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(A) Preliminary investigation, notices, hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the Director by a public authority or by at least five residents of the city charging that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, or whenever it appears to the Director, upon inspection, that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, the Director shall, if the preliminary investigation discloses a basis for the charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in a dwelling or dwelling unit a complaint stating the charges and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Director at a place therein fixed, not less than ten, nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint. The owner and any party in interest shall have 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 in the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall also be given to at least one of the persons signing a petition relating to the dwelling. Any person desiring to do so may attend the hearing and give evidence relevant to the matter being heard. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law shall not be controlling in hearings before the Director.
(B) Procedure after hearing. After the notice and hearing, the Director shall state in writing the Director’s determination whether the dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, and if so, whether it is deteriorated or dilapidated.
(1) If the Director determines that the dwelling or dwelling unit is deteriorated, the Director shall state in writing the findings of fact in support of the determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to repair, alter and improve the dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this subchapter within a specified period of time, not to exceed 90 days. The order may also direct and require the owner to vacate and close the dwelling or dwelling unit until the repairs, alterations and improvements have been made.
(2) If the Director determines that the dwelling is dilapidated, the Director shall state in writing the findings of fact to support the determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this subchapter, or else vacate and remove or demolish the same within a specified period of time, not to exceed 90 days.
(C) Failure to comply with order.
(1) In personam remedy. If the owner of any deteriorated dwelling or dwelling unit shall fail to comply with an order of the Director to repair, alter or improve the same within the time specified therein, or if the owner of a dilapidated dwelling shall fail to comply with an order of the Director to vacate and close, and remove or demolish the same within the time specified therein, the Director shall submit to the City Council at its next regular meeting a resolution directing the City Attorney to petition the Superior Court for an order directing the owner to comply with the order of the Director, as authorized by G.S. § 160D-1208(e).
(2) In rem remedy. After failure of an owner of a deteriorated dwelling or dwelling unit, or of a dilapidated dwelling, to comply with an order of the Director within the time specified therein, if injunctive relief has not been sought or has not been granted as provided in division (C)(1), the Director shall submit to the City Council an ordinance ordering the Director to cause the dwelling or dwelling unit to be repaired, altered, improved, or vacated and closed and removed or demolished, as provided in the original order of the Director, and pending the removal or demolition, to placard the dwelling as provided by G.S. § 160D-1203 and § 150.085 of this chapter.
(3) Enforcement and penalties. See § 150.999.
(D) Appeals from orders of Director. An appeal from any decision or order of the Director may be taken by any person aggrieved thereby. Any appeal from the action of the Director shall be taken within ten days from the rendering of the decision or service of the order, and shall be taken by filing with the Director and with the Zoning Board of Adjustment a notice of appeal which shall specify the grounds upon which the appeal is based. Upon the filing of any notice of appeal, the Director shall forthwith transmit to the Board all the papers constituting the record upon which the decision appealed from was made. When an appeal is from a decision of the Director refusing to allow the person aggrieved thereby to do any act, the Director’s decision shall remain in force until modified or reversed. When any appeal is from a decision of the Director requiring the person aggrieved to do any act, the appeal shall have the effect of suspending the requirement until the hearing by the Board, unless the Director certifies to the Board, after the notice of appeal is filed with the Director, that by reason of the facts stated in the certificate a copy of which shall be furnished the appellant, a suspension of the Director’s requirement would cause imminent peril to life or property, which case the requirement shall not be suspended except by a restraining order, which may be granted for due cause shown upon not less than one day’s written notice to the Director, by the Board or by a court of record upon petition made pursuant to G.S. § 160D-1208(d) and division (E) below of this section.
(1) The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of all appeals, shall give due notice to all the parties, and shall render its decision within a reasonable time. Any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney. The Board may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the decision or order appealed from, and may make a decision and order as in its opinion ought to be made in the matter, and to that end it shall have all the powers of the Director, but the concurring vote of three members of the Board shall be necessary to reverse or modify any decision or order of the Director. The Board shall have power also in passing upon appeals, in any case where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the subchapter, to adapt the application of the subchapter to the necessities of the case to the end that the spirit of the subchapter shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done.
(2) Every decision of the Board shall be subject to review by proceedings in the nature of certiorari instituted within 15 days of the decision of the Board, but not otherwise.
(E) Petition to Superior Court by owner. Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the Director or a decision rendered by the Board shall have the right, within 30 days after issuance of the order or rendering the decision, to petition the Superior Court for a temporary injunction restraining the Director pending a final disposition of the cause, as provided by G.S. § 160D-1208(d).
(Prior Code, § 4-64) (Ord. CCTA-01-91, passed 8-8-1991; Am. Ord. O-03-21, passed - - ) Penalty, see § 150.999