City of Watervliet, NY
Albany County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Watervliet 6-7-2007 by Ord. No. 1805. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Inspector of Buildings — See Ch. 8.
Building construction and fire prevention — See Ch. 127.
Nuisances — See Ch. 202.

§ 128-1 Purpose.

A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the public and residents and/or owners of property located within the City of Watervliet by providing a method for the repair or removal of buildings, that from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public and residents and/or owners of property within the City of Watervliet.
B. 
Unsafe buildings serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, may be a point of congregation by vagrants and transients, may attract rodents or insects and may also attract illegal drug activity.

§ 128-2 Title.

This chapter shall hereinafter be known and cited as "Unsafe Buildings."

§ 128-3 Applicability; severability.

A. 
If a provision of this chapter is found to be inconsistent with any provision of other chapters of the City Code or Charter, the provision or requirement which is the more restrictive or which establishes the higher standard shall prevail. A greater penalty shall not be considered as more restrictive or a higher standard.
B. 
If any part, provision, section, subdivision, paragraph or term of this chapter shall be held unconstitutional, invalid or ineffective, in whole or in part, such determination shall not be deemed to invalidate the remaining chapter, parts, provisions, sections, subdivisions, paragraphs or terms.

§ 128-4 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING
Any house, basement, cellar, wall, cottage, lot, shed, garage, well, fence, storage tank, underground container, pole, smokestack, excavation, building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business, industrial, recreational or other purpose.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The Building Inspector of the City of Watervliet.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm, association, organization, partnership, company, corporation, beneficiary, trust, trustee, and all other persons having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court.
[Added 9-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1814]
UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
A building or structure which is structurally unsound, unsanitary or not provided with adequate ingress or 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, or which has become a blighting influence on nearby properties and thereby depreciating the enjoyment and use of property in the immediate vicinity to such an extend that it is harmful to the community in which such structure is situated.

§ 128-5 Unsafe buildings prohibited.

[Amended 9-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1814]
It shall be unlawful for any owner, as defined in § 128-4 of this chapter, tenant or occupant of any building or structure or portion of any building or structure in the City of Watervliet to maintain such building or structure or portion of any building or structure in any condition or manner which shall be unsafe as defined in § 128-4 of this chapter.

§ 128-6 Enforcement officer.

The Building Inspector of the City of Watervliet is hereby authorized to be and shall be the enforcement officer of this chapter.

§ 128-7 Inspection and report.

The Building Inspector shall make inspections of all unsafe buildings or structures within the City of Watervliet. Whenever the Building Inspector suspects the existence of a dangerous or unsafe building, he shall inspect the premises on which the suspected unsafe structure exists, securing a search warrant if necessary. A written report of the inspection and the findings with respect to the existence of an unsafe building shall be prepared by the Building Inspector or an engineer hired by the City of Watervliet and filed with the Building Department, Fire Department, City Clerk, and Corporation Counsel.

§ 128-8 Determination of unsafe buildings; service of notice.

A. 
If the written report finds that the building or structure is unsafe as defined in this chapter, the Building Inspector shall cause service of notice upon the owner and all other persons having any interest in such property upon which the unsafe building is located, either personally or by certified mail, addressed to his/her last known address as shown by the records of the Assessor’s office of the City of Watervliet or the applicable County Clerk or County Register, containing a description of the premises, a statement of particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous, and an order of the Building Inspector requiring the same to be repaired or demolished; and if such service is made by certified mail, the Building Inspector shall cause the posting of a copy of such notice on the premises.
[Amended 9-5-2013 by Ord. No. 1904]
B. 
The notice shall contain the time within which the owner so served shall commence the repair or demolition of such unsafe building.
C. 
A copy of such notice must also be filed in the office of the County Clerk, which notice shall be filed by the 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 in this subsection. A notice so filed 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 consent of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Watervliet. The 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.
D. 
The notice shall further contain a statement that a hearing will be provided to the owner and such persons having an interest in the property or structure and such notice shall fix a time and place for a hearing before the Building Inspector, which shall not be less than five days following the date of personal service and not less than 10 days following the date of mailing and posting.

