[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Scotia 12-8-2004 by L.L. No. 11-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 115.
Nonresidential building maintenance — See Ch. 117.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 125.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 150.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 160.
Junked motor vehicles — See Ch. 166.
Plumbing — See Ch. 188.
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Village of Scotia. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein as well as a point of congregation by vagrants and others. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Village of Scotia by requiring that such unsafe buildings be secured, repaired or demolished and removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls and intended for the shelter or enclosure of persons, animals or property.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Village of Scotia or such other person or persons appointed by the Board of Trustees to enforce the provisions of this chapter or the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
- EMERGENCY CONDITION
- A condition where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, caused by an unsafe building unless it is immediately secured, repaired and or demolished and removed.
- Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires location on the ground or attachment to something located on the ground.
- UNSAFE BUILDING
- Any building or structure which has any of the following conditions:
- A. Is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public, occupants or nearby properties by reason of bad conditions of walls or roofs, overloaded floors, defective construction, deterioration, decay, instability, collapse or lack of safeguards;
- B. Is not secure due to openings, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under eighteen years of age, as well as to vagrants or other trespassers;
- C. Is or may become a place of rodent infestation;
- D. Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public; or
- E. Is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used.
No person, firm, corporation, partnership or association, or other entity capable of being sued owning, possessing or controlling real property in the Village of Scotia shall permit, suffer or allow any building or structure upon such property to be or become an unsafe building from any cause whatsoever.
When the Building Inspector deems, in his/her own opinion or upon receipt of information, that a building or structure may be unsafe, he or she shall cause or make an inspection thereof. If the Building Inspector determines that a building or structure is unsafe he or she shall make a report in writing to the Board of Trustees which contains a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe and recommendations in regard to its securing, repair or demolition and removal.
The Board of Trustees shall consider the report of the Building Inspector and, if in its opinion the report so warrants, shall determine that the building or structure is an unsafe building and order its securing, repair, if the same can safely repaired, or demolition and removal, and serve a written notice to the owner ordering that the unsafe building be secured, repaired or demolished and removed as follows:
Notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises;
A copy of the Building Inspector's written report which includes a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is an unsafe building;
An order requiring the unsafe building to be secured, repaired or demolished and removed, with utilities being properly disconnected in accordance with the utilities' rules and regulations, and that any cellar hole or excavation of any sort be filled in and the ground restored to a safe and level condition;
The aforesaid notice shall provide a reasonable time within which the person served with such notice shall commence the securing, repair or demolition and removal of said unsafe buildings and when the work must be completed;
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Board of Trustees in relation to such unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the day of service of the notice, but prior to the ordered work commencement date;
A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure, repair or demolish and remove the unsafe building, the Board of Trustees is authorized to provide for its securing, repair or demolition and removal, and shall assess all expenses thereof including legal and engineering expenses against the land on which it is located which could be accomplished by:
A special proceeding to collect all costs of securing, repair or demolition and removal; or
Assessing said costs of securing, repair or demolition and removal against the property, which cost shall become a lien upon the property and maybe levied and collected in the same manner as the general Village tax.
Service of notice.
Said notice shall be served either:
Personally upon the owner or someone of the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises as shown by the last preceding completed assessment roll of the Village or of the records of the Schenectady County Clerk; or
By mailing a copy of said notice to such owner as aforesaid by registered mail, addressed to the last known address or the owner and by affixing a copy of said notice to the premises.
A copy of the notice shall also be filed in the office of the Schenectady County Clerk or the county within which such building is located, which notice shall be filed by such clerk in the same manner as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided, except as otherwise hereinafter provided. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the dated of filing; provided, however, that it may be vacated upon the order of a judge or upon the consent of the Village Attorney.
The hearing shall be conducted before the Board of Trustees. The Building Inspector shall present his or her report to the Board of Trustees in writing. The owner or his or her representative, if present, shall call such witnesses as he or she deems necessary. The Board of Trustees shall make written finding of fact from the testimony offered as to whether or not the building or structure in question is an unsafe building and may confirm, modify or vacate its determination and notice to secure, repair or demolish and remove.
If the Board of Trustees finds that the building or structure is an unsafe building and directs its securing, repair or demolition and removal, the owner shall comply with the order within the time prescribed by the Board of Trustees.
If the owner fails, refuses or neglects to secure, repair or demolish and remove said unsafe building as directed by the Board of Trustees following the hearing, then the Board of Trustees shall direct the securing, repair or demolition and removal of the same forthwith. Except in emergency conditions, any such contract for the securing, repair or demolition and removal shall be awarded in compliance with competitive bidding laws.
Where an emergency condition exists, the notice procedures of this chapter are not required to be followed. The Board of Trustees or, in its absence or inability, the Mayor may authorize the Building Inspector or other Village officials to immediately cause the securing, repair or demolition and removal of such unsafe building. The expenses of such securing, repair or demolition and removal shall be recovered as provided in this chapter.
In addition to the remedies provided by this chapter, the Board of Trustees may request the Village Attorney to make an application to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building or structure to be an unsafe building and directing that it shall be repaired, secured or demolished and removed.
All expenses incurred by the Village in connection with the proceeding to repair, secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually securing, repairing or demolishing and removing such unsafe building, shall be assessed against the land on which such unsafe building is located.
If the owner or person served as hereinabove provided shall fail to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the Village within 10 days after being notified of the costs and expenses thereof by registered mail by the Village Clerk-Treasurer, the Village Clerk-Treasurer shall file a certificate of such costs, which shall be assessed upon said property in the preparation of the next assessment roll of the general Village taxes, and the same shall be levied, collected and enforced in the same manner and having the same lien upon the property as the general Village tax.
The Village may also commence a special proceeding pursuant to § 78-b of the General Municipal Law for a civil judgment to collect the costs of repair and securing or demolition and removal, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses.
The Building Inspector is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
Any person, firm, corporation, partnership or association violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, or both. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
If any word, phrase or part of this chapter shall be declared unconstitutional, the same shall be severed and the remainder of this chapter shall continue in full force and effect.