Town of Rotterdam, NY
Schenectady County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam 11-14-2001 by L.L. No. 14-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 90.
Housing and buildings standards — See Ch. 154.
Solid waste — See Ch. 244.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 249.
Swimming pools — See Ch. 252.
Vehicle and junk storage — See Ch. 264.
Zoning — See Ch. 270.

§ 265-1 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to ensure that property within the Town of Rotterdam is maintained in a safe and sanitary condition so as to not pose a threat to public health or property. It is also the intent of this chapter to promote and enhance properties within the Town of Rotterdam.

§ 265-2 Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall supplement all local laws, ordinances, codes or regulations existing in the Town of Rotterdam and other statutes and regulations of municipal authorities having jurisdiction applicable hereto. Where a provision of this chapter is found to be in conflict with any provision of an existing local law, ordinance or regulation, the provision or requirement of this chapter shall prevail.

§ 265-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING
Any structure built for the support, shelter or enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or movable property of any kind and which is permanently affixed to the land.
JUNK
Discarded, broken or disabled material, including, but not limited to, furniture; appliances; toys; or other items that are not in functioning condition.
LITTER
Discarded waste materials, including, but not limited to, paper wrappings; packaging materials; discarded or used bottles; and discarded or used cans.
MOTOR VEHICLE
All vehicles propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power originally intended for use on public highways.
OWNER
Any person owning property, as shown on the real property records of Schenectady County or on the last assessment roll for taxes, and shall also mean any lessee, tenant or other person having control or possession of the property.
PROPERTY
A lot, plot or parcel of land, including any structures thereon.
STRUCTURE
A building or structure which is not currently inhabited or occupied and to which access to the interior thereof may be gained by reason of open, unlocked or broken windows or doors, or because of other physical deterioration or damage thereto.
TRASH
Waste food products and other household garbage.
VERMIN
Various small animals, such as rats, that may be destructive or injurious to health.

§ 265-4 Duty to maintain property.

No person owning, leasing, renting, occupying, being in possession of, or having charge of any property in the Town, including vacant lots, shall maintain or allow to be maintained on such property, except as may be permitted by any other Town ordinance, any of the following conditions:
A. 
Junk, trash, litter, boxes, discarded lumber, salvage materials, or other similar materials in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot;
B. 
Attractive nuisances dangerous to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned, broken or neglected equipment, machinery, refrigerators and freezers, excavations, wells or shafts;
C. 
Broken or discarded furniture, household equipment and furnishings in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot;
D. 
Shopping carts in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot of any property;
E. 
Graffiti or signs, not in compliance with the Town Zoning Code,[1] on the exterior of any building, fence or other structure in any front yard, side yard or rear yard or vacant lot;
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 270, Zoning.
F. 
Vehicle component parts or other articles of personal property which are discarded or left in a state of partial construction or repair in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot;
G. 
Any accumulation of weeds, brambles, berry vines, or other vegetation which is over-growing any structure or which exceeds an average height of 10 inches, except that which is kept in a neat and orderly manner for human consumption, or any accumulation of dead organic matter, offal, rat harborages, stagnant water, combustible materials and similar materials or conditions constituting fire, health or safety hazards; however, this does not apply to cultivated flowers or gardens. Properties in A-1 are excluded from this requirement; however, they must conform to all other pertinent sections of the Town Code.
H. 
Dilapidation or state of filthiness or uncleanness of any dwelling or other structure which endangers health or life or which permits entrance by rats, mice or other rodents, or by which conditions it attracts rats and other vermin.
I. 
The active selling of motor vehicles in a residential zone is limited to two motor vehicles within a given calendar year.
J. 
No outside storage of more than two unregistered motor vehicles on any property. Vehicles are to be stored behind the house in the rear of the property with a five-foot side and rear setback.

§ 265-5 Residential buildings and structures.

