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1325.04 UNSAFE STRUCTURES; VIOLATION AND REMEDIAL NOTICES; COST RECOVERY.
(a) Legislative Findings. Council finds that:
(1) Structures which are vacant and open to entry at doors, windows or other points accessible to the general public:
A. Attract children to enter;
B. Become harborage for vermin;
C. Serve as temporary abode for derelicts, vagrants and criminals; and
D. Are likely to be damaged by vandals or set ablaze by arsonists;
E. Unkept grounds surrounding such vacant, open structures invite the dumping of garbage and rubbish thereupon;
F. Such vacant, open structure often become dilapidated because they are not repaired by the owners or persons in control of the structures;
G. Structures that are vacant and open to entry depress the market value of surrounding properties.
(2) Structures in some areas of this City are situated on narrow lots and in close proximity to one another, thereby increasing the risk of conflagration and spread of insect and rodent infestation.
(3) The existence of certain hazardous conditions may require a structure to be vacated; such conditions include but are not limited to:
A. Danger of structural collapse;
B. Inadequate heat or use of dangerous heating mechanism;
C. Danger of fire; and
D. Lack of plumbing in safe working order.
(4) Structures that remain boarded for an extended period of time contribute to blight, cause a decrease in neighboring property values, create targets for arson, and lead to the cancellation of homeowners' insurance for neighboring property owners.
(b) Declaration of Nuisance. All buildings or structures which are injurious to or a menace to the public health, safety or welfare, or are structurally unsafe, unsanitary or not provided with adequate safe egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or which are vacant and open to public entry, or which are otherwise dangerous to human life or injurious to the public, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to the public health, safety or welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment, are, severally, for the purposes of the Building Code, declared to be "unsafe structures". All such unsafe structures or conditions are hereby declared to be public nuisances. The public nuisance shall be abated by correction of the violations to the minimum standards of the most recently adopted Codified Ordinances of Aurora, including the Regional Dwelling House Code as adopted therein, applicable City rules and regulations, the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code including the Ohio Building Code, or by demolition.
(c) Effective Boarding Pending Rehabilitation.
(1) Permits. Pending the correction of the violations to the minimum standards of the Codified Ordinances of Aurora, Ohio, 1992, including the Regional Dwelling House Code as adopted therein, applicable to City rules and regulations, the Ohio Revised Code, and the Ohio Administrative Code, including the Ohio Building Code, the owner of a structure may secure the structure through effective boarding. In order to effectively board the structure, the owner of the structure shall apply, within seven days of receiving a notice of violation, to the Division of Building and Housing for a permit to board. The Division of Building and Housing shall review the condition of the structure, determine if it can be effectively boarded, and grant or deny the owner's permit to board, setting forth special requirements, if any, necessary for compliance with minimum standards for effective boarding. The owner shall effectively board the structure within seven days of the issuance of a boarding permit, or within such other time limit that the Building Inspector deems appropriate. Structures which are boarded without first obtaining a boarding permit shall continue to be considered public nuisances subject to demolition. Within thirty days of the issuance of a permit to board, the owner of the structure shall apply for a rehabilitation permit from the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector may grant an extension of time for acquiring a rehabilitation permit upon the owner's written request and for good cause shown. Failure of the owner to obtain a rehabilitation permit subsequent to effective boarding will result in the structure being deemed a public nuisance, and scheduled for demolition.
(2) Materials. The effective boarding of a structure shall include, but not be limited to, doors, windows, or other areas of the structure open to ingress and egress and to weather elements at any and all levels of the structure. Such openings shall be secured by plywood, not less than one-half inch thick, or other material of equal strength, cut and fit into the openings. Openings in excess of forty-eight inches wide shall be framed by two inch by four inch lumber and plywood, or equivalent material fastened twenty-four inches on center onto frame. The plywood or equivalent material shall be fastened into the openings by screw type nails or lag screws.
(3) Maintenance. Upon effectively boarding the structure, the owner shall monitor and maintain the structure and its surrounding premises in a safe, sanitary and secured condition. Any portion of the exterior structure which is deemed to be potentially hazardous due to deteriorated conditions, or to be structurally unsound shall be removed or treated in such a manner so as to eliminate the hazard. The exterior premises shall be maintained free for high weeds, debris, junk vehicles, and conditions that may provide harborage for rodents. Failure of the owner to properly maintain the building in the above condition, will result in the structure being deemed a public nuisance, and scheduled for demolition.
