[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough of Trustees of the Village of Oxford 6-2-1992 as L.L. No. 4-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Village of Oxford. 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 Village of Oxford by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A structure wholly or partly enclosed within exterior walls or within exterior or party walls and a roof, affording shelter to persons, animals or property.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the County of Chenango or such other person appointed by the Board of Trustees 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.
- An assembly of materials forming a construction framed of component structural parts for occupancy or use, including buildings.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or structure or portion thereof which:
Because of its structural condition, is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public.
Is open at the doorways or windows or walls, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under eighteen (18) years of age as well as to vagrants and other trespassers.
Is or may become a place of rodent infestation.
Consists of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the Village of Oxford to maintain such building or structure or portion of such building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe as defined in § 103-2 of this chapter.
When, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, any building or structure located in the Village of Oxford shall be deemed to be dangerous or unsafe to the public as defined in § 103-2, the Building Inspector shall make a formal inspection thereof and report in writing to the Board of Trustees his findings and recommendations in regard to the building's or structure's removal or repair.
The Board of Trustees 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 Board of Trustees at a time and place therein specified and on at least five (5) 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 village in the repair or removal of such building or structure against the land on which said building or structure is located.
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 a specified number of days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within a specified number of days thereafter.
The time and place of the hearing to be held before the Board of Trustees, at which hearing the owner or occupant shall have the right to contest the order and findings of the Board of Trustees.
That, in the event that such owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall fail to contest such order and fail to comply with the same, the Board of Trustees will order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the village, and that the village will assess all costs and expenses incurred in such removal against the land on which such building or structure is located.
That in any case where a building which is required to be made safe and secure under this chapter is made safe by the boarding up thereof, the material used for such boarding shall be painted, as near as practicable, the same color as the building.
A copy of said notice shall be personally served upon the owner or some one (1) of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or other person having a vested interest in the premises as shown on the village tax records or in the records in the Chenango 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 personally serving a copy of said notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises or by securely affixing a copy of said notice upon said building or structure.
A copy of said notice shall be filed in the Chenango 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. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one (1) year from the date of filing. It may be vacated upon an order to a Judge or Justice of a court of record or upon written consent of the Village Attorney of the Village of Oxford. The Chenango County Clerk shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as canceled of record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
The Board of Trustees 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. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board of Trustees shall determine by resolution to revoke the order to 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 the time specified in the order or such other time as shall be determined by the Board of Trustees.
In the event of the refusal, failure or neglect of the owner or person so notified to comply with said order of the Board of Trustees within the time specified in said order and after the public hearing, the Board of Trustees shall provide that such building or structure be made safe and secure or removed and demolished by village 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 five thousand dollars ($5,000.) shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All expenses incurred by the village in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, shall 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 5 of the Village Law for the levy and collection of real property taxes.
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 Board of Trustees may, by resolution, authorize the Building Inspector to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building or structure. 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 § 103-10 hereof.
The Board of Trustees, in its discretion, may elect to apply to the Supreme Court of the State of New York for an order directing that the building be repaired and secured or demolished and removed.
The Board of Trustees may commence a special proceeding pursuant to 78-b of the General Municipal Law to collect the costs of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses.
Any person who violates this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250.) or by imprisonment not to exceed fifteen (15) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense.