Town of Tonawanda, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 54-16 Complaints.

The Code Enforcement Officer shall review and investigate complaints which allege or assert the existence of conditions or activities that fail to comply with the Uniform Code, the Energy Code, this chapter, or any other local law, ordinance or regulation adopted for administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code or the Energy Code. The process for responding to a complaint shall include such of the following steps as the Code Enforcement Officer deems appropriate:
A. 
Performing an inspection of the conditions and/or activities alleged to be in violation and documenting the results of such inspection;
B. 
If a violation is found to exist, providing the owner of the affected property and any other person who may be responsible for the violation with notice of the violation and opportunity to abate, correct or cure the violation, or otherwise proceeding in the manner described in § 54-19 of this chapter;
C. 
If appropriate, issuing a stop-work order;
D. 
If a violation which was found to exist is abated or corrected, performing an inspection to ensure that the violation has been abated or corrected, preparing a final written report reflecting such abatement or correction, and filing such report with the complaint.

§ 54-17 Recordkeeping.

A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities conducted by all Code Enforcement Personnel, including records of:
(1) 
All applications received, reviewed and approved or denied;
(2) 
All plans, specifications and construction documents approved;
(3) 
All building permits, certificates of occupancy/certificate of compliance, temporary certificates, stop-work orders, and operating permits issued;
(4) 
All inspections and tests performed;
(5) 
All statements and reports issued;
(6) 
All complaints received;
(7) 
All investigations conducted;
(8) 
All other features and activities specified in or contemplated by §§ 54-5 through 54-16, inclusive, of this chapter; and
(9) 
All fees charged and collected.
B. 
All such records shall be public records open for public inspection during normal business hours. All plans and records pertaining to buildings or structures, or appurtenances thereto, shall be retained for at least the minimum time period so required by state law and regulation.

§ 54-18 Program review and reporting.

A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall annually submit to the Town Board a written report and summary of all business conducted by the Code Enforcement Officer and the inspectors, including a report and summary of all transactions and activities described in § 54-17 of this chapter and a report and summary of all appeals or litigation pending or concluded.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall annually submit to the Secretary of State, on behalf of the Town, on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, a report of the activities of the Town relative to administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall, upon request of the New York State Department of State, provide to the New York State Department of State, from the records and related materials the Town is required to maintain, excerpts, summaries, tabulations, statistics and other information and accounts of the activities of the Town in connection with administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code.

§ 54-19 Violations; enforcement.

A. 
Compliance orders. The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to order in writing the remedying of any condition or activity found to exist in, on or about any building, structure, or premises in violation of the Uniform Code, Energy Code, or this chapter. Upon finding that any such condition or activity exists, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a compliance order. The compliance order shall be in writing; be dated and signed by the Code Enforcement Officer; specify the condition or activity that violates the Uniform Code, Energy Code, or this chapter; specify the provision or provisions of the Uniform Code, Energy Code, or this chapter which is/are violated by the specified condition or activity; specify the period of time which the Code Enforcement Officer deems to be reasonably necessary for achieving compliance; direct that compliance be achieved within the specified period of time; and state that an action or proceeding to compel compliance may be instituted if compliance is not achieved within the specified period of time. The Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the compliance order, or a copy thereof, to be served on the owner of the affected property personally or by registered mail. The Code Enforcement Officer shall be permitted, but not required, to cause the compliance order, or a copy thereof, to be served on any builder, architect, tenant, contractor, subcontractor, construction superintendent, or their agents, or any other person taking part or assisting in work being performed at the affected property personally or by registered mail, provided, however, that failure to serve any person mentioned in this sentence shall not affect the efficacy of the compliance order.
B. 
Appearance tickets. The Code Enforcement Officer and each inspector are authorized to issue appearance tickets for any violation of the Uniform Code.
C. 
Civil penalties. In addition to those penalties provided for by state law, any person who violates any provision of the Uniform Code, Energy Code or this chapter, or any term or condition of any building permit, certificate of occupancy/certificate of compliance, temporary certificate, stop-work order, operating permit or other notice or order issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to any provision of this chapter, shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $250 for each day or part thereof during which such violation continues. The civil penalties provided by this subsection shall be recoverable in an action instituted in the name of the Town.
D. 
Injunctive relief. An action or proceeding may be instituted in the name of the Town, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct, or abate any violation of, or to enforce, any provision of the Uniform Code, Energy Code, this chapter, or any term or condition of any building permit, certificate of occupancy and/or certificate of compliance, temporary certificate, stop-work order, operating permit, compliance order, or other notice or order issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to any provision of this chapter. In particular, but not by way of limitation, where the construction or use of a building or structure is in violation of any provision of the Uniform Code, Energy Code, this chapter, or any stop-work order, compliance order or other order obtained under the Uniform Code, Energy Code or this chapter, an action or proceeding may be commenced in the name of the Town, in the Supreme Court or in any other court having the requisite jurisdiction, to obtain an order directing the removal of the building or structure or an abatement of the condition in violation of such provisions. No action or proceeding described in this subsection shall be commenced without the appropriate authorization from the Town Board.
E. 
Remedies not exclusive. No remedy or penalty specified in this section shall be the exclusive remedy or penalty available to address any violation described in this section, and each remedy or penalty specified in this section shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for or limitation of, the other remedies or penalties specified in this section, in § 54-8 of this chapter, in any other section of this chapter, or in any other applicable law. Any remedy or penalty specified in this section may be pursued at any time, whether prior to, simultaneously with, or after the pursuit of any other remedy or penalty specified in this section, in § 54-8 of this chapter, in any other section of this chapter, or in any other applicable law. In particular, but not by way of limitation, each remedy and penalty specified in this section shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for or limitation of, the penalties specified in Subdivision (2) of § 382 of the Executive Law, and any remedy or penalty specified in this section may be pursued at any time, whether prior to, simultaneously with, or after the pursuit of any penalty specified in Subdivision (2) of § 382 of the Executive Law.
F. 
Responsibility for violations. A violation of this chapter by any person, firm or corporation performing plumbing and/or electrical work shall also be deemed a violation by the licensee, the master plumber, the master electrician, the owner of the premises on which such work is performed and the applicant for the plumbing and/or electrical permit. A violation of this chapter by any person, firm or corporation performing any other work covered by this chapter shall also be deemed to be a violation by the applicant for the permit and the owner of the premises on which such work is performed.

