it necessary to the performance of his duties and responsibilities imposed herein, he may request an inspection and report be made to him by any other City department or retain the services of an expert whenever he deems such service necessary.
2. 
Upon receipt of a report of the Code Enforcement Officer that any person has failed to commence work of reconditioning or demolition within the time specified in his notice or to proceed continuously with the work without unnecessary delay, the Building Commissioner shall give written notice, either by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, or if service cannot be effected by either of these modes of service, then service may be had by publication in a newspaper qualified to publish legal notices for two (2) successive weeks, to the affected parties at least ten (10) days in advance of a hearing date to appear before him on the date specified in the notice to show cause why the building declared to be a nuisance should not be repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the statement of particulars set forth in the Code Enforcement Officer's notice provided for herein.
3. 
Upon receipt of a report of the Code Enforcement Officer and after having given the notice required, the Building Commissioner shall call and hold a full and adequate hearing and hear such testimony as the Code Enforcement Officer and the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee or any other person affected shall offer relative to the structure. Any party may be represented by counsel and all parties shall have an opportunity to be heard.
4. 
After the hearing, if the evidence supports a finding that the building or structure is a nuisance or detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the City, the Building Commissioner shall issue an order making specific findings of fact, based upon competent and substantial evidence, which shows the building or structure to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the City and ordering the building or structure to be demolished and removed, or repaired. If the evidence does not support a finding that the building or structure is a nuisance or detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the City, then no order shall be issued. The City shall not commence the demolition or repair of the structure until the time for appeal provided in Section 525.090 below has expired.

Section 525.070 Collection of Costs by City or Contractor — Tax Bill to Be Prepared — Lien on Property Established.

[CC 1983 §6-51; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005; Ord. No. 2006-8 §1, 4-7-2006]
If the Building Commissioner issues an order whereby the building or structure is demolished, secured or repaired, or the property is cleaned up, the cost of performance shall be certified to the City Clerk or officer in charge of finance who shall cause a special tax bill or assessment thereof against the property to be prepared and collected by the City Collector, unless the building is demolished, secured or repaired by a contractor pursuant to an order issued by the Mayor and such contractor files a mechanic's lien against the property where the building is located. The contractor may enforce this lien as provided in Sections 429.010 to 429.360, RSMo. At the request of the taxpayer the tax bill may be paid in installments over a period of not more than ten (10) years. The tax bill from the date of its issuance shall be deemed a personal debt against the property owner and shall also be a lien on the property until paid in full.

Section 525.080 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note — Ord. no. 2006-8 §1, adopted April 7, 2006, repealed section 525.080 "insurance proceeds" in its entirety. Former section 525.080 derived from ord. no. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-05. At the editor's discretion, this section has been reserved for the city's future use.

Section 525.090 Appeals.

[Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
Any owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee, agent or other person having an interest in a building declared to be a nuisance as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of Pemiscot County may, within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the order of the Building Commissioner, appeal such decision to the Circuit Court of the County wherein the land is located pursuant to the procedure established in Chapter 536, RSMo.

Section 525.100 Emergencies.

[CC 1983 §6-52; Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
In cases where it reasonably appears there is immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of any person, the Code Enforcement Officer with the consent of the Building Commissioner may take emergency measures to vacate and repair or demolish a dangerous building or structure.

Section 525.110 Fines and Penalties.

[Ord. No. 793 §1, 5-20-1996; Ord. No. 2005-4 §1, 4-4-2005]
Any violation of the provisions of this Chapter shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both fine and imprisonment. Such fine shall not be less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) and may not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), unless the owner of the property is not also a resident of the property, then such fine may not exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00).

Section 525.120 Natural Disaster.

[Ord. No. 2006-22 §1, 12-4-2006]
In the event of a natural disaster that renders a structure or structures dangerous and unsafe as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to the standards of Section 525.030, the City Council may, with permission, approval and right of entry from all property owners and all other parties with an interest in the property as disclosed by the records of the Pemiscot County Recorder of Deeds, demolish such structure or structures pursuant to a voluntary demolition program adopted by the City Council.