[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger 8-13-2012 by L.L. No. 8-2012. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Property owners who fail to maintain their property create adverse conditions that affect the general health, safety and welfare of the public. Deficient property maintenance sometimes creates impacts to the health and safety of the public that require immediate attention while other instances of deficient property maintenance create harm to the general welfare that reduces the quality of life, adversely impacts property values and facilitates the creation of blighted neighborhoods. The provisions of this chapter are intended to supplement the provisions of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State which are enforceable under Chapter 85 of the Town of Wappinger Code.
Pursuant to the authority of Town Law § 64(5-a), the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger hereby finds that the unreasonable accumulation of brush, grass, rubbish, weeds, or poisonous shrubs creates a threat of fire, rodent infestation or disease. An unreasonable accumulation of brush, grass, rubbish, weeds, or poisonous shrubs is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public. This chapter provides procedures for the Town to act swiftly to abate the risks to the health and safety of the public in accordance with the due process required by law.
Pursuant to the authority of Municipal Home Rule Law § 10(1)(ii)(a) and Town Law §§ 64(5-a) and 130, the Town Board hereby finds that the improper maintenance of the exterior of any buildings that are visible to the neighbors and/or the traveling public creates conditions that adversely affect property values, the quality of life of the neighbors and neighborhood, and the general health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town. Property owners who allow poisonous shrubs to grow and allow weeds, shrubs, lawns, grass, landscape plants and other vegetation to become overgrown, or who allow the exterior of any buildings located on their property to deteriorate into a state of disrepair or to become unsightly or dilapidated, or who permit the accumulation of garbage, rubbish, debris and refuse thereon, facilitate the proliferation of pests, insects and vermin. These conditions, in turn, result in a general deterioration of property values and foster blight in the surrounding neighborhoods and in the community in general. The Town Board further finds that property owners, tenants or persons in possession of real property who keep or maintain junked, inoperable or unregistered motor vehicles on their property contribute to blight by promoting unsightly, unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
The Town Board hereby determines that in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town, to prevent blight within the Town and to prohibit the proliferation thereof, it is necessary to establish standards for the exterior maintenance of property, yards and any buildings or structures thereon, and to provide standards for the general exterior maintenance of yards, buildings and structures, and to provide for the removal of any poisonous weeds or shrubs; overgrown vegetation, including lawns, grass, landscape shrubbery, and ornamental shrubs; garbage; debris; rubbish; and junked or inoperable vehicles on properties, so that all properties shall be maintained in accordance with the standards enunciated in this chapter.
This chapter authorizes the Town, through its Code enforcement officials, to enter onto the property containing the offending condition, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and to remove the same where the property owner fails or neglects to cure the violation. By reason of the establishment of these regulations and restrictions as herein set forth in this chapter, the proliferation of blight may be prevented and the general public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- All materials resulting from the construction, excavation, renovation, equipping, remodeling, repair or demolition of structures, property or roads, or resulting from the preparation therefor, as well as materials consisting of vegetation resulting from land clearing and grubbing, utility line maintenance, and seasonal and storm-related cleanup, except when such materials are organized in piles or structures for purposes of composting. Such materials include, but are not limited to, masonry, such as bricks, concrete blocks, mortar and concrete; soil; rock; wood; wall coverings; floor coverings; plaster; drywall; plumbing fixtures; insulation; roofing materials; siding; pavement; glass; window frames; electrical wiring and components; plastics; carpeting; foam padding; linoleum; and metals, or any combination thereof, which are incidental to construction, excavation, renovation, equipping, remodeling, repair or demolition.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- This chapter shall be enforced by the following Town of Wappinger officials: the Code Enforcement Officer, the Fire Inspector, the Zoning Administrator, the Town Constables, the Dutchess County Sheriff's office, any police agency having jurisdiction in the Town of Wappinger, and such other persons as may be designated by the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger by resolution.
- All putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from growing, processing, marketing and preparation of food items, including containers in which such items are packaged, except when such wastes are organized in piles or structures for purposes of composting.
- JUNKED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle which is either unregistered, dismantled (in whole or in part), or in such a damaged condition or state of disrepair that such vehicle cannot be operated without extensive repair or for which the cost of such repair exceeds the value of the motor vehicle. Lack of a license plate, or an incorrect license plate affixed to the motor vehicle, shall be presumptive evidence that the vehicle is not registered.
- A person having legal title to premises, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, a trustee in bankruptcy, a receiver, or any other person having legal ownership or control of premises. Where the owner of the property cannot be determined, the person whose name is listed as the owner on the most current tax roll of the Town is deemed to be the property owner.
