[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Chautauqua 10-4-2007 by L.L. No. 4-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 74.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 78.
Zoning — See Ch. 143.
Enforcement procedures — See Ch. 145.
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 62, Buildings, Unsafe, adopted 7-11-1983 by L.L. No. 1-1983, as amended.
Unsafe buildings and collapsed structures pose a threat to life, health, and property in the Town of Chautauqua. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, or other casualty damage, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows are nuisances and serve as a congregation area for vagrants, the homeless, mentally incompetent and children who may be injured therein. A dilapidated building or collapsed structure may also serve as a place of rodent infestation and thereby create a health menace to the community. Debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground or in disrepair and not removed constitute a dangerous, unhealthy and unsightly condition. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of people and property in the Town of Chautauqua by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated.
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business, industrial, recreational or any other purpose.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Chautauqua or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- PORTION OF BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any debris, rubble or parts of buildings which remain on the ground or on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or structure or portion thereof which because of its structural condition, is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the public, and may include, without limitation, any or all of the following:
- A. Units open at the doorways or accessible by and a source of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers;
- B. Units which may become a place of rodent infestation, or infestation by other insects or pests;
- C. Units consisting of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty; and/or
- D. Units presenting any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the Town of Chautauqua to maintain an unsafe building or structure as defined herein.
When, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer or Town Engineer, any building or structure located in the Town of Chautauqua shall be deemed to be an unsafe building or structure as defined herein, the Code Enforcement Officer or Town Engineer shall make a formal inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations with regard to the building or structure.
The Town Board shall thereupon consider said report, and if it finds that such building or structure is dangerous and unsafe to the public, it shall, by resolution, order its repair if the same can be safely repaired and, if not, its removal and demolition, and shall further order that a hearing be held before the Town Board at a time and place therein specified and on at least five days' notice to the owner of the building or structure or persons having an interest therein to determine whether said order to repair or remove shall be affirmed or modified or vacated and, in the event of modification or affirmance, to assess all costs and expenses incurred by the Town in the repair or removal of such building or structure against the land on which said building or structure is located. The order shall also provide that the repair or removal of the building or structure shall be commenced within 30 days after receipt of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
The notice shall contain the following statements:
The name of the owner or person in possession as appears from the tax and deed records.
A brief description of the premises and its location.
A description of the building or structure which is unsafe or dangerous and a statement of the particular ways in which it is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be repaired to a safe and secure condition or to be removed.
An order that the repair or removal of the building or structure shall be commenced within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
The time and place of the hearing to be held before the Town Board, at which hearing the owner or occupant shall have the right to contest the order and findings of the Town Board.
That in the event that such owner, occupant or other person having an interest in said premises shall fail to contest such order and fail to comply with the same, the Town Board may order the repair or removal of such building or structure by the Town and that the Town will assess all costs and expenses incurred in such repair or removal against the land on which such building or structure is located.
A copy of the notice issued by the Town Board shall be personally served upon the owner or some one of the owners executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or other person having a vested interest or contingent interest in the premises as shown by the collector of taxes and/or in the office of the Chautauqua County Clerk or Chautauqua County Treasurer.
If no such person can be reasonably found for personal service, then a copy of the notice shall be mailed to such person by certified mail addressed to his last known address as shown on said records and by personally serving a copy of said notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying the premises or by securely affixing a copy of said notice upon the building or structure.
A copy of the notice shall be filed in the Chautauqua County Clerk's office 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. A notice so filed shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of filing. It may be vacated, however, upon an order of judge or justice of a court of record or upon the consent of the Town Attorney. When vacated, the Chautauqua County Clerk shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as canceled of record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
The Town Board shall conduct the public hearing at the time and place specified in the notice to repair or remove, and may adjourn the hearing from time to time until all interested parties are heard and until the hearing is completed. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Town Board shall determine by resolution to:
If the owner or person so notified fails or neglects to comply with the order of the Town Board within the time specified in the order made following the public hearing, the Town Board may provide by resolution that such buildings or structure be made safe and secure or removed and demolished by Town employees, by independent contractors, or by other lawful means available to the Town.
All costs incurred by the Town in enforcing this chapter shall be recoverable from the owner of the premises deemed unsafe or dangerous hereunder. Such costs hereunder shall include, but not be limited to the following:
Actual attorney fees and disbursements for services rendered with or without the commencement of litigation;
Actual engineering fees and disbursements, including the costs of the Town's Code Enforcement Officer;
Actual costs of securing, demolishing, removing or repairing the building or structure deemed dangerous or unsafe;
Costs of serving and/or publishing notices; and
Costs of title and tax searches.
The costs incurred in enforcing this chapter shall be added to the next assessment roll for Town taxes against the tax parcel(s) which include the unsafe or dangerous building or structure involved and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as other taxes for that parcel(s).
In addition to any other remedies herein, the Town may commence a special proceeding under Article 4 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the costs incurred by the Town in enforcing this chapter. Should the Town recover and be paid said costs through such a proceeding (and after costs have been added to the assessment rolls), the assessment roll and tax records shall be adjusted accordingly to properly credit amounts so paid and recovered.
Where it reasonably appears that a building or structure presents a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless such building or structure is immediately repaired and secured or demolished by its owner or occupant, the Town Board may by resolution authorize the Code Enforcement Officer or Town Engineer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building or structure. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 62-10 hereof.