Ch. 183 Vacant Building Registry
ORDINANCE #5 OF
CHAPTER 183 OF THE
Seconded by Councilor Graney
vacant buildings are a significant cause and source of blight in our community,
pose a significant risk of fire that impacts adjacent structures and endangers
the occupants and public; and
vacant buildings often fall into disrepair and neglect that impacts the health,
safety, value and appeal of our neighborhoods; and
the current Auburn City Code does not deal with the issues regarding vacant
buildings and other communities have addressed this issue by adding provisions
in its city code; and
for the benefit of the City of Auburn it is necessary to add a new chapter to
the Auburn City Code entitled “Chapter 183 of the City Code Entitled “Vacant
Building Registry””; and
the provisions of Chapter 183 are attached hereto and made a part hereof and
deals with definitions required for vacant buildings, provisions for vacant
buildings registration, requiring owners to provide for a building plan and
comply with all applicable laws and codes; the necessity for keeping the
building secured and safe and notification provisions in order to keep all City
departments informed of the building status; and
in order to provide for the administration of these provisions, a registration
fee will be enacted by the Auburn City Council on an annual basis as the City
of Auburn Fee Schedule is adopted.
THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED that the Auburn City Council shall adopt Chapter
183 of the Auburn City Code entitled “Vacant Building Registry” pursuant to the
provisions contained in the proposed Chapter 183 which attached hereto and made
a part hereof.
IT FURTHER ORDAINED that said amendments shall become effective upon
VOTE aye no
Councilor Graney _x_ __
Councilor Camardo _x_ __
Councilor Smith _x_ __
Councilor Ruziicka _x_ __
Mayor Quill _x_ __
§ 183-1 This Chapter shall be known and
referred to as the “Vacant Building Registry of Auburn, New York”.
A. Legislative findings and purpose.
It is the finding of the Auburn City Council that vacant buildings
are unsightly, unsafe,
and have a negative effect on the community. Unfortunately, many buildings, once vacant, remain that way for years. The purpose
of this article is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant buildings, to set forth
rehabilitation of vacant
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms will, for the purpose of this article, have the meanings indicated in this section:
EMERGENCY SITUATION -Where the condition
of a building, structure,
or any part thereof is an imminent, immediate, and substantial danger to the health or safety of occupants, emergency responders, and/or the general public. Such conditions, include,
but are not limited to, fire hazards, falling or dilapidated buildings, structures, or any part thereof, loss of significant water, heat, ventilation, or a lack of sanitary
OFFICER Any duly authorized City of Auburn employee of the
Code Enforcement or Fire Chief’s
Office, or designated persons from those
OWNER - The person, persons,
or entity shown to be the owner or owners on the records of the City of Auburn
Assessor’s Office, those identified as the owner or owners on a vacant
building registration form, a mortgagee
in possession, a mortgagor in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, administrator, trustee,
lessee, other person,
firm or corporation in control of the premises. Any such person
will have joint and several
obligations for compliance with the provisions of this
SECURED BY OTHER THAN NORMAL MEANS - A building secured by means other than those used in the design and approved plans for the building.
UNOCCUPIED -A building
or portion thereof which lacks the habitual
presence of human beings who have a
legal right to be on the premises,
including buildings ordered
vacated by an enforcement officer. In determining whether a building
is unoccupied, the Enforcement Officer may consider
these factors, among others: (i) whether lawful
residential or business
activity has ceased; (ii) the percentage of the overall
square footage of the occupied
to unoccupied space or the overall
number of occupied
and unoccupied units;
(iii) the building
is substantially devoid of contents or the minimal
value of fixtures
or personal property
in the building; (iv) the building lacks utility
services; (v) the building is subject to a foreclosure action; (vi) duration
of vacancy; and/or (vii)
the presence or reoccurrence of code violations.
UNSECURED - A building or portion of a building
unauthorized persons without the use of tools or ladders.
VACANT BUILDING - A building,
a portion of a building,
or a structure which is any one or more of the below:
Unoccupied and unsecured;
Unoccupied and secured
by other than normal means;
Unoccupied and an unsafe building as determined by an Enforcement Officer;
Unoccupied and enforcement officer has issued
an order to correct code violations;
Illegally occupied; or
Unoccupied for a
period of time over 30 days.
