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City Demolition Ordinance

By Sam Poe
Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 9:09 AM
https://hbtv.us/news/?story_id=1717

An ordinance to provide for the vacation, removal, repair, or demolition of any building or structure which is or threatens to be a public nuisance, dangerous to health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the people of the City of Haleyville, Alabama, or which might tend to constitute a fire menace; and for the assessment of the cost of vacation, removal, repair, or demolition thereof as a municipal lien or assessment against such premises, and to provide for the recovery of such costs as provided by law. 

To see the full version of the City of Haleyville's Demolition Ordinance, continue reading. 

 

ORDINANCE #2013-07

 

AN ORDINANCE TO PROVIDE FOR THE VACATION, REMOVAL, REPAIR OR DEMOLITION OF ANY BUILDING OR STRUCTURE WHICH IS OR THREATENS TO BE A PUBLIC NUISANCE, DANGEROUS TO HEALTH, MORALS, SAFETY OR GENERAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF HALEYVILLE, ALABAMA, OR WHICH MIGHT TEND TO CONSTITUTE A FIRE MENACE; AND FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE COST OF VACATION, REMOVAL, REPAIR OR DEMOLITION THEREOF AS A MUNICIPAL LIEN OR ASSESSMENT AGAINST SUCH PREMISES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE RECOVERY OF SUCH COSTS AS PROVIDED BY LAW.

 

WHEREAS, in the City of Haleyville, Alabama, there are, or may in the future be, parcels of real property that are occupied by buildings or structures or parts of buildings and structures, party walls and foundations that due to poor design, obsolescence, or neglect, have become unsafe, dangerous and unsanitary to the extent of becoming public nuisances and a menace to the health, morals, safety and general welfare of the people of the City of Haleyville and an impediment to economic development within the City of Haleyville, Alabama.  It is the intent of the City of Haleyville, Alabama, to minimize the adverse effect of the described unsafe conditions upon the health, morals, safety and general welfare of the citizens of this City and property located within this City and to that end the City Council of the City of Haleyville adopts this Ordinance;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF HALEYVILLE, ALABAMA AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.  DEFINITIONS:

  • “Appropriate Municipal Official” means any municipal building official or deputy and any other municipal official or municipal employee designated by the Mayor of the City of Haleyville as the person to exercise the authority and perform the duties delegated by this Ordinance.

 

  • “Circuit Clerk” means the Circuit Clerk of the Circuit Court of Winston County, Alabama.

 

  • “Circuit Court” means the Circuit Court of Winston County, Alabama.

 

  • “City” means the City of Haleyville, Alabama.

 

  • “City Clerk” means the Acting City Clerk of the City of Haleyville, Alabama. 

 

  • “City Council” means the City Council of the City of Haleyville, Alabama.

 

  • “Planning Commission” means the Planning Commission of the City of Haleyville, Alabama.

 

  • “Owner” means the person or persons, firm, association or corporation last assessing the property who is the record owner of the property for ad valorem taxes according to the tax assessment records in the office of the Revenue Commissioner of Winston County, Alabama.

 

  • “Person” means any natural or legal person including, but not limited to, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies.

 

  • “Unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition” means all buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition:

 

  • Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used;

 

  • Those which have been damaged by fire, wind and/or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health or welfare of the occupants or the people of the City of Haleyville, Alabama.

 

  • Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein;

 

  • Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live therein or may live therein;

 

  • Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of evacuation;

 

  • Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fail and injure members of the public or property;

 

  • Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of this City.

 

  • Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of the building code or any other relevant code of this City, or any provisions of the fire prevention code, or other ordinances of the City which violation renders them a danger to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of this City.

 

SECTION 2.  OWNERS TO KEEP BUILDINGS IN SAFE AND TENABLE          

  CONDITION

 

It shall be unlawful for any person owning any building or structure in the City of Haleyville, Alabama, to keep or maintain the same in an unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition. It shall be the duty of every person owning any building or structure in the City to keep the same in a safe and tenable condition or to cause the same to be removed.

 

SECTION 3.  STANDARDS FOR REPAIR, VACATION OR DEMOLITION:

 

The following standards shall be followed in substance by the appropriate municipal official or any other person designated by the Mayor in ordering repair, vacation or demolition:

 

  • If the unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this Ordinance, it shall be ordered repaired;

 

  • If the unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition is such that it makes it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated;

 

  • In any case where there exists an unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition such that the building or structure is damaged or has decayed or deteriorated to the extent that the value of said building or structure is valued at fifty percent (50%) or less of its original value, then the building or structure shall be demolished;

 

  • In all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation with the terms of this Ordinance, it shall be demolished;

 

  • In all cases where an unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition exists such that it creates a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this Ordinance, or any Ordinance of the City or statute of the State of Alabama, it shall be demolished.

