[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Hornell 4-21-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building certificates of occupancy — See Ch. 120.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 148.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 154.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 160.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 168.
Housing standards — See Ch. 178.
Pest control — See Ch. 222.
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and preserve the health, safety and welfare of the public and residents and/or owners of property located within this city by providing a method for the removal or repair of buildings that, from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public and residents and/or owners of property within the city. Unsafe buildings serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein; may be a point of congregation by vagrants and transients; may attract rodents or insects; and may also attract illegal drug activity. The powers conferred upon the city by this chapter shall be in addition to all other powers conferred upon the city in relation to the same subject by state law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used by residential, business or industry.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the city or such other person appointed by the Common Council to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- UNSAFE BUILDINGS
- Includes all buildings which have any or all of the following defects:
- A. Those whose interior walls or exterior bearing walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent as to weaken the structural support they provide.
- B. Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage to or deterioration of the supporting members or members or 50% of damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
- C. Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used
- D. Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of this city.
- E. Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease to those living therein or adjacent thereto.
- F. Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, safety or general welfare of human beings who live therein with particular reference to the requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
- G. Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication, again referencing the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
- H. Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they fall and injure members of the public or property.
- I. Those which consist of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction fire or other casualty.
- J. Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the people of this city.
No person, firm, corporation or association owning, possessing or controlling a building in this city shall permit, suffer or allow said building now or hereafter to be or become unsafe to the public and/or residents from any cause whatsoever.
The Building Inspector shall make inspections of all unsafe buildings within the city and report to the Board of Public Safety all unsafe buildings which from time to time may be found within the limits of the city.
The Board of Public Safety shall consider the report of the Building Inspector and, if in its opinion the report so warrants, shall determine that the building is unsafe and order its demolition or repair, if the same can be safety repaired, and further order that a notice shall be given to the owner as follows.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe.
An order requiring the building to be repaired or demolished.
That the repairing or demolition of the building shall commence within 30 days of the serving of the notice, as hereinafter provided, and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Board of Public Safety in relation to such unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the day of service of the notice.
A statement that in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to repair or demolish the building, the Board of Public Safety is authorized to provide for its repair or demolition, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of demolition, including legal expenses.
Said notice shall be served in the following manner:
By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representative, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises as shown by the last preceding completed assessment roll of the city or of the County Clerk, such service to be complete, and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence upon service; or
By mailing a copy of said notice to such owner as aforesaid, by registered mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the owner and by affixing a copy of said notice to the premises, such service to be complete, and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence 10 days after the filing of the return receipt.
A copy of the notice shall also be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the county within which such building is located, which notice shall be filed by such Clerk in the same manner as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided, except as otherwise hereinafter provided. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of filing; provided, however, that it may be vacated upon the order of a judge or upon the consent of the City Attorney.
The hearing shall be conducted before the Board of Public Safety. The Building Inspector shall present his or her report to the Board of Public Safety in writing. The owner or his or her representative, if present, shall call such witnesses as he or she deems necessary. The Board of Public Safety shall make written findings of fact from the testimony offered as to whether or not the building in question is an unsafe building.
If such owner shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply and shall fail to appear at said hearing, then the Board of Public Safety shall direct the repair or demolition of the building forthwith.
If such owner shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply and after appearing at said hearing the Board of Public Safety finds the building is a public nuisance and directs its repair or demolition, the owner shall repair or demolish said building within the time prescribed by the Board of Public Safety.
If the owner fails or neglects to repair or demolish said building as directed by the Board of Public Safety following the hearing, then the Board of Public Safety shall direct the repair or demolition of same forthwith.
In the event of neglect or refusal of the persons so notified to comply with said order of the Board of Public Safety, the Board of Public Safety shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building by city employees or by contract. Except in an emergency, any contract in excess of $20,000 shall be awarded by competitive bidding.
In case there shall be, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, actual and immediate danger of the falling of a building so as to endanger public safety, life or property or actual or immediate menace to health or public welfare as a result of the conditions present in or about a building, he or she shall cause the necessary work to be done to render such a building temporarily safe, whether the procedure prescribed in this chapter for unsafe buildings has been instituted or not.
When emergency work is to be performed under this section, the Building Inspector shall cause the owner thereof to be served personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, and, if served by registered mail, shall post on the premises a notice to comply containing a description of the premises, a statement of the facts in which the building is unsafe or dangerous and orders and directions to correct the conditions which constitute an emergency within a specified period not to exceed three days from actual or constructive receipt of the notice.
In the event that the emergency does not permit any delay in correction, the notice shall state that the city has corrected the emergency condition.
In both cases, the notice shall state that the corrective costs of the emergency will be assessed against the owner pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
In addition to the remedies provided by this chapter, the Board of Public Safety may request the City Attorney to make an application to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or demolished.
All costs and expenses incurred by the city in connection with the administratively and/or judicially substantiated proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said building, shall be assessed against the land on which said building is located.
The city may commence a special proceeding pursuant to § 78-b of the General Municipal Law to collect the cost of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses.