Town of Grand Island, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Grand Island at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Electrical standards — See Ch. 141.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 155.
Plumbing — See Ch. 246.
Regrading and filling of land — See Ch. 253.
Sewers — See Ch. 267.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 327.
Water — See Ch. 400.
Zoning — See Ch. 407.
This chapter shall provide for administration and enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, the State Energy Code and such other laws as are applicable to the construction in the State of New York (collectively, "Uniform Code") in the Town of Grand Island. This chapter is adopted pursuant to § 10 of Article 2 of the Municipal Home Rule Law. Except as otherwise provided within this chapter, state law, or within the Uniform Code, all premises, regardless of use, are subject to the provisions which follow.
The Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Supervisor to enter into a contract with other governments to carry out the terms of this chapter.
The office of Code Enforcement Officer is hereby created and shall be filled by an appointment of the Town Board. The Code Enforcement Officer shall possess background experience related to building construction or fire prevention and shall, within the time constraints proscribed by law, obtain such training as the State of New York shall require for code enforcement personnel.
A. 
In the absence of the Code Enforcement Officer, or in the case of his inability to act for any reason, the Town Board shall have the power to designate a person to act on behalf of the Code Enforcement Officer and to exercise all the powers conferred upon him by this chapter.
B. 
The Town Board may appoint one inspector or more, as the need may appear, to act under the supervision and direction of the Code Enforcement Officer and to exercise any portion of the powers and duties of the Code Enforcement Officer as directed by him.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall administer and enforce all the provisions of the Uniform Code and the provisions of this chapter, including receiving building permit applications, reviewing plans and specifications, conducting inspections, issuing permits for the erection, alteration, relocation, addition, repair and/or demolition of buildings and structures, issuing certificates of occupancy, and maintaining and filing all records necessary for the administration of the office to the satisfaction of the Town Board. The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to pursue administrative actions and in consultation with the Town prosecutor and/or attorneys for the Town legal action as necessary to abate conditions not in compliance with this chapter, or other laws, rules or regulations of the Town of Grand Island or of the State of New York.
No official or employee of the Code Enforcement Department shall engage in any activity inconsistent with his or her duties or with the interests of the Code Enforcement Department; nor shall he or she, during the term of his or her employment, examine, pass upon, or approve any plans, specifications, work, construction, materials, or appliances upon which he or she is or has been directly or indirectly engaged or in which he or she may have had any interest, share, or investment.
A. 
Permits required.
(1) 
Except as hereinafter provided in Subsection A(2) of this section, a building permit shall be required for any work which must conform to the Uniform Code, including, but not limited to, the construction, enlargement, alteration, improvement, removal, relocation or demolition of any building or structure or any portion thereof, and the installation of a solid-fuel-burning heating appliance, chimney or flue in any dwelling unit. No person shall commence any work for which a building permit is required without first having obtained a building permit from the Code Enforcement Officer.
(2) 
No permit shall be required for:
(a) 
Necessary repairs which do not materially affect structural features;
(b) 
Alterations to existing buildings, provided that the alterations:
[1] 
Cost less than $10,000;
[2] 
Do not materially affect structural features;
[3] 
Do not affect firesafety features such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, required fire separations and exits:
[4] 
Do not involve the installation or extension of electrical or plumbing systems; and
[5] 
Do not include the installation of solid-fuel-burning heating appliances and associated chimneys and flues.
(c) 
Residential storage sheds and other small noncommercial structures that do not exceed 140 square feet which are not intended for use by one or more persons as quarters for living, sleeping, eating or cooking; for example, a small storage building;
(d) 
Nonresidential farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly, solely, and exclusively for agricultural purposes;
(e) 
Installation of swings and other playground equipment associated with a one- or two-family dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
(f) 
Installation of swimming pools associated with one- or two-family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) where such pools are designed for a water depth of less than 24 inches and are installed entirely aboveground;
(g) 
Installation of fences which are not part of an enclosure surrounding a swimming pool;
(h) 
Construction of retaining walls unless such walls support a surcharge or impound Class I, II, or IIIA liquids;
(i) 
Installation of window awnings supported by an exterior wall or a one- or two-story dwelling or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses);
(j) 
Replacement of any equipment, provided the replacement does not alter the equipment's listing or render it inconsistent with the equipment's original specifications.
