[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of West Seneca 3-26-2007 by L.L. No. 3-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded the resolution adopted 9-9-1985 regarding the adoption, by reference, of the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code dated January 1984.
This chapter shall provide for the administration and enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) in the Town of West Seneca. This chapter is adopted pursuant to § 10 of Article 2 of the Municipal Home Rule Law. Except as otherwise provided within this chapter, state law, or within the Uniform Code, all premises, regardless of use, are subject to the provisions which follow.
If any section of this chapter shall be held unconstitutional, invalid, or ineffective, in whole or in part, such determination shall not be deemed to affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof.
The position of Code Enforcement Official is hereby created and shall be filled by appointment of the West Seneca Town Board. The Code Enforcement Official shall possess background experience related to building construction and/or fire prevention and shall, within the time constraints prescribed by law, obtain such training as the State of New York shall require for code enforcement personnel.
In the absence of the Code Enforcement Official and his assistants, or in the case of their inability to act for any reason, the Town Supervisor shall have the power, with the consent of the West Seneca Town Board, to designate a person to act on behalf of the Code Enforcement Official and to exercise all the powers conferred upon him by this chapter.
The Town Supervisor, with the approval of the West Seneca Town Board, may appoint one Inspector, or more, as the need may appear, to act under the supervision and direction of the Code Enforcement Official.
The compensation for the Code Enforcement Official or acting Code Enforcement Official shall be fixed and adjusted as needed by the West Seneca Town Board.
The Code Enforcement Official shall administer and enforce all the provisions of the Uniform Code and the provisions of this chapter, including receiving building permit applications, reviewing plans and specifications, conducting inspections, issuing permits for the erection, alteration, relocation, addition, repair and/or demolition of buildings and structures, issuing certificates of occupancy, collecting fees as set forth by the West Seneca Town Board and maintaining and filing all records necessary for the administration of the office to the satisfaction of the West Seneca Town Board. The Code Enforcement Official is authorized to pursue administrative actions and, in consultation with the Town Attorney, legal action, as necessary, to abate conditions not in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, this chapter, or other laws, rules or regulations of the Town of West Seneca or of the State of New York.
Except as hereinafter provided, no person, firm, corporation, association or partnership shall commence the construction, enlargement, alteration, improvement, removal, relocation or demolition of any building or structure or any portion thereof, or install a solid-fuel-burning heating appliance, chimney or flue in any building or structure without first having obtained a permit from the Code Enforcement Official.
Permit requirements for a change in commercial occupant. Prior to occupying any commercial space within any building in the Town of West Seneca, a change in commercial occupant permit must be applied for and approved by the Building Department. If you are proposing a new store or business within the Town of West Seneca, whether it involves a purchase or lease of a storefront, commercial space or portion of an existing building, plans must be presented to the Building Department for the utilization of such commercial space/building. Plans are required even if there are no proposed alterations or renovations. A permit and plan requirement is necessary so that the Building Department can confirm that the proposed business is permitted under the Zoning Law and that the intended use of the space/building complies with the existing Building Code of New York State.
[Added 11-28-2011 by L.L. No. 5-2011]
Application for permit.
The form of the permit and application therefor shall be prescribed by the Code Enforcement Official. The application shall be signed by the owner of the building or his authorized agent and shall contain at least the following:
Full name and address of the owner and, if by a corporation, the name and addresses of the responsible officials;
Identification and/or description of the land on which the work is to be done;
Description of use or occupancy of the land and existing or proposed building (legal survey);
Description of the proposed work;
Two sets of plans and specifications for the proposed work; and
The required fee.
The Code Enforcement Official may waive the requirement of plans and specifications when the work to be done involves minor alterations or is otherwise unnecessary.
The applicant shall notify the Code Enforcement Official of any changes in the information contained in the application during the period for which the permit is in effect. A permit will be issued when the application has been determined to be complete and when the proposed work has been determined to conform to the requirements of the Uniform Code. The authority conferred by such permit may be limited by conditions, if any, contained therein. Amendments, if any, to the application or to the plans and specifications accompanying the same shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Official prior to the commencement of such change of work.
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be prominently displayed on the property or premises to which it pertains.
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter may be suspended or revoked if it is determined that the work to which it pertains is not proceeding in conformance with the Uniform Code or with any condition attached to such permit, or if there has been misrepresentation or falsification of a material fact in connection with the application for the permit.
A building permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire one year from the date of issuance or upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy (other than a temporary certificate of occupancy), whichever occurs first. The permit may, upon written request, be renewed for successive one-year periods, provided that:
The penalty for commencing work without the required permit shall be double the normal fee.
A fee schedule shall be established, and changed as needed, by resolution of the West Seneca Town Board. Such fees may be charged for the issuance of permits, certificates of occupancy, temporary certificates of occupancy, and for fire safety inspections.
