[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Oyster Bay 3-9-1993. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 93.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 107.
Housing standards — See Ch. 135.
Zoning — See Ch. 246.
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. 96, Buildings, Unsafe, adopted as Ch. 6, Art. IV, of the 1971 Code, as amended.
It is hereby declared and found by the Town Board of the Town of Oyster Bay that the purpose of this chapter is to provide basic and uniform standards governing the condition and maintenance of residential and commercial premises and establishing reasonable safeguards for the safety, health and welfare of the occupants and users of the premises and also for the residents of the Town of Oyster Bay.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development or his designee.
- DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
- Any building or structure which has any or all of the following conditions:
- (1) Those where any interior wall or walls or other structural load-bearing members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line, passing from any overhead supporting member through the center of gravity, falls outside the middle third of its base.
- (2) Those which, exclusive of the foundations, show 33 1/3% or more of deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% or more damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting, enclosing or exterior walls or covering.
- (3) Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the floors or roofs are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
- (4) Those having inadequate or insufficient facilities for ingress and egress in the event of fire, panic or other emergency or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes, aisles, passageways, corridors or other means of access and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached or connected in such a manner that they may fall, collapse or cause damage and injury to the occupants thereof or other persons or property.
- (6) Those which, in whole or in part, used for residential, commercial, mercantile, industrial, storage, assembly, institutional or any other purpose for want of repair, lack of sufficient fire escapes or exits or by reason of age, fire or dilapidated condition or from any other cause may now be or shall at any time hereafter become unsafe or dangerous structurally or a fire hazard or a nuisance to the general public.
- (7) A vacant building, unguarded or open at door or window.
- (8) Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, act of vandalism or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Oyster Bay.
- (9) 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, as are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein or to the people of the Town of Oyster Bay.
- (10) Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein.
- (11) Those buildings or structures in which there exist violations of any provision of any code or ordinance of the Town of Oyster Bay, so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Oyster Bay.
- (12) Those which, in whole or in part, have an electrical wiring system which is defective, or is an improper type of wiring for the purpose intended, or which fails to meet ventilation requirements as prescribed by applicable provisions of law, or which have plumbing, sewage or drainage facilities that are not in conformity with applicable building and plumbing codes.
- (13) Those buildings or structures which have a bulkhead, dock or similar structure which, in whole or in part, has become or is so deteriorated, dilapidated, decayed and/or unsafe, as is likely to cause injury to the health, safety or general welfare of the occupants, owners or residents of the area.
- (14) Those buildings or structures which have been declared dangerous, unsafe or uninhabitable by the Nassau County Health Department, Nassau County Fire Marshal, New York State Department of Environmental Control, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration or any agency having such independent or concurrent jurisdiction over such health and environmental matters.
- Interference with an owner's reasonable use and enjoyment of his property by means, including but not limited to, of smoke, odors, noise or vibration, obstruction of private easements and rights of support, interference with public rights, such as free-passage long streams and highways and enjoyment of public parks and places of recreation, and, in addition, activities and structures prohibited as statutory nuisances.
- Includes the owner of record of any premises, a mortgagee, a tax lien purchaser, a lienor and any other person having a vested or contingent interest in said premises and anyone exercising rights of ownership therein as indicated by the records of the County Clerk of Nassau County or by the records of the Receiver of Taxes, the Office of the Public Administrator or Surrogates Court.
- The fastening, nailing, tacking or substantially securing by any other means of any notice, survey, order, directive or official decision on a building or structure.
- PRIVATE NUISANCE
- Includes any wrongful act which destroys or deteriorates the property of an individual or of a few persons or interferes with their lawful use or enjoyment thereof, or any act which unlawfully hinders them in the enjoyment of a common or public right and causes them a special injury different from that sustained by the general public.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- One which affects an indefinite number of persons or all the residents of a particular locality or all people coming within the extent of its range or operation, although the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal. Maintaining a "public nuisance" is, by act or by failure to perform a legal duty, intentionally causing or permitting a condition to exist which injures or endangers the public health, safety or welfare.