§ 128-9 Order issued after hearing.

A. 
The Building Inspector shall have the power to make an order to the repair, demolition, discontinuance or modification of the use of said building and to prohibit the use of such building or part thereof until such order is complied with. Such order shall prescribe the time within which the use shall be discontinued or such demolition, repair or strengthening modification shall be made and shall make a finding of fact, including a statement of particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous. Said order shall be served on the same parties and in the manner of notice in § 128-8 of this chapter.
B. 
If such owner shall fail to appear at said hearing and, after being served with the order from the Building Inspector, further neglects, fails or refuses to comply with the order from the Building Inspector within the prescribed time, the Building Inspector shall take all steps necessary to contract with a private company(s) for the removal of such building or structure. Any contracts entered into with such company(s) and the appropriation of monies to such company(s) must be approved by the City Council of the City of Watervliet.
[Amended 9-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1814]
C. 
If such owner, after appearing at said hearing, neglects, fails or refuses to comply with the order from the Building Inspector, the Building Inspector shall take all steps necessary to contract with a private company(s) for the removal of such building or structure. Any contracts entered into with such company(s) and the appropriation of monies to such company(s) must be approved by the City Council of the City of Watervliet.
[Amended 9-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1814]

§ 128-10 Application for building permit or demolition permit.

An owner receiving an order to repair or demolish shall apply for an applicable building permit or demolition permit pursuant to the City Code before beginning work on the structure. Said application shall be accompanied by adequate plans and specifications as required by the Building Inspector. Any permit issued will have a time limit fixed for the modifications. Said time limit may be extended by the Building Inspector for good cause shown.

§ 128-11 Filing of order to repair or demolish.

An order to repair or demolish shall be filed in the office of the Albany County Clerk and shall be filed by the Clerk in the same manner and have the same effect as a notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules of the State of New York. A notice so filed 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 the court of record or upon consent of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Watervliet.

§ 128-12 Emergency cases.

[Amended 9-20-2007 by Ord. No. 1814]
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and immediate danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished and removed, the City of Watervliet may take appropriate actions pursuant to its police power to cause the repair or demolition and removal of such unsafe building. In such an event, the notification procedures and limitations set forth in this chapter need not be complied with. In addition, the Building Inspector shall contract with a private company(s) for removal of such building or structure without City Council approval. The expenses of such repair or demolition and removal, including legal expenses, shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied, and collected as provided by § 128-14; provided, however, that the owner and all other persons having an interest in the property are provided with notice, served as provided by § 128-8, and an opportunity to be heard before the assessment of any lien against the land.

§ 128-13 Application to Supreme Court for order.

In addition to the remedies provided by this chapter, the City Council of the City of Watervliet may request that the Corporation Counsel make an application to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building to be an unsafe building and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or demolished.

§ 128-14 Noncompliance; demolition; costs to become lien.

[Amended 9-5-2013 by Ord. No. 1904]
In the event of neglect or refusal of the person so notified to comply with said order from the Building Inspector, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to employ labor and furnish materials and equipment to demolish said building or to make such modifications as to make it safe. Except in public emergencies that require immediate action, any contract for repair or demolition in excess of $35,000 shall be awarded by competitive bidding pursuant to General Municipal Law § 103. The value of said work and materials shall be paid by the City of Watervliet, and the cost thereof shall be a lien against the property concerned and shall be collected by the City like other taxes and assessments.

§ 128-15 Civil action to collect costs.

The City of Watervliet is authorized, after due demand having been made therefor, to commence an action at law in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect the costs of the demolition and/or modification of such property from the owner of any demolished building pursuant to this chapter.

§ 128-16 Transfer of title.

The transfer of title by the owner of the premises upon which an unsafe building is located shall be no defense to any proceedings under this chapter.

§ 128-17 Penalties for offenses.

Any person, firm, association, organization, partnership, company or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, General Penalty. In case of a continued violation, each day's continuance thereof shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation of this chapter.