Village of Massena, NY
St. Lawrence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Massena 5-5-2015 by L.L. No. 2-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds; dumping — See Ch. 110.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 120.
Housing Code — See Ch. 186.
It is the intention of the Massena Village Board to protect the public health, safety and welfare by authorizing the establishment of procedures to identify, abate and eliminate the presence of blight upon properties throughout the Village.
A. 
Scope. The provisions of this chapter will apply to all properties in the incorporated portions of the Village of Massena, residential, commercial and otherwise, and constitute the requirements and standards for such property.
B. 
Applicability. The provisions of this chapter will be deemed to supplement applicable state and local laws, ordinances, codes and regulations. Nothing in this chapter will be deemed to abolish, impair, supersede or replace existing remedies of the Village, county or state or existing requirements of any other provision of local laws or ordinances of the Village or county or state laws and regulations. In case of conflict between any provisions of this chapter and any applicable state or local law, ordinance, code or regulation, the more restrictive or stringent provision or requirement will prevail.
Blighted property. The following conditions will be factors in evaluating whether or not a property is designated as a blighted property:
A. 
A determination by Code Enforcement that the property is in a condition which poses a serious threat to the safety, health, and/or general welfare of the community: 50 points.
B. 
The owner of the property has been issued a summons and/or has been prosecuted for any violation of the Code of the Village of Massena, and the violation(s) associated with such summons and/or prosecution have not been corrected: 50 points.
C. 
The property has attracted or been an instrument of illegal, noxious or deleterious activity as defined in Chapter 218, Public Nuisances, and/or in common law: 50 points.
D. 
A determination has been made by the Code Officer that the conditions upon the property constitute a fire hazard: 50 points.
E. 
The property is creating a substantial interference with the lawful use and/or enjoyment of other space within a structure/building or within the surrounding neighborhood: 50 points.
F. 
The property is determined to be unmaintained by a Village Code Enforcement Officer/Official based upon evidence of the persistent and continued existence of the following deleterious conditions:
(1) 
Boarded windows, doors, entryways or exits: five points.
(2) 
Broken or unsecured windows: 10 points.
(3) 
Broken or unsecured doors, entryways or exits: 10 points.
(4) 
Excessive litter or debris: 10 points.
(5) 
Overgrown grass at least six inches or higher or other overgrown vegetation or shrubbery: 10 points.
(6) 
Unregistered motor vehicle: 10 points (see § 300-23Q).
(7) 
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair:
(a) 
Roof: 10 points.
(b) 
Gutters: five points.
(c) 
Siding: 10 points.
(d) 
Shingles: 10 points.
(e) 
Chimney: 10 points.
(f) 
Shutters: five points.
(g) 
Accessory structures including but not limited to: decks, sheds, porches, pools, pool houses or cabanas, garages, carports, storage units, front and rear porches, outside statuary, and fish ponds: 15 points.
(8) 
Storage of a junked vehicle: 15 points.
(9) 
Damaged, unsightly, unsecured or unpermitted signage or awnings: 15 points.
(10) 
Presence of graffiti: 10 points.
(11) 
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair fencing: 10 points.
(12) 
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair outdoor lighting fixtures: five points.
(13) 
Broken, exposed or hazardously utilized electrical wires, electrical equipment or extension cords: 15 points.
(14) 
Unfinished construction: 20 points.
(15) 
Damaged, dead or fallen trees or limbs: 10 points.
(16) 
Evidence of fire damage to the property which has not been repaired or restored: 10 points.
(17) 
Peeling or deteriorated paint: five points.
(18) 
Presence of stagnant water: 10 points.
(19) 
Open or unsecured wells, cesspools or cisterns: 10 points.
(20) 
Presence of vermin, rodent harborage and infestation: 30 points.
(21) 
Presence of any violation identified within this chapter: 20 points.
(22) 
Outdoor storage.
(a) 
Presence within/upon an outdoor area of the improper storage of:
[1] 
Refrigerator, washing machine, sink, stove, heater, boiler, tank, other household appliances, boxes or indoor furniture for a period in excess of 72 consecutive hours: 10 points.
