Town of New Milford, CT
Litchfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 10, Junk, adopted by Ord. of 3-28-1969 § 1, was repealed by Ord. of 9-24-2018.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
This chapter is enacted pursuant to the authority granted to the Town of New Milford under Connecticut General Statutes §§ 7-148(c)(7)(H)(xv), 7-148aa, and 7-152c.
(b) 
This article shall apply to the maintenance of all use and residential, nonresidential, developed and undeveloped premises now in existence or hereafter constructed, maintained, or modified. However, this article shall not apply to agricultural lands as defined in Connecticut General Statute § 22-3(b), land dedicated as public open space or preserved in its natural state through conservation easements, areas designated as inland-wetlands and watercourses.
[Ord. of 5-28-2019]
The Town Council finds that blighted or dangerous and unsafe buildings and other structures may pose a threat to the health, safety and general welfare of their occupants and other members of the public, and may reduce the value and unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of properties in the vicinity of such premises. The Town Council also finds that buildings and structures within the Town of New Milford becoming blighted, dangerous, and unsafe, or remaining in such a condition should not be condoned. This ordinance is enacted to proactively address said findings.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
For the purpose of this article, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
Blight or blighted premises
Any property, building, structure, dwelling or parcel of land, whether occupied or vacant, where any one of the following Subsections (a) through (c) exists unless excluded by Subsection (d):
(a) 
Any premises in or upon which at least one of the following circumstances exist:
(1) 
Conditions that pose a serious or immediate danger to the safety, health and general welfare of the community as determined by the Building Inspector, Fire Marshal, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Director of Health, or Chief of Police;
(2) 
Conditions that attract, harbor, or conceal illegal activities as documented in records of the Police Department.
(3) 
The accumulation, exposure, deposit or burial of any foul, decayed, putrid or offensive substances, including, but not limited to, garbage, litter, sewage, animal carcasses or parts thereof or any other refuse or filth.
(4) 
Any condition that causes an unreasonably offensive odor, which unreasonably offensive odor may be smelled or detected on any property other than that from which the odor emanates.
(b) 
Any premises not being adequately maintained, as evidenced by the existence of one or more of the following conditions:
(1) 
Contains any building or structure that is open to the elements, has collapsed or is missing walls, roofs, windows, or doors;
(2) 
Contains any building or structure that is unable to provide shelter, or serve the purpose for which it was constructed due to significant damage, dilapidation, decay, or severe animal, rodent, or vermin infestation;
(3) 
Contains overgrown and unmaintained bushes, hedges, trees, plants or similar vegetation which physically hinder or interfere with access to the property or building by any of the emergency services (police, fire, medical response), or that block or interfere with the use of any public sidewalk.
(c) 
Any premises that contains an accumulation of items, material, and equipment in public view which is incapable of immediately performing the function for which it is designed, including, but not limited to:
(1) 
Discarded or unused materials or equipment such as unregistered motor vehicles, boats, sporting and recreational vehicles which may have missing parts, not complete in appearance or in an obvious state of disrepair or decay;
(2) 
Parts of the aforementioned motor vehicles, boats, sporting and recreational vehicles;
(3) 
Household or commercial furniture, appliances, fixtures, drums, cans, boxes, scrap metal, glass, tires, batteries, containers, wood, construction debris, and garbage.
(d) 
Exclusions:
(1) 
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following shall not constitute blight within the definition of this chapter; such temporary conditions not to exceed six months in duration, as may be reasonably related to repair or restoration of building(s) and/or motor vehicles, boats or recreational vehicles registered in the State of Connecticut to the subject premises' owner(s) or tenant(s), as determined by the Building Official, Fire Marshal, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Director of Health, or Chief of Police, provided that there are no delinquent taxes or other amounts owed to the Town of New Milford or any agency or department of the Town of New Milford.
Blight Prevention Board
A board made up of five members: the Fire Marshal, Health Director, Building Official, Zoning Enforcement Officer and Chief of Police, all of whom may designate their duties in their absence or unavailability.
Building Inspector, Fire Marshal, Chief of Police, and Director Of Health
Shall mean those administrative officers referred to in Chapter VI of the Charter of the Town of New Milford.
Dangerous structure
Shall mean any building or structure or any part of a building or structure as defined by Section 116 of the State Building Code.
Disabled individual
In the case of an owner-occupied residence, an individual who has a disability as that term is defined under the American Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
Elderly individual
In the case of an owner-occupied residence, an individual aged 65 years or over.
Owner/occupant
Any person, institution, foundation, entity, or authority which owns, leases, rents, possesses, controls, is responsible for or occupies any property or premises within the Town of New Milford.