B. 
Application for a permit.
(1) 
The application for a building permit, and its accompanying documents, shall contain sufficient information to permit a determination that the intended work accords with the requirements of the Uniform Code and applicable Town codes.
(2) 
The form of the permit and application therefor shall be prescribed by the Code Enforcement Officer. The application shall be signed by the owner (or his authorized agent) of the building and shall contain at least the following:
(a) 
Full name and address of the owner and, if by a corporation, the name and addresses of the responsible officials;
(b) 
Identification and/or description of the land on which the work is to be done;
(c) 
Description of use or occupancy of the land and existing or proposed building;
(d) 
Description of the proposed work;
(e) 
At least two sets of construction (drawings and/or specifications) which:
[1] 
Define the scope of the proposed work;
[2] 
Are prepared by a New York State registered architect or licensed professional engineer where so required by the Education Law;
[3] 
Indicate with sufficient clarity and detail the nature and extent of the work proposed;
[4] 
Substantiate that the proposed work will comply with the Uniform Code; and
[5] 
Where applicable, include a site plan that shows any existing and proposed buildings and structures on the site, the location of any existing or proposed well or septic system, the location of the intended work, and the distances between the buildings and structures and the lot lines.
(f) 
The required fee.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may waive the requirement of plans and specifications when the work to be done involves minor alterations or is otherwise unnecessary.
(4) 
Applicant shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer of any changes in the information contained in the application during the period for which the permit is in effect. A permit will be issued when the application has been determined to be and when the proposed work has been determined to conform to the requirements of the Uniform Code and Grand Island Town Code. The authority conferred by such permit may be limited by conditions, if any, contained therein. Amendments, if any, to the application or to the plans and specifications accompanying the same shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Officer and approval shall be received from the Code Enforcement Officer prior to the commencement of such change of work.
C. 
General requirements.
(1) 
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be prominently displayed on the property or premises to which it pertains.
(2) 
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter may be suspended or revoked if it is determined that the work to which it pertains is not proceeding in conformance with the Uniform Code and the Grand Island Town Code or with any condition attached to such permit, or if there has been misrepresentation or falsification of a material fact in connection with the application for the permit.
(3) 
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire one year from the date of issuance or upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy (other than a temporary certificate of occupancy), whichever occurs first. The permit may, upon written request, be renewed for successive one-year periods, provided that:
(a) 
The permit has not been revoked or suspended at the time the application for renewal is made;
(b) 
The relevant information in the application is up-to-date, and
(c) 
The renewal fee is paid.
(4) 
The issuance of a building permit shall constitute authority to the applicant to proceed with work in accordance with the approved plans and specification and in accordance with the applicable building laws, ordinances or regulations. All work shall be expeditiously and continuously prosecuted to completion and shall conform to the approved application, plans and specifications, except that no building permit shall be valid insofar as it authorizes the performance of work or the use of materials which are not in accordance with the requirements of the applicable building regulations.
(5) 
Where work for which a permit is required by the Code is started or proceeded with prior to obtaining said permit, the fees set forth in § 125-6 hereof shall be doubled, but the payment of such doubled fee shall not relieve any persons from fully complying with the requirements of all applicable building regulations in the execution of the work, nor from any penalties.
(6) 
Where work for which a permit has been obtained is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced, for a period of 120 days or more, such work may not be recommended until a new permit shall be obtained, and the fee thereof shall be one-half the amount required for a new permit for such work, provided no changes have been made or will be made in the original plans and specifications for such work, and provided, further, that such suspension or abandonment has not exceeded one year.
