[HISTORY: Adopted City of Norwalk Common Council 7-24-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The provisions of this ordinance shall apply to such areas within the City of Norwalk which the Common Council shall from time to time designate by resolution as rehabilitation areas in accordance with the provisions of Sections 12-65c through 12-65f of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut.
To be eligible for the benfits provided by this ordinance, an owner of property situated in a designated rehabilitation area must enter into a written agreement with the City of Norwalk whereby the owner of such property agrees to rehabilitate the property in accordance with such provisions of the State Building and Health Codes and the local Housing Code as may apply and, where a property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or is designated by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and the Common Council as an historic property for the purposes of a rehabilitation agreement under this program, with guidelines set forth in The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (Section 36, Part 67 of the Code of Federal Regulations) and, in any case, with such other guidelines as shall be established by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency for the review and approval of proposed rehabilitation.
In determining the eligibility for benefits provided by this ordinance and in addition to the criteria set forth above, the Redevelopment Agency shall consider:
The initial condition of the property which is the subject of the applications. In considering the initial condition of the property, the Redevelopment Agency shall consider the following factors:
Whether the property is substantially in violation of the Norwalk Housing Code, the State Basic Building Code, the National Electric Code, the National Plumbing Code, the State Fire Safety Code or the Norwalk Zoning Ordinance.
Whether the property is in need of substantial repair or replacement of exterior walls, windows, doors, stairs, steps and porches, roofs, chimneys and/or gutters and leaders.
Whether the property is in need of substantial repair of floors, ceilings, sanitary facilities and, in the case of residences, kitchens.
Whether the property is in need of substantial repair of or replacement of electrical, plumbing, ventilating and/or heating systems.
Whether accessory structures on the property or site development, including driveways, sidewalks, parking areas or site lighting, are in need of substantial repair or replacement.
Whether in the case of nonresidential properties, the use of such property is not the highest and best use or the most economic use and the dedication of such property to a higher and better or more economic use requires repair, renovation, modernization or improvement to such property.
The extent and nature of improvements compatible with the plan of development of the municipality and subdivision and zoning regulations, if any, and in compliance with such State Building and Health Codes and local Housing Code requirements as may apply.
All improvements that are made shall conform to the guidelines promulgated by the United States Secretary of the Interior in elaboration of the requirement in the Tax Reform Act of 1976 that certain projects qualify as certified rehabilitation to obtain the benefits of that Act.
Acceptable uses for the property which is the subject of the application. The property may be used for any use found by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to be appropriate to the location of the property and the uses in the immediate vicinity, except that there may be permitted no manufacturing use or no other use which would be prohibited by any of the codes, ordinances, regulations and plans specified in Section 12-65d of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The determination of such criteria shall be arrived at with the advice of the local Building Official and Housing Code Enforcement Officer.
Any owner of property situated within a designated rehabilitation area who seeks to take advantage of the benefits available under this ordinance shall submit his/her application to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Norwalk on forms to be supplied by said Agency. Such application shall include plans and outline specifications sufficient to describe the proposed rehabilitation relative to the guidelines above referred to and the owner's estimate as to time for completion of such rehabilitation.
Review by Redevelopment Agency.
Said Redevelopment Agency shall review the application to make the following determinations:
The property to be rehabilitated is situated in a designated rehabilitation area.
The property to be rehabilitated is in need of rehabilitation.
The plans for rehabilitation have been approved by the Agency's designated architectural review body.
If the Redevelopment Agency determines that the application complies with the above four requirements, then the Redevelopment Agency shall certify to the Common Council of the City of Norwalk that such application qualifies for the benefits available through this ordinance and shall also establish a date for the completion of the rehabilitation work. If the application fails to comply with any or all of the requirements set forth above, the Redevelopment Agency shall forward the application to the Common Council without certification setting forth the reasons for such denial of certification.
