[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Highland by L.L. No. 1-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Highland."
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the removal or repair of buildings and/or structures that, from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public as may be provided by the Town Law.
An "unsafe building or structure" is hereby defined as any building or structure or portion thereof which:
Because of its structural condition, is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public; or
Is open at the doorways or windows or walls, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers; or
Is or may become a place of rodent infestation; or
Consists of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty; or
Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public.
When in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, as may be designated by the Town Board, any building or structure located in the Town shall be deemed to be dangerous or unsafe to the public, the Code Enforcement Officer shall make a formal inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations in regard to the building's or structure's removal or repair.
The Town Board shall thereafter consider said report and, if it finds from said report that there is grounds to believe that such building or buildings are dangerous or unsafe to the public, the Town Board, by resolution, shall order its removal or repair if the same can be safely repaired and further order that a notice shall be personally served upon the owner or some one of the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises, as shown by the records of the receiver of taxes and/or by the records of the Sullivan County County Clerk's office.
If no such person can reasonably be found, then notice shall be served by mailing a copy of such notice to such person or corporation by registered mail, addressed to his last known address, and by securely posting a copy of such notice upon said premises.
Said notice shall contain the following statements:
A description of the premises by metes and bounds or by filed deed reference.
A statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or removed.
That the securing or removal of the said building or structure shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
Such notice shall further provide that in case the owner and such persons having an interest in the property or structure as herein prescribed wish to contest the order, that a hearing will be held before the Town Board at a time and place specified and that in the event such owner or persons having an interest shall fail to contest such order and fail to comply with same, the Town Board will order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the Town.
If the Town shall repair or remove said building or structure, the land on which said buildings or structures are located will be assessed for all costs and expense incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said building or structure; or, in the alternative, that the Town Board shall commence a special proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the costs of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses incidental to obtaining an order to demolish.
A copy of such notice shall be filed in the office of the Sullivan County Clerk, which notice shall be filed by such Clerk in the same manner as a notice of pendency, pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided, except as otherwise herein provided. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of filing; provided, however, that it may be vacated upon the order of a judge or Justice of a court of record upon the consent of the Town's attorney. The County Clerk shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as canceled of record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
At the time and date specified in the notice to repair or demolish, the Town Board shall conduct the public hearing. It may adjourn from time to time under the hearing is completed and until all interested parties are heard. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Town Board shall determine to revoke the order to repair or remove; or continue said order and direct the owner and other persons to complete the work within a specified time which shall be reasonable as to the time needed to perform the work and the necessity to protect the general public.
In the event that the owner fails or refuses to repair or remove such building or structure within the time provided, the Town shall remove said building or structure.
Where is 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 or structure 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 or structure. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 180-9 hereof.
All costs and expense incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure such building or buildings, including the actual cost of repairing or removal, shall be assessed upon the land upon which said building or buildings are located. Such assessment shall be assessed on the next Town assessment roll as an additional tax to the regular tax assessed against such property and the same shall be levied and collected in the same manner as the regular Town tax. In the alternative, the Town Board may commence a special proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the costs of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses incidental to obtaining an order to demolish, from the owner of any building or structure that may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public. The provisions of Article 4 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules shall govern any special proceeding commenced under this section.