- Includes any alteration, structural change or the performance of any necessary or requisite work, for the elimination of any hazardous, dangerous or unsafe condition of any dangerous building or structure, within the purview of this chapter.
- The delivery of a pleading, notice or other paper in a lawsuit, to the opposite party, so as to charge him with the receipt of it, and subject to its legal effect.
- SERVICE OF PROCESS
- The communication of the substance of the process to the defendant, provided in the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules, whereby the defendant/respondent is provided with reasonable notice of the proceedings against him to afford him opportunity to appear and be heard.
- A written determination in a report, after an on-site inspection by a designated inspector of the Town of Oyster Bay, in conjunction with a registered architect, appointed by the Town Board, and a practical builder, engineer or architect, appointed by the owner of the subject premises or any other person receiving a notice under the provisions of this chapter, to be made after refusal or neglect of said person who has been served with a notice to make safe, repair or demolish and remove the dangerous building or structure.
- The Town of Oyster Bay.
The words "or" and "and" as used herein may be construed interchangeably where such meaning is necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter. Where necessary, the singular shall include the plural and the plural include the singular. The word "person" shall include a partnership, corporation, association or trustee. The words "persons interested," as used herein, shall be construed to include the owner as herein defined and all other persons interested in the property to which such words refer.
All dangerous buildings, as defined by § 96-2 of this chapter, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be sealed, boarded up, vacated and/or repaired, secured, demolished and removed as hereinafter provided.
Under this chapter, the Commissioner or his duly appointed designee shall have jurisdiction for the purpose of sealing, boarding up, fencing in, demolishing, taking down or removing any hazardous, dangerous or unsafe building or structure or for taking remedial action toward making any of said buildings or structures to be vacated by its occupants.
Upon receipt of information that a building or structure may be dangerous, the Commissioner shall cause an investigation of the premises to be made and an inspection report submitted and filed in the office of said Commissioner.
After the report is filed in his office, and if the report shall confirm the existence of a dangerous building or structure, as defined within § 96-2 of this chapter, the Commissioner shall cause a notice to be served upon the owner or his executors, legal representatives, agents, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same, as specified and in compliance with §§ 96-6 and 96-7.
The notice shall contain a description of the premises, which shall include the section, block and lot number, a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous, the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and an order requiring the same to be vacated and/or made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
Service of process of the notice, as required in § 96-5, shall comply with the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules and the following:
Service of notice by personal service. Service may be made personally upon the owner or his executor, legal representative, agent, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same, as indicated by the records maintained by the Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes, the Office of the Town Clerk, the Office of the County Clerk, the Office of the Public Administrator and/or the Surrogate's Court.
Service of notice by mail. Service may be made by registered mail, addressed to the last known address, if any, of the owner or his executor, legal representative, agent, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same, as indicated by the records maintained by the Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes, the Office of the Town Clerk, the Office of the County Clerk, the Office of the Public Administrator and/or the Surrogate's Court. A copy of said notice must also be posted on the dangerous building.
Service of notice by publication. In the event that the whereabouts of the owner of the premises or his executor, legal representative, agent, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the same are unknown and cannot be ascertained after the exercise of reasonable diligence by the Commissioner or his authorized representative or designee and an affidavit to that effect is on file in the Department of Planning and Development, then service of the notice, as provided for in §§ 96-5 and 96-6 of this chapter, shall be made by publishing said notice, once a week, for two successive weeks, in the official newspaper of the town, with proof of publication, to be filed in the office of the Department of Planning and Development and the office of the Town Clerk. A copy of the notice must also be posted on the dangerous building.
Within seven days of the service of the notice set forth above, any person who receives the notice may certify his written acceptance or rejection of the particulars and order contained in the notice by either personal service or by registered mail upon the Commissioner or a person designated by him to accept service in his behalf. Any failure on the part of the person receiving the notice to respond, as herein prescribed, shall constitute a rejection of the notice.
