[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Hudson 8-3-1993 by L.L. No. 6-1993 (Ch. 47 of the 1973 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the City of Hudson. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as a point of congregation by transients and vandals and as sites of criminal activity. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent and insect infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. Debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the ground and not removed constitute a dangerous, unhealthy and unsightly condition. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the City of Hudson by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished or removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building or structure that is or was used, in whole or in part, for residential, business, industrial, recreational or other purposes, and shall also include any debris, rubble or parts of buildings which remain on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
- UNSAFE BUILDING
- Any building or portion thereof which:
- A. Has interior walls or other vertical structural members which list, lean or buckle to such an extent as to create or contribute to a danger of collapse of the building or any portion thereof.
- B. Exclusive of the foundation, shows damage or deterioration to 33% or more of any one or more supporting members, or shows damage or deterioration to 50% or more of the nonsupporting, enclosing or outside walls or coverings.
- C. Has improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or which the same are overloaded or have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
- D. Has been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the City of Hudson.
- E. Is so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or so utterly fails to provide the amenities essential to decent living that it is unfit for human habitation or is likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, safety or general welfare of the occupants.
- F. Has parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure the occupants, the public or other persons on or about the property.
- G. Is open at the doorways or windows or walls, making it accessible to minors or other trespassers.
- H. Is or may become a place of rodent or insect infestation.
- I. Consists of debris, rubble or parts of buildings left on the premises after demolition, reconstruction, fire or other casualty.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of any building in the City of Hudson to maintain or occupy or permit to be occupied any building which is unsafe as defined in § 101-2 of this chapter.
Any owner, occupant or person in custody of real property located within the City of Hudson who allows or permits a building to continue as an unsafe building after due notice is provided pursuant to § 101-5 shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and shall be punished as provided in § 101-10.
In the event that the Building Inspector believes that any building is or may be unsafe as defined in § 101-2 of this chapter, the Building Inspector shall make a complete inspection of the condition of said building and, if found by the Inspector to be unsafe, prepare a written report which contains a description of the premises and a statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe.
After completion of any report by the Building Inspector finding a building to be unsafe, the Building Inspector shall serve a notice upon the owner and all other persons having an interest in such premises, either personally or by registered mail, addressed to his last known address as shown by the records of the City Assessor and/or the Columbia County Clerk, and if such service is made by registered mail, such notice shall also be posted at or on the premises.
The notice shall include a copy of the written report and an order of the Building Inspector requiring said building to be repaired or removed so as to no longer be unsafe, shall provide for the time within which the owner shall commence and complete the repair and/or removal of the building and shall state the date and time of a hearing before the Building Inspector at which the owner or other person having an interest in the premises may present any evidence relevant to whether and in what manner the building is unsafe and/or how it may be made safe.
The Building Inspector shall file a copy of the notice referred to in § 101-5 in the office of the Columbia 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 the notice of pendency as therein provided, except as otherwise herein provided in this section. 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 City Attorney. The Clerk of Columbia County shall mark such notice in any record or docket thereof as canceled of record upon the presentation and filing of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.
At the time and place set for the hearing in the notice provided for in § 101-5, the owner or any person having an interest in the premises may present any relevant evidence as to whether or in what manner the building is unsafe and/or the manner by which the building shall be made safe. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Building Inspector shall confirm, modify or vacate his order.
In the event the owner of the premises does not comply with the order as confirmed or modified after the hearing, within the time specified in such confirmed or modified order, the City may cause the repair or removal of such building or structure.
All costs and expenses, including reasonable legal fees, incurred by the City in connection with any and all of the above proceedings to repair or remove any unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing said building, shall be assessed against the land on which the building is located.
If the owner shall fail to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the City within 10 days after being notified of the costs thereof by registered mail, the Building Inspector shall file, immediately preceding the time for making the annual assessment roll, a certificate of such actual cost and expense with a statement as to the property upon which such cost and expense were incurred and the building which was removed or repaired, as the case may be, with the City Assessor, who shall, in the preparation of the next assessment roll of the general City taxes, assess such amount upon such property, and the same shall be levied, collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time, under the same penalties and shall have the same lien upon the property assessed, as the general City tax and as a part thereof.
A violation of § 101-3 shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, or both. Each week such violation shall continue shall constitute a separate violation.
Where the Building Inspector has determined pursuant to § 101-4 that a building is unsafe and it reasonably appears to the Building Inspector that there is a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or property unless the unsafe building or structure is immediately repaired or removed, the Mayor may authorize the Building Inspector to immediately cause the repair or removal of such unsafe building. After the repair or removal of the unsafe building, the owner shall be afforded a hearing before the Building Inspector to be conducted under the same procedures as set forth in § 101-7, and if the order of the Mayor is confirmed, the expenses of such repair or removal shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 101-9.
The Common Council, in its discretion, may elect to apply to the Supreme Court of the State of New York for an order directing that the building be repaired or removed.
The Common Council, in its discretion, may commence a special proceeding pursuant to § 78-b of the General Municipal Law to collect the costs of demolition, including reasonable and necessary legal expenses, from the owner of the premises.