[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of East Aurora 3-19-2012 by L.L. No. 3-2012. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Village of East Aurora Unsafe Buildings Law."
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to the health and safety of the residents of the Village of East Aurora. Buildings may become unsafe by reason of fire; damage caused by other elements, age and/or general deterioration. Vacant buildings that are not properly secured serve as attractive nuisances for young children and provide a place for older children and transients to congregate unsupervised. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent or other infestation, creating a health menace to the community.
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Village of East Aurora by providing for a procedure and process to deal with unsafe buildings by requiring that they be either repaired or demolished and removed.
The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to, and in furtherance of, the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, including, but limited to, Sections 108 and 109 of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State.
For the purposes of this article, the following shall have the meanings ascribed to them. All other words shall have the meanings normally ascribed to them in regular use.
- A combination of any materials having a wall and roof to form a structure, affording shelter to persons, animals or property. The word "building" shall be construed, when used herein, as though followed by the words "or part or parts thereof."
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer for the Village of East Aurora or its agent under contract with the Village to assist in the enforcement of this chapter.
- DEMOLITION or DEMOLISH
- The alteration of an existing building or structure, the purpose of such alteration being the discontinuance of the existing building or structure or a portion thereof. "Demolition" shall not include the repairing, remodeling or extending of an existing building or structure where such is incidental to the improvement of that building or structure and the primary intent is shown to be that of repairing, remodeling or extending the existing building or structure.
- A sudden, urgent, or unexpected occurrence requiring immediate action.
- IMMINENT DANGER
- A condition which could cause serious or life-threatening injury or death at any time.
- Any combination of materials, constructed or erected, which requires a permanent location or attachment on the ground, or something having such location, and includes, among other things, stadiums, platforms, radio towers, sheds and storage bins.
- UNSAFE BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
- Any building or other structure that has any of the following defects:
- A. Those whose exterior/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 the 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 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, snow load or other causes so as to have become dangerous to the life, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Village of East Aurora.
- E. Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary that they are unfit for occupation by humans or animals or for use for storage.
- F. Those buildings intended or used for human occupation that are inadequate to protect the health, safety and general welfare of human residents living therein.
- G. Those buildings that lack adequate facilities for ingress and egress in case of fire or other emergency or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of escape.
- H. Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure persons on the property or members of the general public or cause damage to other property.
- I. Those buildings which violate the provisions of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and any other applicable laws of the State of New York, County of Erie or Village of East Aurora.
- J. Any building which remains vacant and unattended continuously for a period of one year or longer, without adequate safeguards to prevent unauthorized entry.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine or cause to be examined every building reported as unsafe and shall make a written record of such examination to the Village Board.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer shall find any building or structure or portion thereof to be an unsafe building or structure as defined in this chapter, he shall, in the same manner as provided for the service of stop orders in § 108-9, give to the owner, agent, or person in control of such building or structure written notice as described herein. In addition, the East Aurora Fire Department and the Village Board shall be provided written notice. Said notice shall require the owner either to complete specified repairs or improvements or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof. Said notice shall, if mailed, be addressed to the last known address, if any, of the owner, agent or other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises, as shown by the records of the Receiver of Taxes and/or in the office of the County Clerk or County Registrar, and shall contain a description of the premises; a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous; an order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or removed; and the time, date and place of a public hearing to be held before the Village Board at or during which the Village Board shall take testimony and consider evidence on whether and to what extent the buildings or structures in question should be secured, repaired and/or demolished, provided that said hearing must be held within 30 days of the date of service or mailing of the notice in question and that the Village Board must issue written findings relative to said hearing within 10 days of any such a hearing date.
The person or persons served with or mailed the notice described in Subsection B hereof shall commence to secure, repair, remove and/or demolish the buildings or structures described therein within 14 days after the delivery or mailing date of said notice or the Village Board issuing written findings requiring any such an action following the hearing described in Subsection B hereof and shall complete any required actions within 30 days of the commencement date described herein.
Any proposed repair/rehabilitation of a building or structure will be subject to the provisions of Chapter 108, and the demolition of any building or structure will be subject to the provisions of Chapter 112. Any repair/rehabilitation or redevelopment of a building or structure shall also be subject to the provisions of Chapter 285 or other chapters, as applicable.
