Village of Groton, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Groton 1-17-1977 as L.L. No. 1-1977. Sections 71-1, 71-2, 71-3, 71-6A and 71-17 amended and §§ 71-4B, 71-12, 71-13, 71-14, 71-15 and 71-16 added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Code Correction Rehabilitation Program — See Ch. 9.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 101.
Mobile home parks — See Ch. 127.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 153.
Zoning — See Ch. 200.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings and Unsafe Land Law."
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
A. 
The term "Building Inspector," whenever used in this chapter, shall refer to such person as may be designated from time to time by the Village Board.
B. 
The Building Inspector shall:
(1) 
Inspect any building, wall or structure which he has reason to believe may be existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
(2) 
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 and report his findings at least annually to the Village Board or more frequently as requested by the Village Board.
(3) 
Inspect any building, wall or structure reported, as hereinafter provided for, by the Fire Department or police officers operating in this village as probably existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
C. 
The Building Inspector may order any building which, in his opinion, is unsafe, as defined and determined in this chapter, or which is not provided with sufficient means of egress or exits in case of fire to be vacated forthwith, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
A. 
All buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe, unsanitary or constitute a fire hazard or that are otherwise dangerous to human life or which, in relation to existing use and condition, constitute a hazard to the safety, welfare or health of or are otherwise a danger or a detriment to the occupants thereof or to the surrounding neighborhood, community or to the village or the general public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance or inadequate plumbing, electric, heating or gas facilities or by reason or dilapidation, collapse, obsolescence or abandonment, are severally, for the purpose of this chapter, unsafe buildings. All such unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be illegal and shall be abated by repair or demolition in accordance with the procedures of this chapter.
B. 
All lands on which are located holes, water holes, excavations, wells, streams, debris and collapsed structures which, in relation to existing use, constitute a hazard to safety or health or are otherwise a danger or a detriment to the surrounding neighborhood, community or to the village or to the general public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance and protection, are, for the purposes of this chapter, deemed to be unsafe lands. All such unsafe lands are hereby declared to be illegal and shall be abated by repair, fill or other manner, in accordance with the procedures in this chapter.
C. 
No person, firm, corporation or association who or which is the owner of a building or land in the Village of Groton shall:
(1) 
Suffer, allow or permit any building or structure to become or be maintained as an unsafe building.
(2) 
Allow any land to become or be maintained as unsafe land.
(3) 
Occupy or permit to be occupied by any person or persons any such unsafe buildings or lands.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
A. 
Except as may be otherwise provided in Subsection G below, whenever the Building Inspector shall find any building, structure, land or portion thereof to be unsafe as defined herein, he shall cause service of a notice to be made upon the owner and all other persons having any interest in any such unsafe land or any land upon which any unsafe building is located, either personally or by registered or certified mail, addressed to the last known address of such person or persons as shown by the records of the Assessor's office of the county or in the office of the County Clerk or the Village Clerk.
B. 
Whereabouts of interested persons unknown. In the event that the whereabouts of the owner of the unsafe building or land and any other person having an interest therein, as defined below, are unknown and cannot be ascertained after the exercise of reasonable diligence by the Building Inspector, the Building Inspector shall execute an affidavit to that effect, which shall be filed in the office of the Building Inspector. In such a case, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the aforementioned written notice on the unsafe building or land in a conspicuous location.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
C. 
Such notice shall contain the following:
(1) 
A brief or general description of the premises by street address, tax parcel number or otherwise.
(2) 
A statement of the particulars in which the building, structure or land is unsafe or dangerous and including a reference to any laws, codes, rules or regulations which are being violated.
(3) 
An order of the Building Inspector requiring the same to be repaired, demolished or removed and the time within which such repair, demolition or removal shall be made.
(4) 
A statement that, upon the request of the owner or any person having an interest in the real property, the Building Inspector will inspect the premises with any such person to discuss the particulars contained in the notice.