A. 
Exterior walls, roofs and porches or appurtenances thereto shall be maintained in a manner so as to prevent the collapse of the same or injury to the occupants of the building or to the public.
B. 
The foundation walls of every building shall be maintained in good repair and shall be structurally sound.
C. 
Exterior walls, roofs and other parts of buildings shall be free from loose and unsecured objects and material and improperly secured objects and materials. Such objects or materials shall be removed, repaired or replaced.
D. 
The owner of vacated buildings shall take such steps and perform such acts as may be required from time to time to ensure that the building and its adjoining yards remain safe and secure and do not present a hazard to adjoining property or to the public. All openings shall be covered with painted. exterior-grade plywood closures and securely fastened to prevent trespassing. See Chapter 93.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Chapter 93, Vacant Buildings, was deleted at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). See now Ch. 90, Unsafe Buildings.
E. 
Buildings and structures shall be maintained in such a condition that they shall not become unoccupied hazards as defined per Chapter 90 of the Code of the Town of Rotterdam. All graffiti or defacing shall be removed and the surface finish restored within five days' written notice of the Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer.
F. 
All signage and lighting systems shall be maintained in a completely operable, clean and safe condition.
G. 
All swimming pools shall be maintained and operated in a clean, safe and sanitary manner at all times and in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Swimming pool recirculation and disinfection equipment shall be operated to maintain water quality. Swimming pool equipment and appurtenances shall be operated and maintained in accordance with approved plans and specifications.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 252, Swimming Pools.
H. 
All decorative pools, fountains, architectural garden features, and similar items shall be maintained free of litter and operated as intended. Should these devices be abandoned or should they deteriorate because of lack of adequate maintenance, the owner shall either repair, remove or replace these items within five days of written notice.
I. 
Grass lawns on any lot improved with structures shall be maintained free of unrestrained growth and in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit gardens, woods, generally recognized groundcovers and lawn grasses, or properly maintained compost piles.
J. 
Placement of animal feed on the premises for the purposes of feeding nondomesticated animals shall be carried out in a manner that avoids a noxious impact on the premises or the neighborhood and that avoids detriment to public health or safety.
K. 
The maintenance of fences on properties shall be the responsibility of the owner of the fence.

§ 265-6 Commercial/industrial buildings and property.

A. 
Commercial buildings and properties shall at all times be maintained in compliance with the provisions of this chapter regarding open spaces, buildings or structures and littering.
B. 
No outside storage or accumulation of garbage, crates, pallets, rubbish, refuse or debris shall be permitted at any time, and all such garbage, crates, pallets, rubbish, refuse or debris shall be kept inside the building or buildings on the premises, or in a screened enclosure, and shall be collected and removed from the premises on no less than a weekly basis unless prior approval is granted by the Planning Commission. All property owners have until June 1, 2002, to comply with this section and will be subject to site plan review. Fees for site plan review on existing business property will be waived until June 1, 2002, if the intention is to come into compliance with this section.
C. 
No shopping baskets, carts or wagons shall be left unattended or standing in open areas and shall be collected at the close of business each day by the occupant of such unit and removed to the interior of the building or buildings, or to a designated storage area which does not hinder pedestrian or vehicular movement. In regards to businesses which operate 24 hours per day, unattended shopping baskets, carts or wagons shall be collected, in the manner described above, a minimum of two times during each twenty-four-hour period.
D. 
The maintenance of all fences and planting areas installed on the premises shall be the responsibility of the owner of the property. Such maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, the removal and/or replacement of trees and shrubs which may die and/or otherwise be destroyed and the removal and/or replacement of fences which may fall into disrepair. Additionally, lawns and those grassy areas which are viewed by customers and passing motorists shall be maintained in a neat manner and cut at a height not to exceed four inches.
E. 
The active sale of any motor vehicle, unless specifically allowed by Town Zoning Ordinance,[1] is limited to two motor vehicles within a given calendar year.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 270, Zoning.
F. 
All signage and lighting systems shall be maintained in a completely operable, clean and safe condition.

§ 265-7 Open areas and parking spaces.