No building erected subject to the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code shall be used or occupied, except to the extent authorized hereunder, until a certificate of occupancy has been issued. No buildings similarly enlarged, extended, or altered, or upon which work has been performed, shall be occupied or used more than 30 days after the completion of the alteration or work unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued. No change shall be made in the nature of the occupancy of an existing building unless a certificate of occupancy authorizing the change has been issued. The owner or his agent shall make application for a certificate of occupancy.
A temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued if the building or structure, or a designated portion of a building or structure, is sufficiently complete that it may be put to the use for which it is intended. A temporary certificate of occupancy shall expire six months from the date of issuance or at an earlier date if so specified. A temporary certificate of occupancy may, at the discretion of the Code Enforcement Official and upon payment of an additional fee as specified for a temporary certificate of occupancy, be renewed. The Code Enforcement Official may place special conditions on temporary certificates of occupancy, as necessary, to insure safety and to protect the interest of the Town of West Seneca.
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, concerning the requirement for an up-to-date certificate of occupancy upon transfer of ownership, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-26-2012 by L.L. No. 2-2012.
Inspections during construction:
Work for which a building permit has been issued hereunder shall be inspected for approval prior to enclosing or covering any portion thereof and upon completion of each stage of construction, including but not limited to building location, site preparation, excavation, foundation, framing, superstructure, electrical, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning. It shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent to inform the inspector that the work is ready for inspection and to schedule such inspection.
For work which requires special inspection during construction it shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent to provide a list, at their expense. A statement of the special inspections, including a complete list of materials and work requiring such inspections, and a list of the individuals and approved agencies shall be provided to the Code Enforcement Official for the permit application file. The reports of such special inspections shall be provided to the Code Enforcement Official for the permanent record.
If entrance to make an inspection is refused or cannot be obtained, the West Seneca Town Board, after being notified by the inspector of the situation, may apply to any court of competent jurisdiction for an order to make an inspection.
Fire prevention and property maintenance inspections.
Multiple dwellings shall be inspected for the purpose of determining compliance with fire prevention and property maintenance requirements of the Uniform Code at least once every 36 months. Inspections of such buildings shall include the common areas such as halls, foyers, staircases, etc., and vacant dwelling units. Where the tenants of occupied dwelling units allow, the inspection may include such units.
Fire safety inspections of buildings or structures having areas of public assembly, as defined in Section 303 of the Building Code of New York State (19 NYCRR Part 1221), shall be performed at least once every 12 months.
All other buildings, uses and occupancies (except one- or two-family dwellings) shall be inspected at least once every 24 months.
An inspection of a building or dwelling unit may also be performed at any other time upon:
Upon determination that a violation of the Uniform Code or this chapter exists in, on, or about any building or premises, the Code Enforcement Official shall order, in writing, the remedying of the condition. Such order shall state the specific provision of the Uniform Code which the particular condition violates and shall grant such time as may be reasonably necessary for achieving compliance before proceedings to compel compliance shall be instituted. Such order shall be served personally or by notification by certified mail.
In addition to those penalties prescribed by state law, any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of the Uniform Code or any rule or regulation of this chapter, or the terms or conditions of any certificate of occupancy issued by the Code Enforcement Official, shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $200 for each day or part thereof during which such violation continues. The civil penalties provided by this subsection shall be recoverable in an action instituted in the name of the Town of West Seneca on its own initiative or at the request of the Code Enforcement Official.
Alternatively, or in addition to an action to recover the civil penalties provided by Subsection B, the Town Board may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct, or abate any violation of, or to enforce any provision of the Uniform Code or the terms or conditions of any certificate of occupancy issued by the Code Enforcement Official.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Official has reason to believe that the work on any building or structure is being performed in violation of the provisions of the applicable building laws, ordinance, rules or regulations, or not in conformity with the provisions of an application, or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, he shall notify the owner of the property, or the owner's agent, to suspend all work and suspend all building activities until the stop-work order has been rescinded. Such order and notice shall appear in writing, shall state the conditions under which the work may be resumed and may be served upon a person to whom it is directed either by delivering it personally to him, or by posting the same upon a conspicuous portion of the building where the work is being performed and sending a copy of the same to him by certified mail at the address set forth in the application for the permission of the construction of such building.
The Code Enforcement Official shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities conducted by his office, including all applications received, plans approved, permits and certificates issued, fees charged and collected, inspection reports, all rules and regulations promulgated by him with the consent of the West Seneca Town Board, and notices and orders issued. All such records shall be public records open for public inspection during normal business hours. All plans and records pertaining to buildings or structures, or appurtenances thereto, shall be retained for at least the minimum time period so required by state law and regulation.
The Code Enforcement Official shall annually submit to the West Seneca Town Board a written report and summary of all business conducted by his office, including approvals, permits and certificates issued, and fees collected.