[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oneonta as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-2-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
It is the intention of the City of Oneonta Common Council to protect the public health, safety and welfare by authorizing the establishment of procedures to identify, abate and eliminate the presence of blight upon properties throughout the City.
Scope. The provisions of this article shall apply to all properties in the City of Oneonta, residential, commercial and otherwise, and constitute the requirements and standards for such property.
Applicability. The provisions of this article shall be deemed to supplement applicable state and local laws, ordinances, codes and regulations. Nothing in this article shall be deemed to abolish, impair, supersede or replace existing remedies of the City, county or state or existing requirements of any other provision of local laws or ordinances of the City, county or state laws and regulations. In case of conflict between any provisions of this article and any applicable state or local law, ordinance, code or regulation, the more restrictive or stringent provision or requirement shall prevail.
For purposes of this article the following words shall have the following meanings:
- BLIGHTED PROPERTY
- An improved or vacant property which meets or exceeds a point value of 100 points as set forth within this article.
- BLIGHTED PROPERTY INVENTORY LIST
- A list containing properties within the City which possess an accumulation of blight conditions equaling or exceeding a point value of 100 points.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- An official charged with the enforcement and/or administration of this article.
- Any mark on the face or surface of, disfigurement, injury, damage or alteration to the appearance of the property without the express permission of the owner or person or entity in control thereof.
- Extreme disrepair such that a structure or dwelling unit or commercial space is unfit or unsafe for habitation or occupancy.
- Any inscription, mark or design which has been written, etched, scratched, painted or drawn or otherwise visible upon premises.
- JUNKED VEHICLE
- An unregistered motor vehicle not suitable for operation.
- LEGAL OCCUPANCY
- Occupancy that exists by virtue of fee ownership, a bona fide lease agreement, a rent receipt or, if necessary, a utility statement, and which occupancy is in compliance with federal, state local laws, local zoning, local housing, and all other pertinent rules, regulations and codes.
- An area of the City of Oneonta defined by its residents and its distinctive characteristics.
- REGISTRATION FEE
- An annual fee imposed upon properties which are listed on the blighted property inventory list.
- RESTORATION AGREEMENT
- A legal and binding agreement between the City and a given property owner, wherein said property owner proposes to complete specific repairs and/or improvements in order to resolve conditions existing on his or her property as identified by a Code Enforcement Official in accordance with the definition of "blighted property." Such repairs and/or improvements shall be outlined on an explicitly fixed timeline and as such will be offered a full exemption from the annual registration fee. The City Manager, upon recommendation of the Code Enforcement Office, shall be authorized to execute such a restoration agreement.
- Any space within a building that is or can be rented by or to a single person or entity for his/her/its sole use and is intended to be a single and distinct space.
- A period of 60 days or longer during which a building or structure, or part thereof, or land is not legally occupied.
- VACANT PARCEL
- A parcel of land with no structure(s) thereon.
The following conditions shall be factors in evaluating whether or not a property is designated as a blighted property:
A determination by a Code Enforcement Official, the Engineering Department, Fire Chief, or City Attorney that the property is in a condition which poses a serious and immediate threat to the safety, health, and/or general welfare of the community. (50 points).
The owner of the property has been issued summonses and/or has been prosecuted for violation(s) of the Code of the City of Oneonta, and such violations have not been corrected within 30 days. (50 points).
The property has attracted or been an instrument of illegal, noxious or deleterious activity as defined in Chapter 184, Nuisances, and/or in common law. (50 points).
A determination has been made by the Fire Chief that the conditions upon the property constitute an imminent fire hazard. (50 points).
The property is creating a substantial interference with the lawful use and/or reasonable enjoyment of other space within a structure/building or within the surrounding neighborhood. (50 points).
The property has been declared unsafe by the City of Oneonta Board of Public Service. (50 Points)
The property is registered on the City of Oneonta Vacant Property Registry. (25 Points)
The property is determined to be unmaintained based upon evidence of the persistent and continued existence of the following deleterious conditions:
Boarded windows, doors, entryways or exits. (5 points)
Broken or unsecured windows. (10 points)
Broken or unsecured doors, entryways or exits. (10 points)
Excessive litter or debris. (10 points)
Overgrown grass at least 10 inches or higher or other overgrown vegetation or shrubbery. (10 points)
More than one unregistered and ungaraged motor vehicle. (10 points)
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair:
Roof (10 points);
Gutters (5 points);
Siding/shingles (10 points);
Chimney (10 points);
Shutters (5 points);
Accessory structures, including but not limited to, decks, sheds, porches, pools, pool houses or cabanas, garages, carports, storage units, front and rear porches, outside statuary, fish ponds. (15 points)
Storage of junk vehicles. (25 points)
Damaged, unsightly, unsecured or unpermitted signage or awnings. (15 points)
Presence of graffiti. (10 points)
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair fencing. (10 points)
Broken, unsecured or in disrepair outdoor lighting fixtures. (5 points)
Broken, exposed or hazardously utilized electrical wires, electrical equipment or extension cords. (15 points)
Unfinished construction. (20 points)
Damaged, dead or fallen trees or limbs. (10 points)
Evidence of fire damage to the property which has not been repaired or restored. (10 points)
Peeling or deteriorated paint. (5 points)
Presence of stagnant water. (10 points)
Open or unsecured swimming pools, wells, cesspools or cisterns. (15 points)
Presence of vermin, rodent harborage and infestation. (30 points)
Presence of any violation identified within this article. (20 points)
Presence within/upon an outdoor area of the improper storage of:
Refrigerator, washing machine, sink, stove, heater, boiler, tank, other household appliances, boxes or indoor furniture for a period in excess of 72 consecutive hours. (10 points)
Lumber, construction materials, dirt, debris, trash, garbage or uncovered refuse cans, accumulated refuse or garbage in covered refuse cans which is not timely or properly disposed of. (10 points)
No owner, agent, tenant, business entity, voluntary association, nonprofit organization, or person in control of real property located within the City of Oneonta shall allow, create, maintain or cause to be created or maintained, any blighted property.