[2] 
Lumber, construction materials, dirt, debris, trash, garbage or uncovered refuse cans, accumulated refuse or garbage in covered refuse cans which is not timely or properly disposed of: 10 points.
(b) 
Outdoor storage exemptions:
[1] 
Machinery installed within the rear setback areas for household or recreational use.
[2] 
The presence of refuse or trash cans, recycling bins or other debris which has been secured, placed or stored in compliance with this code.
For purposes of this chapter the following words will have the following meanings:
BLIGHT COMMITTEE
A committee comprised of two Village Trustees (appointed by the Village Mayor) and a Code Enforcement Officer.
BLIGHTED PROPERTY
An improved or vacant property which meets or exceeds a point value of 100 points as set forth within this chapter.
BLIGHTED PROPERTY INVENTORY LIST
A list containing properties within the Village which possess an accumulation of blight conditions equaling or exceeding a point value of 100 points.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
An official charged with the enforcement and/or administration of this chapter.
DEFACEMENT
Any mark on the face or surface of, disfigurement, injury, damage or alteration to the appearance of the property without the express permission of the owner or person or entity in control thereof.
DILAPIDATED
Extreme disrepair such that a structure or dwelling unit or commercial space is unfit or unsafe for habitation or occupancy.
GRAFFITI
Any inscription, mark or design which has been written, etched, scratched, painted or drawn or otherwise visible upon a premises.
JUNKED VEHICLE
An unregistered motor vehicle not suitable for operation.
LEGAL OCCUPANCY
Occupancy that exists by virtue of fee ownership, a bona fide lease agreement, a rent receipt or, if necessary, a utility statement, and which occupancy is in compliance with federal, state, local laws, local zoning, local housing, and all other pertinent rules, regulations and codes.
NEIGHBORHOOD
An area of the Village of Massena defined by its residents and its distinctive characteristics.
REGISTRATION FEES
An annual fee imposed upon properties which are listed on the blighted property inventory list.
RESTORATION AGREEMENT
A legal and binding agreement between the Village and a given property owner, wherein said property owner proposes to complete specific repairs and/or improvements in order to resolve conditions existing on his or her property as identified by a Code Enforcement Official in accordance with the definition of "blighted property." Such repairs and/or improvements will be outlined on an explicitly fixed timeline and as such will be offered a full exemption from the annual registration fee outlined in § 105-6D. The Blight Committee will have the authority, on behalf of the Village, to execute such restoration agreement.
VACANT
A period of 60 days or longer during which a building or structure or part thereof, or land is not legally occupied.
VACANT PARCEL
A parcel of land with no structure(s) thereon.
UNIT
Any space within a building that is or can be rented by or to a single person or entity for his/her/its sole use and is intended to be a single and distinct space.
No owner, agent, tenant, business entity, voluntary association, nonprofit organization, or person in control of real property located within the Village of Massena will allow, create, maintain or cause to be created or maintained, any blighted property.
A. 
Code Enforcement will be charged with reviewing complaints and conducting investigations in order to determine if blight exists at the subject property.
B. 
Once a property has been determined to be blighted, Code Enforcement will prepare and send out notification letters to each property owner. Such notice will be served by personal service upon the owner or person in charge of the affected building or structure. If, after a reasonable effort is made, no such owner or person in charge can be personally served, such notice will be served by mailing said owner such notice by means of certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address as shown on the records of the Assessor, and by securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the door of the affected building or structure, unless the property is a vacant parcel, in which case service of the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested alone will be sufficient.
C. 
Notice contents.
(1) 
The notice must contain a statement of the date(s) upon which an inspection was conducted on the property to determine blight, the address of the blighted property, the specific nature of the blight, a copy of this chapter, the point rating review of the premises, the required annual registration fees and the property's placement on the blighted property inventory list. Said notice will further notify the owner that if no reasonable proof is offered establishing the property does not constitute a blighted property, said annual registration fee will be added to the Village property tax bill for the premises after 30 days of the date of said notice.
(2) 
Any notice to qualifying property owners must also contain an offer of the opportunity to enter into a restoration agreement with the Village.
D. 
