[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oswego 9-22-2014 by Res. No. 411; amended in its entirety 3-11-2019 by L.L. No. 4-2019. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the finding of the Common Council that buildings which remain vacant, with access points boarded over, are unsightly and 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 chapter is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant buildings; to determine the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures; and to facilitate the rehabilitation of the vacant properties.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings indicated in this section:
- ABANDONED PROPERTY
- A building, structure, dwelling unit or lot that is vacant for a period in excess of 10 consecutive days for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to notice of default on a mortgage or line of credit, foreclosure or threat of foreclosure.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION
- All Code Enforcement Officers employed by the City of Oswego from all City departments.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- A person certified by the State of New York as a Code Enforcement Officer, and a duly authorized representative of the City of Oswego.
- CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
- New or used materials for the construction, renovation or alteration of buildings or structures, including but not limited to foundation and masonry materials, lumber, roofing materials, plumbing and electrical materials, doors, windows, screens, tanks, fences, rails and balustrades and similar materials.
- DETERIORATED FENCE
- A fence of any kind composed of any material or fabric anywhere on a person's property that is not in a state of good repair due to any one or a combination of the following conditions:
- A. The fabric thereof (wire, slats, posts, pickets, etc.) becoming dislodged from the supporting structures or posts.
- B. The supporting structures or posts not being vertical, i.e., at right angles to the plane of the horizon or capable of supporting the fence fabric.
- C. The fabric of the fence being in a rotted, decayed or unmaintained condition, or overgrown with nonarboricultural growth.
- DETERIORATED STRUCTURE
- Any structure or building, including a dwelling, of which any exterior component part, such as its exterior walls or fabric, windows, chimneys, roofs, decks, terraces or parts thereof, is in a state of structural dilapidation, ruin or decay to the extent that such state of dilapidation, ruin or decay is visible to the naked eye of an observer from any public way or street or any adjoining property, notwithstanding that such a condition may not constitute a dangerous building or an unsafe condition.
- FORECLOSED PROPERTY
- A building, structure, dwelling unit or lot that is vacant for a period in excess of 10 consecutive days as a result of a foreclosure proceeding, whether or not title has vested in the lender.
- A. Any public or private condition that would constitute a nuisance according to the statutes, laws and regulations of the State of New York, its governmental agencies or the regulations and laws of the City of Oswego.
- B. Any physical condition existing in or on the exterior of any premises which is potentially dangerous, detrimental or hazardous to the life, health or safety of persons on, near or passing within the proximity of premises where said condition exists.
- Any person residing, living or sleeping in or on the premises or having actual possession, use or occupancy of a dwelling on the premises, or any person or entity in possession of or using any premises, or part thereof, whether or not the occupant is the owner thereof and regardless of the duration of time of such possession, use or occupancy.
- Any person, persons or entity, not the owner, who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises, or a part thereof, with or without the knowledge, consent or authority of the owner.
- All persons or entities listed below shall be deemed owners and have a joint and several obligations for compliance with provisions of this chapter:
- A. Those shown to be the owner or owners on the records at the City of Oswego Assessor's office.
- B. Those identified as the owner or owners on a vacant building registration form.
- C. A mortgagee in possession.
- D. A mortgagor in possession.
- E. An assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, other person, firm or corporation in control of the premises.
- A natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, unincorporated association, or any other business organization.
- PROPERTY MANAGER
- Any person who is authorized by the owner to repair, maintain, oversee, sell, or lease property or otherwise act on behalf of the owner of property.
- PROPERTY or PREMISES
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, right-of-way or multiples thereof, including the buildings or structures thereon and other permanent attachments to the land.
- REFUSE or RUBBISH
- All discarded, useless, unusable, unused or worthless solid waste matter or materials, combustible or noncombustible, including but not limited to garbage; trash; ashes; paper; paper goods and products; wrappings; cans; bottles; containers; junk; glass; boxes; crockery; wood; plastic; rubber; leather; furniture; household goods; appliances; bedding; scrap lumber; scrap metal; construction material; inoperable machinery, or parts thereof; garden or farming implements and supplies; tires; abandoned, inoperative or unusable automobiles and vehicles; and solid commercial or industrial waste.
