[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Newburgh 4-22-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Repurchase of In Rem Properties — See Ch. 93.
Building construction — See Ch. 122.
Demolition of buildings — See Ch. 125.
Nuisance buildings — See Ch. 126.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 129.
Condominium conversions — See Ch. 138.
Fees — See Ch. 163.
Health and sanitation — See Ch. 187.
Housing and property standards — See Ch. 190.
Performance of work by City — See Ch. 226.
Property damage — See Ch. 234.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 121, Buildings, Vacant, adopted 2-28-1994 by Ord. No. 4-94, as amended.
The City of Newburgh contains many structures that are vacant in whole or large part; and in many cases the owners or other responsible parties of these structures are neglectful of them and are failing to maintain them or secure them to adequate standards or restore them to productive use. Many of these structures are in violation of state and local housing and property maintenance codes. It has been established that vacant and abandoned structures cause severe harm to the health, safety, and general welfare of the community, including diminution of neighboring property values, loss of property tax revenues, accumulations of trash and debris, increased risk of fire, and potential increases in criminal activity and public health risk, and the City of Newburgh incurs disproportionate costs in order to deal with the problems of vacant and abandoned structures, including but not limited to police calls, fire calls, and property inspections. It is in the public interest for the City of Newburgh to establish minimum standards of accountability for the owners or other responsible parties of vacant and abandoned structures in order to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the City of Newburgh, and it is in the public interest for the City of Newburgh to impose a fee in conjunction with a registration ordinance for vacant and abandoned structures in light of the disproportionate costs imposed on the City by the presence of these structures.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- EVIDENCE OF VACANCY
- Any condition that, on its own or combined with other conditions present, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is vacant. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, overgrown or dead vegetation; accumulation of debris or abandoned personal property; and statements by neighbors, passers-by, delivery agents or government agents, among other evidence that the property is vacant.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICER
- The Fire Chief, Director of the Code Compliance Bureau, and the Building Inspector or such official within that department as may be designated by the Director in writing.
- The title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant property, and any foreclosing entity that has obtained a judgment of foreclosure and sale (RPAPL S. 1307).
- VACANT PROPERTY
- Any building or structure that is not at present legally occupied or at which all lawful business or construction operations or residential inhabitation or other occupancy has substantially ceased and that is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation, including but not limited to any property meeting the definition of "abandoned property"; however, any habitable property where all building systems are in sound working order, where the building and grounds are maintained in good condition, and (or) which is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental shall not be deemed a vacant property for purposes of this chapter.
Effective on June 1, 2013, the owner of any vacant property, as defined herein, shall, within 30 days after the building becomes vacant property or within 30 days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 days of receipt of notice by the municipality, file a registration statement for such vacant property with the municipal officer on forms provided for that purpose by the municipal officer, along with any fee required by Chapter 163. Failure to receive notice by the municipality shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property.
Each property having a separate section, block and lot number shall be registered separately.
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in Chapter 163 for each vacant property registered.
The municipal officer may establish, for purposes of efficient administration, that all registrations shall be renewed by a single date in each year. The municipal officer shall establish this date, in which case the initial registration fee shall be prorated for registration statements received less than 10 months prior to that date.
Restoration of property; rehabilitation plans.
[Amended 6-15-2015 by Ord. No. 9-2015]
Any owner of vacant property who plans to restore the property to productive use and occupancy during the twelve-month period following the date of the initial registration of the property shall file a detailed statement of the owner's plans for restoration of the property with the registration statement and shall be exempt from payment of the registration fee and the submission of the bond but shall comply with all other provisions of this chapter. In the event that the property has not been restored to productive use and occupancy at the end of the twelve-month period, the owner shall be liable for any fee waived and the submission of the bond. The municipal officer may extend the waiver of the registration fee and bond submission for not more than one additional year in response to a written request by the property owner where the municipal officer finds that compelling conditions outside the owner's control made it impossible for the owner to restore the property within the initial twelve-month period.
In addition, the statement of the owner's plans, at a minimum, must contain one of the following for the property:
If the building is to be demolished, a demolition plan indicating the proposed time frame for demolition; or
If the building is to be returned to appropriate occupancy or use, a rehabilitation plan for the property. Implementation of the rehabilitation plan shall not exceed 12 months. Any repairs, improvements, or alterations to the property must comply with any applicable zoning, housing, historic preservation, or building codes and must be secured during the rehabilitation.
The Building Inspector shall provide the owner with a written referral to the Planning Department for information outlining programs available that may be useful in developing the owner's rehabilitation plan.
Where the owner is an entity experienced in rehabilitation or redevelopment of vacant properties, and where the property subject to this chapter is being held for a project of rehabilitation or redevelopment consistent with municipal plans and ordinances, and where, by virtue of financing, market, or other conditions, that project may require more than one year for realization, the municipal officer may extend the waiver of the registration fee and bond submission on an annual basis without limitation upon written request by the owner, as long as the municipal officer finds that the owner is making reasonable progress toward completion of the project. The owner shall provide the municipal officer with documentation of such progress, which may include plans, financing applications, applications for land use approval, or other evidence of progress.
