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City of Biddeford, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. of 10-6-1998]
A. 
Office of Building Official.
1. 
The Office of Building Official is hereby created and the executive official in charge shall be known as the “Building Inspector.”
2. 
The Building Inspector and assistant Building Inspectors shall be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council.
B. 
Liability of Building Inspector. The Building Inspector or any employee charged with the enforcement of this ordinance, acting in good faith and without malice for the City in the discharge of his duties, shall not render himself liable personally and he is relieved from all personal liability of any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or by reason of any act or omission in the discharge of his duties. Any suit brought against the Building Inspector or employee, because of such act or omission performed by him in the enforcement of any provisions of this ordinance, shall be defended by the City Solicitor until final termination of the proceedings.
C. 
Right of entry. The Building Inspector and all other inspectors required under this ordinance, in the discharge of their official duties, and upon proper identification, shall have authority to enter any building, structure or premises for cause at any reasonable hour.
D. 
Powers and duties. The Building Inspector shall have the following duties:
1. 
Enforce all laws relating to the construction, alteration, removal and demolition of buildings and structures, and to enforce the provisions of this ordinance.
2. 
Examine preliminary plans to make sure plans meet minimum BOCA standards, to determine completeness, and to evaluate compliance with other municipal ordinances.
3. 
Act upon building applications, refer Shoreland Zone applications and conditional use permit applications to the Planning Board, process variance applications and administrative appeals to the Board of Appeals, to review nonconforming use changes, and to maintain a record of fees collected.
4. 
Enter any property at reasonable hours with the consent of the property owner, occupant or agent, to inspect the property or structure for compliance with the laws or ordinances set forth in this section.
5. 
Investigate complaints and reported violations.
6. 
Keep written inspection reports and thorough records.
7. 
Issue violation notices.
8. 
Participate in appeals procedures.
9. 
Appear in court when necessary.
10. 
Confer with citizens in the administration and enforcement of this ordinance.
11. 
Regularly attend meetings of the Board of Appeals and meetings of the Planning Board as necessary.
12. 
Revoke a permit if it was issued in error or if it was based on erroneous information.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, Paragraph 13, which immediately followed this paragraph and provided for consideration of recommendations made by the Coastal Area Committee, was removed from the Code pursuant to Ord. No. 2011.38, adopted 9-20-2011. Said ordinance disbanded the Coastal Area Committee.
No person shall erect, locate, construct, enlarge, remove, demolish, convert or change the nature of the occupancy and/or use of any building or structure, or cause the same to be done, without first obtaining a separate building permit from the Building Inspector for each building or structure. No person shall undertake a building alteration, as defined by this ordinance, without first obtaining a permit.
A. 
Contents of applications. Every applicant for a building permit shall submit copies of a written application which shall include:
1. 
As to new buildings being erected, buildings being moved, and exterior additions to existing buildings:
(a) 
The shape, size and location of the lot for which application is made.
(b) 
The shape, size and location on the lot of the proposed building, and of any proposed additions to existing buildings.
(c) 
The shape, size and location of any other existing buildings on the lot.
(d) 
The location of adjacent buildings on adjacent lots, with reference to the distance from the lot line.
2. 
The above requirements shall not apply to alterations wholly within an existing building unless new uses are proposed or additional dwelling units are constructed.
3. 
All applications shall also include:
(a) 
The name and address of the property owner.
(b) 
The name, address, and telephone number of the person, firm, or firms involved in construction on the property.
(c) 
The square footage of the proposed construction.
(d) 
A statement of the proposed use for any new or moved building or altered portion of an existing building.
(e) 
Any other information the applicant wishes to furnish.
(f) 
Any other information requested by the Building Inspector to make the applications intelligible, and to determine whether the proposed construction will conform to this ordinance, other local ordinances and state law.
(g) 
If the property is not served by a public sewer a valid plumbing permit or a completed application for a plumbing permit, including the site evaluation approved by the Plumbing Inspector, shall be submitted.
(h) 
A certification that the information in the application is complete and correct to the best of the applicant's knowledge and belief.
(i) 
Information showing the location and boundaries of wetlands and freshwater ponds.
4. 
All applications shall be signed (a) by the person or firm to do the work and (b) by the owner of the property or other person authorizing the work.
5. 
All applications shall be dated, and the Building Inspector shall note upon each application the date and time of its receipt at his office.
6. 
In all instances, the burden of proof shall be on the applicant to demonstrate that the requirements of the ordinance have been met.
B. 
Action on application. Upon receipt of a building permit application the Building Inspector shall:
1. 
Decide whether the information in the application is sufficient for him to determine whether, under the ordinance, the permit should be issued, or if the application is otherwise inadequate.
If he feels the application is insufficient or inadequate, he shall at once notify the applicant in writing, indicating what he feels is required to correct the application. If the application is not so corrected, he shall deny it.
