§ 153.32  ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE.
   (A)   Preliminary investigation; notice; hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the Building Inspector by a public authority or by at least five residents of the village, charging that any dwelling, dwelling unit or the premises thereof is unfit for habitation, or whenever it appears to the Inspector, upon inspection, that any dwelling, dwelling unit or the premises thereof is unfit for human habitation, he shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such dwelling, dwelling unit or premises thereof a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Inspector at a place therein fixed, not less than ten nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint. The owner or any party in interest shall have a 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 such hearing shall also be given to at least one of the persons signing a petition relating to such dwelling or premises thereof. Notice shall also be given to the Village Historic Preservation Commission by giving oral or written notice to the village staff person that serves as the liaison to the Commission. Any person desiring to do so may attend such hearing and give evidence. Rules of evidence prevailing in courts or law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Inspector.
   (B)   Procedure after hearing.
      (1)   After such notice and hearing, the Inspector shall state in writing his or her determination as to whether the dwelling, dwelling unit or the premises thereof are unfit for human habitation, and if so, whether the dwelling or dwelling unit is deteriorated or dilapidated.
      (2)   If the Inspector determines that the dwelling or dwelling unit is deteriorated, he or she shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to repair, alter, or improve such dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter within a specified period of time, not to exceed 90 days. Such order may also direct and require the owner to vacate and close such dwelling or dwelling unit until such repairs, alterations, and improvements have been made. The order may require that the property be vacated and closed only if continued occupancy during the time allowed for repair will present a significant threat of bodily harm, taking into account the nature of the necessary repairs, alterations, or improvements; the current state of the property; and any additional risks due to the presence and capacity of minors under the age of 18 or occupants with physical or mental disabilities. The order shall state that the failure to make timely repairs as directed in the order shall make the dwelling subject to the issuance of an unfit order under § 153.34.
      (3)   If the Inspector determines that the dwelling or dwelling unit is dilapidated, he or she shall state in writing his findings of fact to support such determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner either to repair, alter, or improve such dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter, or else to vacate and remove or demolish the same within a specified period of time not to exceed 90 days. If the order permits the owner to repair the dwelling, the order may require that the property be vacated and closed only if continued occupancy during the time allowed for repair will present a significant threat of bodily harm, taking into account the nature of the necessary repairs, alterations, or improvements; the current state of the property; and any additional risks due to the presence and capacity of minors under the age of 18 or occupants with physical or mental disabilities. If repairs are allowed, the order shall state that the failure to make timely repairs as directed in the order shall make the dwelling subject to the issuance of an unfit order under § 153.34.
      (4)   If the dwelling is located in a historic district of the village or has been designated a landmark by the village and the Historic District Commission determines, after a public quasi-judicial hearing that the dwelling is of particular significance or value toward maintaining the character of the historic district, and the dwelling has not been condemned as unsafe, an order issued pursuant to § 153.32(B)(3) may require that the dwelling be vacated and closed consistent with G.S. § 160A-400.14(a).
      (5)   If the dwelling is located in a historic district of the village or has been designated a landmark by the village, the Inspector may, but is not required to, issue an order pursuant to § 153.32(B)(2) or (3) that extends beyond 90 days the time the owner of the property has to comply with the order, provided that during such additional time the owner actively seeks the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission to authorize repairs or other work mandated by the order.
      (6)   If the Village Council shall have adopted an ordinance pursuant to § 153.34, or the Inspector shall have issued an order, ordering a dwelling to be repaired or vacated and closed, as § 153.32(B)(2), and if the owner has vacated and closed such dwelling and kept such dwelling vacated and closed for a period of one year pursuant to the ordinance or order, then if the Village Council shall find that the owner has abandoned the intent and purpose to repair, alter or improve the dwelling in order to render it fit for human habitation and that the continuation of the dwelling in its vacated and closed status would be inimical to the health, safety, morals and welfare of the village in that the dwelling would continue to deteriorate, would create a fire and safety hazard, would be a threat to children and vagrants, would attract persons intent on criminal activities, would cause or contribute to blight and the deterioration of property values in the area, and would render unavailable property and a dwelling which might otherwise have been made available to ease the persistent shortage of decent and affordable housing in this state, then in such circumstances, the Village Council may, after the expiration of such one year period, enact an ordinance and serve such ordinance on the owner, setting forth the following:
         (a)   If it is determined that the repair of the dwelling to render it fit for human habitation can be made at a cost not exceeding 50% of the then current value of the dwelling, the ordinance shall require that the owner either repair or demolish and remove the dwelling within 90 days; or
         (b)   If it is determined that the repair of the dwelling to render it fit for human habitation cannot be made at a cost not exceeding 50% of the then current value of the dwelling, the ordinance shall require the owner to demolish and remove the dwelling within 90 days. This ordinance shall be recorded in the Moore county Registry and shall be indexed in the name of the property owner in the grantor index. If the owner fails to comply with this ordinance, the public officer shall effectuate the purpose of the ordinance.
      (7)   Whenever a determination is made pursuant to § 153.32(B)(2) or (3) that a dwelling must be vacated and closed, or removed or demolished, notice of the order shall be given by first-class mail to any organization involved in providing or restoring dwellings for affordable housing that has filed a written request for such notices. A minimum period of 45 days from the mailing of such notice shall be given before removal or demolition by action of the Inspector, to allow the opportunity for any organization to negotiate with the owner to make repairs, lease, or purchase the property for the purpose of providing affordable housing. The Inspector or Village Clerk shall certify the mailing of the notices, and the certification shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud. Only an organization that has filed a written request for such notices may raise the issue of failure to mail such notices, and the sole remedy shall be an order requiring the public officer to wait 45 days before causing removal or demolition.
(Ord. 14-16, passed 4-8-2014)