- SECURED BY OTHER THAN NORMAL MEANS
- A building secured by means other than those used in the design of the building.
- A combination of materials that form a construction, such as buildings, platforms, sheds, swimming pools, tennis courts of all types and fences, whether above, below or at ground level.
- A building which is not being used for any 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
- Any 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 as determined by a Code Enforcement Officer.
- D. Unoccupied and has multiple housing or building code violations.
- E. Illegally occupied.
- F. Unoccupied for a period of time over 180 days, and during which time the Code Enforcement Officer has issued an order to correct code violations.
- VACANT COMMERCIAL BUILDING OR STORE SPACE
- The space within a building used by a business or commercial establishment wherein the business has ceased or suspended operations for a period not less than 10 or more consecutive days. Such commercial building or store space shall be deemed vacant even if fixtures, furniture, equipment or other property remains in the space. No accessory building shall be considered vacant unless the principal building on the lot occupied thereby is also vacant.
- VACANT RESIDENTIAL BUILDING
- A building containing one or more dwelling units in which no occupant(s) have resided for a period of time in excess of 10 consecutive days. Vacancy of some of the dwelling units within a two-family or multiple-dwelling building shall not be considered to be a vacant residential building. No accessory building shall be considered vacant unless the principal building on the lot occupied thereby is also vacant.
- ZOMBIE FORECLOSURE
- A foreclosure action that has been filed by a lender but remains incomplete for a period of greater than one year from filing; or a foreclosure action which has been filed by a lender and subsequently withdrawn or abandoned after notice of default or threat of foreclosure.
- ZOMBIE OWNER
- A person, group of persons or entity who initiates a foreclosure action and later withdraws said foreclosure proceeding prior to taking title to the property, or which action results in the vacancy of property under the provisions of this chapter. "Zombie" owners shall be responsible for the maintenance of vacant property pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- ZOMBIE PROPERTY
- Any property located within the City of Oswego which is the owned by a "zombie" owner or the subject of a "zombie" foreclosure.
The owner shall register with the Code Enforcement Division no later than 30 days after any building in the City becomes a vacant building or no later than 30 days after being notified by a Code Enforcement Officer of the requirement to register. Code Enforcement Officers may identify vacant buildings through their 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 Code Enforcement Division and shall include the following information supplied by the owner:
A description of the premises.
The names, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone numbers of the owner or owners.
If the owner does not reside within a twenty-five-mile radius of the City of Oswego, the name, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone numbers of any third party with whom the owner has entered into a contract or agreement for property management within a twenty-five-mile radius of the City of Oswego.
The name, address, and telephone number 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 nonbusiness hours.
A statement whether the building is currently insured by a policy of fire insurance and, if so, the name, address and telephone number of the insurance company and the insurance agent and the amount of coverage. If the building is not currently covered by fire insurance, the owner shall set forth the reason(s) why it is not so covered.
The owner shall submit a vacant building plan which must meet the approval of a Code 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 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 a Code Enforcement Officer grants an extension upon receipt of a written statement from the owner detailing the reasons for the extension. Any repairs, improvements, alterations to or demolition of the property must comply with any applicable zoning, housing, historic preservation, or building laws and codes and must be secured as per local code, if applicable, during the rehabilitation.
In the event that the owner submits a vacant building plan for demolition or rehabilitation of the vacant building, the owner shall obtain the required permits prior to commencement of demolition or rehabilitation.
A Code Enforcement Officer shall provide the owner with a written referral to the Office of Community Development for information outlining programs available which may be useful in developing the owner's rehabilitation plan.
All applicable laws and codes shall be complied with by the owner. The owner shall notify a Code 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 be approved by a Code Enforcement Officer.
New owners shall register or re-register the vacant building with the Code Enforcement Division within 30 days of any transfer of an ownership interest in a vacant building.
A building which has suffered fire damage or damage caused by extreme weather events shall be exempt from the registration requirement for a period of 180 days (or that time required to settle an active insurance claim) after the date of the fire or extreme weather event, if the property owner submits a request for exemption, in writing, to the Code Enforcement Division. This request shall include the following information supplied by the owner:
All vacant buildings shall be kept secured or shall be boarded up, both as defined in Subsection A(1) and (2) herein, and shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements herein. Any building that is not secured shall be promptly boarded up.
