The Board of Trustees of the Village of Groton finds that public nuisances exist in the Village of Groton in the operation of certain establishments and the use of property in flagrant violation of certain Penal Law and Municipal Code provisions, which nuisances substantially and seriously interfere with the interest of the public in the quality of life and total community environment, commerce in the Village, property values and the public health, safety and welfare. The Board further finds that the continued occurrence of such activities and violations is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the Village of Groton and of the businesses thereof and the visitors thereto. It is the purpose of the Board to authorize and empower the Mayor to impose sanctions and penalties for such public nuisances, and such power of the Mayor 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 Board further finds that the sanctions and penalties imposed by the Mayor 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 Village and to promote the general welfare.
This chapter shall be known as the "Property and Building Nuisance Law."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADVERSE IMPACT
- Includes, but is not limited to, the following: any search warrants served on the property where controlled substances and/or weapons were seized; investigative purchases of controlled substances on or near the property by law enforcement agencies or their agents; arrests for violations of controlled substance law and or possession of weapons; loitering for the purposes of engaging in illegal activity; an increase in the volume of traffic associated with the property; complaints made to law enforcement officials of illegal activity associated with the property, finding of illegal weapons, as defined in § 265 of the Penal Law, or controlled substances, as defined in Articles 220 and 221 of the Penal Law, on or near the property by law enforcement officials and their agents.
- A structure where space is covered or enclosed for the use, shelter, storage or protection of persons, animals, chattel or property of any kind, and which is permanently affixed to the land.
- BUILDING, ACCESSORY
- A building subordinate to the principal building on the lot and used for purposes which are clearly related but incidental to that of said principal building.
- An activity, occupation, employment or enterprise which requires time, attention, labor and material and wherein merchandise is exhibited or sold, or services offered.
- BUSINESS OFFICE
- A building or portion thereof utilized to accommodate the activities of a business.
- A conviction for an offense in a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative bureau shall not be required. Instead, the Village shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the violations have occurred. However, a conviction as defined and applied in accordance with the provisions of § 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, in any court of competent jurisdiction, or a plea of guilty shall constitute conclusive proof of a violation. Conviction of an attempt to commit a violation of any of the specified provisions shall be considered a conviction for a violation of the specified provision.
- Actions, behavior, or conduct by person or persons at a particular location that disturbs the peace.
- KNOWLEDGE OF PUBLIC NUISANCE
- The presumption of knowledge provided by Subdivision 1 of § 235.10 of the Penal Law shall be applicable to this chapter. Notice, by mail or personal service, of activities entailing a public nuisance, to the property owner of record shall be evidence of knowledge of the public nuisance.
- A parcel of land, with or without buildings or structures, delineated by lot line and having access to a street as defined in this chapter.
- PENAL LAW
- New York State Penal Law.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- For the purposes of Article III, a public nuisance shall be deemed to exist whenever, through violations of any of the following provisions resulting from separate incidents at a building, erection or place, or immediately adjacent to the building, erection or place as a result of the operation of the business, 12 or more points are accumulated within a period of six months, or 18 or more points within a period of 12 months, in accordance with the following point system. Where more than one violation occurs during a single incident, the total points for the incident shall be the highest point value assigned to any single violation. For any repeat violation of a specific violation listed below within an eighteen-month period, the points for the second and any additional violation will be doubled.
- A. The following violations shall be assigned a point value of two points:
- (1) Sections 240.36 and 240.37 of the Penal Law (loitering in the first degree)
- (2) Suffering or permitting the premises to become disorderly, including suffering or permitting fighting or lewdness.
- (3) Chapter 131, Noise, of the Code of the Village of Groton.
- (4) Chapter 119, Garbage, Rubbish and Refuse, of the Code of the Village of Groton.
- (5) Chapter 87, Dogs and Other Animals, of the Code of the Village of Groton regarding howling dogs, and/or repetitive barking, number of dogs, unlicensed dogs and dangerous or nuisance dogs.
- B. The following violations shall be assigned a point value of four points:
- (1) Disorderly conduct by individual or individuals.
- (3) General disturbances at a particular location.
- (4) Article 225 of the Penal Law (gambling offenses).
- (5) Any violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
- (6) Section 415-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (vehicle dismantlers).