- A natural person, corporation, partnership, limited-liability company, unincorporated association, or any other business organization of two or more persons.
- All discarded or worthless nonputrescible solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, including, but not limited to, paper and paper products, rags, wrappings, cardboard, tin cans, wood, glass, metals, plastics, tires, bedding, cloth, crockery, furniture, appliances and similar items.
- Any person, other than the owner, who uses or occupies a property or building and who occupies the same pursuant to a written or oral lease agreement, or otherwise with the consent and permission of the owner thereof.
No owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises shall cause, permit or allow such premises to be used or maintained in violation of any of the following standards:
Surface and subsurface water shall be appropriately drained away from buildings to protect the buildings and structures from water damage; and grading shall be designed, constructed and maintained to prevent the development of stagnant ponds or pools of water which facilitate the breeding of mosquitoes or other insects, except in accordance with a grading permit, subdivision plan, site plan approved by the Town, or a validly approved stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).
Subsurface stormwater pipes and appurtenances, or such similar devices, constructed and installed for the purposes of transporting, disposing or dispersing surface or subsurface water, and approved in connection with a site plan, subdivision plat, or plot plan approved by the Town of Wappinger Planning Board or the Engineer to the Town in connection with the issuance of any land use permit or building permit, shall be maintained and kept in proper working order and condition and fit for the purposes intended, so as to maintain the free flow of said surface or subsurface water.
All landscaping facilities and plantings, whenever exposed to public view, shall be maintained so that lawns, hedges, shrubbery, ornamental bushes and trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed and free from becoming overgrown and unsightly. Yards shall be maintained so that grasses and weeds shall not exceed 10 inches in height.
Premises shall be maintained in a manner that will prevent debris, garbage and rubbish from blowing about the neighborhood.
Steps, walks, driveways, parking spaces and similar paved areas shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. Any paved surfaces such as parking lots and driveways shall be maintained to prevent potholes or other hazards. All off-street parking facilities shall be swept at least twice a year.
No junked vehicle may be parked or stored on any premises unless such vehicle is parked or stored inside a building, or inside a structure screening the junked vehicle from neighbors and the public, unless the junked vehicle is otherwise permitted to be in an unenclosed area under Chapter 240, Zoning, of the Town Code.
No owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises shall cause, permit or allow any building or structure to be maintained in violation of the following standards:
All exterior surfaces of any building or structure not inherently resistant to degradation or deterioration from weather or the elements shall be treated, sealed or coated with a protective covering, such as paint or other weather-protective coating, so as to prevent such exposed surfaces from degradation, deterioration or weathering.
Exterior walls, including doors and windows, roofs, and areas around doors, windows, chimneys and other parts of a building or structure, shall be maintained so as to keep water from entering the building. Exposed surfaces of any building or structure which have been damaged or show evidence of dry rot or other deterioration shall be repaired or replenished and refinished in a workmanlike manner and treated with an appropriate protective covering, such as paint, stain or other weather-retardant material. Exterior walls, roofs and other parts of a building or structure shall be free from loose and unsecured objects or materials such as siding, mortar, bricks, blocks, etc.
Vacant structures and their adjoining yards shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
This chapter shall not apply to:
In the event that the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises shall fail to comply with the standards enumerated in this chapter, the Town may institute enforcement proceedings as follows:
Inspection and report. Any enforcement official, upon his or her own investigation or upon a written complaint that property appears to be maintained in violation of any of the standards enumerated in §§ 185-3 and 185-4 above, may conduct an investigation and inspection of such premises and shall prepare a written report of his or her findings. If necessary, the enforcement official is authorized to apply for a search warrant to a court of competent jurisdiction to enter onto the premises if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that there is a violation of this chapter. The enforcement official is further authorized to take such further steps as are necessary to effectuate the execution and return of a duly ordered search warrant.
Order to remedy. If the enforcement official determines that a violation exists after conducting an inspection, the enforcement official is authorized to issue an order to remedy directing the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises to bring such premises into compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The enforcement official shall provide the Town Board with a copy of the order to remedy, together with an affidavit of service and a copy of his or her report of findings from the inspection of the property.