The term "secured," for the purposes of this section, shall mean that all means of ingress and egress, including but not limited to all doorways and windows, shall be in a good state of repair, without any broken glass or other damage that might allow entry or create an eyesore, and shall be securely locked.
The term "boarded up" shall mean that all means of ingress and egress at all floor levels shall be covered over, as specified hereinafter, so as to ensure the continued security of the building and to reduce the negative impact on the neighborhood.
Boarding up shall be done by utilizing the following minimum materials and methods unless another equivalent system is proposed in writing and approved by a Code Enforcement Officer:
Exterior-grade plywood or sheathing-grade board, at least 1/2 inch thick, shall be used for boarding material to cover window and door frames without overlapping the adjacent wall surfaces.
The boarding material shall be secured to the building by screws, with the exception of one doorway which shall be secured in such a manner that it can provide access to the building by authorized persons.
All boarding material shall be finished on exterior with one coat of primer and exterior grade paint to match that of the adjacent walls.
The secured building shall be provided with adequate ventilation to prevent the accumulation of moisture.
In addition to securing or boarding up the building, the following minimum requirements shall be met for all vacant buildings:
The roof shall be structurally sound and weathertight.
All combustible trash and debris shall be removed from the building.
The grounds surrounding the building shall be cleared and kept cleared of all litter, rubble, debris, trash and junk and of all grass or weeds in excess of 10 inches in height.
When it is required by this chapter that a building be boarded up, it shall be the responsibility of the owner to have the electric and gas service, if any, temporarily shut off from the building by contacting the power provider. Service may not be reconnected until repair and rehabilitation work or occupancy actually commences.
All plumbing and heating systems that contain water shall be completely drained and kept empty between October 15 and April 15, and an antifreeze solution shall be added to all plumbing traps in the building. This shall not apply if the building is adequately heated during this time period.
The owner shall arrange to provide access to the interior of the building by a Code Enforcement Officer to inspect for compliance with the requirements herein that pertain to the interior. No Code Enforcement Officer shall conduct an interior inspection without the consent of the building owner, unless the Code Enforcement Officer has first obtained a warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction.
The owner of a building which remains vacant for a period of 365 days or more shall be subject to the requirements of this section. By the end of such time period, the owner of the vacant building shall demonstrate to the Code Enforcement Division that said owner has taken all positive action to abate the vacancy of the building in an expeditious manner. This action may include but is not limited to:
Applying for and obtaining a permit to repair and rehabilitate the building, or to demolish it, and proceeding with the work in a timely fashion;
Providing competent evidence that the building is listed for sale at fair market value by the owner or a licensed realtor and is being periodically advertised for sale in a local newspaper, through the multiple listing service, or otherwise marketed by the owner; or
Providing a proposed schedule of action to undertake repair and rehabilitation of the building, including a detailed financial plan for its accomplishment.
The Code Enforcement Division shall examine or cause to be examined every building reported as unsafe, damaged or vacant and shall make a written record of each examination.
Whenever a Code Enforcement Officer shall find a building or structure or a portion thereof to be damaged, unsafe or dangerous, he/she shall give the owner, agent or person in control of such building or structure written notice pursuant to § 83-4D of this Code, stating the defects thereof. This notice shall require the owner within a stated time either to complete specified repairs or improvements or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof.
If a Code Enforcement Officer finds that the building or structure is a dangerous building as defined in Chapter 83 of the Code of the City of Oswego, such notice shall require the building, structure or portion thereof to be vacated forthwith and not reoccupied until the specified repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by a Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance of such building a notice which includes the statement: "This building has been found to be a dangerous building and its use or occupancy has been prohibited by the Code Enforcement Division of the City of Oswego." Such notice shall remain posted until the required repairs or demolition is completed. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation, or their agents or other servants, to remove such notice without written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer, or for any person to enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the same.
In the event that an owner fails, neglects or refuses to comply with a notice to repair or remove a dangerous building or structure within the time limits specified in the notice provided herein, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the affected building or structure to be repaired or removed pursuant to the provisions of §§ 83-4 and 83-5 in Chapter 83 of the Code of the City of Oswego. For this purpose he may at once enter such building or structure and with such assistance and at such cost as may be necessary.
