[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. 33 of the 1978 Code of the Village of New Paltz; amended in its entirety 10-23-2018 by L.L. No. 14-2018. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe structures pose a threat to life and property in the Village of New Paltz. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damages 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, scrap, abandoned machinery or equipment 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 New Paltz by requiring that such unsafe structures be repaired or demolished and removed.
Any building, as defined in this section, which:
Is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public;
Is open at the doorways or windows making it accessible to the general public;
Is or may become a place of rodent infestation;
Contains or consists of debris, rubble, scrap, abandoned machinery or equipment, or parts thereof, or parts of buildings, whether in the building or on the lot on which such building is located;
Is abandoned or inadequately maintained;
Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the general public; or
Is unfit for the purposes for which it may be lawfully used.
In cases where it appears that there is an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person and an unsafe structure, as defined in § 90-2, is not immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Code Enforcement Official shall report such facts to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such unsafe structures. The cost of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such unsafe structure shall be collected in the same manner as set forth in § 90-10.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Code Enforcement Official and the Board of Trustees in ordering repair, vacation or demolition:
If the unsafe structure can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
If the unsafe structure is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants it shall be ordered to be vacated.
In any case where an unsafe structure is so damaged or decayed, or deteriorated from its original value or structure so that it cannot be economically restored, it shall be demolished, and in all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter it shall be demolished. In all cases where an unsafe structure is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any other provisions of this Code or laws of the State of New York, it shall be demolished.
When, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Official, or upon receipt of information (from any police officer, law enforcement officer, volunteer fireman or resident of the Village) that an unsafe structure exists in the Village of New Paltz, the Code Enforcement Official shall cause or make an inspection thereof and report in writing to the Board of Trustees his/her findings and recommendations in regard to its repair or demolition and removal.
The Board of Trustees shall thereafter consider such report and by resolution determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that such building is an unsafe structure as defined in § 90-2 and order its repair if the same can be safely repaired or its demolition and removal, and further order that a notice be served upon the persons in the manner provided in § 90-7 of this chapter.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
The name of the owner of the premises as it appears from the tax and deed records.
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous.
Directions on if a building permit is required and what documentation may be needed per the New York State Uniform Construction Code.
An 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 such building shall commence within 10 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 30 days thereafter, unless, for good cause shown, such time shall be extended or if it is deemed an emergency case as set forth in § 90-3.
A statement informing the owner of the premises their right to an appeal.
A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Board of Trustees is authorized to provide for 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 demolition, including legal expenses.
The notice shall be served and filed as follows:
A copy of the notice shall be served upon the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees, or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises as shown by records of the Village tax records.
If the notice is returned showing that the letter was not delivered, a copy thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such notice.
The Board of Trustees shall hold a hearing at which the owner or other person specified in the notice may appear to show cause why the notice and resolution of the Board of Trustees should be rescinded, extended or modified and such other relevant and material information as such owner or other person may desire. Following such hearing, the Board of Trustees shall make a determination as to whether the building or other structure is a public nuisance and, if the Board of Trustees so finds, directing that it shall be repaired and secured or taken down and removed.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Village in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said unsafe building or structure, shall be assessed against the land on which said buildings or structures are located.
Violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is hereby declared to be a violation pursuant to the Penal Law.
For every violation of any provision of this chapter, the person violating the same shall be subject to a fine set annually by resolution of the Board of Trustees or imprisonment of not more than 15 days as provided by the Penal Law.