(4) Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation of the structure shall commence within ninety days of receiving a rehabilitation permit. If rehabilitation of the effectively boarded structure does not commence within this time period, or if the rehabilitation permit is otherwise invalidated or revoked, then the Building Inspector may declare that the nuisance has not been abated and schedule the structure for demolition.
(d) Examination and Condemnation.
(1) The Building Inspector is authorized to examine or cause to be examined every building or other structure reported to be unsafe or damaged or injurious to or a menace to the public, and shall make a written record of such examination.
(2) The Building Inspector may designate as a public nuisance those particular structures or conditions found to be unsafe pursuant to subsection (b) hereof.
(3) The Building Inspector may also declare that a nuisance structure which, due to its advanced state of dilapidation, substantial fire damage or structural infirmity, is an immediate hazard to human life or health, may only be abated by immediate repair and rehabilitation to the minimum standards of the most recent adopted Codified Ordinances of Aurora, Ohio, 1992, applicable City rules and regulations, the Ohio Revised Code, and Ohio Administrative Code including the Ohio Building Code, or by demolition.
(4) Whenever the Building Inspector finds a vacant structure open to entry at doors, windows or other points accessible to the general public, he may cause the structure to be secured at those points of entry. The Building Inspector shall be authorized at any time to enter upon the premises to secure the structure in order to lessen the severity of the public nuisance. In securing such structure, the Building Inspector may call upon any department, division or bureau of the City or whatever assistance may be necessary, or may, by private contract, secure such structure. Such securing shall not be deemed to constitute "effective boarding" pursuant to subsection (c) hereof, and it does not abate the nuisance condition of an unsafe structure, as declared pursuant to subsection (d)(2) hereof, unless so declared in writing by the Building Inspector. Subsequent notice, issued pursuant to subsection (e)(1) below, shall include the fact that the Building Inspector has found it necessary to take appropriate action to secure the structure.
(e) Notice of Violation.
(1) Whenever the Building Inspector finds a building, structure or portion thereof to be unsafe and determines it to be a public nuisance, he shall forward by certified mail to the owner and agent or person in control of such building, structure or portion thereof and to any mortgagee of record a written notice of violation stating the defects thereof. Such notice of violation shall require the owner within a stated time to abate the nuisance condition of such structure by correction of the violations, and defects to the minimum standards of the most recently adopted Codified Ordinances of Aurora, Ohio, 1992, including the Regional Dwelling House Code as adopted therein, applicable City rules and regulations, the Ohio Revised Code, and Ohio Administrative Code including the Ohio Building Code, or by demolition and removal of the building, structure or portion thereof.
(2) If the person to whom such notice and order is addressed is not found after a reasonable and diligent search, then such notice and order shall be sent by certified mail to his tax mailing address, if available, as indicated on the County tax duplicate and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed legal service of such notice.
(3) An owner or agent or person in control of such structure or building, a mortgagee of record, or a lien holder of record who has received a notice of violation or a notice to make corrections to the minimum standards of the most recently adopted Codified Ordinances of Aurora, Ohio, 1992, including the Regional Dwelling House Code as adopted therein, applicable City rules and regulations, the Ohio Revised Code, and Ohio Administrative Code including the Ohio Building Code, or to demolish and remove, as provided for in this section, shall inform prospective purchasers, vendees, grantees, assignees, lessees, or land contractors thereof of such notice of violation or the notice to make corrections, or to demolish and remove. No person shall transfer to a vendee, grantee, assignee, lessee, land contractee or any other transferee any interest in a building, structure or portion thereof after receiving a notice of violation to make corrections, or to demolish and remove the same, without first providing the transferee with a copy of such notice.