The Code Enforcement Officer may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades or such other means as may be necessary and for this purpose may close a public or private way.
The Code Enforcement Division shall cause all such vacant buildings to be inspected on a quarterly basis and notify the owner or agent of any accumulation of trash, debris, rodent infestation, the failure to keep said building secured or other violation of law, ordinance, City or state code or regulation at the premises in accordance with the following:
The owner shall have seven days from receipt of said notice to correct such conditions, unless the Code Enforcement Officer is of the opinion that a vacant building or any structure is, for any cause, dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of the public or is unfit for occupancy, in which case the provisions of Chapter 83 shall apply.
If the Code Enforcement Officer finds that a vacant building or structure is damaged or so poorly maintained that it is in violation of any applicable state or local property maintenance laws or regulations, and the owner fails, neglects or refuses, after having been given proper notice, to correct such violation or to properly secure or board up the building as required herein, the Code Enforcement Division shall report such fact to the Common Council in writing.
The Common Council by resolution may authorize the Code Enforcement Division to cause such building or structure to be repaired, secured, or boarded up, and the cost of the same shall be charged against the land upon which such building exists in the same manner as local assessments provided for in the Charter of the City of Oswego.
For this purpose, a Code Enforcement Officer may enter upon such building or structure with such assistance as may be necessary.
The owner of a vacant building shall pay an annual fee as set forth in Subsection A, as amended from time to time by resolution of the Common Council, for the time that the building remains a vacant building.
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 becoming due, the owner shall be subject to a fine as prescribed in Chapter 249 of the Code of the City of Oswego. If a plan is extended beyond 365 days, subsequent annual fees shall be paid as follows:
For the second year that the building remains vacant: $1,000.
For the third year that the building remains vacant: $2,000.
For the fourth year that the building remains vacant $3,000.
For the fifth year that the building remains vacant: $4,000.
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 chapter 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.
The Code Enforcement Division shall inspect any premises in the City for the purpose of enforcing and assuring compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Upon the request of a Code 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 a Code Enforcement Officer or his or her designee in order to enable such inspection, and a Code Enforcement Officer shall be required to obtain a search warrant whenever an owner refuses to permit a warrantless inspection of the premises.
The Code Enforcement Division shall submit an annual report to the Mayor and Common Council, listing all buildings in the City declared vacant under the provisions of the chapter, the date upon which they were declared vacant and whether a vacant building registration and vacant building plan has been filed for the building.
Any person violating any provision of the vacant building registry or providing false information to a Code Enforcement Officer shall be punished as provided by Chapter 249 of the Code of the City of Oswego.
It is the finding of the Common Council that the rehabilitation of the vacant properties that are the subject of this chapter is critical to revitalizing neighborhoods where vacant buildings have been left unattended. The State of New York has also made the eradication of so-called "zombie" properties a priority and has authorized municipalities to implement local laws, rules and regulations to address this growing problem. With the assistance of the New York State Attorney General's Office, funds are available to assist the City of Oswego with the rehabilitation of such properties in the manner determined within this chapter.
The following property maintenance regulations shall be applicable to all property within the City of Oswego:
Exterior maintenance standards.
The exterior of all premises shall be kept free of the following matter, materials or conditions:
Abandoned, uncovered or structurally unsound wells, shafts, towers, chimneys, exterior cellar openings, basement hatchways, foundations or excavations.
Abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, boilers, hot water heaters, television sets and other similar appliances; nuisances, as defined herein, including but not limited to insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.
Vehicles or parts thereof, including boats and trailers, motorized or not, licensed or unlicensed, registered or unregistered, which vehicles or parts thereof are or have been junked, abandoned, dismantled or are in a state of visible disrepair.
Dead, damaged or fallen trees, limbs or branches within 25 feet of a public roadway or neighboring property line.
Detrimental growth prohibited. Noxious weeds, long grass, tree limbs or other rank growths or growths which are harmful, poisonous or detrimental to health, or any growth of any kind that obstructs visibility along a road, street or sidewalk.
Surface and subsurface water shall be appropriately drained to prevent the development of stagnant ponds.
