[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Clinton 3-10-1981 by L.L. No. 2-1981. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The intent of this chapter is to promote and preserve a clean and wholesome and attractive environment within the Town of Clinton, which is declared to be of importance to the health, safety and welfare of residents of and owners of property located within the Town of Clinton by providing a method of removal or repair of buildings or structures within the limits of said Town, that from any cause which may now be or which shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public. It is further declared that the unrestrained allowance of unsafe buildings and further that such structures are a hazard to such health, safety and welfare of the habitants of said Town, necessitating the regulation, restraint and elimination thereof.
No person, firm, corporation or association owning, possession or controlling a building or structure in the Town of Clinton, County of Dutchess and State of New York shall permit, suffer or allow said buildings now or hereafter to be or become dangerous or unsafe to the public from any cause whatsoever.
All of the buildings or structures that have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed for the purposes of this chapter to be "dangerous buildings":
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle third of its base.
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage, deterioration or other signs of decay to the supporting member or members, or 50% of damage, deterioration or other signs of decay to nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those that have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded, or have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Clinton.
Those that have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or those which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or the carrying on of the usual occupation or business, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, that they will cause injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein or thereby.
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may lie therein.
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of escape.
Those which have parts so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or other property.
Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of this Town.
Any building or structure which remains vacant and unattended continuously for a period of 12 months.
In the event that it shall come to the attention of the Town Board that any building or structure in the Town of Clinton may be dangerous or unsafe to the public, the Board shall direct the Building Inspector to inspect the alleged unsafe building and to report to the Board his findings. If the Town Board adopts the Building Inspector's report as to the presence of an unsafe building or a dangerous building, then the Board shall cause notice to be served on the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same, either personally or by registered mail, addressed to the last known address, if any, of the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or some other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same, as shown by the records of the receiver of the taxes and/or in the office of the County Clerk containing a description of the premises. Said notice shall contain a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous and an order requiring same to be made safe and secure or removed. If such notice is by registered mail, a copy of such notice is to be posted on the premises. Said repair or the removal of said building or structure shall be commenced within 30 days of the service of the notice and completed within 60 days of the service of the notice unless the time for such is extended by the Town Board. The notice heretofore prescribed shall also specify a date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board, at which time the owner or such persons having an interest in the property or premises may appear and be heard. Said notice shall also state that if the owner or his representative fails to repair or demolish the building as prescribed, the building will be demolished, repaired or removed by the Town at the expense of the owner.
The notice to be served as set forth in § 116-4 hereof shall also be filed in the office of the Dutchess County Clerk in the same manner as a notice of pendency (CPLR Article 65) and shall have the same effect as such unless otherwise specified herein. Said notice so filed shall have an effective period of one year from date of filing; however, upon the consent of the Town Attorney, it may be vacated by a judge or justice of a court of record, and the County Clerk, upon presentation of such order, shall mark said notice and any record or document thereof as cancelled.
In the event that the person, firm, corporation or association owning, possessing or controlling a building or structure in the Town of Clinton refuses to allow the Building Inspector to make the inspection or survey, then the Building Inspector shall file an affidavit of the facts showing a probable violation of this chapter with the Town Justice, and after an examination of the Zoning Administrator the Town Justice shall make a written finding whether or not there appears to be probable cause that there is a violation of this chapter which is creating a dangerous or unsafe building in the Town. If the Town Justice makes a determination that such a violation probably exists, then the Town Justice shall issue a search warrant to the Building Inspector authorizing a search of the premises to determine if there is a violation of this chapter.
A signed copy of the determination of the survey by the Town Board pursuant to § 116-4 shall be posted on the building or structure which has been surveyed.
The following standards shall be followed in substance in the survey of the structure or building by the Building Inspector in determining the condition of the structure or building:
If the dangerous building can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
In any case where a dangerous building is 50% damaged or decayed, or deteriorated from its original value or structure, it shall be demolished, and in all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be demolished. In all cases where a dangerous building is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any ordinance or law of the Town or statute of the State of New York, it shall be demolished.
All dangerous buildings within the terms of § 116-3 of this chapter are hereby declared to be public nuisances, and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore mentioned or provided.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the removal, demolition, repair or vacation of any dangerous building or structure, as determined pursuant to this chapter, including surveyors' costs or fees, attorneys' fees, advertising costs, title searches, costs of actually removing or securing this building or structure and all other expenses, shall, when properly certified to and by the Town Board, be audited and paid by the Town the same as any other claim against the Town.
A bill for such expenses shall be presented to the owner or person notified pursuant to the foregoing sections of this chapter, personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, or if the same cannot be so served or notified, then by posting the same in a conspicuous place on the premises.
If such owner shall fail to pay the same within 30 days thereafter, the Town Board shall file a certificate of the actual expenses incurred as aforesaid together with a statement as to the property in connection with which the expenses were incurred, with the Town Assessor, who shall, in the preparation of the next assessment roll of general Town taxes, assess such amount upon such property and against such building or structure and the lot or land upon which the same is situated, and said bill or amount so levied is to be collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time, under the same penalties, and have the same lien effect upon such property as the general Town tax and as a part thereof.
In cases of great emergency, where delay of the proceedings, as hereinbefore provided, would result in probable loss of life or property, the Town Board shall have the power to proceed at once to take such action as is needed to guard the safety of persons and property. In such cases the Town Board shall have full power and authority to provide all necessary means therefor and all expenses therefor shall be paid and collected as provided in § 116-10 hereof.