[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Middletown 5-24-1993 (Ch. 73A of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Air pollution — See Ch. 147.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 188.
Building construction — See Ch. 193.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 198.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 261.
Graffiti — See Ch. 288.
Housing — See Ch. 296.
Littering — See Ch. 319.
Snow and ice — See Ch. 403.
Solid waste — See Ch. 407.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 416.
Trees — See Ch. 449.
Vehicles, abandoned and junked — See Ch. 457.
It is the purpose of this chapter to assist in the continued revitalization of areas throughout the City of Middletown to attract new businesses, promote the public interest in continued development, ensure regular maintenance and improvements to present structures, safeguard against blight and preserve property values and community standards and establish minimum maintenance standards to safeguard life, limb, health, safety, property and the public welfare in the best interest of the residents of the City of Middletown.
It is found and declared that, by reason of lack of maintenance and progressive deterioration, structures and properties have the further effect of creating blighting conditions and initiating slums and that, if the same are not curtailed and removed, the aforesaid conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate in time the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same. In addition, certain insect-borne health hazards can be created if vacant land or open areas are allowed to accumulate standing water, which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects. By reason of timely regulations and restrictions, as herein contained, the growth of slums and blight may be prevented, the potential for health hazards can be diminished, the neighborhood and property values can thereby be maintained, the desirability and amenities of residential and nonresidential uses and neighborhoods can be enhanced, and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCESSORY BUILDING
- A subordinate building located on the same lot with the main building, occupied by or devoted to an accessory use. Where an accessory building is attached to the main building in a substantial manner, as by a wall or roof, such accessory building shall be considered part of the main building.
- Any structure having a roof supported by columns or by walls and intended for shelter, housing, protection or enclosure of persons, animals or property. Depending upon its applicability, the use herein of "building" shall include the term "structure." In this chapter, it shall apply to buildings used primarily for commercial, industrial, mixed occupancy and/or retail business.
- The City of Middletown.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The officer employed by the City of Middletown to enforce the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code previously adopted by said City.
- The condition or appearance of a building or structure characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, excessive use or lack of maintenance.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises or open space or any part thereof or any building or structure that may be lawfully viewed by any member of the public from a sidewalk, street or alleyway or from any adjoining or neighboring premises.
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- Those portions of a building that are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.
- GOOD WORKING CONDITION
- Fully operable for the use intended.
- GOOD WORKING REPAIR
- A standard of maintenance that renders a building safe, habitable and possessed of a neat and orderly appearance.
- OPERATOR OR MANAGER
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a building or part thereof.
- Includes any person having individual or joint title to real property in any form defined by the laws as an estate or interest therein, whether legal or equitable and however acquired.
- Includes an individual, a partnership, a joint venture, a corporation, an association and any other organization recognized as an entity by the laws of the State of New York.
- A building, dwelling and/or grounds used primarily for commercial, industrial and/or retail purposes.
- Land and whatever is erected on, growing on, placed on or affixed thereto.
- All cardboard, plastic materials or glass containers, wastepaper, rags, sweeping, pieces of wood, excelsior, rubber and like waste material.
- STANDING WATER
- Water which is stagnant and/or without motion for such period
of time as may be required to allow mosquito eggs (or eggs of other
insects) to be laid and mosquito larvae (or larvae of other insects)
to grow. Standing water can be found or contained in, among other
things, puddles, swimming pools, swimming pool covers, buckets, flowerpots,
garbage cans, birdbaths, tires, roofs and gutters, fish ponds and
vacant lots.[Added 7-10-2000]
- A combination of material assembled, constructed or erected at a fixed location, including, for example, a building, stationary and portable carports and swimming pools, the use of which requires location on the ground or attachment to something having location on the ground. In this chapter, it shall apply to only structures used primarily for commercial, industrial, mixed occupancy and/or retail purposes.
- ZONING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The officer employed by the City of Middletown to enforce the zoning laws of the City of Middletown and this chapter.
This chapter establishes certain minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all commercial, industrial, mixed occupancy or retail structures and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the structure, the premises or the equipment of facilities contained therein, as are required by the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and which apply primarily to residential structures.
In any case where a provision is found to be in conflict with any applicable zoning, building, plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, fire or safety code of the City of Middletown, County of Orange, State of New York or United States of America, the provision that established the higher standard, as determined by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, shall prevail.
The exterior of the premises and the condition of structures shall be maintained so that the premises and all buildings shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the standards of the community and shall not constitute blight from the point of view of adjoining property owners or lead to the progressive deterioration of the neighborhood. Such maintenance shall include, without limitation, the following:
Foundations, porches, decks, steps and walls shall be in good condition.