If the person served with the notice shall immediately certify his assent to the securing or demolition and removal of the dangerous building or structure in question, he shall be permitted 72 hours within which to commence the abatement of the dangerous conditions affecting the building or structure and shall employ sufficient labor and assistance to secure or demolish, repair and remove such building or structure within a reasonable period of time thereafter.
Any person entitled to notice, as provided in this chapter, may request and shall be granted a hearing before the Town Board. The entitlement to said hearing is contingent upon the requesting person's filing of a verified petition with the office of the Town Clerk and the Town Board or its designee within seven days after service of the notice. The petition must contain a brief statement setting forth the grounds for a hearing.
Upon receipt of said petition, the Board or its designee shall set a time for the hearing and shall give the petitioner seven days' written notice thereof.
At the hearing, the petitioner shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to provide reasons why the proceeding for the vacating and/or securing or removal of the dangerous building or structure shall be modified or withdrawn.
The hearing shall be commenced not later than 14 days after the date on which the petition was filed. The Town Board may postpone the date of the hearing for any reasonable time beyond the fourteen-day period if, in its judgment, a good and sufficient reason for the postponement exists. In no event shall the hearing be postponed longer than 30 days at the request of the petitioner without due cause.
If no such written petition shall be so filed within the seven-day period as aforesaid or if the petition shall be rejected after the hearing, the Town Attorney is authorized to make application to the Supreme Court, at special term, as hereinafter provided.
If a hearing shall be requested and held in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the Town Board shall make written findings of fact as to whether the building in question is a dangerous building, within the definitions of § 96-2 hereof. A copy of said findings of fact shall be served upon the petitioner, occupant of the dangerous building or structure or any other person who shall have requested the same at the hearing.
If such findings of fact determine that the building or structure is dangerous, the person served with the findings of fact may immediately certify his assent to the vacating and/or repairing, securing or demolition and removal of the dangerous building or structure in question and shall be permitted 72 hours, after service of the findings of fact, within which to vacate and/or to commence abatement of the dangerous conditions affecting the building or structure and shall employee sufficient labor and assistance to repair, secure or demolish and remove such building or structure within a reasonable period of time thereafter.
Upon refusal, neglect or failure of the person or persons served with a notice and/or order of findings of fact pursuant to § 96-10 to comply with the requirements and specifications therein, within the periods of time as contained in §§ 96-9 or 96-10 herein, or upon his or their rejection of the same, a notice of survey shall be served upon them, either in person or by registered mail, providing notice that a survey of the premises described in the notice will be made at a time and place therein specified.
The notice of survey shall state the date, time and place where the survey will be made and that, in the event that the report of such survey indicates that such building or structure is dangerous, an application shall be made at a special term of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, for an order determining the building or structure to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be vacated and/or repaired and secured or demolished and/or repaired, taken down and removed.
The survey shall be made by three competent persons, of whom one shall be the Commissioner or his duly appointed designee, another shall be a registered architect appointed by the Town Board and the third shall be a practical builder, registered architect or licensed professional engineer appointed by the party served with the notice.
Within a reasonable time after the survey is completed, the determination thereof shall be made by such persons in writing and filed within the office of the Department of Planning and Development, and a copy thereof shall be posted upon the subject building or structure.
In the event that the person or persons served with the notice of survey, as described in § 96-11 hereof, shall fail, neglect or refuse to appoint a competent person to assist in the survey, the other two persons designated pursuant to the provisions of this section shall make the survey. Agreement as to the results of the survey between any two of the persons conducting the survey shall constitute the final survey required for further action under this chapter.
