[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Castleton-on-Hudson 3-9-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009; amended in its entirety 2-13-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]Attachment 1 - Vacant Building Registration Form Attachment 2 - Directions for Completion of Vacant Building Registration Form
It is the finding of the Village Board that buildings which remain vacant, with access points boarded over, are unsightly, unsafe and have a negative effect on their surroundings. This is particularly troublesome in residential and neighborhood commercial neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many buildings, once boarded, remain that way for many years. The purpose of this article is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant buildings; to determine the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures; and to speed the rehabilitation of the vacant properties.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this article, have the meanings indicated in this section:
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER/BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector or Code Enforcement Officer, a duly authorized representative of the Village Board.
- Those shown to be the owner or owners on the Village Assessment Roll (or if the Town Roll is adopted, the Town Roll), those identified as the owner or owners on a vacant building registration form, a mortgagee in possession, a mortgagor in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, other person, firm or corporation in control of the premises. Any such person shall have a joint and several obligation for compliance with the provisions of this article.
- SECURED, BY OTHER THAN NORMAL MEANS
- A building secured by means other than those used in the design of the building.
- A building which is not being used for an occupancy authorized by the owner.
- A building or portion of a building which is open to entry by unauthorized persons without the use of tools or ladders.
- VACANT BUILDING
- A building or portion of a building which is:
- A. Unoccupied and unsecured;
- B. Unoccupied and secured by other than normal means;
- C. Unoccupied and an unsafe building/dangerous building as determined by the Enforcement Officer;
- D. Unoccupied and has multiple housing or building code violations;
- E. Illegally occupied; or
- F. Unoccupied for a period of time over 365 days, and during which time the enforcement officer has issued an order to correct code violations.
The owner shall register with the Building Inspector not later than 30 days after any building in the Village becomes a vacant building or not later than 30 days after being notified by the Enforcement Officer of the requirement to register. The Enforcement Officer may identify vacant buildings through its routine inspection process as well as through notification by residents, neighborhood associations and other community groups that a building may be eligible for inclusion on the registry.
The registration shall be submitted on forms provided by the Village Clerk and shall include the following information supplied by the owner:
A description of the premises.
The names and addresses of the owner or owners.
If the owner does not reside in Rensselaer County or any adjoining county, the name and address of any third party with whom the owner has entered into a contract or agreement for property management.
The names and addresses of all known lienholders and all other parties with an ownership interest in the building.
A telephone number where a responsible party can be reached at all times during business and non-business hours.
The owner shall submit a vacant building plan which must meet the approval of the Enforcement Officer. The plan, at a minimum, must contain information from one of the following three choices for the property:
If the building is to be demolished, a demolition plan indicating the proposed time frame for demolition.
If the building is to remain vacant, a plan for the securing of the building along with the procedure that will be used to maintain the property in accordance with all applicable codes, and a statement of the reasons why the building will be left vacant.
If the building is to be returned to appropriate occupancy or use, a rehabilitation plan for the property. The rehabilitation plan shall not exceed 365 days, unless the Enforcement Officer grants an extension upon receipt of a written statement from the owner detailing the reasons for the extension. Any repairs, improvements or alterations to the property must comply with any applicable zoning, housing, historic preservation or building codes and must be secured in accordance with all applicable codes.
All applicable laws and codes shall be complied with by the owner. The owner shall notify the Enforcement Officer of any changes in information supplied as part of the vacant building registration within 30 days of the change; if the plan or timetable for the vacant building is revised in any way, the revisions must be in writing and must meet the approval of the Enforcement Officer.
The owner and subsequent owners shall keep the building secured and safe and the building and ground properly maintained.
Failure of the owner or any subsequent owners to maintain the building and premises that result in remedial action taken by the Village shall be grounds for revocation of the approved plan and shall be subject to any applicable penalties provided by the law.
The new owners shall register or re-register the vacant building with the Enforcement Officer within 30 days of any transfer of an ownership interest in a vacant building. The new owners shall comply with the approved plan and timetable submitted by the previous owner until any proposed changes are submitted and meet the approval of the Enforcement Officer.
Vacant building fees.
The owner of a vacant building shall pay an annual fee as set forth in Subsection H(2) for the period the building remains a vacant building. The fee shall be reasonably related to the administrative costs for registering and processing the vacant building owner registration form and for the costs of the Village in monitoring and inspecting the vacant building site.
The first-year annual fee shall be $250 and shall be paid no later than 30 days after the building becomes vacant. If the fee is not paid within 30 days of being due, the owner shall be subject to a per-day fine of $50 per day. If a plan is extended beyond 365 days, subsequent annual fees shall be paid as follows:
The fee shall be paid in full prior to the issuance of any building permits, with the exception of a demolition permit. The fee shall be prorated, and a refund may be issued if the building is no longer deemed vacant under the provisions of this article within 180 days of its registry.
All delinquent fees shall be paid by the owner prior to any transfer of an ownership interest in any vacant building. If the fees are not paid prior to any transfer, the new owner shall pay the annual fee no later than 30 days after the transfer of ownership, and subsequent annual fees shall be due on the new anniversary date.
The Enforcement Officer shall include in the file any property-specific written statements from community organizations, other interested parties or citizens regarding the history, problems, status or blighting influence of a vacant building.
A building which has suffered fire damage or damage caused by extreme weather conditions shall be exempt from the registration requirement for a period of 90 days after the date of the fire or extreme weather event if the property owner submits a request for exemption in writing to the Building Inspector. This request shall include the following information supplied by the owner:
The Enforcement Officer shall inspect any premises in the Village for the purpose of enforcing and assuring compliance with the provisions of this article. Upon the request of the Enforcement Officer, an owner may provide access to all interior portions of an unoccupied building in order to permit a complete inspection. Nothing contained herein, however, shall diminish the owner's right to insist upon the procurement of a search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction by the enforcement officer or his or her designee in order to enable such inspection, and the Enforcement Officer shall be required to obtain a search warrant whenever an owner refuses to permit a warrantless inspection of the premises after having been advised of his or her constitutional right to refuse entry without same.
The Building Inspector shall submit a quarterly report not later than January 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15 of each year to the Mayor and Village Board listing all buildings in the Village declared vacant under the provisions of this article, the date upon which they were declared vacant and whether a vacant building registration and vacant building plan has been filed for the building. The report shall additionally include a list of all previously declared vacant buildings which are no longer subject to the provisions of this article.
Any person violating any provision of this law shall be punished with a fine of $50 per day.