 

 

SECTION 4.  BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES IN AN UNSAFE, UNTENABLE         OR DANGEROUS CONDITION – NUISANCES:

 

All buildings or structures which are found to exist in an unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition within the terms of this Ordinance are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore and hereinafter provided.  The City may, after notice as provided herein, move or demolish buildings and structures or parts of buildings and structures, party walls, and foundations when found by the City Council to be unsafe to the extent of being a public nuisance from any cause.

 

SECTION 5.  DUTIES OF THE APPROPRIATE MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL:

 

  • Whenever the appropriate municipal official of the City finds that any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation situated in the City is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance, the official shall make a determination of the extent of the unsafe, untenable or dangerous condition and whether the building or structure qualifies for repair or demolition;

 

  • The appropriate municipal official shall verify ownership of the property based upon the current tax assessment in the office of the Revenue Commissioner of Winston County and shall verify whether the property is subject to a real estate mortgage.

 

  • The appropriate municipal officer may attempt informal resolution of the public nuisance should it appear that it could be resolved without formal proceedings.

 

  • The appropriate municipal officer will make a report to the Planning Commission who will upon due consideration make report to the City Council with its recommendation to send notice to owner as prescribed in Section 6.

 

  • The City Council shall upon due consideration place the property on the agenda for decision as to whether Notice should proceed as prescribed in Section 6.  Upon vote of the Council, the appropriate municipal officer shall proceed with the remaining procedure beginning with Section 6, Notice.

 

SECTION 6.  NOTICE:

 

  • The appropriate municipal official shall give notice to the named owner last assessing the property for ad valorem taxes at the address listed on the property assessment in the office of the Revenue Commissioner of Winston County, Alabama, and all mortgagees of record by certified or registered mail.

 

  • Contents of the Notice – The notice shall inform the owner of the unsafe or dangerous condition of the building or structure and shall direct the owner to remedy the unsafe or dangerous condition of the building or structure, or to demolish the same, within the time set out in the notice, which time shall not be less than thirty (30) days of the date on said notice.  The notice shall further inform the owner that failure by the owner to remedy the said dangerous condition within the time allowed shall result in the building or structure being demolished by the City and the cost thereof assessed against the party.

 

  • Effect of Notice – The mailing of the certified or registered mail notice, properly addressed and postage prepaid, shall constitute notice as required herein.

 

  • Posting Notice – The appropriate municipal official shall post notice of the order, or a copy thereof, within three (3) days of the date of mailing at or within three feet (3’) of an entrance to the building or structure.  If there is no entrance, the notice may be posted at any location on the building or structure.

 

  • Publication of Notice – In the event that the identity of the record property owner(s) cannot be ascertained after a reasonable diligent search, the appropriate municipal official, in addition to complying with the applicable notice provisions above shall issue notice to the unknown property owner(s) by publishing a short form of the notice described in Subsection B of this Section in the Northwest Alabamian or other publication of general circulation in Winston County, Alabama, once a week for four consecutive weeks.

 

SECTION 7.  OBJECTIONS AND HEARING:

 

  • Within the time specified in the notice, but not more than thirty (30) days from the date the notice is given, any person owning or having an interest in the building or structure described in the notice may file a written request for a hearing before the City Council. The request for a hearing must state the objections to the finding by the appropriate municipal official that the building or structure is unsafe to the extent of becoming a public nuisance.

 

  • The filing of the request shall hold in the abeyance any action on the finding of the appropriate municipal official until determination thereon is made by the City Council.

 

  • Upon holding the hearing, which hearing shall be held not less than five (5) nor more than thirty (30) days after the request for a hearing by the owner, or in the event no hearing is timely requested, the City Council, after the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date the notice is given shall determine by resolution adopted by the City Council whether or not the building or structure is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance.

 

  • If it is determined by resolution of the City Council that the building or structure is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance, the City Council shall order the building or structure to be demolished.  The demolition may be accomplished by the City by the use of its own forces, or it may provide by contract for the demolition.  The City may sell or otherwise dispose of salvaged materials resulting from the demolition.

 

  • Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Council at the hearing referred to paragraph C may, within ten (10) days thereafter, appeal to the Circuit Court upon filing with the Circuit Clerk notice of the appeal and bond for security of costs in the form and amount to be approved by the Circuit Clerk.  Upon filing of the notice of appeal and approval of the bond, the Circuit Clerk shall serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the City Clerk and the appeal shall be docketed in the Circuit Court, and shall be a preferred case therein.  The City Clerk shall, upon receiving the notice, file with the Circuit Clerk a copy of the findings and determination of the City Council in its proceedings.  Any trials shall be held without jury upon the determination of the City Council that the building or structure is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance.

