[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Meriden 10-20-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is to be known as the "Anti-Blight Ordinance" and is enacted pursuant to the authority granted to the City of Meriden under Connecticut General Statutes § 7-148(c)(7)(H)(xv)
It is found that there exist within the City of Meriden a number of real properties that are in blighted condition, and the continued existence of these properties contributes to the decline of neighborhoods. It is further found that the existence of such properties adversely affects the economic well-being of the City and is adverse to the health, safety and welfare of its residents. It is further found that many of the properties can be rehabilitated, reconstructed, demolished and/or reused so as to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing and commercial facilities and that such rehabilitation, reconstruction, demolition and/or reuse would eliminate, remedy and prevent the adverse conditions described above.
This chapter is intended to enhance the minimum standards governing the condition and maintenance of occupied and unoccupied premises and to establish reasonable safeguards for the health, safety and welfare of the occupants and users of said premises, the community, and the general public. Further, this chapter is intended to maintain and preserve the integrity of City neighborhoods, to preserve and protect property values, and to control visual blight.
To encourage voluntary compliance with the objective of this chapter, no citations will be issued for anti-blight violations for a period of six months after adoption of this chapter.
The intent of this chapter is to provide additional leverage to code enforcement personnel in an effort to bring properties into compliance, especially those properties where violations are repeatedly found and compliance could not be obtained through other code enforcement efforts. Those who are responsible for the blighted conditions of properties and who have failed to comply with other codes or orders will be subject to the strict enforcement of this chapter.
No owner, agent, tenant, firm, corporation, or person in control of real property, taxable or tax exempt, located in the City of Meriden shall create, allow, maintain or cause to be maintained, continue, or suffer to exist a blighted premises.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- Any building or structure or any parcel of land in which at least one of the following conditions exists shall be considered blighted:
- A. It is becoming dilapidated as defined herein.
- B. It is not being maintained as defined herein.
- C. It is a fire hazard as determined by the Fire Marshal or documented by the Fire Department or the Building Department.
- D. It is unsanitary as determined by report of the Department of Health that existing conditions constitute a life-threatening hazard or a hazard that puts at risk the health or safety of the citizens of the City.
- E. It is a factor creating a substantial and unreasonable interference with the reasonable and lawful use and enjoyment of other space within the neighborhood.
- F. It is a substantial factor causing serious depreciation of the property values in the neighborhood.
- G. There exist at the property conditions promoting rodent harborage and/or infestation.
- H. There exist at the property overgrown shrubs, brush or weeds.
- I. Parking lots/areas are left in a state of disrepair or abandonment and/or are used to store abandoned or unregistered vehicles.
- J. Chimneys and similar appurtenances are in a state of disrepair.
- K. Overhanging extensions, including but not limited to canopies, marquees, signs, awnings, stairways, fire escapes, standpipes, and exhaust ducts, contain rust or other decay.
- L. It is a factor creating the cancellation of insurance on proximate properties.
- M. Graffiti exists at the premises.
- N. Garbage on the property is not stored in standard containers and/or is scattered throughout the yard.
- O. The property contains dead, decayed, diseased or damaged trees that constitute a hazard or danger or are objectionable to adjacent premises or the occupants thereof or to public property or persons lawfully therein.
- P. Noxious plants such as poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak, or ragweed are allowed to grow unchecked on the property.
- Q. There exists on the property stagnant or unsanitary water in which mosquitoes may breed; garbage, sewage, excrement, manure or other foul, decayed, putrid, unwholesome, deleterious or offensive thing or substance; animal carcasses or parts thereof; or trash, rubbish, rubble, tires, brush, used materials or discarded items of little or no value.
- R. Refuse or filth is discharged from the property into a stream, well, spring, brook, ditch, pond, river, or other inland waters within the City, or such substances are placed on the property in such position that high water or natural seepage will carry the same into such waters.
- BUILDING OFFICIAL
- The building official as defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 29-260.
- A written statement of the relevant conditions and facts giving rise to the specified violation, including a reference to the specific section of the ordinance which has been violated and the amount prescribed as a fine for the violation(s).
- Material which is incapable of immediately performing the function for which it was designed, including but not limited to abandoned, discarded, or unused objects; junk or collections of equipment such as automobiles, boats and recreation vehicles which are missing parts, not complete in appearance and in an obvious state of disrepair; and parts of automobiles, furniture, appliances, cans, boxes, scrap metal, tires, batteries, containers, and garbage.
- A wasting or wearing away; a gradual decline in strength, soundness or quality; to become decomposed or rotten.