Public view
Visible from any public right-of-way or abutting property.
Premises
Any property, buildings, dwellings, parcels of land, unoccupied lots or structures within the Town of New Milford.
Structures
Any building, walls, dwellings, fence, swimming pool or similarly constructed object located above or below ground on any premises, or structures defined in the New Milford Zoning Regulations, State Building Code, or State Fire Safety Code.
Zoning Enforcement Officer
Shall mean that person referred to in Chapter 25, Code of Ordinances.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 25, Citation Procedures and Fines for Zoning Regulation Violations.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Regular meetings of the Blight Prevention Board shall be held not less than once every three months. The Board may hold such special meetings as it deems necessary, including for the purposes of addressing complaints set forth in § 10-6.
(b) 
The Blight Prevention Board shall maintain records for each blighted premises in which a violation is determined to have occurred.
(1) 
Said records shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
a. 
All efforts by the property owner/occupant to address and remedy the premises;
b. 
All correspondence between the property owner/occupant and the Board or members of the Board;
c. 
A closing report and a finding by the Board that the alleged violation has been remedied.
(2) 
Said records shall be maintained in the office of the Town Clerk and shall be available for public inspection during normal business hours.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
No owner/occupant shall allow, maintain, or cause to be maintained any blighted premises and/or dangerous structure within the Town of New Milford.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
The Blight Appeals Board shall consist of three members who shall be electors of the Town. The members of said Board shall be appointed by the Mayor subject to the approval of the Town Council. The initial Board will have two members whose terms commence on May 1, 2019, and end on January 31, 2020, and one member whose term commences on May 1, 2019, and ends on January 31, 2022. Thereafter, the members of the Blight Appeals Board shall serve for terms of four years commencing February 1 and terminating January 31. Any vacancy in any term of office of a member of the Blight Appeals Board shall be filled pursuant to the Town Charter.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Upon discovery of a potential violation by a Blight Prevention Board member or upon receiving a written complaint of a potential violation signed by a complainant, the Blight Prevention Board shall initiate an investigation. The notice of violation shall state the time period required for correction.
(b) 
If, after investigation, a probable violation is found to exist, the Blight Prevention Board shall serve written notice to the owner/occupant of the premises where the probable violation exists. The notice shall be sent in the manner prescribed by § 10-8 to the last known address on file with the Tax Assessor of each owner/occupant. In the case of a business, the notice shall also be sent to the most recent address in the Secretary of the State's CONCORD data base. A copy of such notice shall also be sent to the Building Official, the Health Director, the Zoning Enforcement Officer, the Chief of Police, and the Fire Marshal. When deemed necessary upon a finding by the Blight Prevention Board, the Director of Social Services will be sent a copy of said notice.
(c) 
Such notice shall state the probable violation and the conditions evidencing such violation and require the persons to whom it is delivered to attend a hearing before the Blight Prevention Board to determine whether there has been a violation and, if so, to establish a plan for abatement of such violation, including the date by which such violation shall be fully abated. The notice shall also include the date, time and location of the hearing.
(d) 
The Blight Prevention Board shall hold a hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice provided in Subsection (b). At the hearing, all interested persons shall be given the opportunity to present evidence on the question of whether a violation of this chapter has occurred, and the Blight Prevention Board will make a determination of findings to date. The Blight Prevention Board may extend the hearing period upon consideration of the owner/occupant's proactive efforts to remedy the violation.
(e) 
If the owner/occupant who received the notice fails to appear, the Blight Prevention Board may nevertheless determine whether a violation has occurred, provided the Board has made a finding that notice was properly served in accordance with this section.
(f) 
After the hearing, the Blight Prevention Board shall make a written determination whether a violation has, in fact, occurred. If the Blight Prevention Board determines that a violation exists, it shall include in its written determination the actions to be taken to abate such violation and the date within a reasonable time by which such violation shall be fully abated.
(g) 
If the Blight Prevention Board determines that no violation has occurred, no further action as to that complaint shall be taken, and the Blight Prevention Board shall serve written notice that no further action as to that complaint shall be taken, to the owner/occupant of the premises where the possible violation exists.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Notice of violation; request for hearing.
(1) 
If the Blight Prevention Board determines that a violation occurred, as set forth in § 10-6, they shall issue a notice of violation by mailing said notice of violation to the owner of the subject property by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular first-class mail to the address of said owner as recorded in the Tax Assessor's office. The notice of violation shall state the time period required for correction/remedy.
(2) 
Service may also be made by in-hand or abode service by a duly authorized Connecticut State Marshal - Litchfield County.
