As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them below:
- ABANDONED BUILDING
- A nonresidential or residential structure which has remained unoccupied or unused for more than one year or for a six-month period as measured below, whichever is sooner. Said six-month period shall be measured from the date of service, as provided herein, of notice of such nonuse or nonoccupancy to the owner.
- NONRESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE
- A structure which contains nonresidential occupancies.
- RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE
- A structure which contains residential occupancies.
The Bureau of Fire of the City shall be authorized to make or cause to be made inspections to determine the condition of premises in order to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public. The Fire Marshal or his designated representative shall be authorized to enter any premises at any reasonable time during business hours, or at such other time as may be necessary in any emergency, for the purpose of performing his duties under this article. Inspections herein authorized shall be limited to the provisions of this article.
Inspectors and authorized personnel of the Fire Marshal's office shall be supplied with official identification and, upon request, shall exhibit such identification when entering any premises and all parts thereof.
Access to all parts of any nonresidential structure or premises shall be provided by the owner, operator, agent or occupant thereof to personnel herein, for the purpose of making such inspections at any reasonable time during business hours or at such other times as may be necessary in an emergency. Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative shall be unable to obtain access to premises for the purpose of making an inspection as herein provided, a demand for access to such premises shall be served upon the owner and/or occupants thereof at least three days before the time for such inspection. In the event the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative finds that immediate action is or may be necessary to abate a hazard or remove a danger, he may demand immediate access from the owner, operator, agent or occupant and prior notice shall not be required.
If after due demand the person entitled to possession of any dwelling or dwelling unit refuses admittance thereto of the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative for the purpose of making an examination or inspection of the premises, the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative shall seek authorization, by prompt legal means, from a court of competent jurisdiction. The moving papers shall include an affidavit from the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative that he seeks access to the premises designated so that he can carry out a regularly scheduled inspection pursuant to this article or because he has probable cause to believe that an inspection of such premises will reveal the existence of violations of this article and, further, that such access has been denied. On presentation of such an affidavit and an ex parte application for relief, the Judge shall issue a warrant or order authorizing the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative to inspect the premises named in the affidavit.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative determines that there has been a violation or that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this article or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant hereto, he shall give written notice of such violation or alleged violation to the owner of the property. Such notice shall specify that the alleged violations are to be corrected immediately. Such notice shall also inform the person to whom it is directed of his right to apply for an informal hearing within five days of receipt of said notice before the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative. Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, shall effect compliance with the provisions of this article and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Upon the expiration of 30 days after service of such notice as herein provided, the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative may issue a final order. Such order shall allow 10 days from date of service of said order within which to comply. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative shall act to obtain compliance as provided by this article.
Nothing herein shall authorize the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative to issue any orders with respect to use of materials, size of structural members or design, except that the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative may prohibit use of any items which conflict with the provisions of this article.
The Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative may, for good cause shown in his discretion, extend the compliance time specified in any notice or order issued under the provisions of this article.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative finds that a violation of this article exists which, in his opinion, requires immediate action to abate a hazard or constitutes an immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants of a building or the public, he may, without prior notice of hearing, issue an order citing the violation and directing that such action be taken as is necessary to remove or abate the hazard or danger. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, such an order shall be effective immediately upon service and shall be complied with immediately or as otherwise provided.
It shall be sufficient service of a notice or order of the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative if said notice is mailed by certified or registered mail to the person to whom it is directed, to his last known place of residence.
Any vacant structure shall be secured against unlawful entry, and the structure and adjoining yards shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and shall not present a hazard to adjoining property or the public. All vehicular entrances to the property shall be closed to prevent unlawful parking or storage of vehicles upon the premises.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative finds that a nonresidential or residential structure is not used or occupied, he shall serve notice of such finding upon the owner.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative finds that a nonresidential or residential structure has been abandoned, he may order the owner to demolish such structure or part thereof, upon notice as prescribed in § 34-4. In making the determination to order such demolition, the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative must consider the following factors:
Period of time of nonoccupancy or nonuse; occasional and intermittent use shall not be a bar to determination that a building has been abandoned.
Whether the abandoned structure constitutes or may constitute a hazard or threat to the public health, safety or welfare.
Whether the abandoned structure hinders or may hinder the conservation of property values or the use and enjoyment of nearby property.
Whether the structure is in any way illegal and the owner or beneficial user cannot with reasonable diligence be located.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative finds that any building under construction or any existing nonresidential or residential structure is weakened from any cause or constitutes a hazard or threat to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or the public, he may order said structure to be strengthened, repaired, secured, vacated or demolished, as he may judge, upon notice as prescribed in § 34-4.
Whenever a final order to remove a violation, secure, vacate or demolish a building has not been complied with, the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative may proceed to cause the structure to be demolished, repaired, altered, secured or vacated or to take such other legal action as is necessary; provided, however, that nothing herein shall authorize the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative to cause any structure to be demolished unless and until an appropriate order of the court has been obtained, as specified in Subsection C.
The expense incurred by the City hereunder shall be charged to and paid by the person responsible for such violation. The Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative shall file with the City Chamberlain a statement of the items of expense and the date of execution of actions authorized thereunder. The City Chamberlain shall proceed to collect said sums owing the City in the manner provided by law.
Whenever the Fire Marshal or his duly authorized representative shall determine pursuant to notice and order as provided herein that a dangerous or abandoned structure or a part thereof shall be demolished and the owner has failed to comply with a final order of demolition within 10 days after service upon him of said order, the City Attorney shall, upon eight days' notice to the property owner, mortgagees, tenants and lienors, present said order to demolish and the records and papers of all prior proceedings upon which said order is based before a Justice holding a special term of the Supreme Court for the county for review of said determination and confirmation thereof, at which time the Court may either confirm or annul, wholly or in part, or modify the determination reviewed.