The Board of Public Service shall be charged with reviewing complaints and conducting investigations in order to determine if blight exists at the subject property.
Once a property has been determined to be blighted, Code Enforcement shall prepare and send out notification letters to each property owner. Such notice shall be served by personal service upon the owner or person in charge of the affected building or structure; or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing said owner such notice by means of certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address as shown by the records of the City Assessor; and by securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the door of the affected building or structure.
The notice must contain a statement of the date(s) upon which an inspection was conducted on the property to determine blight, the address of the blighted property, the specific nature of the blight, a copy of this article, the point rating review of the premises, the required annual registration fees and the property's placement on the blighted property inventory list. Said notice shall further notify the owner that if no reasonable proof is offered establishing the property does not constitute a blighted property, said annual registration fee shall be added to the property tax bill for the premises after 30 days of receipt of said notice.
Any notice to qualifying property owners must also contain an offer of the opportunity to enter into a restoration agreement with the City.
Registration fees. After 30 days from the date of notice absent proof to the contrary the following registration fees shall be imposed:
Property owner qualifications. In order to qualify to enter into a restoration agreement, the property owner must:
Restoration agreement contents. All restoration agreements shall include a definite plan for the resolution of any conditions existing on the blighted premises/corresponding property as identified by a Code Enforcement Official in accordance with the definition of "blighted property" defined herein.
Such repairs and/or improvements shall be outlined on an explicitly fixed timeline.
Registration fee exemption. In consideration for entering into a restoration agreement with the City, the property owner will be offered a full exemption from the annual registration fee(s).
Penalties for noncompliance with restoration agreement terms. Any property owner who does not complete the repairs and/or improvements outlined in a restoration agreement within the established timeline will be subject to the actions described in "Blighted Property Abatement; Enforcement."
Any entity and/or individual that purchases a property registered on the City blighted property inventory list may be offered certain incentives from the City.
All incentives are at the discretion of the Code Enforcement Official. The rating of the purchased property, the location of the purchased property, the degree of repair and development necessary, and the impact of the proposed project on the City's economy, are factors to be considered in the grant of an exemption.
Incentives may include, but are not limited to, 25% reduction of certain permit and/or application fees to be collected by the Code Enforcement Office and/or an acceleration of the processing of certain permits as issued by the Code Enforcement Office.
Applicants must demonstrate the ability to pay for their proposed projects either through commitment letters for loans obtained from a commercial lender of their selection or through the availability of developer funds.
The environmental condition of the project site(s) and the applicant's liability and other insurance coverage must be considered by the City before the approval of any incentives.
The time frame applies to the time within which a property owner/developer submits an application with the City of Oneonta Building Department.
"Application" is defined as any building permit application, or an application to initiate an administrative process (such administrative processes include but are not limited to the application for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and/or site plan review).
Failure to comply with a restoration agreement. Whenever the owners of a property shall fail to comply with an executed restoration agreement, the Board of Public Service may authorize the work to be done and shall provide for the cost thereof to be paid from general City funds as directed by resolution of the Common Council, pursuant to the authority provided under this Code. Additionally, failure to comply with an executed restoration agreement shall result in the placement or retention of the property on the blighted property inventory list and the imposition of the corresponding annual registration fees applicable for each year that the offending conditions exist or remain.
Authority to abate in the absence of a restoration agreement. In the event that an owner and/or occupant of such land or premises shall fail to abate any violation as described in the definition of "blighted property" contained herein, the Board of Public Service, after consideration at a public hearing, may declare said premises to be a nuisance and thereafter, the Code Enforcement Office or a contractor retained by the City of Oneonta shall have the authority to enter onto such premises where such violation exists, to remedy such violation and to charge the cost or expense of such remediation against the owner and establish a lien in the manner provided herein.
Assessment of costs and expenses, liens. All costs and expenses incurred by the City in connection with the abatement of a violation of this article shall be provided to the Engineering Department. The total costs and expenses shall then be determined by the City Attorney and shall be reported to the City Office of Finance, and that amount shall be assessed against the property, and the expense so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the premises on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged.
Persistent or ongoing blighted properties. Any property previously designated by the Board of Public Service as a "blighted property" and placed upon the blighted property inventory list wherein blighted conditions continue to persist, following a public hearing and upon a determination by the Board of Public Service, will thereafter be deemed as a persistent blighted property, assessed the annual blighted property assessment fee, take any and all necessary actions to abate the blighted conditions, upon notice to the property owner by the Office of the City Attorney, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address as shown by the records of the City Assessor.