Vent attachments shall be safe, durable, smoketight and capable of withstanding the action of flue gases.
Exterior balconies, porches, landings, stairs and fire escapes shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed, installed and maintained to minimize the hazard of falling and unsightly appearance.
All permanent signs and billboards exposed to public view permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair. Any signs that have become excessively weathered, those upon which the paint has excessively peeled or those whose supports have deteriorated so that they no longer meet the structural requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code shall, with their supports, be removed or put into a good state of repair. All nonoperative or broken electrical signs shall be repaired or shall, with their supports, be removed. Signs denoting a business which is no longer on the premises shall be removed within 30 days of the date on which the business ceases to occupy the premises.
All storefronts and walls exposed to public view shall be kept in a good state of repair. Storefronts or any portion of the structure shall not show evidence of excessive weathering or deterioration of any nature. Unoccupied storefronts shall be maintained in a clean and neat appearance.
Any awnings or marquees and accompanying structural member shall be maintained in a good state of repair. In the event that said awnings or marquees are made of cloth, plastic or of a similar material and are exposed to public view, such material shall not show evidence of excessive weathering, discoloration, ripping, tearing, holes or other deterioration. Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any encroachment on streets, sidewalks or other parts of the public domain.
[Amended 6-17-2014 by L.L. No. 3-2014]
All vacant buildings shall be continuously guarded or sealed and kept secure against unauthorized entry. Materials and methods with which such buildings are sealed must meet the approval of the Department of Public Works as to color, design and building material. Owners of such buildings shall take such steps and perform such acts as may be required 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 and that such property does not become infested with vermin or rodents.
Notwithstanding anything else contained in this chapter, owners of all residential buildings that become vacant for whatever reason and remain vacant for at least 30 days, and all owners of occupied residential buildings in which there are any windows that have been broken for at least 30 days, must repair or replace the broken windows with glass or at least cover all broken windows in those buildings with plywood, painted with the same color as the exterior of the structure. If the building and/or dwelling remains vacant for at least 60 days, and/or if the broken windows are not repaired and/or replaced within 60 days, the owner must remove the plywood covering and repair or replace the broken windows with glass, to the satisfaction of the Department of Public Works. If the owner of the property does not comply with the requirements of this subsection, the City, through its Department of Public Works, can perform such work after the sixty-day period, and the cost of such work can and will be added to the next City tax bill for the property.
Exterior walls, including doors and windows and the areas around doors, windows, chimneys and other parts of the building, shall be so maintained as to keep water from entering the building. Materials which have been damaged or show evidence of dry rot or other deterioration shall be required or replaced and refinished in a workmanlike manner.
All exposed exterior surfaces shall be maintained free of broken or cracked glass, loose shingles or loose or crumbling stones or bricks, loose shutters, railings, aerials, excessive peeling paint or other conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance. Said conditions shall be corrected by repair or removal. All exposed exterior surfaces of structures not inherently resistant to deterioration shall be coated, treated or sealed to protect them from deterioration or weathering. Wood, masonry or other exterior materials that will naturally resist deterioration do not have to be treated but must be otherwise maintained in a sound, secure, workmanlike manner. Exterior surfaces that have been painted or otherwise coated must be maintained in a neat, orderly, serviceable manner. Floors, walls, ceilings, stairs and fixtures of buildings shall be maintained in a clean, safe, sanitary condition. Every floor, exterior wall, roof, porch or appurtenance 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.
Roof drains, overflow pipes, air-conditioning drains and any other device used to channel water off or out of a building shall be maintained in a safe and operable condition and shall not drain onto a public sidewalk, walkway, street, alleyway or adjoining property.
Lawns shall be cut and bushes, shrubs and hedges shall be trimmed regularly during the growing season so as to avoid an unsightly appearance.
Surface or subsurface water, wherever located or however contained on property, shall be appropriately drained to protect buildings and structures and to prevent the development of standing water. Gutters, culverts, catch basins, drain inlets, stormwater sewers or other satisfactory drainage systems shall be utilized where necessary in order to eliminate the accumulation or development of standing water. No roof, surface or sanitary drainage shall be allowed which shall allow the development of standing water or which shall create a structural, safety or health hazard by reason of construction, maintenance or manner of discharge.
Fences and other minor construction shall be maintained in a safe and substantial condition.
Steps, walks, driveways, parking spaces and similar paved areas shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. Any holes or other hazards that may exist shall be filled and necessary repairs or replacement carried out.
