[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Fulton 11-17-1998 by L.L. No. 13-1998 (Ch. 105 of the 1991 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Common Council finds that public nuisances exist in the City of Fulton in the operation of certain establishments and the use of property in flagrant violation of the penal laws of this state and related statutes, all of which substantially and seriously interfere with the interests of the public in the quality of life and total community environment, commerce in the City, property values and the public health, safety and welfare.
The Common Council further finds that many landlords do not adequately screen their tenants and some in fact feel that a bad tenant is better than no tenant.
The Common Council further finds that while existing laws may be adequate to punish offensive conduct and bring violators into compliance, said laws are not adequate to abate the nuisances created by multiple offenders.
The Common Council further finds that the continued occurrence of such activities, violations and attitudes is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the City of Fulton and of the business thereof and the visitors thereto. It is the purpose of this chapter to authorize and empower the Chief of Police to impose sanctions and penalties for such public nuisances, and such powers may be exercised either in conjunction with, or apart from, the powers contained in other laws without prejudice to the use of procedures and remedies available under such other laws. The Council further finds that the sanctions and penalties imposed by the Chief pursuant to this chapter constitute an additional and appropriate method of law enforcement in response to the proliferation of the above-described public nuisances. The sanctions and penalties are reasonable and necessary in order to protect the health and safety of the people of the City and to promote the general welfare.
For the purposes of this chapter, a public nuisance is declared to exist where:
Controlled substances and marijuana offenses:
An arrest for a violation of any provision of Article 220 or 221 of the New York State Penal Law has been made within 60 days prior to the issuance of notice pursuant to this chapter, where said arrest has been predicated on events, circumstances or activities occurring on the premises; and
A violation of Article 220 or 221 which has resulted in a criminal conviction pursuant to Article 220 or 221 within the twenty-four-month period of time prior to the arrest required in Subsection A(1) above, where said conviction has been predicated on events, circumstances or activities occurring on the premises; and
Either one of the following:
A violation of Article 220 or 221 which has resulted in a criminal conviction pursuant to Article 220 or 221 within the twenty-four-month period of time prior to the arrest required in Subsection A(1) above, where said conviction has been predicated on events, circumstances or activities occurring on the premises; or
Discovery by any law enforcement agency or duly authorized agent thereof of a quantity and quality of drug or substance on the premises, the amount of which would subject an individual, if prosecuted, to a conviction of Article 220 or 221 of the Penal Law, which discovery has not led to an arrest or conviction, within the twenty-four-month period of time prior to the arrest required Subsection A(1) above; or
There exists a series of violations of a designated nuisance offense, as those terms are defined in § 435-3 of this chapter, which have resulted in a conviction of three or more designated nuisance offenses within the twenty-four-month period of time, where said convictions have been predicated on events, circumstances or activities occurring or which are a proximate result of such activities occurring on the premises.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Chief of Police of the City of Fulton or his/her designee.
- As defined and applied in accordance with the provisions of § 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the State of New York.
- CORPORATION COUNSEL
- The Corporation Counsel of the City of Fulton.
- The Common Council of the City of Fulton.
- DESIGNATED NUISANCE OFFENSE
- Any violations of Article 120 (Assault and Related Offenses), Article 125 (Homicide, Abortion and Related Offenses), Article 130 (Sex Offenses), Article 140 (Burglary and Related Offenses), Article 150 (Arson), Article 155 (Larceny), Article 160 (Robbery), Article 165 (Other Offenses Relating to Theft), Article 170 (Forgery and Related Offenses), Article 225 (Gambling Offenses), Article 230 (Prostitution Offenses), Article 235 (Obscenity and Related Offenses), Article 240 (Offenses Against Public Order), Article 245 (Offenses Against Public Sensibilities), Article 260 (Offenses Relating to Children, Disabled Persons and Vulnerable Elderly Persons), Article 263 (Sexual Performance by a Child), Article 265 (Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons) and Article 270 (Other Offenses Relating to Public Safety) of the Penal Law of the State of New York and any violations of § C263B of the Charter of the City of Fulton or Chapter 197 (Adult Entertainment Businesses) or Chapter 210 (Alcoholic Beverages) of the City Code of the City of Fulton and any violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and any violation of Article 220 or 221 (controlled substance offenses and offenses involving marijuana, respectively) of the Penal Law as set forth in § 435-2 of this chapter.
- The person who is listed as the mortgagee on any unsatisfied or otherwise open mortgage recorded in the Oswego County Clerk's office.
- The person in whose name the real estate affected by the order is recorded as the owner in the office of the Oswego County Clerk.
- The building, place or real property whereon the public nuisance is being conducted or exists.
Editor's Note: Charter § C263B, Garbage Collection and Disposal District, was repealed 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009.
In addition to the enforcement procedures established elsewhere, the Chief, after notice and opportunity for a hearing in front of the City Court Judge, shall be authorized to seek from the City Court Judge:
The Chief shall give notice and opportunity for a hearing to the owner, lessor, lessee, agent and all the persons in possession or having charge of the premises wherein the public nuisance is being conducted, maintained or permitted. Such notice and opportunity to be heard may be given to a mortgagee of the premises. Such notice shall be served upon an owner pursuant to Article 3 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, upon a lessor or lessee pursuant to § 735 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law and upon a mortgagee by means of certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the mortgagee's last known address, provided that any service other than delivery to the person to be served shall be complete immediately upon delivery, mailing or posting without the necessity of filing of proof of service with the clerk of any court before the hearing.
