[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Austerlitz 6-11-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 90.
Unsafe buildings and structures pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Austerlitz. 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. Debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground and not removed constitute a dangerous, unhealthy and unsightly condition. The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Town of Austerlitz by requiring such unsafe buildings and structures to be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Austerlitz."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof presently or formerly used for residential, business, industrial, agricultural, recreational or other purpose, whether occupied or vacant.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Austerlitz or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- PORTION OF BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any debris, rubble or parts of buildings which remain on the ground or on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or structure or portion thereof which:
- A. Because of its structural condition, is or may become unsecured structurally or otherwise deteriorated and is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public.
- B. Is open at the doorways or windows or walls, making it accessible.
- C. Is or may become a place of rodent infestation.
- D. Consists of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- E. Presents any other danger to the health, safety, and general welfare of the public.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or portion of any building or structure in the Town of Austerlitz to maintain such building or structure or portion of any building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe as defined in § 83-3.
When, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, any building or structure located in the Town of Austerlitz shall be deemed to be dangerous or unsafe to the public as defined in § 83-3, the Building Inspector shall make a formal inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations in regard to the building's removal or repair.
The Town Board shall thereupon consider said report, and, if it finds that said building is dangerous and unsafe to the public, it shall, by resolution, order its repair if the same can be safely repaired and, if not, its removal or demolition and shall further order that a hearing be held before the Town Board at a time and place therein specified and on at least five days' notice to the owner of the building and the owner, tenant or occupant of the land upon which same is situated or persons having an interest therein to determine whether said order to repair or remove shall be affirmed or modified or vacated and, in the event of modification or modification or affirmance, to assess all costs and expenses incurred by the Town in the repair or removal of such building or structure against the land on which said building or structure is located.
The notice shall contain the following statements:
The name of the owner or person in possession as appears from the tax and deed records.
A brief description of the premises and its location.
A description of the building or structure which is unsafe or dangerous and a statement of the particulars in which it is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or to be removed.
That the securing or removal of said building shall commence within a specified number of days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within a specified number of days thereafter.
The time and place of the hearing to be held before the Town Board, at which hearing the owner or occupant shall have the right to contest the order and findings of the Town Board.
That, in the event that such owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall fail to contest such order and fail to comply with the same, the Town Board will order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the Town and that the Town will assess all costs and expenses incurred in such repair or removal against the land on which the building or structure is located.
That, in any case where a building which was required to be made safe and secure under this chapter is made safe by the boarding up thereof, the material used for such boarding up shall be painted and, as near as practicable, the same color as the building.
A copy of said notice shall be personally served upon the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees, or other person having a vested interest in the premises as shown on the Town tax records or in the records in the Columbia County Clerk's office.
If no such person can be reasonably found for personal service, then a copy of said notice shall be mailed to such person by registered mail, addressed to his or her last known address as shown on said records, and a copy of said notice shall be personally served 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 said building or structure.
A copy of said notice shall be filed in the Columbia County Clerk's office, which notice shall be filed in the same manner as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of the filing. It may be vacated upon an order of a Judge or Justice of a court of record or upon the written consent of the attorney representing the Town of Austerlitz. The Columbia County Clerk shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as "cancelled of record" upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
The Town Board shall conduct the public hearing at the time and place specified in the notice to repair or demolish. It may adjourn the hearing from time to time until all interested parties are heard and until the hearing is completed. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Town Board shall determine by resolution to revoke the order to repair or remove, modify said order, or continue and affirm said order and direct the owner or other persons to complete the work within the time specified in the order or such other time as shall be determined by the Town Board.
In the event of the refusal, failure or neglect of the owner or persons so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board within the time specified in said order, and after the public hearing, the Town Board shall order that such building or structure be made safe and secure or removed and demolished by Town employees or by independent contractors. Except in emergency cases as herein provided, any contract for repair or demolishing or removal of the building in excess of $5,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings set forth in this chapter, including the cost of actually making safe, securing or removing such building or structure of dangerous and unsafe condition, shall be assessed against the land on which said building or said dangerous or unsafe condition 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.
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 or structure is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Building Inspector 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 § 83-11 hereof.
The Town Board, in its discretion, may elect to apply to the Supreme Court of the State of New York for an order directing that the building be repaired and secured or demolished and removed.
The Town Board may commence a special proceeding pursuant to § 78-b of the General Municipal Law to collect the costs of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses.
Any surveyor appointed as provided in § 83-5 shall be paid reasonable compensation as shall be fixed by the Town Board.