[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cheektowaga 12-4-2006 by L.L. No. 4-2006. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Cheektowaga. 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 Cheektowaga by requiring that such unsafe buildings be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Cheektowaga."
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 Supervising Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Cheektowaga, his designees or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- UNSAFE BUILDING
- All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "unsafe buildings":
Those whose 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 of the middle third of its base.
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 the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same is overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Cheektowaga.
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, or 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 to those living therein.
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of humans who live or may live therein.
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of escape.
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the Town of Cheektowaga.
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, Zoning Law of the Town of Cheektowaga or any other applicable law or ordinance of the Town of Cheektowaga.
Any building or structure which remains vacant and unattended continuously for a period of one year or longer without adequate safeguards to prevent unauthorized entry.
When, in his/her own opinion or upon receipt of information that a building is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public; is open at the doorways and windows, making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers; is or may become a place of rodent infestation; presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public; or is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used, the Supervising Code Enforcement Officer shall cause or make an inspection thereof and report, in writing, to the Town Board his/her findings and recommendations in regard to its repair or demolition and removal.
The Town Board shall hereafter consider such report and, by resolution, determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that such building is unsafe and dangerous and order its repair, if the same can be safely repaired, or its demolition and removal and further order that a notice be served upon the persons and in the manner provided herein.
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 will commence within 30 days of 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 a hearing before the Town Board in relation to such dangerous and unsafe building, which hearing 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 securing or 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 securing or 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 a copy of such notice directed to his last known address as shown by the above records;
By personal service of a copy of such notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying such 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 Erie.
In the event of the refusal or neglect of the person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board and after the hearing, the Town Board shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building or structure either by Town employees or contract. Except in an emergency as provided in § 75-11 hereof, any contract for demolition and removal of a building in excess of $5,000 shall be awarded by 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 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 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 property unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired and secured or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Supervising 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 § 75-10 hereof.
Should any section or provision of this chapter be or be held invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole or any part thereof other than said invalid or unconstitutional part.
Upon adoption of the Town Board, this chapter shall take effect upon its filing with the Secretary of State.