[HISTORY: Adopted by the Representative Town Meeting of the Town of Fairfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following general provisions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this article:
Legislative finding. It is hereby found that there exists, and may in the future exist, within the Town of Fairfield, premises, dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units or parts thereof, commercial structures and industrial structures which, by reason of their construction, equipment, sanitation, maintenance, overuse or occupancy, affect or are likely to affect adversely the public health (including the physical, mental and social well-being of persons and families), safety and general welfare. To correct and prevent the existence of such adverse conditions and to achieve and maintain such levels of residential environmental quality as will protect and promote public health, safety and general welfare, it is further found that the establishment and enforcement of minimum dwelling and adjacent property standards are required.
Purposes. It is hereby declared that the purpose of this article is to protect, preserve and promote the physical and mental health and social well-being of the people, to prevent and control the incidence of diseases, to regulate privately owned dwellings and commercial and industrial structures for the purpose of maintaining adequate sanitation and public health and to protect the safety of the people and to promote the general welfare by legislation which shall be applicable to all dwellings and commercial and industrial structures now in existence and henceforth constructed. It is hereby further declared that the purpose of this article is to ensure that the quality of housing and other structures is adequate for protection of public health, safety and general welfare through administration and enforcement thereof.
As used in this article, the following items shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING CONSTITUTING A MENACE TO PUBLIC SAFETY
- Applies to any dwelling or dwelling unit and any commercial or industrial structure, with the exception of excluded structures, which shall be found by the Board of Condemnation to have any of the following defects:
- A. One which is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe or vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or the public.
- B. One which lacks hallway and porch illumination, ventilation, heating facilities (minimum of 55° F.) or sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the occupants or the public.
- C. One which, because of its general condition or location, is unsanitary or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the occupants or the public.
- D. On which, for want of proper initial construction or proper repairs or by reason of age or dilapidated condition or from any other cause, may cause a fire or presents an unreasonable threat to life.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR/OFFICIAL
- The Town of Fairfield Building Inspector and Assistant Building Inspector appointed by the First Selectman.
- CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
- Refers to the final inspection process, being either conditional or nonconditional in context and applies to all newly constructed dwellings as well as all structural renovations to existing dwellings. The certificate of occupancy issuance is an administrative procedure of the Building Inspector/Official.
- COMMERCIAL STRUCTURES
- Include the following: places of retail business; hotels, inns and motels; professional office facilities and professional services facilities; brokerage and real estate offices; and public and private restaurants as well as food stands marketing processed products.
- CONTIGUOUS OR ADJACENT PROPERTY TO A STRUCTURE
- Applies to all land, subterranean services and aboveground objects contained within the taxable boundaries. Examples of land include but are not limited to land, rivers, riverbeds and driveways. Examples of subterranean services include but are not limited to artesian or other forms of potable water wells, natural gas feeder lines; septic tanks, feeder pipe and fields; municipal sanitary sewer feeder pipe; and underground electrical utility feeder service if not owned or leased by the utility company servicing the region. Examples of aboveground objects include but are not limited to detached structures; trees in excess of 12 feet in height; statuary in excess of 10 feet in height; gasoline-, diesel- or kerosene-fueled engines, including automobiles and campers, propane- or natural-gas-fired cooking grills; and temporary storage of boats in excess of 21 feet in length, and engineering structures.
- Applies to single-family, dual-family and multiple-family usages of a shelter which is wholly or partly used or arranged or designed to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
- EXCLUDED STRUCTURES
- Include the following: free standing churches and temples of worship; federal and state owned or leased facilities, municipally owned facilities, public and private educational facilities at all levels; excepting nursery, preschool and child day-care centers; including on-site dormitory space.
- FIRE MARSHAL
- The Town of Fairfield Fire Marshal or Deputy Fire Marshal as appointed by the Fire Commission.
- HEALTH, DIRECTOR OF
- The Town of Fairfield Director of Health or Assistant Director appointed by the Board of Health with the approval of the First Selectman.
- INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURES
- Include the following: manufacturing facilities, raw material processing facilities, office facilities, trucking transfer docks and warehousing facilities.
- The holder of the record title and all recorded interests therein on the day upon which a notice of condemnation hearing is issued.
- PUBLIC SAFETY
- The condition of being free from danger and hazard which may cause disease or accidents to all persons within, passing through or adjacent to a dwelling whose constructional qualifications are in jeopardy.
There shall be created a Board of Condemnation which shall consist of the Director of Health, the Building Inspector and the Fire Marshal of the Town.
