[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Phelps 1-8-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building code administration — See Ch. 60.
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 64, Buildings, Unsafe, adopted 8-2-1982 by L.L. No. 2-1982, as amended.
Unsafe structures and equipment pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Phelps. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as a point of congregation by vagrants and transients. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace in the community. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property within the Town of Phelps by requiring such unsafe structures and equipment to be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Structure and Equipment Law of the Town of Phelps."
When a structure or equipment is found to be unsafe, or when a structure is found unfit for human occupancy, or is found unlawful, such structure shall be condemned pursuant to the provisions of this Code.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Whenever a structure or equipment has been condemned under the provisions of this chapter, a notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such notice. If the notice pertains to equipment, it shall be posted on the condemned equipment.
- PLACARD REMOVAL
- The placard shall be removed whenever the defect upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
- PROHIBITED OCCUPANCY
- No person shall occupy placarded premises or shall operate placarded equipment.
- STRUCTURE UNFIT FOR HUMAN OCCUPANCY
- A structure is unfit for human occupancy whenever such structure is unsafe, unlawful or, because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by the Code, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public.
- UNLAWFUL STRUCTURE
- An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted under the Code, or was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law.
- UNSAFE EQUIPMENT
- Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.
- UNSAFE STRUCTURE
- An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe, or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.
- VACANT STRUCTURES
- Vacant structures shall comply with 19 NYCRR Part 1225, Fire Code of New York State, §§ 311.1 through 311.4.
When there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure which endangers life, or when any structure or part of any structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, or when the actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors or the presence of toxic fumes, gases or materials, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the occupants shall vacate the premises forthwith. There shall be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice that reads as follows: " This Structure Is Unsafe and Its Occupancy has been prohibited by the Code Enforcement Official." It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition or of demolishing the same.
Temporarily unoccupied buildings, structures, premises or portions thereof, including tenant spaces, shall be safeguarded and maintained in accordance with the New York State Fire Code, Chapter 3, Vacant Buildings.
When, in the Code Enforcement Official's opinion, and/or upon receipt of information that a structure/building is unsafe for the public or inhabitants of said building or unfit for human occupancy, and/or that equipment is unsafe, the Code Enforcement Official, having conducted an inspection of said property and having properly posted it as such, shall file a report with the Town Board with said findings and recommendations with regards for repair or demolition and removal.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe, unfit or equipment unsafe.
An order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe, secure or equipment rendered safe, or for demolition and removal.
A statement that the securing of structure/building shall commence within seven days of service of notice of violation and shall be completed within 30 days of the service of notice. Notice of demolition and removal shall commence within 30 days of notice and be complete within 60 days, unless for good cause shown such time shall be extended.
A date and time and place for a hearing before the Town Board in relation to unsafe or unfit structure and/or equipment shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of violation notice.
A statement that in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for the demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of demolition, including all legal costs.
Said notice shall be served:
By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner, executor, administrator, agent, lessee or any person having vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building as shown by the records of the Receiver of Taxes or the County Clerk: or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing such owner by registered mail a copy of such notice directed to last known address as shown by the above records.
By personal service of a copy of such notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises if such person can be reasonably found.
By securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the unsafe structure/building.
A copy of the notice served as provided herein shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Ontario.
In the event of the refusal or neglect of the person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board and after the hearing, the Town Board shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building/structure by contract. Except in emergency as provided for herein hereof, any contract for the demolition and removal of a building in excess of $20,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, shall be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided in Article 15 of the Town Law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.