Steps, walks, driveways, parking spaces and similar paved areas shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. Any holes or other hazards that may exist shall be filled and necessary repairs or replacement accomplished. All off-street parking facilities shall be swept as often as necessary in the determination of the enforcement officer. Yards, courts and vacant lots shall be kept clean and free of physical hazards, rodent harborage and infestation and shall be maintained in a manner that will prevent rubbish from being blown about them.
All signs exposed to public view shall be maintained in good repair. Excessively weathered or faded signs shall be removed or put into good repair. Any nonoperative or broken electrical or other sign shall be repaired or removed.
All unused tires shall be removed from all yards and lots and shall be properly disposed.
Buildings and structures.
All exterior exposed surfaces not inherently resistant to deterioration shall be repaired, coated, treated or sealed to protect them from deterioration.
Floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, furnishings and fixtures of buildings shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. Every floor, exterior wall, roof and porch, or appurtenance thereto, shall be maintained in a manner so as to prevent injury to the occupants of the building or to the public.
The foundation walls of every building shall be maintained in good repair and be structurally sound.
Exterior walls (including doors and windows), roofs and the areas around doors, windows, chimneys and other parts of a building shall be so maintained as to keep water from entering the building and to prevent undue heat loss from occupied areas. Materials which have been damaged or show evidence of dry rot or other deterioration shall be repaired or replaced and refinished in a workmanlike manner. Exterior walls, roofs and other parts of the building shall be free from loose and unsecured objects and material. Such objects or materials shall be removed, repaired or replaced.
Buildings and structures shall be maintained free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.
Vacant buildings and structures.
Any building or structure, including, but not limited to, residential dwellings, commercial buildings and stores, which is vacant for no less than 10 consecutive days or is deemed by the enforcement officer to be dangerous or likely to attract trespassers, squatters, rodents or other infestation, shall be boarded up, at least to the second floor level, and the responsible person shall conform such structure and all of its adjoining yards, courts or open spaces to this chapter.
Whenever a building is vacant for a period of no less than 10 consecutive days, the property owner, lessee, occupant and other responsible person shall cover the ground floor windows so as to block public view of the interior of the premises. The covering shall be flame retardant or meet with the enforcement officer's approval regarding fire safety. The covering shall consist of any one of the following: an opaque, nonpermanent substance sprayed onto the inside of the ground floor windows, plain, earth-tone, Venetian or similar blinds, drapes, curtains or shades.
All windows and glazed doors shall be periodically washed and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
All cracked or broken windows and glazed doors shall be repaired or replaced as necessary.
All debris shall be removed from a vacant building. Such premises shall be maintained broom clean at all times.
All storefronts shall be kept in good repair, painted where required and shall not be permitted to become a safety hazard or nuisance. In the event that repairs to a storefront become necessary, such repairs shall be made so as to repair permanently the damaged area or areas. Any cornice visible above a storefront shall be kept painted and otherwise in good condition and in good repair.
If windows are removed, they shall be replaced with a permanent building material which is in harmony with the rest of the building. Plywood may be used only in an emergency and for a period not to exceed 60 days.
The owner of a vacant building shall take such steps and perform such acts as may be required from time to time to ensure that the building and any adjoining yard remain safe and secure and do not present a hazard to the adjoining property or to the public. Owners shall be responsible for maintaining the building and any accessory structures such that they do not become an unoccupied hazard. The building and each floor area shall maintain at least one means of access which complies with the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code.
The interior of a vacant building and each vacant floor area thereof shall be lighted by no less than a twenty-five-watt light fixture.
The enforcement officer shall be authorized to conduct an inspection every three months of a vacant building and vacant store, and at other times as determined by the Code Enforcement Division.
Vacant buildings or structures and their adjoining yards. Vacant buildings or structures and their adjoining yards shall be maintained in compliance with all provisions of this chapter.
The owner or person having control and management of property within the City of Oswego, including but not limited to a "zombie" owner, which shall be or is vacant pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall promptly file with the Code Enforcement Division a written statement setting forth the name and address of the owner or person having control and management and the telephone number, if any, at which said person may be reached. The Code Enforcement Division may provide a form for the capture of this information.