Registration fees. If, after 30 days from the date of the notice described above, sufficient proof is not presented to establish that all blight conditions have been remediated, the following registration fees will be imposed:
(1) 
A registration fee of $5,000 will be added to the Village tax bill for any commercial building or property;
(2) 
A registration fee of $2,500 will be added to the Village tax bill for any residential building or property;
(3) 
A registration fee of $2,500 will be added to the Village tax bill for any vacant parcel.
E. 
Any surplus administrative, mitigation or registration costs imposed by the Village will be used to create a beautification fund, with the intent of financing the Village's revitalization and antiblight efforts.
A. 
Property owner qualifications. In order to qualify to enter into a restoration agreement, the property owner must:
(1) 
Possess or have applied for a valid certificate of occupancy or letter in lieu as issued by the Village for the subject premises; and
(2) 
Have no other outstanding violations or complaints on file with Code Enforcement.
B. 
Restoration agreement contents. All restoration agreements will include a definite plan for the resolution of all blight conditions existing on the blighted premises as identified by a Code Enforcement Official.
C. 
Such repairs and/or improvements will be outlined on an explicitly fixed timeline.
D. 
Registration fee exemption. In consideration for entering into a restoration agreement with the Village, the property owner will be offered a full exemption from the annual registration fee(s) set forth in § 105-6D above.
E. 
Penalties for noncompliance with restoration agreement terms. Any property owner who does not complete the repairs and/or improvements outlined in a restoration agreement within the established timeline, or otherwise fails to comply with any and all provisions of a restoration agreement, will be subject to the actions described in § 105-9.
Any entity and/or individual that purchases a property registered on the Village's blighted property inventory list may be offered certain incentives from the Village.
A. 
All incentives are at the complete and absolute discretion of the Blight Committee. The factors to be considered in granting an incentive include, but are not limited, to the following: The rating of the purchased property, the location of the purchased property, the degree of repair and development necessary, the impact of the proposed project on the Village's economy, the environmental condition of the project site(s), and the applicant's liability and other insurance coverage.
B. 
Incentives may include, but are not limited to, a 25% reduction of certain permit and/or application fees to be collected by the Village of Massena Building and Code Enforcement Department and/or an acceleration of the processing of certain permits as issued by the Village of Massena Building and Code Enforcement Department.
C. 
Applicants for an incentive must demonstrate the ability to pay for their proposed projects either through commitment letters for loans obtained from a commercial lender of their selection or through the availability of developer funds.
D. 
Any request for an incentive will be made by a property owner making a written request to the Village of Massena Building and Code Enforcement Office. Any such request may not be made until after an application has been made for a building permit for the blighted property at issue, or an application has been made to initiate an administrative process which would enable the submission of a building permit application (such administrative processes include, but are not limited to, the change of zone process, application for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and/or site plan review).
A. 
Failure to comply with a restoration agreement. Whenever the owner of a property will fail to comply with an executed restoration agreement, the Village Board may authorize and arrange for completion of the work required to be done under the terms of the restoration agreement and will provide for the cost thereof to be paid from general Village funds as directed by resolution of the Village Board. Additionally, failure to comply with an executed restoration agreement will result in the placement or retention of the property on the blighted property inventory list and the imposition of the corresponding annual registration fees applicable for each year that the offending conditions exist or remain.
B. 
Authority to abate in the absence of a restoration agreement. In the event that an owner and/or occupant of such land or premises will fail to abate any violation as described in the definition of "blighted property" contained herein, the Village Board, after consideration at a public hearing, may declare said premises to be a nuisance and thereafter, the Village Board will have the authority to enter onto such premises where such violation exists, to remedy such violation and to charge the cost or expense of such remediation against the owner and establish a lien in the manner provided herein.
C. 
Assessment of costs and expenses, liens. A summary of all costs and expenses incurred by the Village in connection with the abatement of a violation of this chapter will be provided by the Blight Committee to the Village Board for review. The total costs and expenses incurred will then be finally determined by the Village Attorney, after consultation with the Village Board, and will be reported to the Village Tax Collector. The amount determined by the Village Attorney will then be added to the Village tax bill and assessed against the property, and the expense so assessed will constitute a lien and charge on the premises on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged.