Village of Rockville Centre, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Rockville Centre 2-22-1971 by L.L. No. 1-1971 as Ch. 30 of the 1971 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Awnings — See Ch. 96.
Bowling alleys and pool halls — See Ch. 105.
Building code — See Ch. 112.
Building drains — See Ch. 118.
Dangerous and unsafe buildings — See Ch. 122.
Moving of buildings — See Ch. 126.
Escalators — See Ch. 169.
Fire escapes — See Ch. 181.
Fire prevention and control — See Ch. 185.
Lodging and boarding houses — See Ch. 225.
Plumbing — See Ch. 256.
Solid waste — See Ch. 283.
Streets and sidewalks — Ch. 287.
Trees, shrubs and hedges — See Ch. 303.
Zoning — See Ch. 340.

§ 132-1 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
Definitions. Certain words, when used in this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated or unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, are defined as follows:
BUILDING or BUILDINGS
Refers exclusively to residence buildings now or hereafter existing. "Residence buildings" are buildings or structures in any part of which sleeping accommodations are provided, except such as for other reasons may be classed as public buildings, hotels and convents.
CELLAR OR BASEMENT DWELLING UNIT
A space in a residence building, or any part of which is below the grade of the property nearest to such space.
DWELLING UNIT
A building or each portion of a building occupied by one family.
NUISANCE
Embraces public nuisances known at common law or in equity jurisprudence; and whatever is dangerous to human life or detrimental to health, and whatever dwelling is overcrowded or is not provided with adequate means of ingress and egress or is not sufficiently supported, ventilated, sewered, drained or cleaned, and whatever renders the air or human food or drink unwholesome, are also severally, in contemplation of this chapter, "nuisances." All such nuisances are hereby declared illegal.
OCCUPIED or OCCUPANCY
As applied to any building or dwelling unit, shall be construed as though followed by the words "or intended, arranged or designed to be occupied (or occupancy)."
OWNER
Includes the record owner of the title to any premises and also anyone exercising the rights of ownership therein at the time of the making of any order with respect thereto by the Village Board, and shall include a lessee of the entire building or structure (other than a single-family private dwelling) or a mortgagee in possession.
PERSONS INTERESTED
Includes the owner as herein defined, and all other persons interested in the property to which such words refer.
PUBLIC HALL
A hall, corridor or passageway not within a dwelling unit. A "public room" or "public part" of a building is a portion of said building used or designed or intended to be used in common by the occupants of two or more dwelling units in such building or by persons who are not tenants of said building, or exclusively for mechanical equipment of such building, or for storage purposes. A "living room" is a room which is not a public hall, public room or other public part of a dwelling; provided, however, that except as hereinafter stated, every room used for sleeping purposes shall be deemed a living room. Closets, water closet compartments, bathrooms, cooking spaces less than 49 square feet in area, and halls, corridors and passageways entirely within a dwelling unit shall not be deemed to be living rooms.
REPAIR
Includes any alteration, structural change or the performance of any act necessary or requisite to make any building or structure or any part thereof found by the Village Board to be a dangerous building or a substandard building within the purview of this chapter, comply with and conform to the requirements of law.
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
The person in charge of the Building Department of the Village of Rockville Centre, or his duly authorized representative.
TOILET
Includes a washbasin and a water closet, including the space occupied by them, together with all proper water connections.
VILLAGE
The Village of Rockville Centre.
VILLAGE BOARD
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Rockville Centre.
VILLAGE COUNSEL
The Counsel of the Village of Rockville Centre and any other counsel appointed by the Village Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Word. usage.
(1) 
Where necessary, the singular shall include the plural, and the plural, the singular. The word "person" shall include a partnership, corporation, association or trustee.
(2) 
"Or" and "and" as used herein may be construed interchangeably, where such meaning is necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.

§ 132-2 Dangerous buildings defined.

All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "dangerous buildings":
A. 
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 the middle third of its base.
B. 
Those which have been damaged or have deteriorated so as to have become, in the judgment of the Village Board, dangerous to the life, health, morals or general welfare of the occupants thereof or to the people of the Village of Rockville Centre. Any building or structure which, exclusive of the foundations, shows 33 1/3% or more of damage to or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% or more damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or coverings shall be deemed a dangerous building.
C. 
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
D. 
Those having inadequate facilities for ingress or egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication.
E. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure the occupants thereof or members of the public or property.
F. 
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of the Building Code of the Village of Rockville Centre[1] or any provision of the fire prevention laws or regulations[2] of said Village or other ordinance of the Village of Rockville Centre.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 112, Building Code.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 185, Fire Prevention and Control.