(5) 
A statement setting forth the time and place for a hearing to be held before the Building Inspector not less than five days from the date of the service of said notice, but, in any event, if notice of such hearing in required by law to be published in a newspaper, then such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days from the date of publication of such notice.
D. 
Such hearing may be adjourned by the Building Inspector from time to time for such additional period as the Building Inspector shall determine is fair and just to the public and all parties concerned.
E. 
The following persons shall be deemed to have an interest in any building, structure or land:
(1) 
Any owner, any tenant or lessee or any other person occupying any such building, structure or land or any portion thereof.
(2) 
Any person who is the holder of any lien on the land which is recorded in the Tompkins County Clerk's office which has not been discharged or which has not become unenforceable, whether by passage of time or by any provision of law or otherwise.
F. 
The Building Inspector shall also cause a copy of such notice to be posted prominently on the premises. Service of such notice on the tenant or lessee of any building or of any lesser unit or area within such building shall be deemed to be service on all other occupants within said building or such lesser unit or area, as the case may be. If personal service cannot be made upon any person as hereinabove defined, service shall be deemed to have been made on any such person by affixing or posting said notice hereinabove provided for on the building and by service by mail as hereinabove provided.
G. 
Notice of immediate danger. If the Building Inspector determines that there is imminent danger to life or to adjacent property resulting from an apparent, actual or immediate danger of failure or collapse or insufficient means of ingress and egress in case of fire or because of any other hazards, such notice shall also require the building, structure or portion thereof to be vacated forthwith and not reoccupied until repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by the Building Inspector. In such event, the Building Inspector shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice containing at least the following: THIS BUILDING IS UNSAFE AND ITS USE AND OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE VILLAGE OF GROTON. Such notice shall remain posted until the required repairs are made or demolition is completed. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation or their agents or servants to remove such notice without written permission of the Building Inspector or for any person to enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing said building.
H. 
Any such notice may 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 of action 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. Any such notice delivered to the County Clerk for filing shall contain substantially a notice directing said Clerk to file this notice as a notice of pendency action and to index the same against the persons named in such notice. 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 the consent of the Village Attorney. Such notice may be refiled prior to the expiration of any one-year period and shall be effective for an additional period of one year from each such refiling date. The County Clerk shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as canceled or record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
A. 
The hearing shall be held before the Building Inspector.
B. 
The relevant testimony of all interested parties shall be received in writing or orally, or both. A substantial resume of oral testimony shall be reduced to writing.
C. 
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Building Inspector shall review the testimony and proof offered at the hearing and shall render his decision, which shall be in writing and which shall consist of the following:
(1) 
A determination as to whether the land or the building or structure which is the subject of the hearing is unsafe land or an unsafe building.
(2) 
Such determination shall be based upon specific findings of fact which shall be recited in the decision.
(3) 
Any such determination may affirm, add to or modify any of the requirements of the Building Inspector set forth in his notice and may set forth conditions of performance of the work which shall be required by the decision.
(4) 
The decision shall set forth the date by which the work required shall be commenced and the date by which it shall be completed. Such notice shall also state that, if the work is not commenced or completed by such times, the village may perform such work and the owner shall be liable for the cost thereof and additional fees and penalties as provided for in this chapter.
D. 
Such decision may be rendered within a reasonable time following the conclusion of the hearing but not later than 40 days after the conclusion of the hearing. If the Building Inspector desires additional testimony or proof, he may reopen the hearing upon eight days' notice, in writing, to the owner or other party having an interest in the land who appeared at the hearing.
E. 
The Building Inspector may, from time to time, adopt additional rules for the conduct of the hearing and shall file the same with the Village Clerk.
F. 
A copy of such decision shall be filed with the Village Clerk, and a copy of such decision shall be mailed to each owner, occupant or other person having an interest in the real property who appeared at the hearing. A copy may also be filed in the Tompkins County Clerk's office and indexed in the same manner as provided for the filing of the notice in § 71-4H of this chapter.
A. 
If the owner fails to commence or to complete the repair, demolition or removal of the unsafe building or other work thereon or to do the work required with respect to any unsafe land and to complete the same within the time specified in the notice or in any decision or determination of the Building Inspector, if a hearing was held, whichever is the later date, the Building Inspector shall immediately notify the Mayor, who may then direct the Superintendent of Public Works to make the repairs to or cause the removal or demolition of the unsafe lands. When directed to do so, the Superintendent of Public Works shall cause the repair or removal of any unsafe building or structure or any other work to be done with respect thereto or with respect to unsafe land.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
B. 
Any notice given or decision or determination made by the Building Inspector, the Superintendent of Public Works or other officer or employee of the village directing the performance of any work on any unsafe building or land, including the removal or demolition of buildings as provided for in § 71-10 of this chapter, shall contain a statement that if such work is not commenced or completed within the time periods specified in such notice, such work may be done by the village, and the owner shall be liable for the payment of all expenses, costs, fees and penalties as provided for in this chapter. However, if no specific date is specified in any such notice, decision or determination for the commencement or completion of any work, work must be commenced and completed within a reasonable time after due notice has been given by the village to the owner.
A. 
After the work has been completed, the Superintendent shall file in the office of the Village Treasurer a verified statement of all costs and expenses incurred by the village in connection with any such repair, removal or work done with respect to any unsafe building or land, including the costs of all labor, materials and surveying, engineering, architectural and other services. The Village Clerk shall also cause to be filed with the Village Treasurer a statement of all other expenses incurred in connection with the foregoing, including, without limitation, the cost of any service fee or mailing fees and charges; the cost of any legal proceedings, including stenographic services; witness fees; the reasonable cost of engineering, architectural or other services reasonably required by the village in connection with the proceedings; the cost of any additional insurance or security, material or performance or other bonds required for any particular project; and the reasonable costs of legal fees in connection with any proceedings undertaken under this chapter. A copy of said statements shall be mailed to the owner of the premises.
B. 
If not paid within 30 days of the date of mailing, the Village Treasurer shall enter said verified statement or statements in his records as a lien against said premises and shall add the same to the next assessment roll of general village taxes and shall collect and enforce the assessment in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time and with the same penalties as the village tax and as a part thereof, except that, in addition to the penalties heretofore stated, interest shall run thereon from the date of filing of such statement to the date of actual payment at eight and one-half percent (8 1/2%) per annum.
C. 
Notwithstanding any provisions herein to the contrary, the village may also, at its election, institute suit against the owner of said premises for the costs incurred by the village as described above and including also any fees, penalties or other charges, as provided for in this chapter, and enter judgment thereon against the owner personally for the aforesaid amount. The imposition and collection of any fine or penalty hereinafter prescribed shall not bar the right of the village to collect the cost of any work done by the Village as herein prescribed.
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.
A. 
Any person aggrieved by any order or determination of the Building Inspector may appeal any such order or determination to the Supreme Court of the State of New York to review any such determination or order or any action or failure to act on the part of the Building Inspector.
B. 
Such appeal must be served upon the village within 30 days of the date on which the Building Inspector has filed any order or determination made by him, or, if a hearing has been held pursuant to the provision of § 71-4 above, such appeal must be served upon the village within 30 days of the date on which a copy of such decision is mailed to the owner or other party who appeared at such hearing.
A. 
Before the demolition or removal of any building or structure is begun, a verified application shall be prepared by the owner or his architect, builder, contractor or agent or other employee, on appropriate forms furnished by the Building Inspector, containing a statement of the facts in relation thereto and the location and ownership thereof. The application shall be filed in duplicate, one with the Building Inspector and one with the Superintendent of Public Works, and a written permit shall be obtained from the Superintendent. Such permit shall expire by limitation two months from the date of its issue. The Superintendent of Public Works shall be given not less than 48 hours' notice, in writing, before the demolition of any building or structure is begun.
B. 