§ 54-20 Fees.

A. 
A nonrefundable fee schedule shall be established by resolution of the Town Board. Such nonrefundable fee schedule may thereafter be amended from time to time by like resolution. The fees set forth in, or determined in accordance with, such fee schedule or amended fee schedule shall be charged and collected for the submission of applications, issuance of building, plumbing and/or electrical permits, amended building, plumbing and/or electrical permits, renewed building, plumbing, plumbing and/or electrical permits, certificates of occupancy and/or certificate of compliance, temporary certificates, operating permits, firesafety and property maintenance inspections, and other actions of the Code Enforcement Officer described in or contemplated by this chapter.
B. 
No building, plumbing and/or electrical permit shall be issued until the nonrefundable fee(s) have been paid.
C. 
Building permit fees shall be determined by the cost of the proposed improvement, unless otherwise designated separately in the fee schedule adopted by Town Board resolution. The value of the improvement as determined by actual value of construction or estimated value of construction shall be established by resolution of the Town Board.
D. 
In the event that work requiring a building, plumbing and/or electrical permit is commenced prior to the issuance of the permit, the fee for the permit shall be double the regular rate, or the additional sum of $50, whichever is greater.

§ 54-21 Intermunicipal agreements.

The Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to enter into an agreement, in the name of the Town, with other governments to carry out the terms of this chapter, provided that such agreement does not violate any provision of the Uniform Code, Energy Code, Part 1203 of Title 19 of the NYCRR, or any other applicable law.

§ 54-22 Applicability.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to all properties in the Town of Tonawanda, exclusive of the Village of Kenmore.
B. 
Any provision of this chapter and any amendment thereto which regulates the granting, expiration or revocation of permits, the construction of buildings or the use of the premises shall be applicable whether the permit was issued or such construction commenced before or after the effective date of this chapter or any amendment thereto.

§ 54-23 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Except as otherwise provided for by this chapter or state law, any violation by a person, firm or corporation of any provision of this chapter, as amended from time to time, shall be deemed a violation punishable by the following:
(1) 
First violation, a written warning;
(2) 
Second violation within 12 months of the first violation, a fine of $50;
(3) 
Third violation within 12 months of the first violation, a fine of $100;
(4) 
Fourth violation within 12 months of the first violation, a fine of $150; and
(5) 
Each subsequent violation within 12 months of the first violation, a fine of $250.
B. 
Any person who takes part in or assists in any violation of this chapter shall also be subject to the penalties provided herein.
C. 
Each day that a violation of this chapter is committed or permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
D. 
The notice of violation shall state the date of the violation, specific violation, fine imposed and date on which the violator may appear in the Town of Tonawanda Justice Court to contest the violation. The notice of violation shall be signed and affirmed by the Code Enforcement Officer or his designee.
E. 
If a penalty imposed pursuant to this section remains unpaid for 30 days, the Town Board may authorize the Town Attorney to commence legal action to collect such fine.

§ 54-24 Additional remedies.

A. 
Appropriate action and proceedings may be taken at law or in equity to prevent unlawful construction or plumbing work or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises or to prevent an illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about any premises, and these remedies shall be in addition to penalties otherwise prescribed by law.
B. 
The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the Town Attorney from instituting an appropriate action or proceeding to prevent an unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion or maintenance of use or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent the occupancy of a building, structure or premises or to prevent an illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about any premises.