§ 132-3 Residence building standards defined.

A. 
The following standards are hereby established as the minimum requirements necessary to render a dwelling unit or residence building fit for human occupancy:
(1) 
Every living room in every dwelling unit shall have one or more windows opening directly upon a street or other open public space, or upon a court or open space located upon the same lot or plot as the building. Every window shall have a minimum width of 20 inches between stop beads.
(2) 
Each building containing one or more dwelling units shall have a minimum of a private toilet and bathing facilities (consisting of either a shower or tub connected for use by running water) for each dwelling unit. Such toilet and bathing facilities may be contained in the same room, but said room may not be used for any other purpose. The room in which such toilet and bathing facilities are contained shall have proper ventilation in accordance with the regulations prescribed by the Building Code of the Village and/or the Plumbing Code of the Village.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 112, Building Code, and Ch. 256, Plumbing.
(3) 
Each dwelling unit shall have facilities for adequate running water and hot water in the bathroom and kitchen or room furnished with kitchen equipment, and each room in such dwelling unit shall have one or more electric fixtures suitably located therein so as to afford adequate lighting facilities.
(4) 
No dwelling unit shall be occupied by more persons than twice the number of living rooms in the dwelling unit less one, except that two persons may occupy a dwelling unit containing one room. No living room in any dwelling unit shall be so overcrowded that there shall be afforded less than 400 cubic feet of air to each adult and 200 cubic feet of air to each child under 12 years of age occupying such room. No room in any dwelling unit shall have sleeping accommodations for more persons than such room can accommodate without overcrowding such room in violation of this section.
(5) 
Minimum heat standards.
[Amended 9-8-1980 by L.L. No. 9-1980]
(a) 
Every dwelling, multiple dwelling and rooming house shall have heating facilities which shall be properly installed and maintained in good working order and shall safely and adequately heat all habitable rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms and water closet compartments. The use of unvented flame space heaters and space heaters without back-draft diverters and automatic controls is prohibited.
(b) 
A person who shall have contracted or undertaken or who is required by law to furnish heat to any dwelling, dwelling unit, multiple dwelling, or rooming house shall furnish heat to all habitable rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms and water closet compartments so as to maintain therein a temperature of not less than 68º F. during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and not less than 65º F. during the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. at a distance of 18 inches above floor level and three feet from an outside wall. Such temperatures shall be maintained during the heating season of October 1 through the following May 31.
(c) 
Where fuel rationing is imposed or an energy crisis or an emergency exists the Superintendent, Department of Buildings, is authorized to grant a general variance or exemption from the provisions of this section and the ordinance and to take such action as he deems necessary or appropriate under the circumstances in the interest of public health, for the period of the fuel rationing, energy crisis or emergency.
(6) 
All windows in all living rooms shall be so arranged that they can be opened by the occupant and shall have an aggregate glazed area of not less than 1/10 of the floor area of the room served thereby, and such windows shall be so arranged that when fully opened the total open space shall not be less than 50% of the total required window space. No alterations of such rooms shall be made whereby the rooms are made smaller in order to conform to the above standards.
B. 
Any building wherein conditions exist which fail to conform to the foregoing standards are hereby declared to be substandard and the use thereof for human occupancy declared unlawful.
C. 
Any buildings which shall have any or all of the following defects shall also be deemed and are hereby declared substandard buildings and shall not be used for human occupancy:
(1) 
Any cellar or basement unit, any living room in which 2/3 or more is below the grade nearest thereto, provided that if such cellar or basement dwelling unit shall be vacated and shall cease to be used for dwelling purposes, then and in that event such building shall cease to be a substandard building because of the existence therein of such dwelling units.
(2) 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe and insanitary that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those who live or may live therein.
(3) 
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who do or may live therein.
(4) 
Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, insanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Village.

§ 132-4 Remedies to be applied for removal and repair.

