[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Lewiston 4-25-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people in the Town of Lewiston from any dangers resulting from unsafe or dilapidated buildings and structures.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Lewiston or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
The Building Inspector shall perform or cause to be performed an inspection when he/she determines or receives information that a building:
Is or may become dangerous or unsafe;
Is open at the doorways, windows, walls, roof, foundation, or any other openings, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to youth, vagrants or other trespassers;
Is or may become a place of rodent or wildlife infestation;
Is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used; or
Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and/or general welfare of the public.
The Building Inspector shall thereafter prepare and file in his office a report of said inspection. If the Building Inspector determines that further action is warranted, he shall deliver said report with such determination to the Town Board of the Town of Lewiston and make recommendations regarding the building's repair, demolition or removal.
Any report delivered to the Town Board for further action shall contain at a minimum:
A detailed description of the premises and of the deficiencies, structural or otherwise, rendering the building dangerous or unsafe.
Where possible, photographs depicting the dangerous or unsafe conditions.
Analysis showing what measures might be taken to render the building safe and the feasibility of such measures.
Any other pertinent information concerning the condition of the building or the dangers posed by it.
The Town Board shall consider such report and by resolution determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that such building is unsafe or dangerous and order its repair or its demolition and removal. The Town Board shall further cause service of such notice with order in the manner provided herein.
The contents of the notice shall include the following:
A description of the premises;
A statement of the particulars in which the building is dangerous or unsafe;
An order requiring the building to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed, including specifics outlining the manner in which the structure is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed;
A statement that the securing or removal of such building shall commence within 30 days after service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days after service of the notice, unless for good cause shown such time shall be extended;
A statement containing the date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board regarding said dangerous or unsafe building;
A statement that in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for securing the building and/or its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located, and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of securing or demolition, including legal expenses;
A statement that maintenance of a building in a dangerous or unsafe condition constitutes a violation punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
The notice with order shall be served in the following manner:
A copy of the notice shall be served on the owner or some one of the owner's executor, administrator, agent, lessee, or any person having a vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building, either personally or by registered mail. If served by registered mail, the notice shall be addressed to the last known address, if any, of the owner or some one of the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or other person having a vested or contingent interest in same as shown by the records of the Town Assessor or of the Niagara County Clerk.
Personal service of a copy of such notice with order upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises if such person can be reasonably located;
Securely affixing a copy of such notice with order upon the unsafe building; and
Filing a copy of the notice with order in the office of the Niagara County Clerk.
If after the hearing is conducted the Town Board finds that the determination that the building is dangerous or unsafe was in error, or if it is shown that actions have been taken to render the building safe, the Town Board may rescind or modify its previous order.
The owner or the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees, or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in said building shall commence the satisfactory repair or removal of the structure within 30 days after service of the notice and complete repair or removal within 60 days after service of the notice, unless such time is extended for good cause.
In the event of the refusal or neglect of the person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board and after the hearing, the Town Board shall provide for the security and/or demolition and removal of such building or structure either by Town employees or by contract.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the dangerous or 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 in Article 15 of the Town 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 dangerous or unsafe building or structure pursuant to General Municipal Law § 78-b.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to life, safety or health of any person or property unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Supervisor may authorize the Building Inspector, other Town employees, or outside contractors to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such dangerous or unsafe building. The expenses of such 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 § 325-10 hereof.
Where it appears to the Building Inspector that a building is dangerous or unsafe and that immediate action is necessary to protect the public, he may take immediate action to secure the premises, including boarding up unsecured entry points and/or installing fencing. Such measures shall be the minimum necessary to protect persons, including youth and trespassers from bodily danger. The expenses of such measures shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 325-10 hereof.
In addition to the civil remedies provided for herein, any person refusing or neglecting to comply with the order of the Town Board as set forth in § 325-4, after service of the notice as set forth in § 325-6, shall be guilty of a violation and shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than $250 and/or to imprisonment of not more than 15 days, and each week of refusal or neglect to comply shall constitute a separate offense. This section shall not apply to persons who are notified solely because they are tenants or occupants, except that it shall apply to tenants occupying said building pursuant to a lease exceeding one year in duration.
The provisions of this chapter are not exclusive and are additional to any actions that may be brought for code violations or otherwise under the law.