[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Fulton 9-6-1994 (Ch. 53 of the 1991 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Unsafe Buildings Ordinance, being Chapter 262 of the Code of the City of Fulton, shall be administered and enforced by the Bureau of Code Enforcement of the City of Fulton, as constituted under Title VIII of the City Charter. All references in this chapter to the "Bureau" shall mean the Bureau of Code Enforcement.
All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed to be a dangerous building:
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle third of its base.
Those which, exclusive of the foundations, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the City of Fulton.
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
Those occupied or unoccupied having light, air, water, electrical, hot water and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein.
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or other emergency or those having insufficient stairways, fire escapes or other means of egress.
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the people of this City.
Those existing in violation of any provision of the Building Code of this City or the Building and Fire Prevention Code of the State of New York or any laws, ordinances or statutes of the City of Fulton or State of New York or any federal statutes.
[Added 9-24-2019 by L.L. No. 4-2019]
After a structure has been deemed either abandoned, vacant or unsafe for occupancy as per City of Fulton Code § 262-1, it should then be placarded with an identification system that consists of one of three symbols on a twenty-four-square-inch sign. The three sign designations indicating severity of the structure shall consist of the following:
Photo 1: Red box with no white interior marking shall mean that the vacant structure has normal conditions at the time of marking.
Photo 2: Red box with one diagonal white line marking shall mean that the interior structures has hazards that exist and interior firefighting should be conducted with extreme caution.
Photo 3: Red box with white "X" marking shall mean that the interior structural hazards are severe enough that interior firefighting should be limited to entry for known life hazards, otherwise exterior firefighting operations should be conducted.
[Added 9-24-2019 by L.L. No. 4-2019]
The Fulton Fire Department would like to propose a City Registry of Vacant Properties, that would be a requirement of the owner of the property in question to register for. These fees would be paid either by the owner to the City directly, or to the City indirectly by assessing the fee to the taxes of the property. This registration fee would apply after the first year the property becomes vacant/abandoned.
Second Year. If a building remains vacant after one year, then at the start of the second year the owner would be responsible for registration fee of $5,000 or the annual aggregate of City, county and school property taxes.
Third Year. If a building remains vacant after two years, then at the start of the third year the owner would be responsible for registration fee of $10Editor's Note: ,000 or twice the annual aggregate of City, county and school property taxes.
Fourth Year. If a building remains vacant after three years, then at the start of the fourth year the owner would be responsible for registration fee of $15,000 or thrice the annual aggregate of City, county and school property taxes.
Fifth Year and each succeeding year. If a building remains vacant after fourth year, then at the start of the fifth year the owner would be responsible for registration fee of $15,000 or quadruple the annual aggregate of City, county and school property taxes.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Bureau Chief in ordering repair, removal, vacation or demolition:
If the dangerous building can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered to be repaired and the owner given a specific time in which to make such repairs, not to exceed 90 days.
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it of immediate danger to the health, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
In any case where a dangerous building is 50% damaged or decayed or deteriorated, it shall be demolished, and in all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be demolished. In all cases where a dangerous building is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any ordinance relating to the prevention of fire, it shall be demolished.
All repairs undertaken pursuant to this chapter shall be made in compliance with existing laws of the City of Fulton and State of New York, including the Building Code of the City of Fulton and State of New York and Fire Prevention Code of the State of New York.
All dangerous buildings within the terms of § 262-2 of this chapter are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore and hereafter provided.
The Bureau Chief or his designee shall:
Inspect all public buildings, schools, halls, churches, theaters, hotels, tenements, apartments or commercial, manufacturing or loft buildings, and all other buildings that are held out as accessible to the public, for the purpose of determining whether a condition exists which renders such places a dangerous building within the terms of this chapter.
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which complaints are filed by any person to the effect that a building, wall or structure is or may be existing in violation of this chapter.
Notify, in writing, the owner, occupant, lessee, agent and all other persons reasonably known to the City to have an interest in said building or any building found to be a dangerous building within the standards set forth in § 262-2 of this chapter that:
The owner must vacate or repair or demolish said building in accordance with the terms of the notice and this chapter.
The occupant or lessee must vacate said building or may have it repaired in accordance with the notice and remain in possession.