 

SECTION 8.  REPORT OF DEMOLITION AND COLLECTION OF COST:

 

  • Upon demolition of the building or structure, the appropriate municipal official shall make a report in writing to the City Council of the cost of the demolition.  The City Clerk shall give notice by first class mail of the meeting of the City Council at which the fixing of the costs is to be considered to all persons or entities having an interest in the property whose address and interest is determined from the Winston County
    Revenue Commissioner’s records on the property or is otherwise known to the City Clerk.  A copy of the report filed by the appropriate municipal official with the City Council shall be included in the said notice.

 

  • At its next regular meeting after receiving the report, the City Council shall adopt a resolution fixing the costs which it finds were reasonably incurred in the demolition and assessing the costs against the property.  The proceeds of any moneys received from the sale of salvaged materials from the building or structure shall be used or applied against the cost of demolition.

 

  • Any person owning or having an interest in the property may be heard at the meeting as to any objection to the fixing of the costs or the amounts thereof.

 

  • The fixing of the costs by the City Council shall constitute a special assessment against the lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land upon which the building or structure was located and thus made and confirmed shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the assessment.  The lien shall be superior to all other liens on the property except liens for taxes, and shall continue in force until paid.

 

  • The City Clerk shall give notice by first class mail of the adoption of the resolution fixing the costs of demolition to all persons owning or having an interest in the property whose address and interest is determined from the Winston County Revenue Commissioner’s records on the property or is otherwise known to the City Clerk.  Payment of the amount of the costs of demolition shall be due in not more than thirty (30) days from the date of the adoption of the resolution.

 

  • Upon nonpayment of the amount of the costs of demolition, the City Clerk shall file a certified copy of the resolution in the office of the Judge of Probate of Winston County and shall furnish a copy of the recorded resolution to the Winston County Revenue Commissioner.  Upon filing, the Winston County Revenue Commissioner shall add the amount of the lien to the ad valorem tax bill on the property and shall collect the amount as if it were a tax and remit the amount to the City.

 

  • The City may assess the costs authorized herein against any lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land purchased by the State of Alabama at any sale for the nonpayment of taxes, and where assessment is made against the lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land, a subsequent redemption thereof by any person authorized to redeem, or sale thereof by the State, shall not operate to discharge, or in an manner affect the lien of the City for the assessment, but any redemption or purchaser at any sale by the State of any lot or lots, parcels or parcels of land upon which an assessment has been levied, whether prior to or subsequent to a sale to the State for the nonpayment of taxes, shall take the same subject to the assessment.  The assessment shall then be added to the tax bill of the property, collected as a tax, and remitted to the City.

 

SECTION 9.  PENALTY FOR VIOLATION:

 

In addition to the declaration of public nuisance and abatement of public nuisance as provided for herein and the right to reimbursement of costs and liens associated therewith, as an additional remedy and penalty, the appropriate municipal official may cause a complaint to be filed in the Municipal Court of the City of Haleyville alleging a violation of any provision of this Ordinance against any person found to be in violation of this Ordinance, which said complaint shall be heard and tried in the Municipal Court of the City of Haleyville in the same manner as other violations of municipal ordinances of this City.  Any person found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this Ordinance, shall upon conviction be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as follows: for first time violation of any section or provisions of this Ordinance there shall be imposed fine of not less than $50.00 for the first offense, plus court costs; for the second violation of any section of provision of this Ordinance, there shall be imposed a fine of not less than $100.00, plus court costs; for any violation after the second violation of this Ordinance, there shall be imposed a fine of not less than $200.00, plus court costs.  A violation commences following the expiration of thirty (30) days as provided in the notice provided for in Section 6; provided however, that the violation will be held in abeyance upon the timely filing of an objection as provided in said notice provided in Section 7 until such time that a resolution is entered by the City Council pursuant to Section 7, and each day thereafter in which a violation occurs or continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

 

SECTION 10.  CUMULATIVE:

 

This Ordinance shall be in addition to all other rights which the City may have under the Code of Alabama when dealing with the remediation of unsafe, dangerous and unsanitary conditions to the extent of becoming public nuisances and a menace to the health, morals, safety and general welfare of the people of the City of Haleyville.

 

SECTION 11.  CHOICE OF LAWS

 

The City shall retain the choice of laws and remedies to deal with any public nuisance found within the City.

 

SECTION 12.  SEVERABILITY:

 

All sections of this Ordinance are hereby declared to be severable; and if any word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this Ordinance shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid by the judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect any of the remaining words, phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections of this Ordinance.

 

SECTION 13. EFFECTIVE DATE:

 

This Ordinance shall take effect from and after the date of its adoption and publication, as provided by law.

 

SECTION 14. REPEAL:

 

Upon the effective date of this Ordinance, any ordinance or amendments thereto in conflict with Ordinance #2013-07 are hereby repealed.

 

Adopted and approved this 3rd day of September 2013

 

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