Before any permit is issued granting authority to wreck a building or structure for which such permit is required, the person, firm or corporation engaged to perform such work shall file, when required by the Superintendent of Public Works, either a performance bond or a public liability insurance policy, or both, containing personal injury and property damage provisions, which bond or insurance policy shall be approved by the Village Attorney, to indemnify, keep and save harmless the village against any loss, cost, damage, expense, judgment or liability of any kind whatsoever which may accrue against, be charged to or recovered from the village or any of its officials by any reason or account of accidents, injury or damage to persons or property during any operations and from or by reasons or on account of anything done under or by virtue of any permit granted for any such operations.
C. 
Said bond or public liability insurance shall be of such form and coverage and in such amounts to be determined by the Superintendent of Public Works, who may require additional coverage and coverage in such additional sums, as protection for the village and its officials, as may be necessary from time to time thereafter.
D. 
Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Public Works, the Village Board shall adopt, from time to time, regulations for the conduct of all work required under this chapter, and all such work must be done in compliance with such regulations. The Superintendent may promulgate such additional regulations as he may from time to time deem advisable. All such regulations shall be filed in the offices of the Building Inspector and the Village Clerk.
E. 
Before any permit is issued as aforesaid, the Superintendent of Public Works shall determine the reasonable time required for the demolition or removal of the building or structure, and the permit shall be issued on the condition that demolition or removal is completed within the time limitation as set by the Superintendent.
F. 
If the owner shall fail to commence such work or, having commenced, shall fail to complete such work within any time period specified in any such permit, notice or order or within a reasonable time after such notice or order, if no specific time period has been specified, then the village may do so, and the owner shall be liable for the payment of all costs and other charges in accordance with the provisions of § 71-7 of this chapter.
G. 
The fee for the permit herein required shall be in the amount prescribed by the Village Board of Trustees.
No person shall remove, deface, destroy, alter or otherwise tamper with any sign, notice or other document placed upon any building or property under the provisions of this chapter.
No officer, agent or employee of the Village of Groton shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the Village of Groton as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter shall be defended by the Village Attorney or such other counsel as may be selected by the Village Board until the final determination of the proceeding therein.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
Any fireman of any Fire Department serving the village shall make a report in writing to the Building Inspector of any buildings or structures which are, may be or are suspected to be unsafe buildings within the terms of this chapter. Such reports must be delivered to the Building Inspector within 24 hours of the discovery of such buildings.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
Any law enforcement official shall make a report, in writing, to the Building Inspector of any buildings or structures which are or may be deemed to be unsafe buildings within the terms of this chapter. Such reports must be delivered to the Building Inspector within 24 hours of the discovery of such buildings.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
In any case where a provision of this chapter is found to be in conflict with a provision of any zoning, building, fire, safety or health local law or code of the Village of Groton existing on the effective date of this chapter,[2] the provisions which, in the judgment of the Village Board, establish the higher standard for the promotion of health and safety of the people shall prevail.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
[2]
Editor's Note: For related provisions, see Ch. 101, Fire Prevention and Building Construction; Ch. 153, Property Maintenance; and Ch. 200, Zoning.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not interested in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere with, obstruct or hinder the Building Inspector or his representative or any person acting on his behalf in performing his duties as set forth in this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
Any person, firm, corporation or association who or which violates the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation as defined in the Penal Law. For a second violation in respect to the same property, such person, firm, corporation or association shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor as defined in the Penal Law.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if the owner shall fail to comply either with the notice sent by the Building Inspector or with the determination of the Building Inspector following the hearing held pursuant to § 71-5 above, the Village Board may, at any time, either before, during or subsequent to any hearing, direct that an application be made to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building or other structure or the land to be a public nuisance and directing that such building or structure shall be repaired or made secure or demolished and removed or that other work be done to render safe any lands which have been determined to be unsafe under this chapter. Such application shall be made upon notice, as required by law, on the owner, occupant or other person having an interest as provided for in this chapter.