Including but not limited to an agent, any person having an interest in said building may at his own risk repair, vacate, remove or demolish said building, or have such work or act done, provided that any person notified under this subsection to repair, vacate or demolish any building shall be given such reasonable time, not exceeding 90 days, as may be necessary to do or to have done the work or act required by the notice provided for herein.
Set forth in the notice provided for in Subsection A(3) hereof a description of the building or structure deemed unsafe, a statement of the particulars which make the building or structure a dangerous building and an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to comply with the terms of this chapter within such length of time, as is reasonable, not to exceed 90 days.
Place a notice on all dangerous buildings reading as follows: "This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Bureau of Code Enforcement. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given the owner, occupant, lessee or agent of this building and all other persons having an interest in said building. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such notice is complied with."
Upon receipt of a report as provided for in § 262-9 hereof, give written notice to the owner, according to the general tax assessment rolls of the City of Fulton, and also to the occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent and all other persons who have an interest in said building as determined by the records in the Oswego County Clerk's office, to appear before the Bureau Chief on the date specified in the notice to show cause why the building or structure reported to be a dangerous building should not be repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the statement of particulars set forth in the notice provided for herein. The Bureau Chief shall conduct an administrative hearing pursuant to this section. The Bureau Chief shall take testimony under oath from any person(s) with an interest in the premises. The Bureau Chief shall also take testimony from other persons who wish to be heard and offer testimony relative to the dangerous condition of the building. All testimony shall be taken under oath and transcribed by a certified court reporter.
Make written findings of fact from the testimony offered and evidence presented as to whether or not the building in question is a dangerous building within the terms of § 262-2. Such funding shall be issued within 30 days of the hearing.
Issue an order based upon findings of fact made requiring the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent and all other persons having an interest in said building as shown by the real property records of the Clerk of the County of Oswego to repair, vacate or demolish any building found to be a dangerous building within the terms of this chapter.
Order to vacate, repair or demolish. If the owner, occupant or lessee fails to comply with the order of the Bureau Chief for repair, vacating, removal or demolition within 10 days, the Common Council, by resolution, may authorize the Bureau Chief to cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished as the facts may warrant. The cost of such repair, vacation or demolition shall be charged against the land upon which such building exists in the same manner as special assessments and/or real property taxes provided for in the Charter of the City of Fulton.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person unless a dangerous building is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Bureau Chief shall report such facts to the Mayor, and the Mayor may direct the Bureau Chief or Deputy Bureau Chief to cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected in the same manner as provided § 262-5B.
In all cases where notices or orders provided for herein are required to be served, such service shall be made either personally as defined in § 308 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules or by certified mail directed to the person upon whom it is intended to be served at his last known address, and in the event that such service is made by certified mail, a copy of such notice or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the dangerous building to which it relates. Such personal service or service by mail and posting shall be deemed sufficient.
No officer, agent or employee of the City of Fulton shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to the persons or property of anyone as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter. Any suit brought against any such officer, agent or employee of the City of Fulton as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter shall be defended by the City Attorney, and any judgment recovered against such person, if affirmed where an appeal is taken, shall be paid by the City of Fulton.
All members of the Fire Department and Police Department of the City of Fulton shall make a report, in writing, to the Bureau of any buildings or structures which are or may be or are suspected to be dangerous buildings within the meaning of this chapter.
This chapter shall take effect upon its approval by the Mayor 10 days after its first publication thereof in the official paper as required by § C43 of the Charter of the City of Fulton and after the filing with the Secretary of State of the chapter under Title XIII of the City Charter, establishing the Bureau of Code and Zoning Ordinance Enforcement.
Any person, association, partnership, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not exceeding $250 or shall be imprisoned in the Oswego County Jail for a period not exceeding 15 days, or shall be both so fined and imprisoned. Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a continuing offense and shall be punishable as a continuing offense hereunder. A separate accusatory instrument and/or complaint shall not be necessary for each day that the violation exists.
In case of a violation of this chapter, the City or its officers may, in addition to any other remedies conferred by law or ordinance, institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance or use to restrain, correct or abate such violation, to prevent the occupancy of said building, structure or land or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises.