[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Cohoes 2-22-2005 by Ord. No. 4-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Public nuisance buildings — See Ch. 122.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 152.
Residential occupancy — See Ch. 215.
Zoning — See Ch. 285.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 124, Unsafe Buildings, adopted 11-10-1964 by Ord. No. 102-1964, as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any house, basement, cellar, wall, cottage, lot, shed, garage, well, fence, storage tank, underground container, pole, smokestack, excavation, building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business, industrial, recreational or other purpose.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- A building or structure which is structurally unsound, unsanitary, or not provided with adequate ingress or egress or which constitutes a fire hazard or which has become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration or which, in relation to an existing use, constitutes a hazard to public health, safety or welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment or which is otherwise dangerous to human life, or which has become a blighting influence on nearby properties and thereby depreciating the enjoyment and use of the property in the immediate vicinity to such an extent that it is harmful to the community in which such structure is situated.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the City of Cohoes to maintain such building or structure or portion of any building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe as defined in § 124 -1 of this Code.
Whenever the Director of Code Enforcement or City Engineer suspects the existence of a dangerous or unsafe building, he shall inspect the premises on which the suspected unsafe structure exists, securing a search warrant if necessary. A written report of the inspection and the findings with respect to the existence of an unsafe building shall be prepared by the Director of Code Enforcement and/or the City Engineer and filed with the Commissioner of Public Works and the Corporation Counsel.
If the report finds that the structure is unsafe, then the Corporation Counsel shall serve notice upon the owner and all other persons having an interest in the property, either personally or by registered or certified mail, addressed to his or her last known address as shown by the records of the City Assessor or of the applicable County Clerk or County Register. If such service is made by certified or registered mail, a copy of such notice shall be posted on the premises. Said notice shall contain a description of the premises and a statement that a report has been filed finding that the building or structure has been found to be unsafe and shall fix a time and place for a hearing before the Commissioner of Public Works, which shall be not less than five days following the date of personal service and not less than 10 days following the date of mailing and posting.
The Commissioner of Public Works shall have power to make an order relative to the repair, demolition, discontinuance, or modification of the use of said building and to prohibit the use of such building or part thereof until such order is complied with. Such order shall prescribe the time within which the use shall be discontinued or such demolition, repair or strengthening modification shall be made and shall make a finding of fact, including a statement of particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous. Said order shall be served on the same parties and in the manner as service of notice in § 124-4 of this chapter.
An owner receiving an order to repair or demolish shall apply for an applicable building permit or demolition permit pursuant to the City Code before beginning work on the structure. Said application shall be accompanied by adequate plans and specifications as required by the Zoning Officer. Any permit issued will have a time limit fixed for the modifications. Said time limit may be extended by the Zoning Officer for good cause shown.
Such order shall be filed in the office of the Albany County Clerk and shall be filed by the Clerk in the same manner and have the same effect as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules of the State of New York. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one (1) year from the date of filing; provided, however, that it may be vacated upon the order of a Judge or a Justice of the court of record or upon consent of the Corporation Counsel.
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 is immediately repaired and secured or demolished and removed, the City may take appropriate actions pursuant to its police power to cause the repair or demolition and removal of such unsafe building. In such an event, the notification procedures and limitations set forth in this chapter need not be complied with. The expenses of such repair or demolition and removal, including legal expenses, shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided by § 124-10; provided, however, that the owner and all other persons having an interest in the property are provided with notice, served as provided for in § 124-4, and an opportunity to be heard before the assessment of any lien against the land.
Any person or corporation who shall neglect or refuse to comply with the order of the Commissioner of Public Works shall be in violation of this chapter and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for 15 days, or both, for each offense. In case of a continued violation, each day's continuance thereof shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation of this chapter.
If the owner or occupant, after such notice, shall neglect or refuse to comply with such order, the Commissioner of Public Works is hereby authorized to employ labor and furnish materials and equipment to demolish said building or to make such modification as to make it safe. The value of said work and materials shall be paid by the City, and the cost thereof shall be a lien against the property concerned and shall be collected by the City, like other taxes and assessments.
The City of Cohoes is authorized, after due demand having been made therefor, to commence an action at law in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect the costs of the demolition and/or modification of such property from the owner of any demolished building pursuant to this chapter.