(f) Vacating Buildings and Prohibiting Use. The Building Inspector may also require in the notice issued pursuant to subsection (e)(1) hereof that the building, structure or portion thereof be vacated and not reoccupied or used until the specified repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector may cause to be posted at each entrance to such building or structure a notice as follows:
"THIS STRUCTURE IS IN A DANGEROUS CONDITION AND HAS BEEN CONDEMNED AND ITS USE HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE BUILDING INSPECTOR AND HOUSING".
Such notice shall remain posted until the required corrections are made or demolition is completed. No person shall remove such notice without written permission of the Building Inspector, not shall any person use or enter the building or structure except for the purpose of making the required corrections or demolishing or effectively boarding the building or structure, or securing the structure pursuant to subsection (d)(4) hereof.
(g) Right to Appeal. The owner, agent or person in control shall have a right to appeal from the notice and decision of the Building Inspector as provided in this section and appear before the Board of Building Standards and Building Code Board of Appeals at a specified time and place to show cause why he should not comply with such notice. Any notice served by the Commissioner shall automatically become a final order if a written notice of appeal before the Board is not filed in the office of the Board within the time set forth in such notice from the Building Inspector. In the absence of an appeal, all actions taken pursuant thereto shall constitute a valid exercise of the police powers of the City.
(h) Noncompliance with Notice.
(1) In case the owner, agent or person in control fails, neglects or refuses to comply with the notice to repair or rehabilitate, or to demolish a remove a public nuisance or unsafe building, structure or portion thereof, the Building Inspector may make appropriate action to demolish and remove an unsafe structure, or may advise the Director of Law of the facts in the case, who, in turn, may institute appropriate action in the courts to cause correction of the violations and defects, or demolition and removal, or effective boarding of such building or structure pending rehabilitation. The securing of rehabilitation permits for such building or structure shall not in and of itself bar the Building Inspector from taking action to abate the nuisance.
(2) The Building Inspector may, with respect to any condemned structure, also take appropriate action to effectively board such structure, or to secure it pursuant to subsection (d)(4) hereof. The Building Inspector shall specifically state in writing his findings with respect to such structure, and shall determine whether to secure or to effectively board, based upon factors which may include the following: the distance of the structure from neighboring structures, the type of structure, the extent to which the structure is secured, the likelihood of vandalism or arson, the extent of the deterioration, the economic likelihood of eventual rehabilitation of the structure, or cost of securing or effectively boarding the structure. Except as provided in subsection (i) hereof, the Building Inspector shall give written notice informing the owner and agent, or person in control, mortgagee of record and lien holders of record of the City's intention to demolish and remove the unsafe building or structure at least thirty days prior to such intended action by the City. Such notice may be effective concurrently with the violation notice. A condemned structure, once effectively boarded by the owner pending rehabilitation that subsequently becomes open to entry, may then be demolished and removed, subject to the Building Inspector giving written notice as stated in subsection (e)(1) hereof and this subsection (h), upon a finding by the Building Inspector that the structure can no longer be effectively boarded.
(i) Cases of Emergency. In cases of emergency which, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, involve immediate danger to human life or health, the Building Inspector shall promptly cause the building, structure or portion thereof to be made safe or removed. For this purpose he may at once enter such structure or land on which it stands, or any abutting land or structure, with such assistance and at such cost as he deems necessary. He may order adjacent structures and premises to be vacated, and protect the public by an appropriate fence or such other means as may be necessary, and for this purpose may close a public or private way.
(1) Any and all expenses or costs incurred under this section for the removal, repair, alteration, securing or boarding of a building or structure shall be paid by the owner of such building or structure. If the owner fails to pay for the costs within thirty days after receipt from the Director of Service of a statement of the charges and costs incurred therein, the Director may certify such amount to the Director of Finance. The Director of Finance shall make written return to the County Auditor of the action under this section with a statement of the charges for services, the amount paid for the performing of such labor and a proper description of the premises. Certification to the Count Auditor is for the purpose of making expenses and costs a lien upon such lands, to be collected as other taxes and returned to the City with the General Fund, with special accounting thereof in accordance with Ohio R.C. 715.261.
(2) Notwithstanding the method of collection set forth in this subsection, the Director of Law may take any action necessary to collect the costs of demolition or boarding from the owner or other responsible party.
(Ord. 1992-218. Passed 11-25-92; Ord 2003-059. Passed 6-12-03.)