Such notice shall:
Specify the activities creating the nuisance.
Provide 30 days for elimination of the nuisance. (Moving the nuisance to another premises owned by the owner does not constitute elimination.)
Inform the person to whom it is directed of his/her right to apply within 10 days for a hearing before the Fulton City Court Judge.
Inform the owner/landlord that, upon the expiration of 30 days after service with no hearing, or upon noncompliance with any written agreement reached at the hearing before the Court, the Chief shall act to obtain compliance as provided by this chapter.
Inform the owner/landlord of his/her obligation to post a copy of the notice within five days, in a conspicuous place, so that all occupants entering the premises shall have notice that the public nuisance is being conducted, maintained or permitted on the premises and that, upon 30 days after service of the notice, the City Court may direct the Chief to act to obtain compliance as provided, including but not limited to the closing of the premises.
The burden of proof shall be upon the City to prove the existence of a nuisance as defined in § 435-2 by a preponderance of the evidence.
The owner/landlord has no obligation to offer any evidence at the hearing but may do so.
The hearing shall be conducted under the standard rules of evidence.
Upon conclusion of the fact-finding, the Judge shall issue an order:
Approving any stipulation which may be reached between the parties, provided that it meets with the approval of the Court; or
Dismissing the proceeding for failure of the City to meet the burden of proof set forth herein.
The lack of knowledge of, acquiescence or participation in or responsibility for a public nuisance on the part of the owners, lessors, lessees, mortgagees and all those persons in possession or having charge of as agent or otherwise or having interest in the premises or personal property used in conducting or maintaining the public nuisance shall not be a defense by such owners, lessors and lessees, mortgagees and such other persons.
[Amended 12-1-2009 by L.L. No. 6-2009]
If the City Court grants one or both of the orders contemplated in § 435-4 of this chapter, then the Chief shall post said order(s) on the premises wherein the public nuisance is occurring in violation of law and mail a copy of said order(s) within one business day of the posting of said order(s) on the premises to the parties identified in § 435-5A. A copy of said order will also be filed with the Clerk/Chamberlain and made available for public inspection.
Five business days after the issuance of an order(s) pursuant to § 435-4 and upon the directive of the Court, the Chief and officers of the Fulton Police Department are authorized to act upon and enforce such order(s).
Where the Court closes a premises pursuant to this chapter, such closing shall be for such a period as the Court may direct, but in no event shall the closing be for a period of more than one year from such issuance of the order pursuant to this chapter. If the owner, lessor and/or lessee shall file a bond in an amount determined by the Court, but which may not exceed the value of the premises ordered to be closed, and submit proof satisfactory to the Court that the nuisance has been abated and will not be created, maintained or permitted for such period of time as the premises has been directed to be closed by the order of the Court, then the Court may vacate the provisions of the order that directed the closing of the premises.
Upon receiving a nuisance case from the Chief, the Corporation Counsel shall maintain a special proceeding against the owner of the premises to affix a civil penalty in the amount of $500 and to collect any costs and expenses incurred by the City of Fulton in commencing the proceeding, in closing the premises and in relocating any occupants of the premises.
The judgment in such proceeding, in favor of the plaintiff, shall establish the penalty sued for with costs and disbursements as a lien upon such premises, subject only to taxes, assessments, water rates, mortgages and mechanics liens as they may exist thereon prior to the filing of the notice of pendency of the action or proceeding.
The Corporation Counsel shall have the power, on ex parte application to the Court, to appoint a receiver of rents and profits of the premises for the purposes of collecting the civil penalty and abating the nuisance. The receiver shall have the powers and duties of a receiver of rents and profits of real estate appointed by the Supreme Court, provided that the Corporation Counsel shall act as his/her counsel and the receiver shall not be allowed any expenditure for counsel fees, and his/her commissions shall be 10% of his/her collections, which sum shall be full compensation for his/her services and those of any agent or agents whom he/she may employ. Such receiver shall continue until the amount of such liens, with interest at the rate of 9%, and the commissions have been fully paid and the nuisance is abated, provided that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any prior lienor from applying to the Supreme Court in a proper case for a receiver of the premises.
At any time after the entry of any judgment establishing a lien upon the premises, the Corporation Counsel, on behalf of the Chief, may apply to the Court for leave to sell the premises. Upon such application, the Court may order the premises sold at public auction, subject to taxes, assessments, water rates, mortgages and mechanics liens.
A closing directed by the court pursuant to this chapter shall not constitute an act of possession, ownership or control by the City of the closed premises.
It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to use or occupy or to permit any other person to use or occupy any premises, or portion thereof, ordered closed by the Court.
Mutilation or removal of an order posted by the Chief shall be a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both, provided that such order contained therein a notice of such penalty.
Intentional disobedience or resistance to any provision of the orders issued by the Court pursuant to this chapter, in addition to any other punishment prescribed by law, shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both.
The Chief may promulgate rules and regulations to carry out and give full effect to the provisions of this chapter.
No officer, agent or employee of the City of Fulton, New York, shall be personally liable for any damage resulting from any official determination, order or action required or permitted in the discharge of his/her duties under this chapter.