(3) 
A hearing before the Blight Appeals Board, if any, shall be conducted on or before the 30th day after the date of the mailing, publication or service of the notice of violation upon request of the owner/occupant. The failure of the owner to request a hearing within 30 days from the date of the notice of violation shall constitute a waiver of the right thereto. The receipt of a timely, written request for a hearing will automatically stay any further enforcement of the demand set forth in the notice of violation until a decision of the Blight Appeals Board has been made and served upon the owner/occupant. A decision of the Blight Appeals Board shall be deemed to have been served on the date a copy thereof has been mailed to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address set forth in the notice of violation or to any other address requested by the owner in writing.
(b) 
Hearing. At the hearing, the owner may contest the propriety of the issuance of the notice of violation. The Blight Appeals Board shall consider the owner's arguments and shall thereafter render its written decision by a majority of those present and voting. The Blight Appeals Board may, but shall not be required to, issue or continue any stay for a period not to exceed 60 days.
(c) 
Decision. The decision of the Blight Appeals Board shall be final and may be appealed to the Superior Court in accord with the applicable provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Blight Appeals Board affirmance of notice of violation. In the event that the Blight Appeals Board upholds the issuance of the notice of violation pursuant to § 10-7(f), the owner/occupant shall pay a fine to the Town in the sum of $100 for each day that the blight violation shall continue to exist. Each day that the blight violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense. The fine shall commence on the earliest of the 16th day after the date of the receipt by the owner of the notice of violation if no hearing has been requested; or the date of service of the decision of the Blight Appeals Board to uphold the notice of violation; or the day after the expiration date of a stay of enforcement, if any; or as the Blight Appeals Board may direct.
(b) 
Failure to comply with notice of violation. If an owner/occupant fails to request a hearing in a timely manner, in addition to the penalty set forth in Subsection (a), on any date after the expiration of the time period set forth in the notice of violation, the Town or its agent may undertake to remove or ameliorate the nuisance set forth therein and to place a lien on the subject property for the cost of the removal or amelioration thereof, and interest shall accrue thereon at the rate of 8% per annum.
(c) 
Failure to comply with decision of Blight Appeals Board. If an owner fails to comply with a decision of the Blight Appeals Board and blight violation shall continue to exist for 10 days subsequent to the service of its decision on the owner, in addition to the penalty set forth in Subsection (a), on any date after the expiration of said 10 days, the Town or its agents or employees may undertake to remove or ameliorate the nuisance set forth in the notice of violation and to place a lien on the subject property for the cost of the removal or amelioration thereof, and interest shall accrue thereon at 8% per annum until the entire principal amount due is paid in full.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Where the Building Official, Fire Marshal, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Director of Health or the Chief of Police determines that there is a condition that causes an immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of the users, occupants or owner of property or to health, safety or welfare of the residents of the Town or that there is an immediate danger to other property, such officer shall cause the Town or its agents or employees to make immediate repairs or to effect whatever other work may be necessary to eliminate the cause or causes of such danger and place a lien on the subject property for the cost of the repairs or other work which shall accrue interest at the rate of 8% per annum.
(b) 
Where the Building Official, Fire Marshal, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Director of Health or the Chief of Police determines that there is a condition that causes an immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of the users, occupants or owner of property or to health, safety or welfare of the residents of the Town or that there is an immediate danger to other property, such officer and his agents shall have the right to enter upon said property for the purpose of evaluating the extent and causes of the danger and for making repairs. This shall include, but not be limited to, violations occurring under Section 117 of the State Building Code.
(c) 
As soon as is practicable under the circumstances, the officer entering property for a purpose set forth above shall take all reasonable efforts to contact the owner of the subject property and give information concerning the emergency.
[Ord. of 05-28-2019]
(a) 
Special consideration may be given to individuals who are elderly or disabled and who demonstrate that the issuance of a notice of violation results from an inability to maintain an owner-occupied residence and no person with that ability resides therein. If the official who issued the notice of violation has reason to believe that these facts exist, he or she shall, as soon as is practicable after the discovery of such alleged facts, convene a meeting of the Blight Prevention Board for the purpose of determining whether to afford special consideration to the property owner. Such special consideration shall be limited to the reduction or elimination of fines and an agreement that the Town or its agents will perform the necessary work and place a lien on the property for the cost thereof as hereinabove set forth.
(b) 
Special consideration may be given to an owner/occupant who takes proactive measures to remedy a property determined to be in violation. Said measures shall be documented by the Building Official, Fire Marshal, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Director of Health or the Chief of Police.