§ 160.91  VIOLATIONS, PENALTIES, APPEAL.
   (A)   Violations.
      (1)   It shall be unlawful for the property owner, heirs, responsible person, parties of interest, tenant to fail to comply with a lawful compliance order issued by a inspector regarding a violation of this chapter.
      (2)   It shall be unlawful for the property owner, heirs, responsible person, parties of interest, tenant to fail to comply with any conditions set forth in this chapter.
      (3)   It shall be unlawful for the property owner, heirs, responsible person, parties of interest of a vacant residential structure to fail to give notice to the town to have the property added the vacant residential structure inventory, within 15 days of the structure becoming vacant.
      (4)   It shall be unlawful for the property owner, heirs, responsible person, parties of interest of a vacant residential structure to leave the structure boarded up beyond six months with non-compliance of this chapter or beyond two years as identified by the land management department.
      (5)   It shall be unlawful for an owner to board up a residential structure in a manner that does not comply with the guidelines in § 160.62(B), unless the owner has obtained the land management director's prior written approval for an alternative method of boarding up a residential structure.
   (B)   Penalties for violations.
      (1)   Any person determined to be in violation of any of the provisions in this chapter shall receive a civil citation as prescribed herein, if the violation(s) remain after notification by the inspector. Neither this chapter nor any of its provisions shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the town to define and declare nuisances and to cause their abatement by summary action or otherwise, to prevent the enforcement of any other remedy provided in this chapter or in other ordinances or laws, including, but not limited to:
         (a)   Civil citation. Any owner who fails to correct the violation(s) of this chapter before a specified deadline set by the inspector shall be subject to a civil penalty of $250 for the first day of non-compliance. If after a specified period of time set by the Minimum Housing Inspector, has expired and the structure remains in noncompliance, the civil penalty shall automatically activate in the amount of $50 for each day thereafter until the structure is in compliance. Each day the violation exist shall constitute a violation. Legal action and collection of the civil penalty shall be in the manner specified in Chapter 35 of the Town of Spencer Code of Ordinances.
         (b)   If a person fails to pay the civil penalty within ten days after being notified of the amount due, the town may recover the penalty together with all costs by filing a civil action in the general court of justice or small claims court for amounts $5,000 or less, in the nature of a suit to collect a debt and the land management director shall represent the town in small claims court.
         (c)   Abatement of unsecured structures. At any time after the initial performance period of a notice of violation, the inspector may cause the structure to be brought into compliance with a structure which is unsecured and in need of boarding up, in addition to the issuance of a civil penalty process. The cost of such abatement and fees associated with the same shall constitute a tax lien against the premises.
      (2)   Vacant structures. A property that is determined to be vacant which is not in violation of any provisions of this chapter or any other applicable town code is not subject to any penalties, fees or fines in this chapter.
      (3)   Neglected structures. A property that is determined to be neglected as defined in this chapter is subject to civil penalties as set forth herein until all requirements, guidelines and maintenance standards have been complied as prescribed herein.
         (a)   After the property has not had any additional nuisance or zoning violations within the most recent twelve-month period ending the last day of the previous month, as identified by the inspector, the property will be deemed compliant, and no longer meet the definition of a neglected structure. If the property becomes occupied by a person or person(s), the property will no longer meet the definition of a negligent property but may still have unresolved code violations subject to the Town of Spencer Code of Ordinances. The inspector shall continue to enforce applicable code violations as identified in the Code of Ordinances.
         (b)   All other chapters of the town code must be followed and may be pursued in addition to the penalties herein.
      (4)   Abandoned structures. A property that is determined to be abandoned as defined in this chapter is subject to all penalties as described herein.
         (a)   Compliance. The property must be brought into compliance with all minimum housing code violation within a time period of no more than 90 days as identified by the minimum housing inspector.
         (b)   Non-compliance. If the property isn't brought into compliance after the 90- day period, any violations not in compliance shall be abated by the land management department, or a contractor thereof.
         (c)   Cost of abatement. All costs of abatement will be the responsibility of the property owner and if unpaid after ten days of service of a "Notice of Bill" by the inspector, shall be a lien against the real property upon which the cost was incurred as provided by G.S. § 160A-443(6).
         (d)   After the property has not had any additional minimum housing, nuisance or zoning violations within the most recent 12-month period, ending the last day of the previous month, as identified by the inspector, the property will be deemed compliant, and no longer meet the definition of an abandoned structure. The property may not be occupied until all minimum housing violations are corrected if the inspector deems the dwelling unit or rooming units to be unfit for human habitation and posted as same. Occupancy of such property is considered a misdemeanor as provided in G.S. 14-4.
(Ord. 16-12, passed 11-15-16)