City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alcoholic beverages — See Ch. 69.
Eviction for illegal drug use and possession — See Ch. 270.
[Derived from Art. XXIV of Ch. VII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974]
A. 
The Common Council, after public hearings, finds that there is an increasing use of real property within the City of Buffalo for the purpose of flagrant violation of the penal laws relating to dangerous drugs. The Council also finds that such use continues even after interdiction by police authorities, with repeated offenses being committed at the same properties.
B. 
The Council finds that this situation seriously interferes with the interest of the public in the areas of quality of neighborhood life and environment; diminution of property values; safety of the public upon the streets and sidewalks; and increasing costs of law enforcement as a result of these illegal activities.
C. 
The Council, therefore, finds it in the public interest to authorize and empower the appropriate City officials to impose sanctions and penalties for such public nuisances as an additional and appropriate method of law enforcement in response to the apparent proliferation of these public nuisances without prejudice to the use of any other procedures and remedies available under any other law.
A. 
For purposes of this Article, the following are declared to be public nuisances:
(1) 
Any building, structure or place where violations of any of the provisions of Article 220, 221 or 225 of the Penal Law are occurring and where one (1) or more violations of such provisions which have resulted in one (1) or more criminal convictions have occurred within the eighteen-month period of time prior to the commencement of a proceeding pursuant to this section. It shall be prima facie evidence that violations are occurring where an arrest for a violation of any of the provisions of such article has been made within thirty (30) days prior to the issuance of notice pursuant to this section.
B. 
For purposes of this section, the term "conviction" shall be defined and applied in accordance with the provisions of § 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
In addition to the enforcement procedures established elsewhere, the Commissioner of Inspections and Community Revitalization, or his designee, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, shall be authorized to:
A. 
Order the discontinuance of such activity at the building, structure or place where such public nuisance exists; and/or
B. 
Order the closing of said building, structure or place to the extent necessary to abate the nuisance, as prescribed below.
A. 
Upon notice to the Commissioner of Inspections and Community Revitalization that there has been a violation under § 161-2 of this Article, the Commissioner shall serve notice upon all interested parties that a subsequent violation pursuant to § 161-2 may result in an action pursuant to § 161-3 of this Article.
B. 
Upon notice to the Commissioner of Inspections and Community Revitalization that there has been a subsequent violation under § 161-2, the Commissioner or his designee shall give notice and an opportunity for a hearing to all interested parties.
C. 
For purposes of this Article, notice shall be given to the owner, lessor, lessee, agent and mortgagee of a building, structure or place wherein the public nuisance is being conducted, maintained or permitted. Such notice shall be served upon an owner pursuant to Article 3 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules; upon a lessor or lessee pursuant to § 735 of the Real Property Action and Proceedings Law, and upon a mortgagee by means of certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the mortgagee's last known address, provided that any service other than delivery to the person to be served shall be complete immediately upon delivery, mailing or posting, without the necessity of filing proof of service with the Clerk of any court before the hearing. The person in whose name the real estate affected by the orders of the Commissioner is recorded in the records of the Board of Assessors, City Treasurer or Clerk of the County of Erie, shall be presumed to be the owner thereof.
D. 
In the event that notice is served pursuant to Subsections B and C of this section, a copy of the notice shall be posted on the premises involved.
E. 
The lack of knowledge of, acquiescence or participation in or responsibility for a public nuisance on the part of the owners, lessors, lessees, mortgagees and all those persons in possession or having charge of as agent or otherwise, or having any interest in the property, real or personal, used in conducting or maintaining the public nuisance, shall not be a defense such owners, lessors and lessees, mortgagees and such other persons.
A. 
Within ten (10) days of the service of the notice contained in Subsection B of § 161-4, at a time and place as contained in said notice, the Commissioner of Inspections and Community Revitalization, or his designee, shall commence hearing for the purpose of determining his action pursuant to § 161-3. Each person designated in § 161-4 shall be given an opportunity to present evidence. Testimony shall also be taken from other parties with respect to violations under § 161-2. A record of the hearing will be maintained.
B. 
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commissioner, or his designee, may issue an appropriate order under § 161-3 of this Article. Results of the hearing shall, within forty-eight (48) hours, be mailed to all persons named in § 161-4, by means of certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy of said order shall also be posted at the premises within forty-eight (48) hours of the hearing. Five (5) business days after the posting of an order issued pursuant to this article officers of the Buffalo Police Department are authorized to act upon and enforce such orders.
A. 
Where the Commissioner or his designee orders a closing of a building, structure or place pursuant to this Article, such closing shall be for a period as the Commissioner or his designee may direct, but in no event shall the closing be for a period longer than one (1) year from the date of posting of the order pursuant to this section. If the owner, lessor or lessee shall file a bond in an amount determined by the Commissioner (but which may not exceed the full assessed value of the property ordered to be closed) and submit proof satisfactory to the Commissioner that the nuisance has been abated and will not be created, maintain or permitted for such period of time as the closure would have been effective, then the Commissioner may vacate the provisions of the order directing closure, or may modify said order. Notwithstanding the above, however, in the event that any party holding a financial interest in said property comes into title after an order directing closure, and upon submission to the Commissioner that said party holds bona fide title to said property, the Commissioner, or his designee, shall vacate any period of time remaining in the original closure order under § 161-5B above.
B. 
A closing directed by the Commissioner pursuant to this section shall not constitute an act of possession, ownership or control by the City of the closed premises.
C. 
The Commissioner shall order all appropriate steps to be taken in the event of a closure, to completely secure the property from use during the period of closure. In the event that said steps are not taken, the Commissioner shall perform and take all appropriate steps and shall charge the property benefitted thereby. In the event that the owners do not promptly reimburse the City for necessary steps taken, the Commissioner shall report the charges to the Common Council, which shall order an assessment against the property so benefitted, and/or authorize the Corporation Counsel to commence immediate procedures through the appropriate court to recover costs incurred by the City of Buffalo for closure of the property as against the owner of said property.
A. 
It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to use or occupy or to permit any other person to use or occupy any building, erection or place, or portion thereof, ordered closed by the Commissioner or his designee. Mutilation or removal of a posted order of the Commissioner or his designee shall be punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.) or by imprisonment not exceeding fifteen (15) days, or both, provided that such order contains therein a notice of such penalty.
B. 
Intentional disobedience or resistance to any provision of the orders issued by the Commissioner or his designee, pursuant to this section, in addition to any other punishment prescribed by law, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.) or by imprisonment not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
The Commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations to carry out and give full effect to the provisions of these §§ 161-6 through 161-9.
The Commissioner shall prepare a quarterly report to be submitted to the Common Council summarizing the actions taken under this section and indicating the results of such actions.