[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Somers 10-8-1992 as L.L. No. 16-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vacant buildings and structures may become a nuisance by reason of improper maintenance following damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant structures shall be maintained in conformity with the provisions of this chapter so as to establish reasonable safeguards for the safety, health and welfare of the general public.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Somers or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- VACANT STRUCTURE
- Any building, structure or portion thereof designed or used for residential or commercial purposes which has been unoccupied or unused for a period of 60 days or longer. Specifically excluded are all agricultural structures such as barns, field houses, etc., and the appurtenant rural lands.
The owner shall keep all and every part of any vacant structure in attractive condition and good repair, including but not limited to the following;
Exterior surfaces of buildings and structures that are not inherently resistant to deterioration shall be periodically treated with a protective coating of paint or other suitable preservative.
Buildings and structures shall be secured at all doorways, windows and other openings.
Buildings and structures shall be maintained free of vermin and rodents and the grounds maintained free of overgrown grass, foliage or noxious weeds.
Damage caused to the exterior of any structure by fire, explosion or natural disaster shall be repaired within six months of the date when such damage is sustained.
Owners of premises and other persons, as defined in § 157-6B shall be responsible for compliance with this chapter.
The Building Inspector and other duly appointed law enforcement officers of the Town of Somers shall be charged with the duty of administering and enforcing this chapter.
It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector to issue a notice of violation or to order in writing the correction of all conditions found to exist in or on any premises which violate the provisions of this chapter.
Any person, upon conviction of a violation of this chapter, shall be fined a sum of money of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for the first offense and not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for the second or any subsequent offense within a twelve-month period. In addition, such person shall be subject to an injunction prohibiting and otherwise preventing any further violations.
The term "person" shall include the owner, tenant, mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, sublessee, agent or any other person, firm or corporation directly or indirectly in control of any premises, building or part thereof.
A notice of violation issued by the Building Inspector relative to a premises shall be served either personally upon the person or by posting the violation notice in a conspicuous place upon the premises affected. If a notice of violation is served by posting it upon a premises, a copy thereof shall be mailed to the person to whom it is directed and to the owner of the property at his last known address as shown on the records maintained by the Receiver of Taxes of the Town of Somers.
A notice of violation shall state that unless, within five days from service of notice, a written request is made for a hearing before the Building Inspector, such notice shall, at the expiration of such five-day period, be deemed an order to cease and desist from and to abate the described violation. Such notice shall prescribe a reasonable time within which such person shall be required to cease and desist from and abate such violation. The notice shall also contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with this chapter.
If a hearing is requested, it shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the request is made, provided that, for good cause, the Building Inspector may postpone such hearing for a reasonable time. If, after the hearing, the enforcement officer finds that no violation exists, he shall withdraw the notice. If he finds that a violation does exist, he shall forthwith issue an order requiring the abatement of same within a prescribed reasonable time. The proceedings at such hearing, which shall be informal in all respects, shall be summarized in a report reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Building Inspector.
Any party aggrieved by the decision of the Building Inspector may, within five days of the decision of the Building Inspector, appeal said decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Somers by filing the appropriate form.
The provisions of § 157-5B and § 157-7A notwithstanding, it shall not be necessary for the Building Inspector to issue a notice of violation or to order in writing the correction of a condition in the instance of a second or any subsequent offense within a twelve-month period, and in the case of a second or subsequent offense, the person in violation may immediately be served with an appearance ticket or summons.
Whenever the Building Inspector or enforcement official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate attention to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, such order shall take effect immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but, upon petition to the Building Inspector or the local justice court, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, the Building Inspector or court shall continue such order in effect or shall modify or withdraw it.
Upon the failure, neglect or refusal of any owner, person or agent so notified to properly comply with this chapter within 20 days after the service of notice as provided herein, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to pay for the correction of such violation, subject to the approval of the Town Board of the Town of Somers.
When the town has effected the correction of the violation or has paid for its removal, the actual cost thereof, plus the accrued legal rate of interest per annum from the date of the completion of the work, if not paid by the owner prior thereto, shall be charged to such owner by the town, and such charge shall become due and payable by said owner or person at the time of the rendering of such bill.
When the full amount due the town is not paid by such owner within 20 days after the correction of such violation as provided in Subsections A and B above, then, and in that case, the Building Inspector shall cause to be filed in the office of the Town Clerk a sworn statement showing the cost and expense incurred for the work, the date the work was completed and the location of the property by section, lot and block on which said work was done and the name of the reputed owner thereof. 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 cost 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 at the legal rate of interest in the event that the same is not paid in full on or before the date the tax bill upon which such charge appears becomes delinquent. Sworn statements filed in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be prima facie evidence that all legal formalities have been complied with and the work has been properly and successfully done and shall be full notice to every person concerned, and the amount of the statement, plus interest, constitutes a charge against the property designated and described in the statement and that the same is due and collectible as provided by law.
All ordinances, local laws or resolutions or part of ordinances, local laws or resolutions of the Town of Somers inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby superseded to the extent of such inconsistency and that in all respects this chapter shall be in addition to other legislation regulating and governing the subject matter covered by this chapter.
If any section, paragraph, subsection or provision of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of this chapter as a whole or any part or provision thereof other than the part so decided to be invalid or unconstitutional.