[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford 7-21-1982 by L.L. No. 2-1982; amended in its entirety 6-10-2015 by L.L. No. 5-2015. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Electrical standards — See Ch. 59.
Fire prevention and building code administration and enforcement — See Ch. 65.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 52, Buildings, Unsafe, adopted 2-17-1965 by L.L. No. 1-1965.
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of New Hartford. 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 vagrants and transients. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Town of New Hartford by requiring such unsafe buildings be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law in the Town of New Hartford."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business or industrial purpose.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of New Hartford or other such person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
A building is, or may become, dangerous or unsafe to the general public if:
It is open at the doorways making it accessible or an object of attraction to minors, vagrants and/or other trespassers.
Its 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 the middle third of its base.
Exclusive of its foundation, it shows 33% or more of damage to or deterioration of the supporting member or members, or 50% of damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting, enclosing or outside walls or covering.
It has 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.
It has been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of this Town.
It has become or is so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary, or 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 those living therein or adjacent thereto.
It has light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein, with particular reference to the requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
It has inadequate facilities for egress in cases of fire or panic, or has insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of access or egress, again referencing the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a determinant.
It has parts which have become so detached they may fail and injure members of the public or others' property.
Is or may become a place of rodent infestation.
Presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the public.
Is unfit for the purposes for which it may be lawfully used.
Upon complaint about a building or on his own volition, the Code Enforcement Officer will cause to be made or make himself an inspection thereof and report, in writing, to the Town Board his findings and recommend actions as to repair, demolition or removal.
The Town Board shall thereafter consider such report and by resolution call for a hearing on the report. That resolution, if it seems proper, will direct notice to the owner of the property as listed in the current tax rolls and any other persons that the Board may deem appropriate. The Board shall conduct the hearing, or may by order appoint a disinterested person to do so. After hearing all testimony, the Board or its appointed hearing office shall determine, in writing, if the building is unsafe and if so, whether it is to be repaired or demolished and removed.
In the event that the building or other structure shall be unsafe or dangerous under such report, the Town Board may also request the Town Attorney to make an application to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building or other structure to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or taken down and removed. The decision of the Town Board to bring such application does not waive its right to call for a hearing on the report.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous.
An order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
A statement that the securing or removal of such building shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter, unless for good cause shown such time shall be extended.
A date, time, and place for the hearing, which shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of service of the notice.
A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of demolition, including legal expenses.
Said notice shall be served:
By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner, executor, administrator, agent, lessee or any person having a vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building as shown by the records of the Receiver of Taxes or of the County Clerk; or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing such owner, by certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of such notice directed to his last known address as shown by the above records; and
By personal service of a copy of such notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises if such person can be reasonably found; and
By securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the unsafe building.
A copy of the notice served as provided herein shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Oneida.
If the owner fails or neglects to comply with the order of the Town Board within 20 working days (Monday through Friday, excluding holidays), after service as provided in § 52-8, the Town Board shall order the repair or the demolition and removal of the building.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, shall be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided in Town Law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety or health of any person or properly, unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Code Enforcement Officer to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 52-11 hereof.
The surveyor appointed as provided herein shall be paid reasonable compensation as shall be fixed by the Town Board.
The transfer of title by the owner of premises upon which an unsafe building or structure is located shall be no defense to any proceedings under this chapter.
Any person upon whom an order as provided in this chapter has been served who fails, neglects or refuses to place such unsafe building or structure in a safe condition as designated in such order or who shall resist or obstruct the Code Enforcement Officer or any other Town employee in carrying out the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a violation pursuant to the Penal Law of the State of New York, punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day in which such offense continues shall constitute a separate violation.