The architect appointed by the Town Board as hereinbefore provided, who may act upon any survey required by this chapter, shall be entitled to a fee, to be determined and fixed by the Town Board, which is to be paid upon the voucher of the Commissioner. The town may be reimbursed for the cost of the survey by assessment levied against the parcels of land upon which the survey was performed in the manner provided for the assessment of the cost of public improvements in Article 15 of the Town Law.
The Comptroller may render an invoice for the cost of services.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Commissioner in ordering repair or demolition or vacation:
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 repaired.
In any case where a dangerous building is 50% damaged or decayed or deteriorated from its original value or structure or where the owner refuses or fails to make ordered repairs, 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 of the town or statute of the State of New York, it shall be demolished and/or repaired.
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
Whenever the survey shall determine that the building or structure surveyed is dangerous, the Town Attorney shall apply to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, at special term, for an order determining the building or structure to be a public nuisance and directing either that it shall be repaired and secured or that it shall be demolished, taken down and removed and/or that the occupants be ordered to forthwith vacate the premises.
Said application shall be in the form of a special proceeding, with notice upon the owner as prescribed by the provisions of Article 4 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Whenever an application for said order is made to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the Town Attorney shall file a notice of pendency of a proceeding against an unsafe building or structure in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Nassau which shall set forth the following information:
The title of the proceeding, including the name of the Commissioner, the town and the owner, as defined herein, or the person described within § 96-7.
The property affected.
A description of the dangerous building or structure, with particulars which set forth the manner in which the building or structure is dangerous and the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
Upon receipt of the order of the Supreme Court, the Commissioner shall immediately proceed to execute the provisions therein contained and may employ and furnish whatever labor, assistance and materials which may be necessary for that purpose.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether interested or not in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere, obstruct or hinder the Commissioner or his representatives or any person acting on his behalf in the performing of the work directed by the determination of the Supreme Court, as herein provided or ordered by the Commissioner under the terms and provisions of such determination as hereinabove described.
The town shall be reimbursed for the cost of the work performed or services rendered as hereinabove provided by assessment against the collection from the lots or parcels of land where such work was performed or services rendered for so much of the actual and complete cost as incurred upon and from each lot or lots in the manner provided for the assessment of the cost of public improvements by Article 15 of the Town Law.
Any provision of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, where it reasonably appears that there is imminent danger to the life, health, safety and/or welfare of any person unless a dangerous building or structure, as defined herein, is immediately sealed, boarded up, repaired, vacated or demolished, the Commissioner shall cause the immediate sealing, boarding up, fencing in, reparation, vacation and/or demolition of such dangerous building or structure. The cost of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building or structure shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 96-19 hereof.
Any person or persons other than those duly authorized by the Commissioner who shall remove from a building or structure any notice prescribed by this chapter prior to compliance with the orders contained in the notice or committing any offense against the provisions of § 96-18 of this chapter is guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days for each offense or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Any owner, occupant or lessee of any dangerous building or structure who shall fail to comply with any notice or administrative order to vacate shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days for each such offense, or by both such fine or imprisonment.
Any person or persons who shall create a dangerous building or allow a building to become a dangerous building or allow a dangerous building to continue to remain in a dangerous condition, in violation of this chapter, shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $350 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both, for conviction of a first offense; for conviction of a second offense, both of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine of not less than $350 nor more than $700 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both; and upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense, all of which were committed within a period of five years, punishable by a fine of not less than $700 nor more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. However, for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers generally, violations of this chapter or of such ordinance or regulation shall be deemed misdemeanors and for such purpose only all provisions of law relating to misdemeanors shall apply to such violations. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation.
The above penalties shall be exacted in addition to and without reference to any other charges made or expenditures made pursuant to other sections of this chapter.
[Added 8-19-1997 by L.L. No. 6-1997]
In addition to and notwithstanding any other remedy for an offense against this chapter, any person violating a directive issued by the Commissioner or his/her duly authorized representative, made pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $900 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof is held invalid for any reason, the remainder of this chapter and the application thereof shall not be affected thereby.