(7) 
Where no construction work on the superstructure of a building has been commenced within 120 days of the date of the issuance of the permit, the excavations and/or foundations shall be deemed abandoned, in which case the building permit issued for the building shall be cancelled, notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, and the owner and contractor notified, in writing, to fill in the excavation and/or the foundation up to the original ground level with clean earth and to seal up any sewer connections that may exist on the property. Said notice shall be served on the owner and the contractor by registered mail at their last known place of residence. In the event that the owner or contractor fails to comply with the requirements of this section within 20 days of the date of mailing of said notice, then the Town of Grand Island shall place the fill and seal the sewer openings, if any, and said owner of the premises shall reimburse the Town for any expenditures thereby involved, or the Town may elect to assess the cost of so doing on the tax roll of the property involved.
A fee schedule shall be established, and changed as needed, by resolution of the Town Board. Such fees may be charged for the issuance of permits, certificates of occupancy, temporary certificates of occupancy, and for firesafety inspections.
A. 
No building erected subject to the Uniform Code shall be used or occupied, except to the extent authorized hereunder, until a certificate of occupancy has been issued. No building or structure similarly enlarged, extended, or altered, or upon which work has been performed which requires the issuance of a building permit shall be occupied or used more than 30 days after the completion of the alteration or work unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued. No change shall be made in the nature of the occupancy of an existing building unless a certificate of occupancy authorizing the change has been issued. The owner or his agent shall make application for a certificate of occupancy.
B. 
Temporary/partial certificate of occupancy: If a Code Enforcement Officer finds that no substantial hazard will result from occupancy of any building or portion thereof before the same is completed, a temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued for the use of a portion or portions of a building or structure prior to the completion of the entire building or structure. The temporary certificate shall state the items to still be completed and/or the portions of the building approved for occupancy. Certificates may be issued for a period of up to one year by a Code Enforcement Officer, and may be extended up to an additional six months for good cause.
C. 
The applicants must stipulate in their request for a temporary certificate that they agree to maintain the conditions stipulated in their request for a partial occupancy for the duration of construction on the site. They must agree that if they fail to obtain a full certificate of occupancy for the entire building, they will vacate the premises and terminate all temporary occupancy until successfully obtaining a full certificate of occupancy for the building.
D. 
A Code Enforcement Officer shall use his or her best efforts to ensure that all Code provisions are complied with prior to issuance of any certificate of occupancy. But if later inspection or events discloses any noncompliance with Town codes, issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall in no manner limit the right of the Town to enforce its Codes through all civil and/or criminal remedies available.
E. 
This chapter shall not be construed to hold the Town responsible for any damages to persons or property by reason of inspections made pursuant to an application for a certificate of occupancy or issuance of or failure to issue a certificate of occupancy, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impose a duty upon the Town towards any person or property.
A. 
Inspections during construction.
(1) 
Work for which a building permit has been issued hereunder shall be inspected for approval prior to enclosing or covering any portion thereof and upon completion of each stage of construction, including, but not limited to, special inspections required by Uniform Code, excavation, reinforcing bar, foundation, framing, superstructure, electrical, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning, insulation and final inspections. It shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent to inform the inspector that the work is ready for inspection and to schedule such inspection.
(2) 
Work which requires special inspections during construction shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent, to provide a list, at their expense. A statement of the special inspections, including a completed list of materials and work requiring such inspections, and a list of the individuals, and approved agencies shall be provided to the Code Enforcement Officer for the permit application file. The reports of such special inspections shall be provided to the Code Enforcement Officer for the permanent record.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer and each of the duly appointed inspectors of the Town are hereby authorized and deputized as acceptable agents of the Town of Grand Island to make inspections and reinspections of all electrical installations at no cost or expense to the Town.
(4) 
Report of inspection.
(a) 
It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer or other duly appointed inspector to make a report in writing of each inspection; and
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce all the provisions of all local or state laws that are violated as appears by said report.
B. 
Fire prevention and property maintenance inspections.