Lenders shall mail a copy of each and every notice of the Code Enforcement Division on each default and foreclosure notices sent to properties within the City of Oswego. Failure to copy the Code Enforcement Division on all default and foreclosure notices shall be a violation of this chapter.
Where property becomes vacant at any time after filing a notice of default or foreclosure, or during the pendency of a foreclosure proceeding, the foreclosing lender shall be responsible for the maintenance of the property and for the remedy of any and all code violations to the same extent as if title had passed to the lender. This provision shall be applicable to all "zombie" property located within the City of Oswego.
Enforcement officer. The Building Inspector of the City of Oswego is hereby designated as the officer charged with the enforcement of this chapter and is hereinafter referred to as the "enforcement officer." The enforcement officer is hereby authorized to issue appearance tickets, pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Law of the State of New York, to secure the enforcement of this article.
Notice of violation and order to remedy. The enforcement officer shall have the authority to issue a notice of violation and order to remedy directing the person, owner, lessee, property manager, tenant, occupant or other person having control, directly or indirectly, of any property, including but not limited to foreclosed property, vacant property, abandoned property and property wherein a foreclosure has been filed but not completed, to bring such property into compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Such notice of violation and order to remedy shall be in writing, shall reference the applicable section of the City of Oswego Code, and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for its issuance. The notice of violation and order to remedy shall state that the violation must be remedied within 10 days of the date of service of such notice, exclusive of the date of service. The enforcement officer may extend the period for compliance if, in his or her judgment, the violation cannot reasonably be remedied within 10 days. The enforcement officer shall modify the notice and order to state such reasonably required extended period, which shall then be applicable instead of the aforesaid 10 days.
Appearance ticket. If the violation is not remedied within the time set forth in the notice of violation and order to remedy, the enforcement officer shall issue an appearance ticket requiring the person, owner, lessee, property manager, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any property to appear in City Court for a determination by the City Court of claimed violations and to impose penalties as set forth herein.
Service of notice. Service of a notice of violation and order to remedy or appearance ticket shall be served personally on the owner or owners of the property. Service on the person, owner, lessee, property manager, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any property shall be considered service on the owner. Where personal service cannot be made with due diligence, service shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by posting said notice in a conspicuous place on the property. Where, after due diligence, the enforcement officer is unable to confirm the owner of the property and, thus, cannot personally serve the owner of the property, posting said notice, order and appearance ticket in a conspicuous place on the property for a period of not less than 10 days shall constitute adequate notice.
Appeal before the Common Council. The notice of violation and order to remedy may be appealed in writing to the Common Council. Such appeal shall be delivered to the City Clerk within the required ten-day period, or other such period as directed by the enforcement officer. Any notice so appealed shall be tolled until such time as the City Clerk specifies in writing to the appellant a date and time of a hearing to be held before the Common Council.
Hearing. The owner or his or her attorney or other representative shall be afforded the opportunity, upon written appeal within the period set forth on the order to remedy, to appear before the Common Council to contest the enforcement officer's order to remedy before any further action is taken by the City. The Common Council may consider the violations cited in the notice of violation and may adopt a resolution affirming, modifying or withdrawing the enforcement officer's violation and order to remedy.
In addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies, upon failure of a person or entity to comply with a notice to correct, remove or prevent a condition which violates a provision of this chapter, the Common Council may, upon due notice and due opportunity for a hearing, order the condition abated and authorize the enforcement officer to take all necessary steps to carry out the Common Council's order, including, through its officers, employees, contractors or agents, to enter upon the property and correct and remedy the violation. All costs incurred by the City, including the cost of correction and remedy and the cost of the proceeding, including but not limited to reasonable attorney, engineering and consulting fees, shall be charged to the owner of such real property and, if not paid in full within 30 days after billing the owner, shall be assessed and levied against the property and shall constitute a lien against the property and may be collected in the same manner as other City real property taxes.
In addition to establishing a lien, the City may recover such costs and expenses by bringing an action against the owner(s) of the property. The institution of such action shall not suspend or bar the right to pursue any other remedy provided by law for the recovery of such costs and expenses.
Other remedies available. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to restrict the authority to provide for the abatement of a public nuisance conferred upon any agency of the City by any other provision of law.
