Town of North Hempstead, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the North Hempstead Town Board 4-27-1982 by L.L. No. 1-1982; amended in its entirety 6-14-2011 by L.L. No. 9-2011. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Administration and enforcement of construction standards — See Ch. 2.
Building Code — See Ch. 7.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 10.
Department of Building and Safety Inspection and Enforcement — See Ch. 23, Art. X.
Housing, rehabilitation and property maintenance code — See Ch. 28.
A. 
From time to time, consent orders are issued by federal, state, or local governmental agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Nassau County Department of Health, requiring that the owner or occupant of property whose soils or groundwater thereunder are contaminated by hazardous waste implement a plan for the remediation or monitoring of such waste. It is the finding of this Board that the violation of the terms of such a consent order and related plan endangers the life, health, and safety of Town residents.
B. 
It is also the finding of this Board that vacant and abandoned buildings and structures which are not properly secured at entrances, windows and other openings serve as attractive nuisances for children who are oftentimes injured therein. Such buildings are, in addition, places of congregation by vagrants and transients. Dilapidated buildings and structures are frequently infested with rodents, thereby creating a significant health hazard to the community.
C. 
The Board finds that it is in the best interest of the Town of North Hempstead to establish a method for the identification and registration of vacant, blighted, unsecured and abandoned buildings and structures and to establish the responsibilities of owners of such properties in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of Town residents.
D. 
Accordingly, Chapter 2A of the Code of the Town of North Hempstead is enacted to safeguard against the dangers posed by the violation of government consent orders and plans for the remediation or monitoring of hazardous waste by requiring that such properties be secured, and that such other action as may be necessary be taken to protect the health and safety of occupants of such properties, and other Town residents. Chapter 2A of the Code of the Town of North Hempstead is also enacted to safeguard against the dangers by requiring that unsafe buildings and structures be repaired and secured or demolished and removed.
A. 
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings indicated in this section. Words used in the present tense include the future; words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural the singular. Where terms are not defined in this section, then the words as defined in § 70-231 shall prevail; and if the term is not defined in either, then the word as defined in the most current edition of Webster’s Dictionary shall prevail.
B. 
For the purpose of this chapter, the terms used herein are defined as follows:
(1) 
Any vacant building which, by reason of lack of maintenance or by reason of the boarding up of its doors and windows, or other reasons, has a substantial adverse effect on the value of the property in the immediate neighborhood or promotes a degradation of the surrounding community, affecting the public health, safety and welfare;
(2) 
Any vacant building or structure which is frequented by persons who are not lawful occupants of such building or structure;
(3) 
A building or structure, the principal use of which has been abandoned and is inconsistent with its intended use;
(4) 
A building or structure that is left vacant and unsecured for a period in excess of 72 hours;
(5) 
A building or structure which for a period of time over 30 days has been without evidence of functioning water, electric and/or gas utilities;
(6) 
A building or structure which has been boarded up, partially destroyed or partially constructed or incomplete after the building permit authorizing its construction has expired; or
(7) 
A building that has been in tax arrearage for at least one installment period.
BUILDING DEPARTMENT
The Department of Building, Safety Inspection and Enforcement of the Town of North Hempstead.
BUILDING OFFICIAL
The Commissioner of the Department of Building, Safety Inspection and Enforcement, or his duly authorized representative, charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
BUILDING or STRUCTURE
Includes anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires permanent or temporary location on or in the ground, including but not limited to buildings of all types and use groups, advertising signs, swimming pools, detached garages or accessory structures.
COMMISSIONER OF THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT
The official, duly appointed by the Town Board, who is the Commissioner of the Department of Building, Safety Inspection and Enforcement of the Town of North Hempstead.
COMPLIANCE PLAN
A written plan and timeline for bringing an unsafe building or structure into compliance with all provisions of the Code of the Town of North Hempstead.
CONSENT ORDER
An order issued by a regulatory agency for the remediation or monitoring of hazardous waste contaminating either the soils on or the groundwater beneath a lot or parcel.
HAZARDOUS WASTE
Any hazardous waste as said term is defined in Part 371 of Title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
OWNER OF RECORD
The person having a recorded title to the property at any given point in time the record is obtained from the Nassau County Clerk's office.
PLAN
A plan for the remediation or monitoring of hazardous waste contaminating either the soils on or the groundwater beneath a lot or parcel, which has been approved by a regulatory agency as part of a consent order.
REGULATORY AGENCY
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Nassau County Department of Health, or any other federal, state, or local agency, board, department, or other entity overseeing compliance with the consent order and implementation of a plan.