(1) 
Firesafety inspections of buildings or structures having areas of public assembly, defined as "all buildings or portions of buildings used for gathering together 50 or more persons for amusement, athletic, civic, dining, educational, entertainment, patriotic, political, recreational, religious, social or similar purposes, the entire fire area of which they are a part, and the means of egress therefrom" shall be performed at least once in every 12 months.
(2) 
All other buildings, uses and occupancies (except one- or two-family dwellings) shall be inspected at least once in every 36 months.
(3) 
An inspection of a building or dwelling unit may also be performed at any other time upon:
(a) 
The request of the owner, authorized agent, or tenant;
(b) 
Receipt of a written statement alleging that conditions or activities failing to comply with the Uniform Code exists; or
(c) 
Other reasonable and reliable information that such a violation exists.
The chief of any fire department providing fire-fighting services for a property within the Town shall promptly notify the Code Enforcement Officer of any fire or explosion involving any structural damage, fuel-burning appliance, chimney or gas vent.
A. 
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 to the community. It is the purpose of this section to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Town of Grand Island by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
B. 
"Building" means any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business or industrial purposes.
C. 
When the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Grand Island or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter, in his own opinion or upon receipt of information that a building is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public, is open at the doorways and windows making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers, is or may become a place of rodent infestation, presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public or is unfit for the purposes for which it may be lawfully used, he or she shall cause or make an inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his or her findings and recommendations in regard to its repair or demolition and removal.
D. 
The Town Board shall thereafter consider such report and by resolution determine, if in its opinion so warrants, that such building is unsafe and dangerous and order its repair, if the same can be safely repaired, or its demolition and removal and further order that a notice be served upon the persons and in the manner provided herein.
E. 
The notice shall contain the following:
(1) 
A description of the premises.
(2) 
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous.
(3) 
An order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
(4) 
A statement that the securing or removal of such building shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter unless for good cause shown such time shall be extended.
(5) 
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board in relation to such dangerous or unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of service of notice.
(6) 
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 its 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 legal expenses.
F. 
Said notice shall be served by personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner, executor, administrator, agent, lessee or any person having a vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building as shown by the records of the Assessor's Office or of the County Clerk or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing such owner by certified mail a copy of such notice directed to his last known address as shown by the above records; and 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; and by securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the unsafe building.
[Amended 10-15-2012 by L.L. No. 3-2012]
G. 
A copy of the notice served as provided herein shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Erie.
H. 
In the event of a 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 or structure either by Town employees or by contract. Except in emergency as provided in Subsection J hereof, any contract for demolition and removal of a building shall be awarded through competitive bidding to the extent required by law.
I. 
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.
J. 
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may by resolution authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be charged against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in Subsection I hereof.
A. 
Operating permits required. Operating permits shall be required for conducting the activities or using the categories of buildings listed below, prior to commencing such activity or operation:
(1) 
Manufacturing, storing or handling hazardous materials in quantities exceeding those listed in Uniform Code and other applicable law.
(2) 
Hazardous processes and activities, including but not limited to, commercial and industrial operations which produce combustible dust as a byproduct, fruit and crop ripening, and waste handling.
(3) 
Use of pyrotechnic devices in assembly occupancies.
(4) 
Buildings containing one or more areas of public assembly with an occupancy load of 100 persons or more.
(5) 
Buildings whose use or occupancy classification may pose a substantial hazard to public safety, as determined by resolution adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Grand Island.
B. 
Permits procedure.
(1) 
Applications for operating permits. An application for an operating permit shall be in writing on a form provided by or otherwise acceptable to the Code Enforcement Officer. Such application shall include such information as the Code Enforcement Officer deems sufficient to permit a determination by the Code Enforcement Officer that quantities, materials, and activities conform to the requirements of the Uniform Code. If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that tests or reports are necessary to verify conformance, such tests or reports shall be performed or provided by such person or persons as may be designated by or otherwise acceptable to the Code Enforcement Officer, at the expense of the applicant.