The following remedies shall be applied in substance by the Superintendent of Public Works and the Village Board in ordering removal or repair:
A. 
If the dangerous building or substandard building can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired. In all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered removed.
B. 
In all cases where a dangerous building or a substandard building is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of any ordinance of this Village or statute of the State of New York, it shall be ordered removed unless such hazard or violation can be cured, in which event the building shall be ordered repaired.
C. 
Any structures or part of a structure or premises that from any cause may at any time become dangerous or unsafe structurally or as a fire hazard shall be repaired and secured or taken down and removed. A vacant building unguarded or open at door or window shall be deemed dangerous or unsafe as a fire hazard within the meaning of this chapter.

§ 132-5 Dangerous buildings; nuisances.

A. 
All dangerous buildings within the terms of § 132-2 of this chapter are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired or removed as herein provided.
B. 
All substandard buildings within the terms of § 132-3 of this chapter are hereby declared to be unsafe and dangerous to the public and to be public nuisances and shall be repaired or removed as herein provided or otherwise made to comply with the standards set forth in this chapter.

§ 132-6 Duties of Superintendent of Public Works.

The Superintendent of Public Works shall:
A. 
Inspect or cause to be inspected as often as may be necessary to insure the enforcement of this chapter, all buildings in the Village for the purpose of determining whether any conditions exist therein which render such places a dangerous building within the terms of § 132-2 of this chapter and whether any conditions exist therein not in compliance with the standards of this chapter.
B. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which a complaint is filed by a person to the effect that the same is or may be existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
C. 
Notify in writing the owner of any building found by him to be a dangerous building within the standards set forth in § 132-2 of this chapter, and of any building found by him not conforming to the standards set forth in § 132-3 hereof, that he must repair or remove said building in accordance with the terms of the notice and this chapter or otherwise comply with the standards set forth in this chapter within a reasonable time to be fixed by said notice.
D. 
Set forth in the notice provided for in Subsection C hereof, a description of the building or structure or parts thereof deemed to violate the provisions of this chapter, a statement of the particulars in which the building is dangerous or fails to comply with the standards set forth in § 132-3 and a direction requiring compliance with the standards set forth in this chapter or that the building or structure be put in such condition as to comply with the terms of this chapter or that said building or structure be removed.
E. 
Report to the Village Board any noncompliance with the notice provided for in Subsections C and D.
F. 
Appear at all hearings conducted by the Village Board and testify as to the condition of the dangerous building and/or substandard building.
G. 
With the assistance of the Village Counsel, do such acts and take such proceedings as may be required to bring about the repair or removal of buildings as ordered by the Village Board and take such steps as may be required by the provisions of § 89, Subdivision 7-A, of the Village Law to cause the removal or repair of any building which is dangerous or unsafe to the public, and to cause the assessment of all costs and expenses incidental thereto against the land on which said buildings are located.
H. 
Firmly affix a notice in a conspicuous place in front of all dangerous buildings and substandard buildings immediately after the issuance of the order provided for in § 132-7D of this chapter, as follows:
(1) 
Where the building is a substandard building, such notice shall read as follows:
"This building has been found to be a substandard building by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Rockville Centre. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired or removed or made to comply with the direction which has been given the owner. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such direction is complied with."
(2) 
Where the building is a dangerous building, such notice shall read as follows:
"This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Rockville Centre. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired or removed or made to comply with the direction which has been given the owner. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such direction has been complied with."
I. 
Notwithstanding any inconsistent section of this chapter, the Superintendent, Department of Buildings, shall have the authority to immediately issue a summons, returnable in the Village Court, for any violation of the standards of § 132-3A(5) of this chapter.
[Added 9-8-1980 by L.L. No. 9-1980]

§ 132-7 Procedures for Village Board.

