[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of East Fishkill 5-13-1982 by L.L. No. 3-1982. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of East Fishkill. Buildings and structures may become unsafe to the public by the reason of damage by fire, the elements, vandalism, 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, increasing the danger of fire. A dilapidated building may also become 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 East Fishkill by requiring that such unsafe buildings be secured, repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known and referred to as the "Unsafe Buildings Law" of the Town of East Fishkill. All unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be illegal and shall be abated by repair and rehabilitation or by demolition in accordance with the procedures of this chapter and of Subdivision 16 of § 130 of the Town Law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof in a residential, business or industrial section.
- All buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe, unsanitary or not provided with adequate egress, or which constitute a fire hazard or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment.
When in the opinion of the Building Inspector a building is or may imminently become dangerous or unsafe to the public, he shall cause to be made or make an inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings on the condition of the building and recommendations in regard to the building's repair or demolition and removal.
The Town Board shall review the Building Inspector's report, and if the Board determines that the report justifies a finding that the building is unsafe and dangerous it shall make such finding and state therein the facts on which such finding is based, and the particulars in which the building is unsafe.
Upon making such finding, the Town Board shall further order that the owner remedy the unsafe condition by repair or removal of the building and state the steps necessary to properly abate the unsafe condition by either making the building safe and secure by repair, or demolishing and removing it. The Town Board shall not order a building demolished unless it may not reasonably or practically be repaired and safeguarded to an extent to render it safe and nondangerous.
The order shall further state the time within which such repair or removal must commence and be completed. The time allowed shall be reasonable under the circumstances.
The order shall contain a legal description of the property.
The order must further state that a hearing on the matter will be held before the Town Board, at which time the owner of the unsafe building shall have the opportunity to be heard.
The order shall further contain a finding of the Town Board that in the event the owner fails or refuses to comply with the order of the Town Board to repair and secure, or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board will provide for its repair and safeguarding or demolition and removal, as may be warranted by the circumstances, and will assess and collect all costs and expenses incurred by the town in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including legal expenses and the costs of actually removing said building or structure, against the land on which it is located.
The town shall cause notice of the Town Board's action, and a copy of the findings and order to be served on the owner of the building as hereinbelow set forth. The notice shall also state the date, time and place that the Board will hold a hearing on the matter, and shall state that the owner of the building, or his agent shall have an opportunity to be heard.
The hearing shall be held not less than seven days after service of the notice.
Notice shall be served as follows: The notice herein shall be served on the owner or some one of the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in same, either personally or by registered mail, addressed to the last known address, if any, of the owner or some one of the owner's executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in same, as shown by the records of the receiver of taxes and/or in the office of the County Clerk or County Register. If such service is made by registered mail, a copy of such notice shall be posted on the premises. If service is made by registered mail, service shall be deemed complete three days after mailing. Personal service shall be complete upon delivery to any of the persons above listed.
A copy of the notice shall be filed with the County Clerk of Dutchess County in the same manner as the notice of pendency pursuant to Article 65 of the CPLR and shall have the same effect as a notice of pendency as therein provided, except as otherwise hereinafter provided in this subsection. The filed notice 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 Town Attorney. The County Clerk shall mark such notice and 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 date, time and place set forth in the notice, the Town Board shall hold a hearing on the matter.
At the hearing, the owner shall be fully heard on all issues presented in the matter and shall have the right to present documentary evidence, and the statements of any person or person on his behalf. The owner shall, on request, be provided a copy of the Building Inspector's report. The Board may also allow the Building Inspector or any other person to be heard.
After the hearing, the Board shall consider any matter raised at the hearing, and shall either confirm its prior findings and order, or may modify or rescind them on such terms as may be just. Any such modification or rescission, and the terms thereof, shall be set forth in the minutes of the Town Board, and a copy of any such modification or rescission shall be delivered to the owner either personally or by registered mail, as set forth in § 87-6C.
After the hearing and after expiration of the time set forth in the notice to the owner in which to commence repair or removal work, and if it appears that the owner has failed or refused to comply with the order to repair or remove, then the Town Board shall provide for the safeguarding, repair or demolition and removal or such building or structure either by town employees or by contract. Except in an emergency, as provided in § 87-10 hereof, any contract for demolition and removal of a building in excess of $5,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
All expenses incurred by the town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including legal expenses and 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 Article 15 of the Town Law of the State of New York 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 repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including legal expenses and 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 Article 15 of the Town Law of the State of New York for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.