The owner shall notify the municipal officer within 30 days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the municipal officer for such purpose.
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the City against the owner or owners of the building.
The registration statement shall include:
The name(s), residences and business addresses, e-mail address, telephone numbers, and birth date(s) of the principal officers if the applicant is an individual, partnership, or firm, or the names, residences and business address, e-mail address, telephone numbers, and birth dates of the principal officers if the applicant is an association or corporation.
The name, street address, e-mail address, and telephone number of a natural person 21 years of age or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code. The agent for service of process must maintain offices or reside in the State of New York.
The name, street, address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers of the firm or individual responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or a representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property must maintain offices within 45 miles of the City and shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
A description of the premises, including street address, section, block and lot, and type of building;
The date the building became vacant and the period of time the building is expected to remain vacant;
A description of what will be done to secure the structure so that it will not become open to the general public; and
The status of water, sewer, natural gas, and electric utilities.
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section, the owner consents to receive any and all notices of code violations concerning the registered vacant property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the registered building by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies the municipal officer in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
Any owner who fails to register a vacant property under the provisions of this chapter shall further be deemed to consent to receive, by posting at the building, any and all notices of code violations and all process in an administrative proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the building.
All funds collected from registration and renewal fees under this section shall be deposited in a dedicated trust fund to be used exclusively for municipal activities with respect to vacant and problem properties in the municipality, including but not limited to inspection, nuisance abatement, securing and boarding, maintaining property information systems, and reasonable administrative and legal costs associated with any of the above.
The owner of any structure that has become vacant property, and any person responsible for maintaining any such building that has become vacant, shall, within 30 days of the structure becoming vacant or 30 days of the owner taking title to the property:
Enclose and secure the structure as provided in the applicable codes of the City of Newburgh and the State of New York or as set forth in rules and regulations adopted by the municipal officer to supplement those codes.
Ensure that the grounds of the structure, including yards, fences, sidewalks, walks, and driveways, are well-maintained and kept free from trash or debris.
Post a sign affixed to the structure with the name, address, and telephone number of the owner and the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process and the name, address, and telephone number of the entity responsible for maintenance of the property, which may be the same as the owner or authorized agent. If the structure is set back from the street, the sign may be posted on a well-secured post or stake in the front yard of the property. The sign shall be at least 18 inches by 24 inches, in dimension, shall include the words "to report problems with this building, call," and shall be placed in a location where it is clearly legible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearer.
Maintain the structure in a secure and closed condition, keep the grounds in a clean and well-maintained condition, and ensure that the sign is visible and intact until the building is again occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
The owner of any vacant property shall acquire or otherwise maintain liability insurance in an amount of not less than $300,000 for buildings designed primarily for one- and two-unit residential use and not less than $1,000,000 for any other building, including, but not limited to, buildings designed for multifamily, manufacturing, storage, or commercial uses, covering any damage to any person and any property caused by any physical condition of or in the building. Any insurance policy acquired or renewed after the building has become vacant shall provide for written notice to the municipal officer within 30 days of any lapse, cancellation, or change in coverage, and the owner shall provide such written notice of any lapse, cancellation or change in coverage to the municipal officer. The owner shall attach evidence of the insurance to the owner's registration statement. Any registration statement submitted that does not include such evidence shall not be deemed to be a valid registration. The owner of any vacant property filing a registration statement or a registration renewal on or after June 16, 2015, shall also provide a cash bond acceptable to the municipal officer, in the sum of not less than $10,000, to secure the continued maintenance of the property throughout its vacancy and remunerate the City for any expenses incurred in inspecting, securing, marking, or making such building safe.
[Amended 6-15-2015 by Ord. No. 9-2015]
The City of Newburgh shall establish an on-line registry of all properties registered with the City under this chapter, which shall include a procedure by which citizens can provide the municipal officer through electronic means with information on unregistered properties that may be subject to this chapter.
The City of Newburgh may enter into agreements with qualified nonprofit entities and neighborhood associations to assist the City to enforce this chapter, including but not limited to identification of unregistered properties that may be subject to this chapter.
The municipal officer may issue rules and regulations for the administration of the provisions of this chapter.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or of the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be fined not less than $500 and not more than $1,000 for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this chapter shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration statement within 30 days after a building becomes vacant property or within 30 days after assuming ownership of a vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 days of receipt of notice by the municipality; failure to provide correct information on the registration statement; failure to comply with the provisions of § 121-3L and M of this chapter; or such other matters as may be established by the rules and regulations of the municipal officer shall be deemed to be violations of this chapter.
This chapter shall become effective upon publication as provided by law.
If any of the provisions of this chapter shall be held invalid, the remainder shall remain valid and enforceable as provided by law.