Upon receipt of an application from the Redevelopment Agency, the Common Council may approve the application, reject the application or return the application to the Redevelopment Agency for further consideration; provided, however, that a 2/3 majority vote of the Common Council shall be necessary to overrule the certification or denial of certification of such application by the Redevelopment Agency.
In the event of approval the Common Council shall pass a resolution authorizing the Mayor of the City of Norwalk to enter into the rehabilitation agreement with the owner of the property to be rehabilitated.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Common Council may appeal said action in accordance with Section 12-65f of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut.
The rehabilitation agreement to be signed by the property owner and the Mayor on behalf of the city shall refer to and incorporate plans and specifications on file with the Redevelopment Agency indicating the rehabilitation work to be performed, shall fix the assessment of the property during the rehabilitation period as of the date of the agreement and shall specify the rehabilitation period which shall begin with the issuance of a building permit and end with the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, which in no event shall exceed the period of two years.
The rehabilitation agreement shall provide that, upon completion of the rehabilitation in accordance with the terms of the agreement and upon certification by the Building Inspector as hereinafter set forth, the increase in the assessment of the property due to such rehabilitation shall be deferred in accordance with the following schedule:
The rehabilitation agreement shall further provide that in the event that a general revaluation of property is made by the City of Norwalk in the year in which the rehabilitation is completed which results in any increase in the assessment of the rehabilitated property, only that portion of the increase attributable to such rehabilitation as determined by the Tax Commissioner shall be deferred; and in the event that such a general revaluation of property is made in any year after the year in which the rehabilitation is completed, the deferred assessment shall be increased or decreased in proportion to the increase or decrease in the total assessment on such property as a result of such general revaluation.
The rehabilitation agreement shall provide that such rehabilitation shall be completed by the date fixed by the Redevelopment Agency, and in the event that on the date so fixed for completion the Building Inspector has denied certification that the rehabilitation has been performed in accordance with the criteria as set forth in § 78-2 and in accordance with the terms of the rehabilitation agreement, the agreement shall terminate and, further, the owner of the property shall be liable for any increase in taxes since the date of the agreement for which he would have been liable in the absence of such agreement. The agreement shall further provide that a property owner may apply to the Redevelopment Agency for an extension of time in which to complete the rehabilitation which, for good cause shown, the Redevelopment Agency may approve, but in no event shall such extension of time exceed the period of one year.
The rehabilitation agreement shall further provide that the agreement is contingent upon the following conditions:
That in addition to the certification requirements of Subsection D, the property shall be subject to inspection and certification by the Building Inspector as being in conformance with such provisions of the State Building and Health Codes and local Housing Code as may apply and by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, which shall certify that rehabilitation has been completed in accordance with the agreement.
That the deferral of assessment shall continue only as long as the property remains in the state of rehabilitation as set forth in the agreement.
That the deferral of assessment shall continue only as long as the property continues to be used for the uses specified in the agreement.
That the deferral of assessment shall cease upon the sale or transfer of the property unless the new owner of said property shall enter into a new contract with the City of Norwalk incorporating the terms of the agreement with the former owner.
Any certification by the Building Inspector required to be made by the provisions of this section shall be made to the Redevelopment Agency, and, in the event that the Building Inspector denies such certification, he shall notify said Agency of such denial.
A copy of any agreement entered into under the provisions of this ordinance shall be forwarded to the Tax Commissioner of the City of Norwalk, who shall adjust his records accordingly.
The Building Inspector shall forward a copy of his certification that the rehabilitation has been performed in accordance with the rehabilitation agreement to the Assessor. In the event that the Building Inspector denies such certification, he shall send a copy of his denial to the Assessor, who, after consulting with the Redevelopment Agency to determine that an extension of time to complete the rehabilitation has not been granted, shall readjust his tax records in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Any agreement entered into under the provisions of this section shall be filed with the Town Clerk for recording in the Land Records of the City of Norwalk.
This ordinance shall expire 10 years after the date of its passage.
The Redevelopment Agency is authorized to establish procedures and technical specifications for the administration of this ordinance.