- (7) Sections 170.65 and 170.70 of the Penal Law (forgery or illegal possession of a vehicle identification number).
- (8) Possession, use, sale or offer for sale of any alcoholic beverage in violation of Article 18 of the Tax Law, or of any cigarette or tobacco products in violation of Article 20 of the Tax Law.
- (9) Any violation of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
- C. The following violations shall be assigned a point value of six points:
- (1) Article 178 of the Penal Law (criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions).
- (2) Article 220 of the Penal Law (controlled substances offenses).
- (3) Article 221 of the Penal Law (offenses involving marijuana).
- (4) Sections 165.15(6), (7), and (8), 165.40, 165.45, 165.50, 165.52, 165.54, 165.71, 165.72 and 165.73 of the Penal Law (criminal possession of stolen property).
- (5) Article 158 of the Penal Law (welfare fraud).
- (6) Section 147 of the Social Services Law (food stamp program fraud).
- (7) Section 2024 of Title 7 of the United States Code (illegal use of food stamps).
- (8) Any commercial violations of Chapter 200, Zoning, of the Code of the Village of Groton.
- (9) Allowing persons on the premises in excess of occupancy limits.
- (10) Section 3383 of the Public Health Law (imitation controlled substances).
- (11) Operating a premises without the requisite certificate of use in violation of Chapter 200, Zoning, of the Code of the Village of Groton.
- (12) Any violation of Chapter 71, Buildings and Land, Unsafe, of the Code of the Village of Groton. Each repeat offense is an additional six points.
- D. The following violations shall be assigned a point value of 10 points:
- (1) Article 230 of the Penal Law (prostitution offenses).
- (2) Article 265 of the Penal Law (firearms and other dangerous weapons).
- (3) Sections 260.20 and 260.21 of the Penal Law (unlawfully dealing with a child).
- (4) Article 263 of the Penal Law (sexual performance by a child).
- (5) Loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense.
- E. The following violation shall have a point value of 12 points: penal law violations other than those set forth above, including but not limited to murder, attempted murder, assault, attempted assault, sex offenses, etc.
- Oral, written or other documented evidence tending to show or prove the truth of the matter asserted.
- Conduct, or evidence of conduct, prohibited under this chapter. A violation does not require criminal prosecution and conviction but only a preponderance of evidence that the prohibited conduct is occurring or has occurred. Evidence of prohibited conduct may include, but is not limited to, police reports, investigative reports, execution of search warrants, results of police surveillance, arrest and/or conviction of local and state and federal laws, activities associated with trafficking of controlled substances, finding of weapons and/or controlled substances on or near the property, increased volume of traffic associated with the property.
Evidence. In any action under this chapter, evidence of the common fame and general reputation of the building, structure or place, of the inhabitants or occupants thereof, or of those resorting thereto, shall be competent evidence to prove the existence of a property or building nuisance.
Scienter. If evidence of the general reputation of the building, structure or place, or of the inhabitants or occupants thereof, is sufficient to establish the existence of the nuisance, it shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge thereof and acquiescence and participation therein and responsibility for the nuisance, on the part of the owners, lessors, lessees, and all those in possession of or having charge of, as agent or otherwise, or having any interest in any form in the property, real or personal, used in conducting or maintaining the property or building nuisance.
Presumptions. Presumptions for the purposes of this section are as follows:
Any building, accessory building, business office, lot, or yard wherein, within the period of one year prior to the commencement of an action under this chapter, there have occurred two or more convictions, as defined in § 152-3, on the part of the lessees, owners, operators, or occupants, of the provisions of this chapter, as defined in § 152-3 of this article; shall be prima facie evidence that a public nuisance exists at said location.
Any building, accessory building, business office, lot, or yard wherein, within a one-year period prior to the commencement of an action under this chapter, there have occurred four or more violations on the part of the lessees, owners, operators, or occupants, of the provisions of this chapter as defined in § 152-3 of this article, shall be prima facie evidence that a public nuisance exists at said location.
Any building, accessory building, business office, lot, or yard wherein, within the period of one year prior to the commencement of an action under this chapter, there has been presented a preponderance of evidence of repeated criminal activity which has an adverse impact, as defined in § 152-3 of this article, on such property or neighborhood, shall be prima facie evidence that a public nuisance exists at said location.