C. Vacant building registration.
1. The owner of a vacant building
will register with the Code Enforcement
or Fire Chief’s Office no later
than 30 days after any building becomes
a "vacant building," as defined above,
or not later than 30 days after being notified
by a Code Enforcement Officer of the requirement to register. A Code Enforcement Officer
or Fire Department Officer may identify vacant
buildings through his/her routine
inspection process as well as through
notification by residents, neighborhood associations and other community groups that a building may be eligible
for inclusion on the registry.
Notice will be served upon, or sent by mail to, the owner, and any registered
property manager, and to the property address.
Notice will be deemed received
by the owner, property manager,
or an occupant, as the case may be, upon personal delivery
or three days in Cayuga
County or five days for other locations after service by first class mail. The City may also post notices on the City's
website to provide additional notice to the public. However,
the City's failure
to post such violations on the City's
website will not constitute a defense to any enforcement proceeding or collection
As part of the notice to register,
the Code Enforcement Officer
may provide the owner with a written referral to the Office of Planning for information outlining programs
available which may be useful to implement a rehabilitation plan.
The registration will be submitted on forms provided
by the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office and will include
the following information:
A description of the premises, i.e., square footage,
number of stories,
age of the building, and most recent use of the building.
The names, addresses, and telephone numbers
of the owner or owners.
If the owner is a corporation,
limited liability company
or partnership, the address for each director,
manager, or partner, as the case may be. The address
must include a street address;
a post office box is not acceptable.
the owner does not reside in Cayuga County or any adjoining
New York county,
the name and address of the registered property manager as required by § 182.56.
Registration of rental housing units; certificates of compliance. The address
must include a street address;
a post office box is not acceptable.
The names and addresses of all known lien holders
and all other parties with an ownership interest in the building.
Each address must include a street address;
a post office box is not acceptable.
A name, address,
and telephone number of a responsible natural
person (not a corporation,
partnership, or limited
liability company) who can be reached at all times during business and non-business hours. The address must include a street
address; a post office box is not acceptable.
(f) A vacant building
plan as described
in Subsection 4below.
The owner will submit
a vacant building
plan which must meet the approval of the Code Enforcement /Fire Chief’s Office. The plan, at a minimum,
must contain information from one of the following
three proposals for the property:
If the building
is to be demolished, a demolition plan indicating the proposed time frame for demolition;
If the building is to remain vacant, a plan for the securing
of the building in accordance with standards provided below, along
with the procedure
that will be used to maintain the property, and a statement of the reason(s)
why the building will be left vacant; or
If the building is to be returned
to appropriate occupancy
or use, rehabilitation plans for the building must be submitted to the Code
Enforcement Office. The rehabilitation plans will not exceed 365 days from the date of submission
and will include progress
benchmarks at least every four (4) months, unless
the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office grants an extension
for good cause shown, upon receipt of
a written statement from the owner
detailing the reasons
for the extension. Any repairs, improvements or alterations to the property must comply with any applicable zoning, housing, historic preservation or building codes.
The building must be secured
in accordance with§ 182.66 of the Auburn City Code.
The owner will comply with all applicable laws and codes. The owner will notify
the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office of any changes in information supplied as part of the vacant building registration within 30 days of the change. If the plan or timetable
for the vacant building is revised
in any way, the revisions must be in writing and must meet the approval
of the Enforcement Officer.
The owner and any subsequent owner will keep the building
secured and safe and the building and grounds properly
maintained as provided
in§ 182.66 of the Auburn City
Failure of the owner or any subsequent owner to maintain
the building and premises as required herein will be grounds for the City (i) to remediate the building and bill the costs of same to the owner as provided in § 125-47 of the Auburn City Code Determination of Unsafe Condition; (ii) revoke
the rehabilitation plans; and (iii) the owner
will be subject to fees and penalties as provided herein.
The owner will notify the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office of any transfer
of ownership within fifteen (15) days of transfer. The new owner will comply with the approved plan and timetable
submitted by the previous owner until any proposed
changes are submitted and approved by the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s
9. Vacant building
The owner of a
vacant building will pay a registration fee as determined
annually by the Fee Schedule adopted by City Council or by separate Resolution
of the City Council at any time during the course of a fiscal year. The registration fee is due and payable upon registration; to wit: no later than thirty (30) days after any building becomes a "vacant building," as defined above, or no later than thirty (30) days after being notified by an Enforcement Officer of the requirement
If the building
is to remain vacant then the owner will also pay an annual vacant
building fee, the amount of said fee shall be determined annually pursuant to the
Fee Schedule adopted by the Auburn City Council or by separate Resolution of
the City Council. Said Fee Schedule
shall provide for differing amounts dependent upon the number of years that the
building is vacant.