(1) 
An Abandoned Building or Structure, as defined herein;
(2) 
Any building or structure which because of its construction or condition is structurally unsound, unsanitary or not provided with adequate ingress and egress;
(3) 
Any building or structure which constitutes a fire hazard or which has become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration;
(4) 
Any building or structure which, in relation to an existing use, constitutes a hazard to public health, safety or welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment, or which is otherwise dangerous to human life;
(5) 
Any building or structure which may cause or aid in the spread of disease or which may become a harborage for rodents or other animals, or which may cause injury to the occupants thereof or of a neighboring building or structure;
(6) 
Any vacant building which has had its doors or windows boarded up for emergency reasons for a period in excess of eight weeks; or
(7) 
Any building or structure which has broken or severely damaged windows, doors, walls, floors or roofs which create hazardous conditions.
UNSAFE PROPERTY
Any lot or parcel which is subject to a consent order or plan whose terms and conditions, in the opinion of a regulatory agency, have been violated as said order or plan applies to remediation or monitoring of said lot or parcel.
A. 
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter and an offense within the meaning of the Penal Law of the State of New York for any person or entity who owns an Unsafe Building or Structure to fail to register such building or structure with the Building Department in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter and an offense within the meaning of the Penal Law of the State of New York for any person or entity who owns an Unsafe Building or Structure to fail to abate by repair and rehabilitation, or by boarding or other acceptable means of securing until repaired or demolished, or by demolition and removal, such building or structure in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
The Building Official is hereby directed to identify buildings and structures within the Town that constitute an Unsafe Building or Structure, as defined herein, establish a registry for such purpose and provide such notices and carry out such other tasks as set forth herein. The Commissioner of the Building Department shall provide a form for such registration. The registration form shall describe the methods by which the Owner of Record has secured the property against unauthorized entry and provide such other information as the Commissioner of the Building Department may require.
B. 
Whenever the Building Official has probable cause to believe, based upon an inspection, complaint or a report from another agency of the Town or other governmental agency, that a building or structure is an Unsafe Building or Structure and it has not been registered in accordance with this chapter, the Building Official shall serve or cause to be served a written notice upon the Owner of Record, by personal service or regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any other method authorized under the laws of this state for service of process. Such written notice shall order the Owner of Record to register the Unsafe Building or Structure with the Building Department within a specific and reasonable period of time, as determined by the Building Official, which shall be no greater than 10 days following service.
C. 
Immediately prior to the Unsafe Building or Structure being registered with the Building Department, the Owner of Record shall send a copy of the completed registration form for said building or structure to the appropriate police and fire departments having jurisdiction by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Owner of Record shall file proof of such service with the Building Department at the time the Unsafe Building or Structure is registered.
D. 
The Owner of Record of the Unsafe Building or Structure shall post a sign at the front of the building or structure, in a conspicuous location protected from the weather, that provides the current name, address and telephone number of the Owner of Record and authorized agent, if different from said owner. The sign shall be no less than 18 inches by 24 inches and shall be of a font that is legible so it is visible from the street.
E. 
Notwithstanding Subsection B above, the Owner of Record of any building or structure who has reason to believe that such building or structure is an Unsafe Building or Structure, as defined herein, may, upon its own initiative, register same with the Building Department prior to the Building Official identifying and declaring the building or structure to be unsafe.
The Owner of Record shall, within five days of registration of an Unsafe Building or Structure, submit to the Building Department a Compliance Plan, subject to the following:
A. 
The Compliance Plan shall be reviewed by the Commissioner of the Building Department, or his designee, and shall be approved or rejected by the Commissioner of the Building Department.
B. 
In the event that the Compliance Plan is rejected, the Commissioner of the Building Department shall notify the Owner of Record, in writing, and shall state the specific reasons for such rejection. In such event, the Owner of Record shall have 10 days to submit a revised Compliance Plan addressing each of the reasons for the rejection.
C. 
Upon approval of the Compliance Plan by the Commissioner of the Building Department, the Owner of Record shall have no more than 30 business days to submit all applications for any Town permits required to perform the work required by the Compliance Plan.
D. 
The Owner of Record shall have no more than 90 days after the issuance of all required permits, or if no permits are required, after the approval of the Compliance Plan, to complete the work.
A. 
If the Owner of Record fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter, the Building Official shall cause an investigation of the premises to be made and an inspection report to be prepared containing the following:
(1) 
A description of the premises.
(2) 
A statement of the condition of the building or structure and the particulars of how said building or structure is an Unsafe Building or Structure.
(3) 
A recommendation with respect to the building's or structure's repair or demolition and removal.
B. 
Upon receiving written information from a Regulatory Agency establishing that a lot or parcel has become an Unsafe Property, the Building Official shall investigate such matter and prepare a report containing the following:
(1) 
A description of the lot or parcel.
(2) 
A discussion of the Hazardous Waste on the lot or parcel.
(3) 
A description of the Consent Order and Plan pertaining to the lot or parcel.
(4) 
A discussion of the manner in which the Consent Order and Plan are being violated, along with a copy of the written information from the regulatory agency identifying said violations.
