City of Amsterdam, NY
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Amsterdam 12-16-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1998. This local law supersedes former Ch. 92, Unsafe Buildings, adopted 10-19-1965, as amended. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction code — See Ch. 90.
Homestead program — See Ch. 139.
A. 
The purpose of this law is to promote and preserve the health, safety and welfare of the public and residents and/or owners of property located within the City of Amsterdam by providing a method for the repair or removal of buildings that, from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public and residents and/or owners of property within the City of Amsterdam.
B. 
Unsafe buildings serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, may be a point of congregation by vagrants and transients, may attract rodents or insects and may also attract illegal drug activity.
C. 
This chapter shall be in addition to all other powers conferred upon the City of Amsterdam in relation to the same subject by state Law.
D. 
This chapter is adopted pursuant to General City Law § 20 (35).
[Added 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING
Any building, structure or portion thereof used for any purpose.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
CODE ENFORCEMENT INSPECTORS
Persons appointed by city government and/or the Mayor to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any applicable state laws.
UNSAFE BUILDING
Any building or structure that endangers the health, safety or welfare of the public, including all buildings which have any or all of the following defects:
A. 
Interior or exterior bearing walls or other vertical structural members which list, lean or buckle to such an extent as to weaken the structural support they provide.
B. 
Thirty-three percent or more damage to or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting, enclosing or outside walls or covering.
C. 
Improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
D. 
Those which have been damaged by any cause so as to have become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the City of Amsterdam.
E. 
Those which are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe and/or unsanitary that they are unfit for human habitation in accordance with normally accepted standards set for human habitability.
F. 
Light, air and sanitation facilities inadequate to protect the health, safety or general welfare of human beings who may live therein, with particular reference to the requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
G. 
Those having inadequate facilities for exit in case of fire or other emergency or those having insufficient stairways, elevators or fire escapes, again referencing the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
H. 
Parts thereof which are so inadequately attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
I. 
Those which consist in the main of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
J. 
Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the people of the City of Amsterdam.
No person, firm, corporation or association, owning, possessing or controlling a building in the City of Amsterdam shall permit, suffer or allow said building now or hereafter to be or become unsafe to the public and/or residents from any cause whatsoever.
The City Code Enforcement Inspectors shall make inspections of all unsafe buildings within the City of Amsterdam and report to the Fire Chief any unsafe buildings which be found within the limits of the City of Amsterdam.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
The Fire Chief, who shall act as the Director of Buildings for the purposes of this chapter, shall consider the reports of the Code Enforcement Inspectors or other qualified inspectors and, if in the opinion of the Fire Chief the reports so warrant, shall determine that the building is unsafe and order its repair or removal and further serve a notice on the owner and all other persons having an interest in such property or structure as follows:
A. 
The notice shall contain the following:
(1) 
A description of the premises.
(2) 
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous.
(3) 
An order requiring the building to be repaired or removed.
(4) 
That the repairing or demolition of the building shall commence within 30 days of the serving of the notice, as hereinafter provided, and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
(5) 
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Fire Chief in relation to such unsafe building. Such hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of service of the notice.
(6) 
A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to repair or remove the building, the Fire Chief is authorized to:
(a) 
Provide for its repair or demolition.
(b) 
Assess all expenses thereof against:
[1] 
The land on which it is located;
[2] 
Any insurance proceeds of the property damaged in an insured event;
[3] 
The owner of the property; or
[4] 
Any combination of the above.
(c) 
Institute a special proceeding pursuant to General Municipal Law § 78-b to collect the costs of demolition, including legal expenses.
A. 
Said notice shall be served in the following manner:
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
(1) 
Either personally or by registered mail, addressed to the last known address as shown by the records of the officer or agency of the City charged with the assessment of real property therein or collection of real property taxes thereon and/or in the office of the County Clerk or County Register.
(2) 
A copy of the notice shall be posted on the unsafe building or as nearby as possible.
B. 
A copy of the notice shall be filed in the office of the Montgomery County Clerk, which notice shall be filed by such Clerk 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 year from the date of filing; provided, however, that it may be vacated upon the order of a Judge or upon the consent of the Corporation Counsel.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
A. 
The hearing shall be conducted before the Fire Chief. The Code Enforcement Inspector or other qualified inspector shall present his or her report to the Fire Chief in writing. The owner or his or her representative, if present, shall call such witnesses as he or she deems necessary. The Fire Chief shall make written findings of fact from the testimony offered as to whether or not the building in question is an unsafe building.
B. 
If the Fire Chief finds that the building in question is unsafe, he or she shall continue the order to repair or remove the unsafe building contained in the notice or modify the order to extend the time limits to accommodate the expected time of repair or removal.
C. 
If the Fire Chief finds that the building in question is not unsafe, he or she shall vacate the order to repair or remove the building.
D. 
If the owner fails or neglects to repair or remove said building as directed by the Fire Chief, then the Fire Chief shall direct the repair or removal of same forthwith by City employees or by contractors.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
In the event of neglect or refusal of the persons so notified to comply with the order to repair or remove the unsafe building contained in the notice or as modified after a hearing, the Fire Chief shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building either by City employees or by contractors.
A. 
In case there shall be, in the opinion of the Fire Chief, actual and immediate danger of the falling of a building so as to endanger public safety, life or property so as to be an actual or immediate menace to health or public welfare as a result of the conditions present in or about a building, the Fire Chief shall cause the necessary work to be done or render such a building temporarily safe, whether the procedure prescribed in this chapter for unsafe buildings has been instituted or not.
B. 
When emergency work is to be performed under this section, the Fire Chief shall cause the owner of the premises to be served personally or by registered mail, and, if served by registered mail, shall post on the premises a notice to comply containing a description of the premises, a statement of the facts in which the building is unsafe or dangerous and orders and directions to correct the conditions which constitute an emergency within a specified period not to exceed three days from actual or constructive notice of the condition.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
C. 
In the event that the emergency does not permit any delay in correction, the notice shall state that the city has corrected the emergency situation.
D. 
In both cases, the notice shall state that the corrective costs of the emergency will be assessed against the owner pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
All costs and expenses incurred by the City of Amsterdam in connection with the administratively and/or judicially substantiated proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing the building in question, shall be assessed against the land on which said building is located, any insurance proceeds of the property damaged in an insured event, the owner of the property or any combination of the above.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
B. 
The City of Amsterdam 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.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 92-10, Application to Supreme Court for order, which immediately preceded this section, was repealed 4-7-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009.