A. 
Surface and subsurface water (with the exception of regulated freshwater wetlands or other bodies of water protected by either local, state or federal law) shall be appropriately managed to protect buildings and structures. Gutters, culverts, catch basins, drain inlets, stormwater sewers or other appropriate drainage systems shall be utilized where necessary. No roof, surface or sanitary drainage feature shall create a structural, safety or health hazard by reason of construction, maintenance or manner of discharge.
B. 
Fences and other minor construction shall be maintained in a safe and usable manner.
C. 
Steps, walks, driveways, parking spaces and similar paved areas shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under all weather conditions. Any holes or other hazards that may exist shall be filled, and necessary repairs or replacements carried out.
D. 
Yards and vacant lots shall be kept clean and free of physical hazards, rodent harborage and infestation. They shall be maintained in a manner which will prevent dust, sand, litter and other objects, which are a danger to public health or safety, from being blown about the neighborhood. Open wells, cesspools and cisterns shall be securely closed or barricaded from access to the public.
E. 
Heavy undergrowth and accumulation of plant growth, which is noxious or detrimental to health, shall be eliminated.
F. 
Yards and vacant lots shall be maintained free of accumulations of animal excrement which create a noxious impact on the premises or the neighborhood.

§ 265-8 Rodent harborage and infestation.

A. 
All buildings, structures and properties shall be maintained free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation. Methods used for exterminating insects, vermin and rodents shall comply with generally accepted practice.
B. 
Where the potential for rodent or vermin infestation exists, windows and other openings in basements and cellars shall be appropriately screened with wire mesh or other suitable materials.

§ 265-9 Littering; appliances; receptacles.

A. 
All properties, whether improved or vacant, shall be maintained free of litter; provided, however, that this chapter shall not prohibit the storage of litter in authorized private receptacles for collection.
B. 
Adequate sanitary facilities and methods shall be used for the collection, storage, handling and disposal of garbage and refuse in accordance with the provisions of applicable codes.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 244, Solid Waste.
C. 
No appliance may be discarded, abandoned or stored outdoors in any manner without first completely removing any locking devices and all doors.
D. 
Dumpsters and similar large receptacles shall be screened from public streets, rights-of-way, and areas where pedestrians frequently travel. Said screening shall consist of a solid row of evergreens, or solid fencing to hide the dumpster/receptacle from public view.
E. 
Shopping centers, supermarkets and similar business units shall provide permanent and sanitary litter receptacles within the interior of the premises for public use in sufficient quantity to prevent a person from walking in excess of 100 feet to use any such receptacle. Receptacles shall be of sufficient size to accommodate small items of patron's trash (i.e., shopping lists, tissues, gum wrappers, etc.).

§ 265-10 Maintenance of construction sites.

During the development, improvement or construction of any site for any purpose, the owner and applicant, as identified on the building permit application, shall take appropriate measures to ensure the following:
A. 
Dust, blowing sand, dirt, and sediment shall be controlled so as not to pose a nuisance, health, or safety risk to motorists or neighboring property owners.
B. 
Erosion and siltation shall be confined to the site being developed. Neighboring properties and roadways shall not be impacted by erosion, blowing sand, dirt, or siltation as a result of construction activities.
C. 
Construction debris/litter shall be confined on the site so as not to impact neighboring properties and roadways.

§ 265-11 Responsibilities of owners.

A. 
Owners, operators and tenants shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this chapter and shall remain responsible therefor, regardless of any agreement purporting to delegate the responsibilities set forth herein, with the exception of those responsibilities charged to occupants as designated in § 265-12.
B. 
Owners and operators of buildings shall be responsible for the proper installation, maintenance, condition and operation of service facilities. Owners and operators shall furnish adequate heat, hot water, and air conditioning when contractually responsible to do so.

§ 265-12 Responsibilities of occupants.

An occupant of the premises shall be responsible for compliance with this chapter in regard to the following:
A. 
Maintenance of that part of the premises which is occupied or controlled in a clean, sanitary and safe condition.
B. 
Keeping exits from the building or apartment clear and unencumbered from their possessions.
C. 
Daily disposal of garbage and refuse into provided facilities in a clean and sanitary manner.
D. 
Providing for safe and sanitary deposition and storage of newspapers, glass, plastic products, yard clippings, and any other item required to be recycled in accordance with other Town laws, ordinances, codes or rules.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 244, Art. II, Solid Waste Recycling.
E. 
Keeping domestic animals and pets in an appropriate manner and under control.

§ 265-13 Enforcement and compliance.

A. 
This chapter may be enforced by the Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Rotterdam and by any police officer of the Town of Rotterdam Police Department or a duly appointed representative by the Rotterdam Town Board. The Code Enforcement Officer or the duly authorized designee shall have authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter and to inspect premises within the Town as necessary for said enforcement.
[Amended 10-24-2012 by L.L. No. 5-2012]
B. 
Any property found to be maintained in violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and shall be abated by rehabilitation, removal, trimming, demolition or repair.
C. 
The property owner shall have the ultimate responsibility for compliance with all provisions of this chapter.