the building is to be returned
to a permitted use, the rehabilitation plan will not exceed 365 days and will include
progress benchmarks at least every four (4) months,
unless the Enforcement Officer grants an extension for good cause shown
upon receipt of a written
statement from the owner detailing
the reasons for the extension. If the rehabilitation has not been completed or extended, then the owner will pay an annual vacant building
fee until the building is properly demolished or
rehabilitated. The annual vacant building
fee is payable either on each anniversary of the payment
of the initial registration fee in (a) above or no later than fifteen (15) days after being notified by an Enforcement Officer that the owner
has failed to meet a required
benchmark, whichever date is earlier,
and on each anniversary thereafter until the building is demolished or rehabilitated.
If the owner of a vacant building fails to register
and pay the fees in a timely manner, then the owner will be subject to the penalty
set forth in §125.59
of the Auburn City Code.
All delinquent fees will be paid by the owner prior to any transfer
of an ownership interest in any vacant building.
The owner will give a purchaser written
notice that the building in question is a vacant building under this
The vacant building
registration fees and annual vacant
building fees as set forth in the annual Fee Schedule or by separate
Resolution are to be delivered, by mail or in person,
to the Treasurer's Office, Memorial City Hall, 24 South Street, Auburn,
New York, 13021. A late charge of 2% per month or any part thereof,
will be assessed
on any invoice which is unpaid after thirty (30) days from the date of the demand for payment or an invoice.
A processing fee will be charged for each check returned by the bank due to insufficient funds or other reason.
replacement payment must be made in cash, money order,
bank or certified
check, and must include the processing fee and any applicable
late charges. Invoices and any
additional fees that remain unpaid will be added to the property owner’s tax
bill and will include an additional fee.
The Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office will include in the file any
statements from community
the history, problems, status or blighting influence of a vacant building.
1. The owner of a vacant building
will take such steps and perform such acts as may be required of him or her from time to time to ensure that the building and its grounds
remain safe and secure
and do not present a hazard to the adjoining
property or the public. Owners will be responsible for maintaining their buildings and structures so that they do not become
an unoccupied hazard. In any building
or floor area that is vacant or about to become vacant,
there will be at least one access which meets the approval
of the Code Enforcement Officer.
2. The owner
will protect and maintain the exterior of the building
Exterior walls, including
foundations, will be maintained so that water
does not penetrate into basements, cellars, or other interior areas.
All exterior walls and foundations must be free of holes and crevices.
Exterior doors, windows,
skylights and similar
openings will be maintained weather tight.
Exterior stairs, porches,
entrance platforms, fire escapes and the railings
thereon shall be maintained in a safe and sound
Roofs shall be maintained in a weathertight condition.
shall be maintained in good condition. Surfaces not inherently resistant to deterioration shall be treated
with a protective coating of paint
The coverings for windows and doors with glass may not consist of any substance sprayed
onto the glass doors or windows. All enclosures shall be properly
fitted and be of such material and surface that they are neither unsightly
nor will materially detract from the general appearance of the building or the neighborhood and, when possible, secured by normal means.
for broken doors and cracked
or broken windows
may consist of replacement glass, plexiglass, boards,
plywood or similar
materials finished and maintained in a manner recommended and approved by the Code Enforcement Officer. The materials
will be designed and of such color to blend in with the finish of the building.
Windows that are not cracked or broken may be covered with interior blinds, curtains, shades, or decorative
(i) The premises will be kept free of insects and vermin,
and will be treated if necessary.
(j) Any excavations, swimming pools, or other attractive nuisance
must be filled in or properly closed.
3. In addition
to the standards prescribed above, vacant commercial and retail buildings
shall comply with the following standards:
Any and all first floor windows will be replaced
by glass, plexiglass, an approved mural, or announcement sign.
Such coverings must be maintained.
All exterior signs, awnings and lighting systems,
if not removed, shall be maintained in a non-deteriorated and safe condition.
4. The owner
will protect and maintain the interior of the
building as follows:
Structural members will be maintained to resist and prevent deterioration.
Unheated attics, spaces below flat roofs, and crawl spaces
will be ventilated to minimize deterioration.
Ceilings, walls, floors
and stairways will be maintained in a safe and sound condition.
