[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope 12-13-2004 by L.L. No. 3-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Mount Hope. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as a point of congregation by vagrants and transients. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. Debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground and not removed constitute a dangerous, unhealthy and unsightly condition. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Town of Mount Hope by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to, and in furtherance of, the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, including but not limited to Sections 107 and 108 of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure, or portion thereof used for residential, business, industrial, recreational or other purpose.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Mount Hope or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Mount Hope or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- PORTION OF BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any debris, rubble or parts of buildings which remain on the ground or on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or structure or part thereof which:
- A. Because of its structural condition is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public.
- B. Is open at the doorways or windows or walls, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers.
- C. Is or may become a place of rodent infestation.
- D. Consists of debris, rubble, or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- E. Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public.
- F. Is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the Town of Mount Hope to maintain such building or structure or portion of any building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe as defined in § 94-3 of this chapter.
When, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer and/or Town Engineer any building or structure located in the Town of Mount Hope shall be deemed to be dangerous or unsafe to the public as defined in § 94-3, the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer and/or Town Engineer shall make a formal inspection thereof and report, in writing, to the Town Board his findings and recommendations in regard to the building's or structure's removal or repair.
The Town Board shall thereupon consider said report, and, if it finds that such building or structure is dangerous and unsafe to the public, it shall, by resolution order its repair, if the same can be safely repaired, and, if not, its removal and demolition and shall further order that a hearing be held before the Town Board at a time and place therein specified and on at least five days' notice to the owner of the building or structure or persons having an interest therein to determine whether said order to repair or remove shall be affirmed or modified or vacated and, in the event of modification or affirmance, to assess all costs and expenses incurred by the Town in the repair or removal of such building or structure against the land on which said building or structure is located. Said order shall also provide that the securing or removal of said building or structure shall commence within 30 days after service of notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter unless, for good cause shown, such time shall be extended by the Town Board.
The notice shall contain the following statements:
The name of the owner or person in possession as appears from the tax and deed records.
A brief description of the premises and its location.
A description of the building or structure which is unsafe or dangerous and a statement of the particulars in which it is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or to be removed.
That the securing or removal of said building or structure shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter unless, for good cause shown, such time shall be extended by the Town Board.
The date, time and place of the hearing to be held before the Town Board, at which hearing the owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall have the right to contest the order and findings of the Town Board.
That in the event that such owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall fail to contest such order and/or fails to comply with the same, the Town Board will order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the Town and that the Town will assess all costs and expenses, including legal expenses, incurred in such repair or removal against the land on which such building or structure is located or will institute a special proceeding against the owner to collect the cost of repair or removal, including all legal expenses incurred in connection therewith.
A copy of said notice shall be personally served upon the owner or someone of the owners, executors, legal representative, agents, lessees, or other person having a vested interest in the premises as shown on the Town tax records or in the records in the Orange County Clerk's office.
If no such person can be reasonably found for personal service, then a copy of said notice shall be mailed to such person by registered mail addressed to his last known address, as shown on said records, and by securely affixing a copy of said notice upon said building or structure.
A copy of said notice shall be filed in the Orange County Clerk's office, which notice shall be filed in the same manner as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided. The notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of filing and may be extended by the Town for an additional period of one year thereafter upon the filing with the Orange County Clerk of a duly verified extension of notice which shall provide for extension thereof and refer to the name and address of the person against whom the notice was served, the date the original notice was filed and a statement that the Town elects to extend the effectiveness of said notice pursuant to this section of this chapter of the Town of Mount Hope. Such notice may be vacated only upon an order of a Judge or Justice of a court of record and of competent jurisdiction upon grounds sufficient to cancel a notice of pendency pursuant to § 6514 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The Town Board shall conduct the public hearing at the time and place specified in the notice to repair or demolish. It may adjourn the hearing from time to time until all interested parties are heard and until the hearing is completed. Within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Town Board shall determine by resolution to revoke the order to repair or remove, modify said order or continue and affirm said order and direct the owner or other persons to complete the work within a time specified in the order or such other time which shall be determined by the Town Board.
In the event of the refusal, failure or neglect of the owner or person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board within the time specified in said order and after the public hearing, the Town Board shall provide that such building or structure be made safe and secure or removed and demolished by Town employees or by independent contractors. Except in emergency cases as herein provided, any contract for repair or demolishing and removal of a building or structure in excess of $20,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building and all reasonable and necessary legal expenses incidental thereto, shall, at the option of the Town Board, either:
Be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided by law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy; or
Be collected by commencement of a special proceeding against the owner of said unsafe or dangerous building or structure pursuant to General Municipal Law § 78-b.
In the event that the Town takes any action as provided in this chapter which results in the incurring of any expenses and the Town Board seeks to assess such expenses against the land on which the building is located, the Town Board shall conduct a public hearing as to the amount of such expenses.
Prior to the hearing, the Town shall cause to be served upon the owner a notice which shall contain in sum and substance the following statements:
The name of the owner against whose property an assessment of expenses is being sought;
A brief description of the premises and its location;
That the Town Board has previously issued an order directing the owner of the premises to complete the work specified therein;
That the work was not completed as requested by the order;
That the Town took action in order to make the building or structure safe and secure or removed and demolished;
That the Town incurred expenses (in an amount to be specified in the notice) as a result;
That the Town is seeking to assess said expenses against the land on which such building or structure is or was located;
The date, time and place of the hearing to be held before the Town Board, at which time the owner or his representative or agent shall have the right to contest the amount of expenses to be assessed or collected;
That in the event that such owner or his representative or agent shall fail to appear and/or fail to successfully contest such expenses, the Town Board shall levy such expenses against the land described in the notice and shall collect them in the same manner as provided for by law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless an unsafe building or structure is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer and/or Town Engineer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building or structure. The expenses of such repair or demolition, at the option of the Town Board, shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 94-11A hereof or shall be the subject of a special proceeding as provided in § 94-11B hereof.
In addition to assessment of costs provided for in § 94-11, any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a maximum fine of $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, for each offense.