§ 265-14 Notice.

A. 
After the enforcement officer has determined that there is a specific violation of this chapter, a written notice will be sent to the occupant or owner of the property directing compliance with this chapter within five days after receipt of such notice. The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. Possession by the enforcement officer of the United States postal receipt indicating delivery of the notice to the addressee, whether the receipt is signed by the addressee or by a third party, shall constitute conclusive proof of the receipt by the addressee of said notice. The five-day period shall commence on the date of the delivery of the notice as indicated on the postal receipt. The notice may also be personally served on the addressee, in which event the respective five-day period shall commence on the date of the personal service of the notice.
B. 
If the notice cannot be either personally served on the record owner or be delivered by certified mail because the record owner cannot, with due diligence, be ascertained, or is not locatable, then the notice may be served by publication. The notice shall be published in the official newspaper of the Town once in each of two successive weeks. If there is a building situated on the property, the notice shall also be posted on the front door of the structure. The five-day period shall commence on the sixth business day following the date of the second publication of the notice.

§ 265-15 Action in cases of noncompliance.

A. 
The notice referred to in § 265-14, served upon the owner of the subject property, shall advise the owner that if the violation(s) is not corrected within said five-day period, the Town will proceed with the removal and disposition of said violation(s) following said notice period and shall cause the costs of such removal and disposition to be charged against the owner and the subject property. The notice shall also advise the owner of the subject property that the owner may be personally liable for such costs in an action by the Town.
B. 
The notice, when it includes provisions pursuant to Subsection A, shall also advise the owner of the subject property that the owner shall be entitled to a hearing before a review board comprised of three members from the Town, being the Zoning Officer, the Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, on any matter the owner wishes to address relating to the existence of the violations of this chapter and the removal thereof from the subject property. The request for a hearing before the review board must be made in writing by the owner of the subject property prior to the expiration of the five-day notice period. The request must be in writing, directed to the Town Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer. If a hearing is not requested, the Town shall be entitled to go upon the property upon the expiration of the notice period and, utilizing either Town personnel or independent contractors, correct the violation. If a hearing is requested by the owner of the subject property, it shall be held within 10 days of the date on which the request is received by the Town. At the hearing, the owner shall be advised of the amount of money which it is estimated will be expended by the Town to correct the violation. The owner of the subject property will be responsible for the payment of that amount and that said amount will be assessed as a lien against the property. At the conclusion of the hearing, the review board shall determine if corrective measures by the Town should proceed at the expiration of the respective notice period, and the cost thereof shall be collected from the owner of the subject property or charged against the subject property as hereinbefore mentioned.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
The owner shall have five additional days to correct the violation beyond the original notice period, in the event that a hearing is held at the request of the owner of the subject property and the owner receives the written decision of the review board. If the owner of the subject property defaults in the removal of the violation, the Town shall be entitled to go upon the subject property and, utilizing either Town personnel or independent contractors, to correct the violation.
D. 
The determination of the review board of the Town shall be subject to review in an Article 78 proceeding.
E. 
All relative costs to correct the violation by the Town may be collected from the owner of the subject property in a civil action therefor by the Town. In addition thereto, or in lieu thereof, such costs may be assessed as a lien against the subject property of the owner and enforced in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 3 of the Lien Law for the enforcement of mechanics' liens on real property.
F. 
If any person shall fail to maintain real property in accordance with Chapter 265 above, the Code Enforcement Officer may authorize the work to be performed, the cost of which shall be borne out of the Town's general fund.

§ 265-16 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 6-12-2013 by L.L. No. 7-2013]
A. 
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation made pursuant thereto shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of no less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both, for conviction of a first offense; for conviction of a second offense, both of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine not less than $1,000 nor more than $1,500 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both; and upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense, all of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine not less than $1,500 nor more than $2,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each day of continued violation shall constitute a separate, additional offense.
B. 
The cost of cleanup of the property shall be assessed as a lien against the property taxes.
C. 
Administrative fee: $50 per incident of noncompliance.