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For the purposes of this chapter, the follow definitions apply unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall for the purpose of this chapter, have the following meanings:
AUTHORIZED AGENT. A person that resides within Butler or Warren County, Ohio who shall be authorized in writing by the owner or person in control of a vacant property to be responsible for the security and maintenance of the building and property, who shall have access to the building and property and who shall be available at all times during business and non-business hours in the case that an emergency occurs requiring immediate response and/or to make immediate repairs.
CHIEF BUILDING OFFICIAL. The Chief Building Official for the City of Middletown or his or her designee.
COMMERCIAL BUILDING. The land and improvements to land which are owned or occupied for general commercial and income producing purposes and where production of income is a factor to be considered in arriving at true value, including, but not limited to, apartment houses, hotels, motels, theaters, office buildings, warehouses, retail and wholesale stores, bank buildings, commercial garages, commercial parking lots, and shopping centers. Commercial building also includes any buildings that contain both a commercial building and residential building use within the same facility, also known as mixed-use building.
EVIDENCE OF VACANCY. Any condition that on its own or combined with other conditions present would lead a reasonable person to believe the building is vacant. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, no or significantly below standard utility usage, overgrown and/or dead vegetation, accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers and/or mail, accumulation of trash, junk, and/or debris, broken or boarded up windows, abandoned vehicles, automobile parts or materials, the absence of window coverings, such as curtains, blinds, and/or shutters, the absence of furnishings and/or personal items consistent with habitation or occupation, statement(s) by neighboring property owners, delivery persons, U.S. Postal Service employees, and/or governmental employee(s) that the building is vacant.
FIRE CHIEF. The Fire Chief of the City of Middletown or his or her designee.
FIRE CODE. Part 16 of the City of Middletown's Codified Ordinances.
FIRE DEPARTMENT. The City of Middletown Division of Fire.
FIRE MARSHAL. The individual designated by the City of Middletown Division of Fire as the Fire Marshal or his or her designee.
KEY BOX. A secure device with a lock operable only by a fire department master key, and containing building entry keys and other keys that may be required for access in an emergency.
OWNER. Any person who, alone, or jointly or severally with others, shall have the legal or equitable title to a property, and shall include executors, administrators, trustees or guardians of the estate of the owner, and any purchaser or assignee under a certificate of sale pursuant to a mortgage foreclosure as evidenced by the signature of the judge upon the confirmation of sale, whether or not the deed has been filed with the Butler County Recorder's Office. The term OWNER shall also include partnerships, corporations, and other unincorporated associations. Any individual owner, regardless of whether he or she shares operational responsibility with any other person, any general partner of a partnership, and any officer of a corporation or unincorporated association, shall have direct and personal responsibility and liability for compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
PERSON. An individual, partnership, association, syndicate, company, firm, trust, corporation, government corporation, department, bureau, agency, or any entity recognized by law.
PERSON IN CONTROL. The owner of the property; a mortgagee or vendee in possession; a receiver; an executor; a trustee; and any person, public or private entity, lessee or holder of a lesser estate in the property, and/or its duly authorized agent/s, with the authority to bring a building or property into compliance with the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to any mortgagee that has filed an action in foreclosure on the particular property at issue, based on breach or default of a mortgage agreement, until title to the property is transferred to a third party.
PROPERTY. Any structure, or part thereof, that is used, or designed to be used for any private or public residential, commercial, manufacturing, or industrial business purposes whether or not legally zoned for such use. PROPERTY means not only the vacant residential, commercial, manufacturing or industrial building and any other structures of any kind or nature located on the lot, but also the entire parcel of land surrounding the vacant property, including, but not limited to, fences, walkways, walls, and appurtenances.
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING. The land and improvements to the land used and occupied by one, two, or three families.
UNOCCUPIED. Any of the following: (1) a property that is not being used for the occupancy authorized by the owner; (2) multi-unit structures in which 50% or more of the units or 50% of the square footage (or both) is not lawfully occupied by a tenant or tenants or in that is lacking in commercial activity.
VACANT PROPERTY. A structure or part thereof that is unoccupied by its owner, lessee or other person in lawful possession, or at which lawful manufacturing, industrial or commercial business operations and/or occupancy has ceased, or which is devoid of content. A structure is deemed a vacant property if it is:
(1) Unoccupied and unsecured; or
(2) Unoccupied and secured by other than normal means as determined by the Chief Building Official or their designee; or
(3) Unoccupied and determined to be unsafe as determined by the Chief Building Official and Fire Marshal; or
(4) Unoccupied and having utilities disconnected; or
(5) Unoccupied and has property maintenance violations; or
(6) Illegally occupied, including loitering and vagrancy; or
(7) Unoccupied for a period of time more than 90 days and having an existing code violation issued by the Development Code Administrator; or
(8) Unoccupied with a mortgage status of abandonment (i.e., deceased or foreclosed); or
(9) Unoccupied and abandoned by the owner; or
(10) Not used for its intended purpose for more than 180 days.
(Ord. O2019-18, passed 4-2-2019)