The Village Board shall:
A. 
Upon receipt of a report of the Superintendent of Public Works as provided for in § 132-6E hereof, give written notice to the persons interested in said building to appear before them on a certain date, within 15 days of the date of the notice, to show cause why compliance with the standards set forth in this chapter should not be made, or why the building or structure reported to be a dangerous building should not be repaired or removed, or why the building reported to be a substandard building should not be repaired or removed, in accordance with a statement of particulars set forth in the Superintendent of Public Works' notice provided for by § 132-6C and D of this chapter.
B. 
Hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the persons interested in said building may offer relative to the dangerous building or substandard building.
C. 
Make a written finding of facts as to whether or not the building in question is a dangerous building within the meaning of § 132-2 hereof or a substandard building within the meaning of § 132-3 hereof.
D. 
Issue an order commanding the persons interested in said building to repair or remove any building found to be a dangerous building within the terms of this chapter, or to repair or remove any building found to be a substandard building within the terms of this chapter, or to comply with the standards set forth in this chapter. Such order shall fix the time when compliance therewith shall commence, not more than 10 days after the making thereof, and shall fix a reasonable time within which such compliance shall be completed. The Village Board may, in its discretion and upon good cause shown, extend the time for full compliance with said order.
E. 
If the owner fails to comply with the order provided for in Subdivision D hereof, or any extension thereof, the Village Board may direct the Superintendent of Public Works to cause such dangerous building or structure to be repaired or removed or to cause such substandard building or structure to be repaired or removed as the facts may warrant under the standards hereinbefore set forth; provided that before proceeding to repair or to remove or cause the repair or removal of any dangerous or unsafe building, the Superintendent of Public Works may, with the advice and assistance of the Village Counsel, proceed in accordance with the provisions of Section 89, Subdivision 7-a of the Village Law, and institute appropriate proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain an order or judgment directing or authorizing such repair or removal. The Superintendent of Public Works shall, with the assistance of the Village Counsel, take such legal action as may be necessary to cause the costs of such repair or removal and all costs and expenses incurred by the Village in connection with said proceedings to be charged against the land on which the building stands or did stand, as a municipal lien, or cause such costs to be added to the tax duplicate as an assessment or to be levied as a special tax against the land upon which the building stands or did stand. The lien of the Village or any expense incurred in respect to the repair or removal of any dangerous building shall have priority over all other liens and encumbrances except taxes, assessments and water rates. Except with respect to the lien imposed for expenses incurred in respect to the repair or removal of any dangerous building, nothing herein contained shall be construed as placing upon the property a lien which supersedes or is superior to the lien of any mortgage in respect to any building and property executed and recorded prior to the existence of such lien.
F. 
Report to the Village Counsel the names of all persons not complying with the order provided for in Subdivision D hereof.
G. 
The Village Board may, in the first instance and without service of any notice by the Superintendent of Public Works, give notice to the persons interested in any building which they have reason to believe may be a dangerous building or a substandard building, to appear before them on a certain date, within 15 days from the date of such notice, to show cause why the building or structure specified in such notice should not be repaired or removed or otherwise made to comply with the provisions of this chapter. Such notice shall contain the same particulars as are required by § 132-6D of this chapter. Upon the return day of said notice, the Village Board shall thereupon proceed in the same manner as prescribed in Subdivisions B, C, D, E and F of this section.
H. 
The Village Board may, from time to time and upon due notice, vacate, modify or amend any order made by them as herein provided, and may, either on their own motion or upon the motion of any person interested, reopen any proceedings in which they have made an order, for the purpose of taking further testimony, and upon such rehearing, render any decision and make any order consistent with the provisions of this chapter that they shall deem just and equitable.

§ 132-8 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
The owner of any dangerous building or of any substandard building who, after the date of the adoption of this chapter, knowingly permits such dangerous building or substandard building to be used for human occupancy, or who shall fail to comply with any order of the Village Board to repair or remove said building or otherwise make it comply with the standards set forth in this chapter, shall be guilty of disorderly conduct and shall be a disorderly person and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not exceeding $100 for each offense.
B. 
For the purpose of Subdivision A of this section, each day during which there is a failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter or of any order issued by the Village Board shall constitute a separate offense.
C. 
In any prosecution under this section, the fact that any dangerous building or substandard building or any part of either of said buildings was used for human occupancy shall be presumptive evidence that the same was so used with the knowledge and consent of the owner.
D. 
Any person removing the notice provided for in § 132-6H hereof shall be guilty of disorderly conduct and shall be a disorderly person and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not exceeding $100 for each offense.
E. 
All penalties collected under this chapter shall be the property of the Village, but no provision of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the Village from creating and maintaining out of such penalties a separate revolving fund, not to exceed the sum of $10,000, out of which payment may be made for repairs or removals made or caused to be made as provided herein.

§ 132-9 Duties of Village Counsel.