Whenever the enforcement officer finds that a condition in violation of this chapter exists, and that such condition poses a threat to the public health or safety which requires immediate attention, or in the case of a vacant building, or whenever a "zombie" owner has been identified that is the subject of a "zombie" foreclosure, he or she may issue an order by service of notice in the manner set forth above, reciting the existence of the dangerous condition and requiring that such action be taken by the owner immediately or as soon thereafter as specified by the enforcement officer to remedy the dangerous condition, secure the vacant building, or maintain the "zombie" property.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such an order is directed shall comply therewith immediately. Upon objection in writing to the City Clerk within five days of its issuance, any such person shall be afforded a hearing before the Common Council as soon as is reasonably possible. After such a hearing and decision by the Common Council as to the existence or nonexistence of the dangerous condition, vacancy, or "zombie" property, the Common Council may continue such order in effect or modify or withdraw it.
Dangerous conditions. The term "dangerous conditions" shall include but not be limited to:
Any and all structures, trees, shrubs, long grasses or other growth that obstructs a public road, street or sidewalk, or obstructs a clear sight-line along a public street, road or sidewalk.
Rodent infestation of property or premises.
Dead, damaged or fallen trees, tree branches, shrubs or structures that overhang or otherwise obstruct passage along public streets, roads or sidewalks.
Cost to remedy by City. If, after notice, the owner of property fails to comply with an order to remedy a dangerous condition, vacant building, or "zombie" property, the Common Council may, by resolution, cause City funds to be expended to remedy the condition of the building. Such cost shall be charged to the property owner and, if unpaid, shall become a lien upon the property, subject to collection as a tax thereon, after due notice to the owner and the opportunity of a hearing before the Common Council as to the justness of the costs. Said City funds shall be designated as the Blight Reduction Revolving Fund, into which funds allocated to the City of Oswego by the State of New York will be drawn from time to time to remedy the condition of the building in violation of this chapter and upon collection as a tax shall be returned to the said revolving fund to be reutilized to remedy other property in violation of this chapter.
In addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies, any person, owner, occupant, property manager or any other person who violates any provision of this chapter or who violates or fails to comply with any lawful order promulgated hereunder shall be guilty of a violation and, for a first conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine in an amount not less than $300 nor more than $500 per day of violation or a maximum of 15 days' imprisonment, or both; for conviction of a second violation committed within 12 months of the first violation, such person shall be subject to a fine in an amount not less than $400 and not more than $800 per day of violation or a maximum of 15 days' imprisonment, or both; for conviction of a third violation committed within 12 months of the first violation, such person shall be subject to a fine in an amount not less than $600 and not more than $1,500 per day of violation or a maximum of 15 days' imprisonment, or both; for conviction of a fourth violation and for each subsequent violation committed within 12 months of any prior violation, such person shall be subject to a fine in an amount not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,500 per day of violation or a maximum of 15 days' imprisonment, or both.
Civil penalties and injunction. In addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies, the Common Council may also maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the City in a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain civil monetary penalties and compel compliance with or to restrain, by injunction, the violation of this chapter or any order promulgated hereunder. The civil monetary penalties shall be in accordance with and not exceed the monetary penalties set forth in Subsection A of this section.
Each calendar day a violation occurs or continues shall constitute and be deemed a separate and distinct violation.
The enforcement officer shall initiate inspections and investigations and shall receive information and complaints concerning compliance with this chapter. Upon request of the Common Council, the enforcement officer shall submit a written report to the Common Council containing not less than the: address of and date of each investigation or inspection initiated by him; address of each alleged violation concerning which information or complaints have been received by him; date of such receipt; nature of each violation found or complained of, if any; date of correction notice issued; date(s) of each reinspection; date of filing of a request for arrest warrant with the prosecutor having jurisdiction; disposition of each case closed; and status report of each case. Such report shall include cumulative annual totals of inspections and investigations initiated, information or complaints received, violations noticed for correction with breakdown of such violations by appropriate category, corrections confirmed upon reinspection, warrant requests filed and convictions obtained.
In the event that any part of this chapter, or of any ordinance or regulation which may govern or otherwise affect it, for any reason be modified or invalidated, the other portions of said chapter not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.