With the exception of excluded structures, the designation of dwellings, dwelling units and commercial and industrial structures or contiguous or adjacent property to a structure which constitute a menace to public safety shall be carried out by the Board of Condemnation pursuant to the definition of a "building constituting a menace to public safety" after a hearing. Such designation shall be initiated by a complainant, in writing, identifying a possible public safety problem or by the Board of Condemnation's own action. Such Board may, as part of such hearing, inspect such building or adjacent property and the facts observed by such Board at such inspection shall constitute evidence upon which it may base its findings. Notice of the hearing shall be given by the Board (Building Inspector/Official) by posting it in a conspicuous place on such building or adjacent property at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing, a notice directed to all persons having or claiming any interest in such building or adjacent property, designating the building or adjacent property sought to be condemned, the reasons therefor and the time and place of the hearing. A copy of such notice shall be sent by registered mail, at least 10 days prior to such hearing, to each owner at his last known address, or, if such address cannot, after due diligence, be ascertained, then to such owner at Fairfield, Connecticut.
If the Board of Condemnation shall determine that a building or adjacent property constitutes a menace to public safety, it shall find and determine what repairs or alterations are necessary or whether the total destruction of such building or adjacent property is necessary in order that such building or adjacent property shall not constitute a menace to public safety. Such Board shall also determine and limit the length of time within which such repairs, alterations or destruction of any such building or adjacent property shall be completed. The time so limited shall begin to run from the date upon which service of such findings shall be made on the owner of the premises, and such Board may for good cause extend such time for a further period not exceeding 30 days.
The findings of the Board shall be in writing and shall be served upon the owner personally or sent by registered mail to his last known address by the Building Inspector within 10 days. If, after due diligence, the owner cannot be found or his address shall be unknown, such findings shall, in lieu of such service or registered mail notice, be posted for 10 days in a conspicuous place on the building or adjacent property.
If any action is taken that would result in eviction, it would be the duty of the Board to notify the Department of Social Services.
Every building or adjacent property found by the Board of Condemnation to constitute a menace to public safety shall, if not destroyed, altered or repaired within the time allowed by and in accordance with the findings of the Board, be deemed to be a public nuisance and every such nuisance may be abated summarily or by civil action. The municipality shall have a lien on the premises for the cost of such abatement, which lien shall take precedence over any other encumbrance originating after the commencement of the abatement work, provided that a notice of lis pendens thereof is recorded in the land records within 60 days after the completion of the abatement work. The municipality may recover the cost of such work from the owner by a civil action upon complaint of the Board of Condemnation. The total recovery by the municipality from such lien and civil action shall not exceed the amount of its cost plus court costs.
No dwelling, dwelling unit or adjacent property which has been condemned and placarded as unfit for human habitation shall again be used for human habitation and no commercial or industrial structure which has been condemned and placarded shall again be used for their intended purposes until written approval is secured from, and such placard is removed by, the Board of Condemnation. The Board of Condemnation shall remove such placard whenever the defects upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
No person shall deface or remove the placard from any dwelling, dwelling unit, commercial or industrial structure or adjacent property which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation or other intended purposes and placarded as such.
For all buildings constructed after the adoption of this article, whether implicitly, explicitly or not at all so stated in Section 29-252 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the State of Connecticut Basic Building Code or any Town building code derived therefrom, this article shall require, for public safety reasons, a certificate of occupancy prior to overnight occupancy and at the sale of said building to a second owner or transfer of said building to an estate.
Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the Town or findings of the Board as provided in § 100-5, acting through the Board of Condemnation, shall have the right of appeal to the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport within 15 days after receipt of notice of the findings.
Prior conditions, before the adoption of this article, of dwellings deemed unfit for habitation and commercial or industrial structures deemed unfit for their intended purposes under this article shall comply with all sections of the article; however, a one-time-only grace period of 60 days is granted.
If any building shall be found by the Board of Condemnation to constitute a menace to public safety, and the owner thereof shall, after service of the findings of the Board as provided in § 100-4, neglect to destroy, alter or repair such building in accordance with the findings and within the time limited by the Board, provided that he shall have the legal power to destroy, alter or repair the same, such owner shall be punished as provided below. Any owner who shall disable himself from destroying, altering or repairing such building after receiving the notice of a hearing of the Board relative thereto as provided in this article shall likewise be punished pursuant to said section.
The penalty for violating any provision of this article shall be a fine in an amount not in excess of $100 or not more than 30 days in jail, or both.
Nothing contained within this article shall abridge the legal authority of any board, commission or agency of the Town of Fairfield to make, publish, adopt, repeal, change or amend its rules, regulations or bylaws in accordance with law.
Each section of this article is an independent section, and the holding of any section or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity or constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.
This article shall be effective 14 days after its adoption.