Contents of order to remedy. The notice shall contain the following information:
The tax parcel identification number, if there is one;
The street address of the property, if there is one;
The owner of the property as shown in the records of the Town;
A statement of the condition of the property and the standards of this chapter which have been violated;
The date and time the violations are alleged to have occurred;
The specific corrective action that needs to be taken to bring the property into full compliance with the standards of this chapter;
The specific date by which the corrective action must be completed. The time, stated in the notice, in which to take corrective action shall be:
The date, time and place of a public hearing to be held before the Town Board to determine whether the property is in compliance with the standards of this chapter and a statement that the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises has an opportunity to appear and be heard at said public hearing to offer proof that the property is in compliance with the standards of this chapter or that additional time is needed to take corrective action to cure the violation;
A statement that, if the property owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises does not comply with the order to remedy, the Town intends to enter onto the property, take corrective action, and assess the costs of the corrective action as a lien against the property and levy such lien on the Town tax bill if not paid.
Service of order to remedy. The order to remedy shall be served on the owner by registered or certified mail at the address shown on the last preceding tax assessment roll of the Town or by personal service in accordance with any manner provided for service of process by Article 3 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules of the State of New York. Service upon a lessee, tenant, occupant or person in charge of the premises shall be made by registered or certified mail to the address of the property or by personal service as shown above. A copy of such order to remedy may also be served in the same manner on any mortgagee or lienor of record. A copy of the order to remedy shall also be conspicuously posted on the property.
Imminent threat. Whenever the Town Board finds that there exists on premises a condition that poses an imminent threat to the public health or safety which requires immediate remedial action, the Town Board may, in its discretion, order the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises to remove or abate such public nuisance or direct Town employees or agents of the Town to remove or abate such public nuisance, and, notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, no public hearing shall be required to be held before the time fixed in the order for compliance or before the Town removes or abates such public nuisance, and the time for compliance provided in Subsection C(7) of this section shall not apply to an order issued pursuant to this subsection. Notice of an order or direction issued pursuant to this subsection shall be served in the manner prescribed in Subsection D of this section, provided that if the Town Board determines that service in such manner would result in delay prejudicial to the public health or safety, then the Town Board may serve such order or direction by delivery of a copy thereof to a person of suitable age and discretion in actual or apparent control of the premises to which it relates, or, if service cannot be made in such manner, by posting a copy posted upon the premises to which it relates. An order or direction served in the manner prescribed in this subsection shall take effect when delivered or when posted. After such order or direction takes effect, the enforcement official shall serve such order or direction in the manner prescribed in Subsection D of this section. Such additional service shall include notice of the earlier service of such order or direction.
The public hearing shall be held at a regularly scheduled or special Town Board meeting at least seven days but not more than 20 days after service of the order to remedy as set forth above.
After the public hearing, if the property is determined by the Town Board to be in noncompliance with the standards enumerated in this chapter, the Town Board may authorize employees of the Town, or its agents or contractors, to enter onto the property to undertake such measures as to bring the property into compliance with this chapter and assess the cost of such remediation against the property as described below.
Assistance allowed. The Town may request the assistance of any county, state or federal agency to perform work on its behalf pursuant to this chapter.
Assessment of costs and expenses; lien.
The expenses incurred by the Town with respect to any work performed by or on behalf of the Town to bring the property into compliance shall be a debt recoverable from the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises and shall constitute a lien upon the premises, including the land and buildings, with respect to which such work was performed.
The Town shall keep a record of all work performed on the property by or on behalf of the Town. Such records shall be accessible to the public during business hours. Claims for all work performed on the property shall be audited and approved in accordance with Article 8 of the Town Law. A notice stating the total amount due and the nature of the charge shall be mailed by the Town to the last known address of the person whose name appears on the records in the office of the Town Assessor as being the owner or agent or as the person designated by the owner to receive tax bills or, where no name appears, to the premises, addressed to either the owner or the agent. Such notice shall have stamped or printed thereon a reference to this section. The property owner shall have 10 days, after a copy of the notice establishing the costs and expenses, to challenge any of the costs incurred by the Town. After expiration of the time period to challenge the determination of costs and expenses, the amounts thereof shall be reported to the Assessor to the Town to be levied and assessed against the property, and the expense so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the property on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall otherwise be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other Town charges.
Editor's Note: So in the original. The phrase "is received" is missing after the phrase "costs and expenses."
Such lien shall have a priority over all other liens and encumbrances on the premises except for the lien of taxes and assessments as authorized by Town Law § 64(5-a).
Action for recovery. In addition to establishing a lien, the Town may recover such expenses and interest by bringing an action against the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any premises. The institution of such action shall not suspend or bar the right to pursue any other remedy provided by law for the recovery of such debt.
Other remedies available. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to restrict authority to provide for the abatement of a public nuisance conferred upon any agency of the Town by any other provision of law.
Every person violating any provision of this chapter shall also be subject to a civil penalty as follows: