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For the purpose of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them as follows:
(a) BOARDED: “Boarded” shall mean a building or structure subject to the provisions of this section and shall be deemed to be “boarded” if in place of one or more exterior doors, other than a storm door, or of one or more windows, there is a sheet or sheets of plywood or similar material covering the space for such door or window.
(b) BUSINESS DISTRICT: Solely for the purpose of this article, the “Business District” shall include the following: any property zoned Commercial 1 or Commercial 2.
(c) DIRECTOR: Solely for the purpose of this article, the term “Director” shall mean the city manager or designee.
(d) EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE AND MAJOR SYSTEMS: The phrase “exterior maintenance and major systems” shall mean the safe and lawful maintenance of the facade, windows, doors, roof and other parts of the exterior of the building and the maintenance of its major systems consisting of the roof, the electrical and plumbing systems, the water supply systems, the sewer systems, and the sidewalks, driveway, if any, area of the lot as applicable.
(e) OCCUPIED: Any building or structure shall be deemed to be “occupied” if one or more persons actually conducts a lawful business or resides in all or any part of the building as the licensed business-occupant, or as the legal or equitable owner/occupant(s) or tenant(s) on a permanent, non-transient basis, or any combination of the same. For purposes of this section, evidence offered to prove that a building is so “occupied” may include, but shall not be limited to, the regular receipt of delivery of regular mail through the U.S. Postal Service; proof of continual telephone, electric, gas, heating, water and sewer services; a valid City business license, or the most recent, federal, state, or City income tax statements indicating that the subject property is the official business or residence address of the person or business claiming occupancy; or proof of pre-rental inspection.
(f) OPEN: A building or structure subject to the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be “open” if any one or more exterior doors other than a storm door is broken, open and, or closed but, without a properly functioning lock to secure it, or if one or more windows is broken or not capable of being locked and secured from intrusions, or any combination of the same.
(g) OWNER: “Owner” or “property owner” shall mean a person who individually or jointly with others:
(1) Has legal title to the property, with or without actual possession of the property;
(2) Has charge, care or control of the property as owner or agent of the owner;
(3) Is an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner;
(4) Is the agent of the owner for the purpose of managing, controlling or collecting rents; or
(5) Is entitled to control or direct the management or disposition of the property.
For purposes of this article, an “agent” shall not include a person contracted with the property owner solely for the sale or listing for sale of the property, commonly referred to as a “real estate agent.”
(h) REGISTRATION FEE: “Registration fee” shall mean, accordance with Section 8- 12-16c of the West Virginia Code, the fee exacted from vacant building owners for the maintenance and upkeep of said property.
(1) A building shall be deemed to be vacant if no person or persons actually, currently conducts a lawfully licensed business, or lawfully resides or lives in any part of the building as the legal or equitable owner(s) or tenant- occupant(s), or owner-occupants, or tenant(s) on a permanent, non-transient basis.
(2) A building or structure shall be deemed vacant and subject to the registration and possible penalty provisions provided herein if the exterior maintenance and major systems of the building and the surrounding real property thereof, as defined in this section, are in violation of the building codes and health and sanitation codes and if there is not proof of continual utility service evidencing actual use of electric, gas (i.e., applicable heating sources), water service, etc. “Continual” means having no interruption of service lasting thirty (30) days or more in any given three hundred sixty- five (365) day period. In order for such continual utility service to be considered as being actually in use as described in this section, it must be more than merely registered to the owner for purposes of billing and must be utilized, at a minimum, in order to keep the property and the major systems of the building in compliance with building and safety codes. The person or entity asserting that there has been continued utility service has the burden to produce actual bills evidencing utility service for the relevant period.
(3) A new building under construction or a building that has been granted a waiver under Section 1795.07 is not deemed a vacant building.