(5) 
A discussion of action which the Regulatory Agency has identified to remedy the violation of the Consent Order and Plan.
(6) 
A recommendation that the owner of the property be ordered to take such action that the Regulatory Agency has identified to remedy the violation of the Consent Order and Plan.
(7) 
Recommendations as to the securing of the lot or parcel, and such other action as may be necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of the lot or parcel, if any, and other Town residents.
C. 
Any report prepared pursuant to this section shall be filed in the office of the Building Department.
A. 
Upon receipt of an investigation report prepared pursuant to § 2A-6A herein, the Commissioner of the Building Department shall cause a written notice to be prepared, which shall contain the following:
(1) 
A description of the premises.
(2) 
A statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is an Unsafe Building or Structure within the meaning of this chapter.
(3) 
An order directing the Owner of Record to comply with the provisions of this chapter by requiring that the building or structure be made safe and secure or demolished and removed, which order may outline the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and secure.
(4) 
An order requiring that the securing, repairing or demolition of the Unsafe Building or Structure be commenced within 10 days after service of the written notice and that such action, including removal, be completed within 30 days after the commencement date.
(5) 
A statement that, in the event of the failure, neglect or refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter within 15 days after service of the notice, the Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Existing Use for the subject premises shall be revoked, except that an appeal to the Town Board regarding such revocation may be filed with the Town Clerk within 10 days after service of the notice, in accordance with § 2A-9C of the Town Code.
(6) 
A statement that, in the event of the failure, neglect or refusal to comply with the order to repair, make safe and secure or demolish and remove the Unsafe Building or Structure, the Town is empowered and authorized to provide for the security of the building or structure or for its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute legal action to recover the costs of demolition and removal of said Unsafe Building or Structure, as well as legal fees and expenses.
B. 
Upon the issuance of a report of an Unsafe Property pursuant to § 2A-6B hereinabove, the Commissioner of the Building Department shall cause a written notice to be prepared, which shall contain the following:
(1) 
A description of the lot or parcel.
(2) 
A statement of the particulars in which the lot or parcel constitutes Unsafe Property.
(3) 
An order requiring that the action which the Regulatory Agency has identified to remedy the violation of the Consent Order and Plan be undertaken, commenced and completed within the timeframe identified by the Regulatory Agency.
(4) 
The date, time and place of the hearing before the Town Board relative to the subject Unsafe Property, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than 5 consecutive days from the date of personal service or mailing of the written notice.
(5) 
A statement that, in the event of the failure, neglect or refusal to comply with the order to take the action identified in § 2A-7B(3) hereinabove, the Town Board is empowered and authorized to provide for the security of the property, take such other action as may be necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of the lot or parcel, if any, and other Town residents, assess all expenses thereof against the lot or parcel, and institute legal action to recover the costs of (a) securing said lot or parcel, (b) taking such other action as may be deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of the lot or parcel, if any, and other Town residents, and (c) legal fees and expenses.
C. 
The written notice described in either Subsection A or B hereinabove shall be served on the Owner of Record or the owner's executor, legal representative, agent, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the subject property, either personally or by certified and registered mail, addressed to the intended recipient's last known address as shown by the records of the Town's Receiver of Taxes or the records in the Office of the Nassau County Clerk. In addition, a copy of said notice shall be securely posted at the Unsafe Property or on the Unsafe Building or Structure, as the case may be, in a conspicuous location. A copy of a written notice prepared pursuant to § 2A-6B shall also be served upon the Regulatory Agency.
D. 
In the event that one or more adult persons are actually residing and have a lawful interest in the Unsafe Building or Structure or Unsafe Property at the time of issuance of the Commissioner of the Building Department's or the Town Board's order mentioned hereinabove in § 2A-7A or B, as the case may be, a copy of the written notice provided herein shall be served upon any one such adult person if such person can reasonably be found.
E. 
In the event that the whereabouts of the Owner of Record of the Unsafe Building or Structure and any other person having an interest therein, as defined in Subsection C hereinabove, are unknown and cannot be ascertained after the exercise of reasonable diligence by the Commissioner of the Building Department, the Commissioner of the Building Department shall execute an affidavit to that effect, which shall be filed in the office of the Building Department. In such a case, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the aforementioned written notice at the Unsafe Property or on the Unsafe Building or Structure, as the case may be, in a conspicuous location.
A. 
A copy of the written notice served as provided in § 2A-7 shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Nassau. The filing of said notice shall have the same effect as the filing of a notice of pendency as provided in Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, except as otherwise provided in this section.
B. 
A notice filed in accordance with Subsection A above 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 justice of a court of record or upon the consent of the Town Attorney. Upon the presentation and filing of such consent or certified copy of such order in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Nassau, the aforementioned notice and any record or docket thereof shall be marked as canceled of record by said County Clerk.
