ORDINANCE NO. 116-15

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ORDINANCE NO.   116-15

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ARTICLE XIII OF CHAPTER 5 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA ESTABLISHING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE REPAIR, REMOVAL AND/OR DEMOLITION OF UNSAFE STRUCTURES AND DANGEROUS BUILDINGS

BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council (the “Council”) of the City of Opelika, Alabama (the “City”) as follows:

Section 1.  Amendment to Article XIII of Chapter 5 of the Code of Ordinances. That Article XIII of Chapter 5 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Opelika, Alabama, is hereby amended to read as follows:

ARTICLE XIII—Repair, Removal and/or Demolition of Unsafe Structures and Dangerous Buildings.

Sec. 5-221.  Purpose and scope.

(a)  The purpose of this article is to promote the health, safety, economic, aesthetic and general welfare of the citizens of the City and to protect neighborhoods against nuisances, blight and deterioration by establishing policies and procedures for the repair, removal and/or demolition of unsafe structures and dangerous buildings.

(b)  This article shall apply to all buildings, structures and lands within the City without regard to the use, date of construction or alteration, except as specifically provided.

Sec. 5-222.  Findings and authority.

The City of Opelika does hereby find that:

(a)  The existence of unsafe, dilapidated and dangerous buildings and structures within the City constitutes a public nuisance, the abatement of which burdens the City treasury and contributes to blight and crime in neighborhoods.

(b)  There exists or may exist in the future buildings and structures within the City of Opelika that due to poor design, obsolescence or neglect have become unsafe to the extent of becoming public nuisances.

(c)  Many of these dilapidated and dangerous buildings and structures are in a state of disrepair and are causing or may cause blight or blighting influence on the City and the neighborhoods in which these buildings and structures are located.

(d)  In compliance with §§11-40-30 thru 11-40-36, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975), and in compliance with §§11-53B-1 thru 11-53B-16, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975), the City of Opelika desires to amend its policies and procedures for repairing, moving or demolishing buildings and structures, or parts of buildings and structures, party walls and foundations when found to be unsafe to the extent of being a public nuisance from any cause.

(e)  The City of Opelika desires that the City employ, alternatively, all tools provided by law to the City for the fixing of costs, creation of liens, making of assessments and collection of costs associated with repairing, moving or demolishing buildings and structures, or parts of buildings and structures, party walls and foundations when found to be unsafe to the extent of being a public nuisance from any cause, including, but not limited to §6-5-22 of the Code of Alabama (1975), §§11-40-30 thru 11-40-36, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975), §§11-47-117  thru 11-47-118, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975), §11-47-131 of the Code of Alabama (1975), §§11-53-1 thru 11-53-4, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975) and §§11-53B-1 thru 11-53B-16, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975).

Sec. 5-223.  Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

“Abate” or “Abatement” in connection with any building means the removal or correction of any conditions that constitute a public nuisance and the making of any other improvements that are needed to affect a rehabilitation of the building that is consistent with maintaining safe and habitable conditions over its remaining useful life.  Abatement does not include the closing or boarding up of any building that is found to be a public nuisance.

“Building” means any building, structure, or part of building or structure, party wall or foundation used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

“Building Official” means the City’s building official or any other municipal employee designated by the Mayor to exercise the authority and perform the duties provided in this article.

“City” means the City of Opelika, Alabama.

“Council” means the City Council of the City of Opelika, Alabama.

“Dangerous Building” means any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall or foundation which has any of the following defects:

(1)  Those which interior walls or other vertical structure members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base;

(2)  Those which, exclusive of foundation, show thirty-three (33) percent or more of damage or deterioration of one (1) or more supporting members or fifty (50) percent of damage or deterioration of the non-supporting enclosing or outside walls or covering;

(3)  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;

(4)  Those which have been damaged by fire, wind, earthquake, flood, sinkhole, deterioration, neglect, abandonment, vandalism or other cause so as to become dangerous to life, health, property, morals, safety or general welfare of the public or the occupants;

(5)  Those which have become or are so damaged, dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, lacking in maintenance, vermin or rat-infested, containing filth or contamination, lacking proper ventilation, lacking sufficient illumination, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the life, health, property, morals, safety or general welfare of the public or the occupants;

(6)  Those having light, air, heating, cooling and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the life, health, property, morals, safety or general welfare of the public or the occupants;

(7)  Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic, or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of ingress and egress to and from said building;

