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(1) “Vacant” means, for purposes of this section, a structure that has not been occupied for a period of six (6) consecutive months or more, except a structure shall not be considered vacant if it is only seasonally not occupied and such period is less than twelve (12) months. (A structure shall be considered vacant for the purposes of this section even if it is being maintained on the exterior, and even if the owner of the property is actively attempting to sell or rent the property.)
(2) “Abandoned” means, for purposes of this section, a structure that has not been occupied for any period of time during which the City has not been able to communicate with or locate an owner or party with the legal authority to be in control of the property, and after the City has made reasonable attempts to communicate with or locate the owner or a party in control.
(3) “Occupied” means the presence of a person or persons either living in a structure and using some portion thereof as a dwelling unit, or working in a structure and using some portion of the structure for the operation of a business.
(b) Nuisance. Any property containing a structure that is vacant or abandoned shall be considered a nuisance unless and until the owner, agent, lessee, or person in control of the property shall take all actions required in this section. The exterior of a vacant or abandoned building, including the surrounding property, shall be maintained in compliance with all applicable ordinances of the City. The interior of a structure shall be maintained in a safe and secure manner to prevent or abate any threat of fire or health violation, or to its structural or historical integrity. All points of entry shall be kept locked and secure, and structures shall be winterized to prevent the freezing of pipes.
(c) Notice of Nuisance. Notice of an abandoned or vacant property nuisance may be served on the owner, agent or person in control of the property by personal delivery, by leaving the notice at the person’s residence or usual place of business, by mailing it to the person, or, if notice cannot be served by one of the above stated methods, notice may be posted in a conspicuous place on the real estate involved, or published in a newspaper of general circulation within the City. The notice shall state a description of the nuisance, a reasonable time as determined by the Building Official within which the owner, agent or person in control must abate the nuisance, and an order that unless the nuisance is abated within the stated time, it may be abated by the City and the cost of abatement will be assessed on the real estate involved.
(Ord. 79-05. Passed 5-21-2007.)
(d) Insurance. Sufficient vacant property and liability insurance shall be maintained on the property in an amount at least equal to the fair market value of the property. The City shall provide a written notice of the requirements of this section and that the property is considered vacant or abandoned under this section, to the insurance carrier, if known, and to any lien holder of record. The City may require an owner or agent of a vacant or abandoned property which is in violation of this section to provide proof of insurance, and no owner or agent shall fail to provide such proof when so ordered.
(Ord. 30-14. Passed 9-2-2014.)
(e) Abatement. The Building Official may take any action necessary to inspect a vacant or abandoned property and to abate a vacant or abandoned property nuisance. Upon inspection of a vacant or abandoned structure, the Building Official may take any action authorized by law to ensure that the property and/or structure is maintained according to all applicable ordinances.
(f) Abatement by the City. Upon failure of the owner, agent or person in control of the property to abate a vacant or abandoned property nuisance, within the time prescribed in the notice, the Building Official may authorize the abatement of the nuisance by the City.
(g) Appeals. When an order or notice of violation is issued, or the City takes any action under this section, the person that is the subject of the order, notice or action may appeal said notice, order or action to the Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals within thirty (30) days from the date of the order, notice or action.
(Ord. 79-05. Passed 5-21-2007.)