The owner will maintain
the premises as follows:
The owner will not permit
garbage and refuse
Buildings and structures will be maintained free of insects,
vermin and rodent
harborage and infestation.
Refrigerators and similar equipment with locking mechanisms will not be discarded, abandoned or stored without
first removing the locking devices
or the hinges of the doors.
Junked vehicles will not be stored at the premises.
Chimneys, smokestacks, flues, gas vents,
smoke pipes and connectors will be maintained structurally safe and smoke tight.
(f) If the building
is to be demolished or remain vacant, then, within ten (10) days of registering the building
as a vacant building, all fuel gas, water, and utilities must be disconnected at the mains and water pipes drained. If the building is going to be rehabilitated, then the building must be heated
to avoid freezing pipes, fuel gas pipe systems must be maintained gastight, safe and operative
condition, and water pipes must be maintained to avoid leaks and/or
Fuel tanks will be maintained so as not to be a hazard or will be discontinued in a manner consistent with Chapter C of the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (9 NYCRR).
The domestic water supply system of the building will be connected
to an approved source, will not be subject
to contamination and will not be connected
to unsafe water supplies or the system will be
disconnected at the main and completely
Storm water drainage systems will be maintained so as to function properly
and be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects.
Sewage systems will be similarly
maintained or will be sealed so as to prevent
accumulation of sewage gases in buildings.
(j) Electrical fixtures, devices, wiring
and systems will be maintained in safe working
condition in a manner
which will avoid a potential
source of ignition
or shock or service will be discontinued at the supply.
(k) Elevators, dumbwaiters and escalators will be maintained or taken out of service.
(l) The owner will provide
for snow removal.
(m) The owner will maintain
yards and vacant lots trimmed and mowed, with the height of grass and weeds being no more than 10 inches, and clean and free of physical hazards,
rodent harborage and infestation.
owner of a vacant building
fails to comply
with a notice from a Code Enforcement Officer
to take steps and perform
acts as are required of him or her to ensure that a building
and its adjoining yards remain safe and secure and do not present a hazard to adjoining property in violation
of subsection 2 above, the City may enter
onto the building
and the property and
take steps and perform acts to render
the building and its adjoining yards safe, secure
and free from hazards to adjoining property
and the public. These acts will include but not be limited
to removal of dangerous conditions, properly replacing or boarding up
windows and doors, shutting off utilities, capping plumbing to prevent leakage of water or sewer gas, or removing flammable
or otherwise hazardous
material and debris. A bill for the expenses
incurred above will be presented to the owners of the building.
A building which has suffered fire damage or damage caused by extreme weather conditions will
be exempt from the registration requirement for a period of 90 days after the date of the fire or extreme weather event if the property owner
submits a request
for exemption in writing to the Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s
Office. This request
will include the following information supplied by the owner:
l. A description of the premises.
2. The reason for an exemption.
3. The names and addresses
of the owner or owners. A post office box is not acceptable.
A statement of intent to repair and reoccupy the building in an expedient
manner, or the intent to demolish the building.
By registering a vacant building, an owner consents
to a Code Enforcement Officer inspecting the premises for the purpose of enforcing and assuring compliance with the provisions
of this article.
Upon the request of the Code Enforcement Officer, an owner will provide access to all interior
portions of a vacant building in order to permit a complete inspection. Nothing contained herein, however, will diminish the owner's
right to insist
upon the procurement of a search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction by the Enforcement Officer or his or her designee in order to enable
such inspection, and the Enforcement Officer
will be required to obtain a search warrant whenever
an owner refuses to permit a warrantless inspection of the premises after having been advised
of his or her constitutional right to refuse entry without same. In
the case of an emergency this section will not apply.
G. Annual reports.
Once a year, the Office
of Buildings and Construction or Code Enforcement/Fire Chief’s Office will send to the Mayor and to the
Auburn City Council a list of all buildings in the City declared vacant under the provisions of this article,
as well as a list of all previously declared
vacant buildings which are no
longer subject to the provisions of this article.
This information may be published
on the City's website.
Any person violating any provision of this Vacant Building Registry or providing false information
to the Code Enforcement Officer will be subject
to the following fines:
1. Such person will be subject to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term "person," as used in this section,
will include the owner, occupant,
mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver,
executor, administrator, trustee,
lessee, agent or any other person, firm or corporation directly or indirectly in control of the
building or part thereof.
Each day of violation
will be deemed to constitute a separate offense.
will constitute civil forfeitures to the City of Auburn.