2. 
When an application conforms to the provisions of this ordinance and other codes and ordinances of the City, upon payment of the required fee, he shall within 10 days of its receipt issue the permit. He shall file one copy of the application and building permit with the City Clerk and keep one copy of the application and permit in a permanent file in his office.
3. 
a. 
If the application does not so conform, he shall, within 10 days, deny the permit in writing, stating therein his reasons for such denial.
b. 
In the event the proposed building or structure is so constructed or is of such usage as to require a review of the application by other authorities or boards, the Building Inspector shall refer the applicant to the appropriate authority or board for review, approval or denial. Upon his receipt of the decision of the reviewing authority or board, in writing, and if such decision is an approval, the Building Inspector shall issue the permit with any conditions prescribed by the reviewing authority or board.
c. 
The Building Inspector shall not issue any building permit if he has knowledge that a particular structure or use would be located in an unapproved subdivision, and/or if he has knowledge that the structure or use would be in violation of a particular state law or local ordinance. In either case, the burden of proof shall be upon the applicant. In denying any permit under these circumstances, the Building Inspector shall state in writing the reasons for the denial.
4. 
If he shall fail, for any reason, within 10 days either to issue a permit or deny an application in writing, such failure shall be deemed a denial so that the applicant may appeal to the Board of Appeals if he so wishes.
C. 
Lapse of permit. Following the issuance of a building permit, if no substantial start is made on the construction within 12 months of the date of the permit, it shall lapse and become void. Thereafter no further work on such construction can be made until a new application has been made and approved as aforesaid. All construction shall be completed within two years of the date of issuance of the permit. The fee for such permit shall be charged as a renewal fee.
D. 
Validity of permits. Any permit issued which is not in conformity with the provisions of this ordinance confers no rights and is a nullity.
A. 
When required. A certificate of occupancy issued by the Building Inspector is required in advance of the use occupancy of:
1. 
Any lot, or change of the use thereof.
2. 
A building hereafter erected or a change in the use of an existing building or lot.
B. 
Issuance. No certificate of occupancy shall be issued unless the lot or building or structure or use complies with all the provisions of this ordinance. A record of all certificates of occupancy shall be kept on file in the office of the Building Inspector, and a copy shall be furnished, on request, to any person having a proprietary or tenancy interest in the building or land involved. A duplicate copy shall be filed in the office of the assessor, and the certificate of occupancy shall state specifically the uses which it permits.
A. 
Violations. If the Building Inspector shall find that any of the provisions of this code are being violated, he shall notify by certified mail the person(s) responsible for such violation(s) indicating the nature of the violation(s) and the state regulations regarding fines, and order the action necessary to correct it. If following such investigation, he feels the ordinance is being violated, it shall be his duty to start legal action on behalf of the City. He shall order discontinuance of illegal use of land, buildings or structures or additions, alterations or structural changes; or discontinuance of any illegal activity.
B. 
Fines. Each offense shall constitute a separate offense for each day the violation occurs. The penalties for violation of this ordinance shall be as prescribed in 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4452, as follows:
Civil penalties. The following provisions shall apply to violations of the laws and ordinances set forth in this section, and all monetary penalties shall be civil penalties.
1. 
The minimum penalty for starting construction or undertaking a land use activity without a required permit shall be $100, and the maximum penalty shall be $2,500 for each violation.
2. 
The minimum penalty for a specific violation shall be $100, and the maximum penalty shall be $2,500.
3. 
The violator may be ordered to correct or abate the violations. Where the court finds that the violation was willful, the violator shall be ordered to correct or abate the violation unless the abatement or correction will:
a. 
Result in a threat or hazard to public health or safety;
b. 
Result in substantial environmental damage; or
c. 
Result in a substantial injustice.
4. 
If the municipality is the prevailing party, it shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees and costs, unless the court finds that special circumstances make the award of these fees and costs unjust. If the defendant is the prevailing party, he may be awarded reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees and costs as provided by court rule.
5. 
In setting a penalty, the court shall consider, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(a) 
Prior violations by the same party;
(b) 
The degree of environmental damage that cannot be abated or corrected;
(c) 
The extent to which the violation continued following a municipal order to stop; and
(d) 
The extent to which the municipality contributed to the violation by providing the violator with incorrect information or by failing to take timely action.
6. 
a. 
The maximum penalty may exceed $2,500, but shall not exceed $25,000, when it can be shown that there has been a previous conviction of the same party within the past two years of the same law or ordinance.
b. 
All proceedings arising under the provisions of locally administered laws and ordinances shall be brought in the name of the municipality, and those fines shall be paid to the municipality.
c. 
Nothing in this ordinance shall be deemed to prevent an aggrieved party from taking independent action, including instituting injunctions, mandamus, or any other appropriate action to prevent or abate a violation.