City of Mount Vernon, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon 7-1-1946 as Article 21 of the City of Mount Vernon Building Code; as amended. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Abatement of nuisances — See Ch. 80.
Boilers and other equipment — See Ch. 98.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 120.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 131.
Housing standards — See Ch. 149.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 226.
Zoning — See Ch. 267.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
UNSAFE BUILDINGS
All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "unsafe buildings":
A. 
Those which list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle of the third of the base of the structural part so listing.
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 walls or coverings.
C. 
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which these are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength for the purpose used.
D. 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other cause so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, or morals or the general health and welfare of the occupant or of the people of the City of Mount Vernon.
E. 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
F. 
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who are or may live therein.
G. 
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic, or those having insufficient stairways, fire escapes or other means of communication, or of light or ventilation.
H. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
I. 
Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, moral, safety or general welfare of the people of the City of Mount Vernon.
J. 
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of this chapter or of any provision of the Fire Prevention Code[1] or of the other ordinances of this City.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 131, Fire Prevention.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Commissioner in ordering repair, vacation or demolition.
A. 
If the unsafe building can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
B. 
If the unsafe building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
C. 
In any case where an unsafe building is 50% damaged or decayed, or deteriorated from its original value or structure, it shall be demolished; and in cases where a building or structure cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be demolished. In all cases where an unsafe building is a fire hazard, existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any ordinance of this City, it shall be demolished.
All unsafe buildings within the terms of § 106-1 are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore and hereafter provided.
The Commissioner, among other things, shall:
A. 
Inspect or cause to be inspected semiannually all public buildings, schools, halls, churches, theatres, hotels, multiple dwellings, commercial, manufacturing or loft buildings for the purpose of determining whether any conditions exist which render such places an unsafe building within the terms of § 106-1.
B. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which complaints are filed by any person to the effect that such building, wall or structure is or may by existing in violation of this chapter.
C. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure, repaired as hereinafter provided for, by the Fire or Police Departments as probably existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
D. 
Notice.
[Amended 1-13-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011, approved 2-23-2011]
(1) 
Serve written notice upon the owner and all other persons having an interest in such property or structure, by either personal service or by registered mail, addressed to his last known address as shown by the records of the Assessor or the Comptroller and/or in the office of the County Clerk or county register containing a description of the premises, a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous and an order of the Commissioner of Buildings requiring same to be changed, altered, repaired, vacated or demolished within 30 days; and if such service is to be made by registered mail, for the posting of a copy of such notice on the premises.
(2) 
Provide for the filing a copy of such notice in the office of the Westchester County Clerk, which notice shall be filed by such Clerk in the same manner as a notice of pendency 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. 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 Corporation Counsel. Westchester County shall mark such notice and any record or docket thereof as cancelled of record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
E. 
Set forth in the notice provided for in Subsection D above there shall be a description of the building, wall or structure deemed unsafe, a statement of the particulars which make a building, wall or structure an unsafe building and an order requiring it to be put in such condition as to comply with the terms of this chapter within such length of time, not exceeding 30 days, as is reasonable.
F. 
Place a notice on all unsafe buildings reading as follows:
"This building has been found to be an unsafe building by the Commissioner of Buildings. This notice is to remain on this building (or structure) until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given to its owner, occupant, mortgagee or lessee. It is unlawful to remove this notice until the work ordered is complied with."
G. 
Report to the Corporation Counsel the names of all persons failing, within a reasonable time, to comply with the notice provided for in the Subsections D and E, or who remove the notice provided for in Subsection F hereof.
H. 
Additional duties:
[Added 1-13-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011, approved 2-23-2011]
(1) 
Preside over a hearing, notice of which and time and place thereof to be specified in the notice to repair or demolish served upon the owner and such persons having an interest in the property or structure as is herein prescribed.
(2) 
Provide for the removal of such building or structure by the City in the event such owner fails to or refuses to repair or remove the same within the time provided.
(3) 
Provide for the assessment of all costs and expenses incurred by the City in connection with the proceedings to repair or remove such building or structure, including the cost of actually removing the same, against the land on which such building or structure is located.
(4) 
The powers conferred by this section shall be in addition to all other powers conferred upon cities in relation to the same subject matter. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to amend, repeal, modify or affect any existing local law, ordinance or provision of any charter or administrative code, or to restrict or limit any power otherwise conferred on any city by law with respect to the subject matter to which this section relates.
I. 
If the owner, occupant, mortgagee or lessee fails to comply with the order provided for in Subsection D hereof, within five days, the Commissioner may cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished as the facts may warrant under the standards hereinbefore provided for in § 106-2 hereof, and with the assistance of the Corporation Counsel shall cause the costs of such repair, vacation or demolition to be charged against the land on which the building or structure existed, as a municipal lien, or cause such costs to be added to the tax roll as an assessment or to be levied as a special tax against the land upon which the building or structure stands or did stand, or to be recovered in a suit at law against the owner; except in cases where such procedure is desirable and any delay thereby caused will not be dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the City of Mount Vernon. The Commissioner shall notify the Corporation Counsel to take legal action to force the owner to make all necessary repairs or to vacate or demolish the building or structure.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Commissioner shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such unsafe building. The costs of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 106-4.
The Corporation Counsel, among other things shall:
A. 
Prosecute all persons failing to comply with the terms of the notices and orders provided for herein in § 106-4.
B. 
Appear at all hearings before the Commissioner in regards to unsafe buildings.
C. 
Bring suit to collect all municipal liens, assessments or costs incurred by the Commissioner in repairing or causing unsafe buildings to be vacated or demolished.
In cases, except emergency cases, where the owner, occupant, lessee or mortgagee is absent from the City of Mount Vernon, or the Commissioner is unable to have served upon them the notice and order provided for in § 106-4, the Commissioner shall send such notice by registered mail to the owner, occupant, mortgagee or lessee at the last known address, and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the unsafe building to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service.
No officer, agent or employee of the City of Mount Vernon 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 City of Mount Vernon, as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter, shall be defended by the Corporation Counsel until the final determination of the proceedings thereon.
The Chief of the Fire Department shall make a report, in writing, to the Commissioner of Buildings of all buildings or structures which are, may be or are suspected to be unsafe buildings within the terms of this chapter. Such reports shall be delivered to the Commissioner of Buildings within 24 hours of the notice of discovery of such building or structure by any employee of the Fire Department.
The Chief Inspector shall make a report, in writing, to the Commissioner of Buildings of any buildings or structures which are, may be or are suspected to be unsafe buildings within the terms of this chapter. Such reports shall be delivered to the Commissioner of Buildings within 24 hours of notice of the discovery of such building or structure by any employee of the Police Department.
A. 
When a building or structure, or part thereof, is in an unsafe condition so that life or public safety is endangered thereby, the Commissioner may order and require the inmates and occupants to vacate the same forthwith. He may, when necessary for the public safety, temporarily close sidewalks, streets, buildings, structures and places adjacent to such building or structure and prohibit them from being used. The Fire Chief and Chief Inspector, when called upon by the Commissioner of Buildings to cooperate, shall assist in the enforcement of such orders or requirements.
B. 
Laborers and materials. For the purposes of complying with the provisions of this section the Commissioner shall employ such labor and materials as may be necessary to perform the work as speedily as possible.