(2) 
Inspections. The Code Enforcement Officer or an Inspector authorized by the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the subject premises prior to the issuance of an operating permit.
(3) 
Multiple activities. In any circumstance in which more than one activity listed in Subsection A of this subsection is to be conducted at a location, the Code Enforcement Officer may require a separate operating permit for each such activity, or the Code Enforcement Officer may, in his or her discretion, issue a single operating permit to apply to all such activities.
(4) 
Duration of operating permits. Operating permits shall remain in effect until reissued, renewed, or suspended, and are not transferable.
(5) 
Revocation or suspension of operating permits. If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that any activity or building for which an operating permit was issued does not comply with any applicable provision of the Uniform Code, such operating permits shall be revoked or suspended.
(6) 
Fee. The fee specified in or determined in accordance with the provisions set forth in § 121-6, Fees, of this chapter must be paid at the time submission of an application for an operating permit, for an amended operating permit, or for reissue or renewal of an operating permit.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review and investigate complaints which allege or assert the existence of conditions or activities that fail to comply with the Uniform Code, this chapter, or any other law or regulation adopted for administration and enforcement of the Uniform Code or Town Code. The process for responding to a complaint shall include such of the following steps as the Code Enforcement Officer may deem to be appropriate:
A. 
Performing an inspection of the conditions and/or activities alleged to be in violation and documenting the results of such inspection;
B. 
If a violation is found to exist, providing the owner of the affected property and any other person who may be responsible for the violation with notice of the violation and opportunity to abate, correct or cure the violation, or otherwise proceeding in the manner described in the § 125-13 of this chapter;
C. 
If appropriate, issuing a stop-work order;
D. 
If a violation which was found to exist is abated or corrected, performing an inspection to ensure that the violation has been abated or corrected, preparing a final written report reflecting such abatement or correction, and filing such report with the complaint.
A. 
Upon determination that a violation of the Uniform Code or this chapter exists in, on, or about any building or premises, the Code Enforcement Officer shall order in writing the remedying of the condition. Such order shall state the specific provisions of the Uniform Code or Grand Island Town Code which the particular condition violates and shall grant such time as may be reasonably necessary for achieving compliance before proceeding to compel compliance shall be instituted. Such order shall be served personally or by notification by certified mail.
B. 
In addition to those penalties prescribed by state law, any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of the Uniform Code or any rule or regulation of this chapter, or the terms or condition of any certificate of occupancy issued by the Code Enforcement Officer, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 per day of violation or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, for each day or part thereof during which such violation continues.
[Amended 10-15-2012 by L.L. No. 3-2012]
C. 
Alternatively or in addition to an action to recover the penalties provided by Subsection B, the Town Board may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct, or abate any violation of, or to enforce, any provision of the Uniform Code or the terms or conditions of any certificate of occupancy issued by the Code Enforcement Officer.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer has reason to believe that the work on any building or structure is being performed in violation of the provisions of the applicable building laws, ordinances, rules or regulations, or not in conformity with the provisions of an application, or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, he or she shall notify the owner of the property, or the owner's agent, to suspend all work and suspend all building activities until the stop-work order has been rescinded. Such order and notice shall appear in writing, shall state the conditions under which the work may be resumed and may be served upon a person to whom it is directed either by delivering it personally to him or her, or by posting the same upon a conspicuous portion of the building where the work is being performed and sending a copy of the same to him or her by certified mail at the address set forth in the application for the permission of the construction of such building.
A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities conducted by him, including all applications received, plans approved, permits and certificates issued, inspection reports, all rules and regulations promulgated by him with the consent of the Town Board, and notices and orders issued. All such records shall be public records open for public inspection during normal business hours. All plans and records pertaining to buildings or structures, or appurtenances thereto, shall be retained for at least the minimum time period so required by state law and regulation.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall annually submit to the Town Board a written report and summary of all business conducted by his office, including approvals, permits and certificates issued, fees collected, orders and notices promulgated, inspections and tests made, and appeals or litigation pending or concluded.