[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of LaFayette 4-8-1985 by L.L. No. 1-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of LaFayette. 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. 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 LaFayette by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law" of the Town of LaFayette.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business or industrial purposes.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of LaFayette or
such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions
of this chapter.[Amended 12-8-2020 by L.L. No. 2-2020]
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of LaFayette.
When the Code Enforcement Officer, in his own opinion or upon receipt of information, believes that a building is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public, is vacant and is open at the doorways and windows, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors, vagrants and other trespassers; is or may become a place of rodent infestation; or presents any other danger to the health, safety and general welfare of the public, he shall make an inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations in regard to its repair or demolition and removal.
The Town Board shall consider the report of the Code Enforcement Officer. If in the Town Board's opinion the report so warrants, the Town Board shall determine by resolution that such building is unsafe or dangerous and order its repair if it can be safely repaired or its demolition and removal if the building cannot be safely repaired. The Town Board shall further order in its resolution that a notice be served upon the persons and in the manner specified in this chapter.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises;
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous;
The Town Board's order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe and secure, or demolished and removed;
A statement that the securing or removal of the building shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days after the service of the notice unless such time shall be extended for good cause shown;
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board in relation to the dangerous or unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days nor more than 20 business days from the date of service of the notice; and
A statement that in the event of neglect or refusal to timely comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for its demolition and removal, to assess all costs and expenses thereof against the land on which the building is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of demolition, including legal expenses.
The notice shall be served upon the owner, the owner's executor, administrator, legal representative, agent or lessee, or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the building determined to be unsafe, either by personal service or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by registered mail addressed to the last known address of the owner, the owner's executor, administrator, legal representative, agent, lessee, or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the unsafe building as shown by the records of the Town of LaFayette Receiver of Taxes or the County Clerk. If service is made by registered mail, a copy of the notice shall be posted securely upon the unsafe building.
A copy of the notice shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Onondaga.
The hearing before the Town Board shall be conducted in accordance with the Town Board's usual procedures for public hearings. All interested persons shall be allowed to speak at the hearing, including the recipient of the notice described in § 120-6 of this chapter, and evidence pertaining to the condition of the particular building in question may be submitted. At the close of the hearing the Town Board, after consideration of all comments and evidence presented at the hearing, shall either reaffirm or reverse its prior determination that the building in question is unsafe or dangerous.
If, after the hearing, the Town Board reaffirms its determination that a building is unsafe or dangerous, and if the person notified pursuant to §§ 120-6 and 120-7 of this chapter refuses or neglects to comply with the order of the Town Board as set forth in the notice, the Town Board shall provide for the demolition and removal of the building or structure in question either by Town employees or by contract. Except in an emergency as provided in § 120-12 of this chapter, any contract for demolition and removal of a building in excess of the monetary limits set forth in § 103 of the General Municipal Law shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
[Amended 12-8-2020 by L.L. No. 2-2020]
All costs and expenses incurred by the Town of LaFayette in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove an unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing the building, shall be assessed against the land on which the building is located. A bill for the costs and expenses shall be presented to the owner of the property or, if the owner cannot be ascertained, the bill shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. An assessment of costs and expenses shall be and constitute a lien upon the land. If the owner of the property shall fail to pay for the costs and expenses within 10 days after the bill therefor is presented or posted, a legal action may be brought to collect the assessment or to foreclose the lien. As an alternative to the maintenance of any such action, a certificate of the actual costs and expenses incurred, together with a statement identifying the property in connection with which the expenses were incurred and the owner thereof, may be filed with the Town of LaFayette Assessor, who shall in the preparation of the next assessment roll assess the amount of costs and expenses against the property. The amount of costs and expenses shall be included in the levy against the property, shall constitute a lien and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time and under the same penalties as are provided by law for the collection and enforcement of real property taxes in the Town of LaFayette.
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 is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may by resolution authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to immediately arrange for the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The expenses of repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 120-11 of this chapter.