Town of Chesapeake Beach, MD
Calvert County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Chesapeake Beach 2-19-1998 by Ord. No. O-98-5 (Ch. 11, Art. III, of the 1997 Town Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 110.
Minimum livability code — See Ch. 185.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 200.

§ 115-1 Definition.

All buildings or structures which may have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "Dangerous buildings":
A. 
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of middle third of its base.
B. 
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members, or 50% of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
C. 
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
D. 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town.
E. 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, obsolete, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
F. 
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein.
G. 
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication.
H. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure the inhabitants or members of the public or their property.
I. 
Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Town or any inhabitant.
J. 
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of the building code adopted by the Town, or any provision of the fire prevention code, or other ordinances of the Town.

§ 115-2 Nuisance declared.

All dangerous buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore and hereinafter provided.

§ 115-3 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Violations.
(1) 
The owner of any dangerous building may not fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish such building given by any person authorized by this chapter to give such notice or order. Each day such failure to comply continues beyond the date fixed for compliance shall be deemed a separate offense.
(2) 
The occupant or lessee in possession may not fail to comply with any notice to vacate and fail to repair the building in accordance with any notice given as provided for in this chapter. Each day such failure to comply continues beyond the date fixed for compliance shall be deemed a separate offense.
(3) 
A person may not remove the notice provided for in § 115-6G.
B. 
Penalties. A violation of any provision or requirement of this chapter shall constitute a municipal infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of $500 per occurrence. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense.

§ 115-4 Emergencies.

In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or to property unless a dangerous building is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Public Works Administrator shall report such facts to the Mayor and the Mayor shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 115-7E.

§ 115-5 Absence of owner from Town.

In cases, except emergency cases, where the owner, occupant, lessee or mortgagee is absent from the Town, all notices or orders provided for herein shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee, and all other persons having an interest in the building as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town to be the last known address of each, and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the dangerous building to which it relates. The mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service, and acceptance of the certified mail is not required.

§ 115-6 Duties of Public Works Administrator.

The Public Works Administrator or his authorized representative shall:
A. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which complaints are filed by any person to the effect that a building, wall or structure is or may be existing in violation of this chapter.
B. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure reported by the Volunteer Fire Department or the Sheriff's Department serving this Town as probably existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
C. 
Notify in writing the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property, as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town, of any building found by him to be a dangerous building that the owner must vacate, or repair, or demolish such building or have such work or act done; provided that any person notified under this subsection to repair, vacate or demolish any building shall be given such reasonable time, not exceeding 60 days, as may be necessary to do, or have done, the work or act required by the notice provided for herein.
D. 
Set forth in the notice provided for in Subsection C a description of the building or structure deemed unsafe, a statement of particulars which make the building or structure a dangerous building and an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to comply with the terms of this chapter within such length of time, not exceeding 60 days, as is reasonable.
E. 
Report to the Mayor any noncompliance with the notice provided for in Subsections C and D of this section.
F. 
Appear at all hearings conducted by the Mayor and testify as to the condition of dangerous buildings.
G. 
Place a notice on all dangerous buildings reading as follows: "This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Public Works Administrator of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town of Chesapeake Beach. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such notice is complied with."

§ 115-7 Duties of Housing Rehabilitation Commission.

The Housing Rehabilitation Commission shall:
A. 
Upon receipt of a report of the Public Works Administrator or his authorized representative as provided for in § 115-6E, give written notice to the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town to appear before it on the date specified in the notice to show cause why the building or structure reported to be a dangerous building should not be repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the statement of particulars set forth in the Public Works Administrator's notice provided for herein in § 115-6D.
B. 
Hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the Public Works Administrator or the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town shall offer relative to the dangerous building.
C. 
Make written findings of fact from the testimony offered pursuant to Subsection B as to whether or not the building in question is a dangerous building.
D. 
Issue an order based upon findings of fact made pursuant to Subsection C commanding the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property, as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town, to repair, vacate or demolish any building found to be a dangerous building; provided that:
(1) 
Any person so notified shall have the privilege of either vacating or repairing the dangerous building within the time period established by the order; or
(2) 
Any person who is the owner of the dangerous building, as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town, may demolish the dangerous building at his own risk to prevent the Town from acquiring a lien against the land upon which the dangerous building stands as provided for in Subsection E. Any such demolition will follow the guidelines enumerated by the Public Works Administrator to ensure the safety of persons and property.
E. 
If the occupant, owner, and all other persons having interest in the property as shown by the property tax or assessment records of the Town fail to comply with the order provided for in Subsection D within 10 days, the Mayor shall cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated, or demolished as the facts may warrant, under the standards hereinafter provided in § 115-9, and shall, with the assistance of the Town Attorney, cause the cost of such repair, vacation or demolition to be charged against the land on which the building existed as a municipal lien or cause such cost to be added to the tax due as an assessment or to be levied as a special tax against the land upon which the building stands or did stand, or to be recovered in a suit of law against the owner; provided that in cases where such procedure is desirable and any delay thereby caused will not be dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Town, the Mayor shall notify the Town Attorney to take legal action to force the owner to make all necessary repairs or demolish the building. In the event of a failure to comply with a demolition order within the prescribed time, the Public Works Administrator may sell the salvage and valuable materials by auction or private sale. The proceeds of such sale shall be applied first towards all costs necessary to complete the raising and removal; next to any unpaid fines or penalties of municipal infractions related to said property, if established by a court of competent jurisdiction and the period of appeal has passed; and the balance, if any, shall be paid over to the owner of the property.
F. 
Report to the Town Attorney the names of all persons not complying with the order provided for in Subsection D.

§ 115-8 Duties of Town Attorney.

The Town Attorney or his authorized representative shall:
A. 
Prosecute all persons failing to comply with the terms of the notices provided for herein in § 115-6, Subsections C and D, and the order provided for in § 115-7, Subsection D.
B. 
Appear at all hearings before the Mayor in regard to dangerous buildings.
C. 
Bring suit to collect all municipal liens, assessments, or costs incurred by the Mayor in repairing or causing dangerous buildings to be vacated or demolished.
D. 
Take such other legal action as is necessary to carry out the terms and provisions of this chapter.

§ 115-9 Standards for repair or demolition.

The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Public Works Administrator and his authorized representative in ordering repair, vacation or demolition:
A. 
If the dangerous building can reasonably be repaired so it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
B. 
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated and, if deemed necessary by the Public Works Administrator, closed by boarding or otherwise secured to prevent entry.
C. 
In any case where a dangerous building is fifty-percent damaged or decayed or deteriorated from its original value or structure, it shall be demolished or repaired, and in all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be demolished.
D. 
In all cases where a dangerous building is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any statute or ordinance of the Town, Calvert County, or the state, it shall be demolished.

§ 115-10 Right of inspection.

The Public Works Administrator is authorized to enter any structure or premises at any time for the purpose of making inspections and performing duties under this chapter.

§ 115-11 Transfer of ownership.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any structure upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, lease or mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the property until the violations have been corrected and the terms of the order have been met, or until the owner(s) of the property furnishes the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a copy of the notice of violation and this chapter by certified mail, restricted delivery.