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(A) Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
COMMITTEE. The Mayor and Town Council.
DWELLING. Any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used. The word DWELLING includes an outhouse and appurtenances belonging thereto not usually enjoined therewith.
DWELLING UNIT. A building or that portion of a building arrangement, designed or constructed for the use of one family as a dwelling place.
OWNER. The record holder of the title.
PARTIES IN INTEREST. All individuals, associations, corporations and others, including mortgagees, who have interests of record in a dwelling or dwelling unit and any who are in possession of a dwelling or dwelling unit.
PUBLIC AUTHORITY. Any authority or any officer of any department of the town, county or state relating to health, fire or building regulations or to other activities concerning dwellings or dwelling units in the town.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.010)
(B) Intent. The Town Council finds and declares that there exist within the corporate limits of the town, dwellings and dwelling units which are unfit for human habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities, lack of ventilation, rendering the dwellings and dwelling units unsafe or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the town.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.020)
(C) Duties of Committee generally. The duties of the Committee shall be:
(1) To formulate policies for the effectuation of this section;
(2) To administer oaths and examine witnesses; and
(3) To hear testimony, make findings and issue orders thereon in all cases of disagreement between the owner, or his or her duly authorized agent, and the rehabilitation director.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.030)
(D) Other powers of Committee generally. The Committee, in addition to the powers and duties elsewhere prescribed by the terms of this section, shall have the following powers:
(1) To investigate the dwelling conditions in the town in order to determine which dwellings or dwelling units therein are unfit for human habitation; and
(2) To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination; provided that, the entries shall be made in a manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession. (Prior Code, § 15.12.040)
(E) Procedure upon filing of complaint. Whenever a petition is filed with the Committee by a public authority or by at least five residents of the town charging that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, the Committee shall, if its preliminary investigation discloses a basis for the charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and all parties in interest in the dwelling or dwelling unit a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that, if requested by the owner, a hearing will be held before the Committee at a place therein fixed, not less than ten days, nor more than 30 days, after the serving of the complaint. The owner and parties in interest are given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the place and time fixed. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Committee.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.050)
(F) Orders to repair, demolish and the like, generally. If, after a hearing, the Committee determines that the dwelling unit under consideration is unfit for human habitation, it shall state, in writing, its findings of fact in support of the determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner an order requiring him or her, within the time specified in the order, to repair, alter or improve the dwelling or dwelling unit to render it fit for human habitation or to vacate, close for human habitation or demolish the dwelling or dwelling unit. In cases where no hearing is had, an order shall be prepared and served on the owner by the Committee.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.060)
(G) Service and posting of complaints, orders and the like. Complaints issued by the Committee and orders and findings issued by the Committee pursuant to this section shall be served upon the required persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of the persons is unknown and cannot be ascertained by the Committee in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Committee shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon the persons may be made by publishing the same once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the town. A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.070)
(H) Closing of building by Committee upon noncompliance with order; placarding. If the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter, improve, vacate, close or demolish the dwelling or dwelling unit, the Committee shall close the dwelling or dwelling unit and cause to be posted on the main entrance of the dwelling or dwelling unit a placard with the following inscription:
“This building is unfit for human habitation; the use or occupation of this building for human habitation is prohibited and unlawful.”
(Prior Code, § 15.12.080)
(I) Conditions essential for fitness for human habitation. The following conditions are declared essential to make a dwelling unit fit for human habitation:
(1) Inside running water connected to a kitchen sink, to a lavatory or laundry sink, to a bathtub or shower, and to a toilet, all connected to the public sewer or other disposal approved by the Board of Health, if public sewer and water lines are available within the required number of feet of the dwelling or dwelling unit;
(2) Adequate glass panes for all doors and windows;
(3) Fireplaces, flues or other provisions for heating to afford reasonable comfort;
(4) Electrical wiring system connected and installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and other ordinances of the town relative to electricity; and
(5) Privacy for toilet and tub and/or shower, effectively ventilated.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.090)
(J) Nuisances. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair or limit, in any way, the power of the town to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise. The measures and procedures herein provided for do not supersede, and this section does not repeal, any other measures or procedures which are provided by ordinance or state law for the elimination, repair or correction of the conditions referred to herein, but the measures and procedures herein provided for shall be in addition to the same.
(Prior Code, § 15.12.100)
Penalty, see § 150.99