- A building is considered dilapidated if any of the following conditions exist:
- A. The structure is unable to provide shelter or to serve the purpose for which it was constructed due to poor conditions.
- B. Any walls, supports, floors or foundations appear to be poorly maintained or in disrepair to the extent that presents a safety concern.
- C. Damage exists from fire, wind, or other causes so that the building is unsightly and no longer provides shelter from the elements and has become dangerous to the life, safety, or general health and welfare of the occupants or the residents of the City.
- D. There are missing, broken, or improperly boarded windows or doors.
- E. Stairs, porches, railings, handrails, and/or basement hatchways are unsafe or unsightly.
- F. Conditions exist that are likely to cause sickness or disease or injury to the health, safety or general welfare of the persons living therein or of the people at large.
- EXEMPT PROPERTY
- Land dedicated as public or semipublic open space, land preserved in its natural state through conservation easements, or areas designated as inland wetlands and watercourses shall be exempted from this chapter. Properties acquired by the City of Meriden through foreclosure, etc., shall be exempted from this chapter for a period of nine months post acquisition.
- Any discarded, used, or unconsumed substance or waste material, whether made of aluminum, glass, plastic, rubber, paper, or other natural or synthetic material, or any combination thereof, including but not limited to any bottle, jar, or can or any top, cap or detachable tab of any bottle, jar, or can; any unlighted cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or glowing material; or any garbage, trash, refuse, debris, rubbish, grass clippings or other lawn or garden waste, newspaper, magazine, glass, metal, plastic, or paper containers or other packaging or construction material, which has not been deposited in a receptacle.
- An area of the City comprised of premises or parcels of land any part of which is within a contiguous radius of 1,000 feet of any other parcel within the City of Meriden.
- NOT BEING MAINTAINED
- A structure is not being maintained if any of the following conditions apply:
- A. Siding, roofing, or gutters are damaged, missing, or show signs of disrepair.
- B. Windows or doors are missing or improperly boarded over.
- C. Garbage, trash, litter, rubbish, or debris are situated on the premises.
- D. Abandoned, wrecked, or junked motor vehicles are stored on the premises.
- E. Lawns, landscaping, or driveways are deteriorating or unkempt.
- F. Trees, shrubs, hedges, grass or plants block or interfere with any road sign or obstruct any walkway, driveway, or street.
- A unit of land.
- Any parcel of land or plot of land, either occupied or unoccupied by any dwelling or nondwelling structure, and includes any such building, accessory structure or other structure thereon, or any part thereof. The term "premises," where the context requires, shall be deemed to include any buildings, dwellings, parcels of land or structures contained within the scope of this chapter.
- PUBLIC VIEW
- Visible from any public right-of-way or neighboring property.
- Any nonputrescible waste materials, except ashes, including but not limited to paper, cardboard, tin cans, wood, glass, bedding, furniture, crockery, appliances, junk automobiles, demolition material, tree limbs, and industrial wastes.
- Any building, dwelling, fence, swimming pool, or similarly constructed object.
- Any space within a building that is or can be rented by or to a single person or entity for his or its sole use and is intended to be a single and distinct space.
- VACANT PARCEL
- A parcel of land with no structure(s) thereon.
The Director of Development and Enforcement and his/her designee shall be responsible for enforcement of this chapter. The Director of Health and Human Services and the City Manager or his designee shall assist, in an advisory capacity, with the administration of this chapter.
Any individual, civic organization, or appropriate municipal agency affected by the action or inaction of anyone responsible for the maintenance of property under this chapter may file, in writing, a complaint of violation of any section of this chapter with the Department of Development and Enforcement.
Violations observed during inspections by City employees, housing inspectors, health inspectors, police officers, firefighters, welfare workers, or building inspectors shall be reported to the Department of Development and Enforcement.
All properties/premises that have active blight citations per this chapter shall be noted on a "Blight List." Said list shall include the property address, the violation, and the name of the person responsible for the property. This list is to be considered public information and may be viewed by any citizen, copied, or published. Upon correction of the violation, the property shall be removed from the list.
Violations of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of $100 for each day a violation exists and continues.
The provisions of this chapter may be enforced by citation, in addition to other remedies, in accordance with § 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes. City of Meriden code enforcement officials shall have authority to issue citations.
Unpaid fine to constitute lien. Any unpaid fine imposed pursuant to the foregoing anti-blight citation hearing procedure shall constitute a lien upon the real property against which the fine was imposed from the date of such fine in accordance with § 7-148aa of the Connecticut General Statutes. Said lien shall be continued, recorded, released and enforced as provided for in § 7-148aa of said statutes.