If the Owner of Record fails to comply with a written notice issued by the Commissioner of the Building Department pursuant to § 2A-7A hereof:
A. 
The Town Board may, upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of the Building Department and after a public hearing, direct that an Unsafe Building or Structure be demolished and removed by the Owner of Record. Upon the Owner of Record's failure to comply with such order, the Town or its agent may demolish said building or structure.
B. 
The Commissioner of the Building Department is hereby authorized and empowered to notify the Superintendent of Highways, or an agent of the Town, to secure, or cause to be secured, the Unsafe Building or Structure.
C. 
The Commissioner of the Building Department is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Existing Use for the premises in which the Unsafe Building or Structure is situated; however, an owner may file an appeal with the Town Clerk, within 10 days after service of the notice, seeking a hearing before the Town Board on whether said certificate shall be revoked. Such hearing shall be conducted at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Town Board, held not less than seven days after the filing of said notice of appeal with the Town Clerk. In the event such notice of appeal is filed, the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Existing Use shall not be effective until after the decision of the Town Board.
D. 
Failure to comply with any written notice issued by the Commissioner of the Building Department when such notice has been provided in accordance with this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct offense hereunder.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not interested in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere with, obstruct or hinder the Commissioner of the Building Department or his representative or any person acting on his behalf in performing his duties as set forth in this chapter.
A. 
In a case where the Town or the Town's agent has corrected any violation of this chapter in response to the Owner of Record's failure to comply, said owner shall pay to the Town the costs of any such work so performed within 14 days of service of a demand for payment issued by the Town Attorney's office.
B. 
In addition to the actual cost of either securing or demolishing and removing an Unsafe Building or Structure, or making an Unsafe Property safe and secure, or taking such other action as may be necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of the lot or parcel, if any, and other Town residents, the Town shall be reimbursed for all costs and expenses, including legal and administrative expenses, incurred by it in connection with any proceedings undertaken pursuant to this chapter. Such costs and expenses may be assessed against and recovered from the real property subject to action pursuant to this chapter, as designated by a resolution of the Town Board, and the expenses so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the real property on which they are levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other Town charges. The Town may also institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover said costs and expenses, including legal and administrative expenses, from the Owner of Record of the affected property. The provisions of this section, with respect to costs, shall be in addition to any penalty imposed for violation of or noncompliance with any provision of this chapter.
A. 
Where the investigation and report of the Building Official reveals that the continued existence of an Unsafe Building or Structure presents an imminent danger to human life or public health or safety, and such condition is independently confirmed by the Commissioner of the Building Department, said Commissioner is hereby empowered to authorize the immediate securing or demolition and removal of such building or structure either by employees of the Town or by contract. The expenses of such demolition and repair shall be assessed and/or recovered as provided in § 2A-11 hereinabove.
B. 
Where the investigation and report of the Building Official reveals that the continued existence of an Unsafe Property presents an imminent danger to human life or public health or safety, and such condition is independently confirmed by the Commissioner of the Building Department, said Commissioner is hereby empowered to authorize the immediate securing of said Unsafe Property and the taking of such other action as may be deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of the Unsafe Property, if any, and other Town residents. The expenses of such securing and other action, if any, shall be assessed and/or recovered as provided in § 2A-11 hereinabove.
Except as otherwise provided pursuant to § 2A-9C herein, any person affected by a notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter by the Town Attorney, or his designee, provided that such person shall, within 48 hours after service of a notice, file in the office of the Town Attorney a signed, written notice of appeal, requesting a hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the reasons therefor. Upon receipt of such notice of appeal, the Town Attorney, or his designee, shall forthwith set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the person appealing notice thereof. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 14 days after the request is made, provided that for good cause the Town Attorney, or his designee, may postpone such hearing for a reasonable time. The Town Attorney shall determine such appeals as promptly as practicable.
Wherever notice is required to be given under a provision of this chapter, service of such notice shall be deemed complete upon personal delivery or three days in Nassau County or its adjoining counties, or five days for other locations after service by certified mail or first-class mail, as may be required. The failure of any intended recipient to receive such notice shall not affect in any manner the validity of any proceedings taken hereunder, provided that same was properly addressed to the last known address of the intended recipient.
A. 
Any person or persons, association, firm or corporation who violates any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,500 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both, for a first offense; for a conviction of a second offense, both of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $7,500 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both; and upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense, all of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine of not less than $7,500 nor more than $15,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. However, for the purposes of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers generally, violations of this chapter shall be deemed misdemeanors and for such purpose only all provisions of law relating to misdemeanors shall apply to such violations. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate and additional violation.
B. 
In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the Town may bring any civil and/or injunction proceeding necessary to enforce and/or enjoin noncompliance with this chapter.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, word or part of this chapter is adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section, word or part of this chapter directly involved in the controversy in which judgment is rendered.