[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Board of Stephenson County 7-10-1979 (Ch. 13, Art. III, of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 8-14-1984 by Ord. No. 84-61]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DANGEROUS BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any existing or subsequently erected building, structure or portion thereof which, because of any cause whatsoever, violates any rule, regulation or standard contained in the current edition of the Property Maintenance Code, as promulgated by the International Code Council (ICC).
- UNSANITARY BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Shall apply to buildings, structure or portions thereof, existing or hereafter erected as follows: any building, structure or portion thereof which, because of its condition, infestation by insects, rodents or other vermin, or lack of or inadequate repair and maintenance of any facility serving such building or structure, or any other cause, may aid in the spread of disease or injury to the health of the occupants or occupants of neighboring premises.
Any dangerous or unsanitary building or structure is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
It shall be unlawful to maintain or permit the existence of any dangerous or unsanitary building or structure in the County. It shall be unlawful for the owner, occupant or person in custody of any dangerous or unsanitary building or structure to permit the same to remain in a dangerous or unsanitary condition, or to occupy or permit to be occupied such building or structure while it is or remains in a dangerous or unsanitary condition.
[Amended 8-14-1984 by Ord. No. 84-61]
Whenever the health authority has inspected a building or structure and has found and determined such building or structure to be dangerous or unsanitary, he shall cause written notice to be served upon the owner and any occupant, by certified mail or personal service.
Contents of notice. Such notice shall:
Contain a legal description sufficient for identification of the premises upon which the building or structure is located.
Contain a brief and concise statement of the conditions found to render the building or structure dangerous or unsanitary, or a statement setting forth the conditions constituting a "nuisance" as defined in § 309-1 of this Code, existing in the immediate vicinity of said building or structure.
Establish a reasonable time for the performance of any required act to abate the dangerous or unsanitary conditions.
Order the dangerous or unsanitary building or structure vacated as unfit for human occupancy and establish a reasonable time for vacation by the occupants.
Notice to vacate. A notice to vacate shall also be posted with a placard on the dangerous or unsanitary building or structure. Such notice shall include:
The location of the building.
The name of the member of the health authority posting the placard.
The section of this Code under which it was issued.
An order that the building or structure, when vacated, must remain vacant until the provisions of the order are complied with and the order to vacate is withdrawn.
The date that the placard is posted.
A statement of the penalty for defacing or removing the placard.
Removal of placard or notice. No person shall deface or remove the placard from any building or structure which has been declared or placarded as unfit for human habitation except by authority in writing from the health authority.
Occupancy of building. A building or structure which has been declared or placarded as unfit for human occupancy shall not again be used for human occupancy until written approval is secured from the health authority. The health authority shall remove such placard whenever the condition or conditions upon which the declaration and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
Abatement by the owner shall be accomplished by repair, rehabilitation or removal of the dangerous or unsanitary conditions, or by the demolition of the building or structure, or by abatement of the "nuisance" as defined in § 309-1 of this Code existing in the immediate vicinity of the building or structure.
If, after 15 days following service of notice to the owner as provided in § 218-4 of this chapter to repair or demolish a dangerous or unsanitary building or structure, or within such other reasonable time as established by the health authority and set forth in the notice, the owner has failed to take reasonable steps to put such building or structure in a safe or sanitary condition or to demolish it, the health authority may apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring the owner to complete said action or may apply to the Circuit Court for an order authorizing the County to repair or demolish the building or structure at the owner's expense. The cost of such demolition or repair, if performed by the County pursuant to such an order, is recoverable from the owner and shall constitute a lien against the property concerned until paid.
The health authority may also apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring the owner or any persons occupying a dangerous or unsanitary building who have been issued a notice to vacate by the health authority and who have failed to vacate said premises to vacate the premises forthwith.
A person who shall willfully refuse or willfully neglect to comply with any lawful orders to abate a dangerous or unsanitary condition upon his property or any person defacing or removing a placard as provided in § 218-4C of this chapter may, upon conviction, be punished by a fine as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties, § 1-11, of the County Code. Each day's willful failure or refusal to comply shall constitute a separate offense.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any building or structure within the corporate limits of any home rule unit in this County.