[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Paltz at time of adoption of Code 12-30-1987 by L.L. No. 9-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the authority granted by § 78-b of the General Municipal Law, it is the finding of this Board that vacant and abandoned buildings and structures which are not properly secured at entrances, windows and other openings serve as attractive nuisances for children who are oftentimes injured therein. Such buildings are, in addition, places of congregation by vagrants and transients. Dilapidated buildings and structures are frequently infested with rodents, thereby creating a significant health hazard to the community. This chapter is enacted to safeguard against the aforementioned dangers by requiring that unsafe buildings be repaired or demolished and removed.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth in this section, unless otherwise expressly stated:
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The official, duly appointed by the Town Board, who is the Building Inspector of the Town of New Paltz.
- UNSAFE BUILDING
- Any building or structure which is structurally unsound, unsanitary or not provided with adequate ingress and 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.
Upon acquiring information that a building or structure may be an unsafe building, the Building Inspector shall cause an investigation of the premises to be made and an inspection report to be prepared containing the following:
Said report shall be filed in the office of the Building Inspector.
If the investigation performed pursuant to § 56-3 hereinabove confirms the existence of an unsafe building or structure, the Building Inspector shall cause a written notice to be prepared, which shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe.
An order requiring that the building or structure be made safe and secure or demolished and removed, which order may outline the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and secure.
An order requiring that the repair or demolition of the building or structure be commenced within 10 days of the date of personal service or mailing of the written notice and that repair or demolition and removal be completed within 30 days after the date required for the commencement of the repair or demolition.
The date, time and place of the hearing before a person designated by the Town Board relative to the subject unsafe building or structure, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five consecutive days from the date of personal service or mailing of written notice. Such designated person shall, in turn, make recommendations to the Town Board, which the Town Board shall act upon at its next regular meeting.
A statement that, in the event of the failure, neglect or refusal to comply with the order to repair, make safe and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, the Town Board is empowered and authorized to provide for the security of the building or structure or for its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute legal action to recover the costs of demolition and removal of said unsafe building, as well as legal fees and expenses.
The aforementioned written notice shall be served on the owner of record or the owner's executor, legal representative, agent, lessee or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the subject property, either personally or by registered mail, addressed to the intended recipient's last known address as shown by the records of the Town's Receiver of Taxes or the records in the office of the County Clerk. In addition, a copy of said notice shall be securely posted on the unsafe building in a conspicuous location.
In the event that one or more adult persons are actually residing and have a lawful interest in the unsafe building at the time of issuance of the Town Board's order mentioned hereinabove in this section, a copy of the written notice provided herein shall be served upon any one such adult person if such person can reasonably be found.
In the event that the whereabouts of the owner of the unsafe building and any other person having an interest therein, as defined in Subsection B hereinabove, are unknown and cannot be ascertained after the exercise of reasonable diligence by the Building Inspector, the Building Inspector shall execute an affidavit to that effect, which shall be filed in the office of the Building Inspector. In such a case, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the aforementioned written notice on the unsafe building in a conspicuous location.
A copy of the written notice served as provided in § 56-4 shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Ulster. The filing of said notice shall have the same effect as the filing of a notice of pendency as provided in Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, except as otherwise provided in this section.
A notice filed in accordance with Subsection A hereinabove 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 justice of a court of record or upon the consent of the Town Attorney. Upon the presentation and filing of such consent or certified copy of such order in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Ulster, the aforementioned notice and any record or docket thereof shall be marked as canceled of record by said County Clerk.
In the event that the owner of the unsafe building fails or refuses to comply with the order to make safe and secure or demolish and remove said unsafe building and after a hearing has been held before the Town Board as provided in § 56-4A(5), the Town Board may, by resolution duly adopted, provide for the demolition and removal of said building either by employees of the Town or by contract.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not interested in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere with, obstruct or hinder the Building Inspector or his representative or any person acting on his behalf in performing his duties as set forth in this chapter.
The Town shall be reimbursed for all costs and expenses incurred by it in connection with the proceedings to make safe and secure or demolish and remove any building or structure pursuant to this chapter in addition to the actual cost of demolishing and removing said building or structure. Such costs and expenses may be assessed against and recovered from the land on which the building or structure was located. The Town may also institute a civil action to recover said costs and expenses from the owner of the affected property.
Where the investigation and report of the Building Inspector reveal that the continued existence of a building or structure presents an imminent danger to human life or public health or safety, the Building Inspector is hereby empowered to authorize the immediate demolition and removal of such building or structure either by employees of the Town or by contract. The expenses of such demolition and repair shall be assessed and/or recovered as provided in § 56-8 hereinabove.
Any person or persons, other than those duly authorized by the Building Inspector, removing from a building or structure any notice prescribed by this chapter or committing an offense against the provisions of § 56-7 hereof are guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days for each such offense, or by both such fine and imprisonment.