Notwithstanding any other provision contained herein, if the Code Enforcement Officer finds that there is actual and immediate danger of failure or collapse of any buildings or structures which have been determined to be unsafe so as to endanger life, such notice shall also require the building, structure or portion thereof to be vacated forthwith before any required public hearing, if necessary, and not reoccupied until the specified repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by one or both of them. In said event, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building or structure a notice: "THIS BUILDING IS UNSAFE, AND ITS USE OR OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE VILLAGE OF EAST AURORA." 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 other servants to remove such notice without written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer or for any person to enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the same.
In case the owner, agent or person in control of any unsafe building or structure cannot be found or if such owner, agent or person in control shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the notice to repair, rehabilitate or to demolish and remove said building or structure or portion thereof in accordance with Subsection C, the Code Enforcement Officer may proceed to secure, repair and/or remove, in his/her sole discretion, the unsafe buildings or structures involved in a manner consistent with this chapter and other applicable laws.
Notwithstanding any other provision contained herein to the contrary, in cases of emergency, which, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, involve imminent danger to human life or health, the Code Enforcement Officer may promptly cause such building, structure or portion thereof to be made secure and safe before any required public hearing. For this purpose, the Code Enforcement Officer may at once enter such buildings or structures or the land on which they stand, or abutting lands, buildings or structures, and secure such buildings or structures with such assistance and at such costs as may be necessary. The Code Enforcement Officer may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades, fences or such other means as may be necessary and, for this purpose, may close public or private streets or rights-of-way until any such danger has subsided.
When a building or structure has been damaged by a fire, explosion or natural disaster, it shall be the obligation of the Chief Fire Officer to notify the Code Enforcement Officer of such occurrence immediately after such occurrence.
If fire, explosion or other natural disaster shall render the building so damaged as defined in "unsafe building or structures" referenced in § 113-3 above, the owner of such building or structure shall immediately, if possible, but no later than eight hours after such occurrence, secure said building against access by unauthorized persons and shall clear the site of debris incident to the occurrence within 10 days after the occurrence.
If the owner notifies the Code Enforcement Officer of his intent to demolish the building or structure and not rebuild, the owner must apply for a demolition permit in accordance with and subject to the provisions of Chapter 112.
If the owner notifies the Code Enforcement Officer of his intent to rebuild or reconstruct the building or structure, application for a building permit must be obtained within 60 days after notice of election to rebuild. The owner shall have a total of six months to complete the rebuilding or reconstruction of the building but shall have the right to request an extension if necessary to finish the reconstruction; provided, however, that during such period the building must remain secured as to not present a hazard to the public. The Code Enforcement Officer shall grant an extension if it appears that rebuilding or reconstruction is continuing and that during such rebuilding or reconstruction the building is secured so as not to create a hazard to the public. Any extension granted by the Code Enforcement Officer shall not extend beyond one year following the election to rebuild, unless consent to a further extension is granted by the Village Board.
Where the Village Board determines that there is a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of persons and/or property unless an unsafe building or structure is immediately repaired and secured or demolished and removed, the Village Board may, by resolution, authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building or structure.
No unsafe building or structure that is 50 or more years in age shall be demolished pursuant to this chapter without first referring the proposed demolition to the Village of East Aurora Historic Preservation Commission for review. The Commission shall promptly review the possible historic significance of such building or structure and shall make a recommendation with respect to the proposed demolition. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Commission review shall not be required if the unsafe building or structure poses an imminent danger in the reasonable, good-faith judgment of the Village Board and the Code Enforcement Officer.
All expenses incurred by the Village in connection with proceedings to compel the repair and securing or demolition and removal of an unsafe building or structure and any cost of the actual repair and securing or demolition and removal shall be assessed upon the real property upon which such unsafe building or structure is located and shall be a tax lien as defined in the New York State Real Property Law and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provide for in the Village Law.
[Amended 9-19-2016 by L.L. No. 3-2016]
In addition to assessment of cost provided for in § 113-8, violations of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each day's continuance of a violation after notice shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation and shall be punishable accordingly.
If any article, chapter, section, subdivision, paragraph or provision of this chapter is adjudged to be invalid, such adjudication shall apply only to such portion thereof so expressly adjudged invalid, and the remainder of this chapter shall be deemed to be in all respects valid and effective.
The provisions of this chapter shall be effective upon filing with the office of the Department of State.