Counsel shall:
A. 
Prosecute all persons failing to comply with the terms of the order provided to be given under § 132-7D.
B. 
Prosecute all persons who shall in any way violate the terms of this chapter.
C. 
Appear at all hearings before the Village Board in regard to dangerous buildings and substandard buildings.
D. 
In his discretion, bring suit to collect all municipal liens, assessments or cost incurred by the Village for repairing or causing to be removed dangerous buildings or in repairing or causing to be removed substandard buildings.
E. 
Take such other legal action as is necessary to carry out the terms and provisions of this chapter, including actions to abate nuisances or for the enforcement of this chapter by injunction or otherwise.

§ 132-10 Service of notice or order.

All notices or orders required to be given hereunder may be served by delivering to and leaving a copy of the same with the person entitled to such notice. In cases where any such person is absent from the Village, all notices or orders provided for herein shall be sent by registered mail to said person, so absent, to the last known address of said person or to the last address of said person as shown by the records of the Receiver of Taxes and/or in the office of the County Clerk of Nassau County. Whenever such service is made by registered mail, a copy of such notice or order shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the front of said dangerous building or substandard building to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service.

§ 132-11 Administrative liability.

No officer, agent or employee of the Village shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the Village as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter shall be defended by the Village Counsel until the final determination of the proceedings therein.

§ 132-12 Duties of Fire and Police Department employees.

The employees of the Fire Department of the Village and the employees of the Police Department of the Village shall make a report in writing to the Superintendent of Public Works of all buildings and structures which in the discharge of their respective duties are found or may be suspected to be dangerous buildings or substandard buildings within the terms of this chapter. Such reports must be delivered to the Superintendent of Public Works within 24 hours of the discovery of such building by any employee of said Fire Department and Police Department.

§ 132-13 Privileges of owner.

A. 
The owner of any building used in whole or in part for human occupancy against whom no proceedings hereunder are pending with respect to such building may request the Superintendent of Public Works to cause an inspection thereof to be made, whereupon the Superintendent of Public Works shall cause an inspection of such building to be made, and if, upon such inspection and a report thereon to the Village Board, it shall be disclosed that the same is not a dangerous building or a substandard building, the Village Board will direct the Superintendent of Public Works to issue a certificate to that effect to such applicant. The issuance of such certificate is not to be construed as a finding that such building is not a dangerous building or a substandard building beyond the date of issuance thereof. Should, however, such inspection disclose said building or structure to be a dangerous building or a substandard building, the Village Board will direct the Superintendent of Public Works to give written notice to the applicant to appear before them on a certain date, within 15 days from the date of said notice, and shall thereupon proceed in the same manner as prescribed in § 132-7B, C, D, E and F of this chapter. Such notice shall contain the same particulars as are required by § 132-6D hereof.
B. 
No qualified owner who has applied for inspection pursuant to Subdivision A of this section shall be prosecuted under § 132-8 hereof, with respect to any building of which inspection has been requested, unless he fails to comply with the order of the Village Board made pursuant to Subdivision A hereof.

§ 132-14 Review of determination.

Any person deeming himself aggrieved by any order or direction of the Village Board may have the determination reviewed by the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Act.

§ 132-15 Time for compliance.

All repairs required by this chapter upon buildings erected prior to the date when this chapter became effective shall, unless otherwise in this chapter expressly provided, be made prior to the date of adoption of this chapter, or at such earlier date as may be deemed necessary by the Village Board in order to remove a condition dangerous or detrimental to life or health.

§ 132-16 Saving clause.

Whenever the provisions of any local ordinance, resolution or regulation impose requirements in respect to residence buildings inconsistent with the terms and provisions of this chapter or any part thereof, the provisions of this chapter shall govern, provided that should any such ordinance, resolution or regulation impose more stringent requirements with respect to dangerous buildings or substandard dwellings, as herein defined, than the provisions of this chapter impose, then such more stringent requirements shall be construed to apply.

§ 132-17 Application of remedies.

The several remedies herein provided with respect to the repair or removal of dangerous buildings or of substandard buildings or the assessment and recovery of the cost of repair or removal thereof incurred by the Village, and any other remedies legal or equitable available, shall be deemed cumulative, and any and all thereof may be pursued concurrently or consecutively; the pursuit of any remedy shall not be construed as an election of the waiver of the right to pursue any and all of the others.