[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wilson 4-24-1978 by L.L. No. 3-1978. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Wilson. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as a point of congregation by vagrants and transients. 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 Town of Wilson by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Wilson."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used or intended for a residential, business or industrial purpose, including but not limited to water wells and swimming pools.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector or Zoning Officer of the Town of Wilson or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- A public nuisance as known at common law or in equity jurisprudence. Whatever is dangerous to human life or detrimental to health and whatever building is overcrowded with occupants or is not provided with adequate ingress and egress or is not sufficiently supported, ventilated, sewered, drained, cleaned or lighted in reference to its intended or actual use and whatever renders the air or human food or drink unwholesome are also severally, in contemplation of this law, "nuisances." All such "nuisances" are unlawful.
When in the opinion of the Building Inspector or Zoning Officer or when he receives information that a building or structure is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public; is open at the doorways and windows making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age or to vagrants and other trespassers; is or may become a place of rodent infestation; presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public; is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used; or is a nuisance, the Building Inspector or Zoning Officer shall cause or make an inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations regarding its repair or demolition and removal.
The Town Board shall thereafter consider such report and, by resolution, shall determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that such building is unsafe and dangerous and order its repair if the same can be safely repaired or its demolition and removal, and further order that a notice be served upon the persons in the manner provided herein.
The notice shall contain the following:
A brief description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous.
An order outlining the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
A statement that the securing or removal of the building or structure shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter, unless for good cause such time shall be extended.
A statement that in the event of neglect or refusal of the person served with the notice to comply with the same, one of two options might be followed:
An application might be made at a term of the Supreme Court of the Eighth Judicial District in and for the County of Niagara for an order determining the building or structure to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or demolished and removed and that the expense of the proceeding to secure or remove the building, including the actual cost of securing or removing such building or structure, shall be assessed against the land on which it is located; or
The Town Board may make a certified order that a building or structure is in an unsafe and dangerous condition and that the person served with the notice has neglected or refused to comply with the same. Said certified order of the Town Board shall be made only after a notice of hearing has been served on the person and a mandatory hearing has been held. If the Town Board makes such a certified order, it shall order or cause such building or structure to be removed, secured, purified, altered, demolished, repaired or otherwise improved and the cost and expenses of such action to be assessed against the land on which it is located.
Said notice and notice of hearing shall be served by:
Personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner, executor, administrator, agent, lessee or any person having a vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building or structure as shown by the records of the Receiver of Taxes (or Tax Collector) or of the County Clerk of Niagara County; or if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing to such owner by registered mail a copy of such notice directed to his last known address as shown by the above records; and
Personal service of a copy of such notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises if such person can be reasonably found; and
Securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the unsafe building or structure.
In the event that the building or structure shall be determined to be unsafe or dangerous in the report of the Building Inspector or Zoning Officer and by the resolution of the Town Board and there is a neglect or refusal to comply with the provisions of the notice given under § 54-6, the Town Board may, by resolution, direct the Supervisor of the Town to make an application at a term of the Supreme Court in the Eighth Judicial District for an order determining the building to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or demolished and removed.
As an alternative to the remedy provided by § 54-8, the Town Board may make a certified order that a building or structure is unsafe or dangerous. Such an order may be made only after giving notice of hearing in the manner specified by § 54-7 at least 14 days prior to the date set for the hearing. At such hearing, the person given notice shall have the opportunity to be heard and may be represented by an attorney. If, as a result of said hearing, the Town Board determines on the basis of substantial evidence that the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous and that the person served with the notice has neglected or refused to comply with the same, the Town Board shall make a certified order. Such certified order shall order or cause the building or structure to be removed, secured, purified, altered, demolished, repaired or otherwise improved, and the costs and expenses of such action incurred by the Town shall be assessed against the land on which such building or structure is located in the manner provided by § 54-10 of this chapter.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, shall be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided in Article 15 of the Town Law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property, unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Building Inspector to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. 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 § 54-10 hereof.