Yards and vacant lots shall be kept clean and free of physical hazards, rodent harborage and infestation, and standing water. They shall be maintained in a manner that will prevent dust or other particles from being blown about the neighborhood. Open walls, cesspools or cisterns shall be securely closed or barricaded to prevent access by the public or the development of standing water. All temporary excavations shall be kept covered or barricaded so as to protect the general public from injury and to prevent the development of standing water.
All land must be kept free of standing water, and all land must be kept free of dead or dying trees and accumulation of brush, shrubs, weeds, grass, stumps, roots, excessive and/or noxious growths, garbage, refuse or debris which would either tend to start a fire or increase the intensity of a fire already started or cause poisoning or irritation to people or animals or cause or tend to cause or enhance an unhealthy or dangerous or obnoxious condition on said property or on any adjacent or neighboring property.
[Amended 4-29-1996; 7-10-2000]
The Code Enforcement Officer and/or Zoning Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine compliance with this chapter. Inspections shall be made between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or such other times as may be deemed necessary by the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Zoning Enforcement Officer, and every owner, agent, operator and/or occupant, as the case may require, shall cooperate with the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Zoning Enforcement Officer in providing access to the premises. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Zoning Enforcement Officer determines that there is a violation of the provisions of this chapter, he shall cause a written notice to be served upon the owner, agent, operator and/or occupant, as the case may require, which shall include:
An enumeration of conditions which violate the provisions of this chapter.
An enumeration of the remedial action required to meet the standards of this chapter.
A statement of a definite number of days from the date of the notice in which the owner or operator must commence and complete such remedial action.
A statement of the penalties for noncompliance, as set forth herein.
Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if served upon the owner, agent, operator and/or occupant, as the case may require, if a copy is served upon him personally, or if a copy thereof is sent by certified mail to the last known address of such person, or if a copy is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the building or property affected by the notice, and if a copy is mailed by certified mail on the same day it is posted to the owner, agent, operator or occupant or by such other method authorized by the laws of the State of New York. Such notice shall inform the person to whom it is directed of his right to apply for a hearing before the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works.
Any notice of violation provided for in this section shall automatically become a final order if a written request for a hearing is not filed in the office of the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works within 15 days after delivery or mailing of the notice. A copy of the order shall be served as provided in Subsection B. If a hearing is requested, the Commissioner of Public Works will conduct the hearing as hearing officer within 10 days of receipt of the request for a hearing. If the notice of violation is upheld by the Commissioner of Public Works, then the notice of violation shall become a final order upon issuance of the written decision by the Commissioner of Public Works. A copy of the Commissioner's decision and the order shall be served as provided in Subsection B.
Upon failure to comply with any such notice or order, the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Zoning Enforcement Officer shall file an appropriate accusatory instrument in the Middletown City Court.
In addition to the filing of an appropriate accusatory instrument as set forth in Subsection D, and in the event that the Commissioner of Public Works determines that there exists an emergency situation or an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the City of Middletown, particularly from the presence of standing water, the Commissioner of Public Works or his authorized representative, five days after personal service or mailing of the notice contained in Subsection A (or such shorter time as may be determined by the Commissioner of Public Works to be necessary due to an emergency situation or immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the City of Middletown), may cause the drainage of any standing water on property and shall submit a sworn statement of the cost and expense of doing said work to the Treasurer. The minimum charge shall be $100.
When the full amount due the City is not paid by such owner within 30 days after the drainage of any standing water on property, the sworn statement of the cost and expense shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount due and shall be collected at the next regular tax collection in the manner fixed by law for the collection of taxes and shall bear the same interest and penalty as taxes.
Where the full amount due the City is not paid by such owner within 30 days after the drainage of any standing water on property, then and in that case the Commissioner of Public Works or his authorized representative shall cause to be filed in the office of the Treasurer a sworn statement showing the cost and expense incurred for the work, the date the work was done and the location of the property on which said work was done. The filing of such sworn statement shall constitute a lien and privilege on the property and shall remain in full force and effect for the amount due in principal and interest, plus costs of court, if any, for collection, until final payment has been made. Said costs and expenses shall be collected in the manner fixed by law for the collection of taxes and further shall be subject to a delinquent penalty of 5% in the event that same is not paid in full on or before the date the tax bill upon which said charge appears becomes delinquent.
A sworn statement filed in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be prima facie evidence that all legal formalities have been complied with and that the work has been done properly and satisfactorily and shall be full notice to every person concerned that the amount of the statement, plus interest, constitutes a charge against the property designated or described in the statement and that the same is due and collectible as provided by law.
[Amended 4-29-1996; 3-8-1999; 1-23-2006]
A violation of any provision of this chapter or of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code is an offense punishable, upon conviction, by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.