(8)  Those which do not provide minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire;

(9)  Those which contain unsafe equipment, including any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers, or other equipment on the premises, or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property, morals, safety or general welfare of the public or the occupants;

(10)  Those which are so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe, or which are of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that partial or complete collapse is possible;

(11)  Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and damage property or injure the public or the occupants;

(12) Those, or any portion thereof, which are clearly unsafe for their use or occupancy;

(13) Those which are neglected, damaged, dilapidated, unsecured, or abandoned so as to become an attractive nuisance to children who might play in or on the building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation to their danger, becomes a harbor for vagrants, criminals, or immoral persons, or enables persons to resort to the building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation for committing a nuisance or an unlawful act;

(14) Those which have any portion remaining on a site after the demolition or destruction of the same or whenever the building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation is abandoned so as to constitute such building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation as an attractive nuisance or hazard to the public; and

(15) Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to the life, health, property, morals, safety, or general welfare of the public or the occupants.

Whenever the term “dangerous building” or “unsafe building” shall appear in this article, they are expressly declared to be interchangeable.

“Notice to abate” means a notice issued to a property owner concerning a violation of this article, and that failure to correct the violation will result in abatement action by the City.

“Owner” means the holder of the title in fee simple and any person, group of persons, firm, company, association or corporation in whose name tax bills on the property is submitted.  It shall also mean any person who alone or jointly or severally with others has:

(1)  Legal title to the building or structure, with or without accompanying actual possession; or

(2)  Charge, care or control of any building or structure as owner, executor, administrator, trustee, guardian of the estate of the owner, mortgagee or vendee in possession, or assignee of rents, lessee or other person in control of the building; or their duly authorized agents.

Any such person representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this article, and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this article, to the same extent as if he were the owner.  It is his responsibility to notify the actual property owner of the reported infractions or violations of the regulations pertaining to the subject matter of the property.

“Person” means an individual, enterprise, corporation, partnership, association, limited partnership, limited liability company, firm, society or any other group acting as a unit.

“Premises” means a lot, plot or parcel of land, including its building or structures.

“Public Nuisance” means a building or structure that is a menace to the public health, welfare or safety, that is structurally unsafe or does not provide adequate safe egress, constitutes a fire hazard, is otherwise dangerous to human life, or is otherwise no longer fit and habitable or that, in relation to its existing use, constitutes a hazard to the public health, wealth or safety by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment. Public nuisance includes any “dangerous building” as defined in this section.

“Repair” means work required to preserve or restore buildings and structures to their original condition or to such condition that they can be effectively used for their intended purpose.

“Required” means required by some provision of this article or another applicable Code of the City.

“Structure” means that which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of any kind or any piece of work that is built, erected or composed of parts joined or fastened together in some manner.

Sec. 5-224. Dangerous buildings constitute nuisances.

All “dangerous buildings” are hereby declared to be public nuisances, and may be repaired, vacated, moved, or demolished as provided by this article.

Sec. 5-225. Standards for repair, move, vacation, or demolition.

The following standards may be followed in substance by the building official in ordering a repair, move, demolition, and/or vacation:

(1) If any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this article, it may be ordered to be repaired.

(2) If any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation can reasonably be moved so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this article, it may be ordered to be moved.

(3) In any case where any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation is substantially damaged or decayed, or deteriorated from its original value or structure (not including the value of the land), it may be demolished, and in all cases where any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation cannot be reasonably repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this article, it may be demolished. In all cases where any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation is a fire hazard existing in violation of the terms of this article, it may be demolished.

(4) If any building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the life, health, property, morals, safety, or general welfare of the public or the occupants, it may be ordered to be vacated.

Where one or more of the standards above may apply, the building official may, in his sole discretion, choose to order any one, any combination, or all of the foregoing remedies.

Sec. 5-226. Notice from building official to abate unsafe condition.

(a) Whenever the building 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 building official may, as set forth in this Section, give notice to remedy the unsafe or dangerous condition of the building or structure. The notice shall identify the street address, the legal description, and the parcel identification number of the property where the building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation is located. The notice shall set forth in detail the basis for the building official’s finding and shall direct the owner or owners to take either of the following actions:

(1) In the case where repair is required, accomplish the specified repairs or improvements within a reasonable time set out in the notice, which time shall not be less than forty-five (45) days of the date of the notice or if the same cannot be repaired within that time to provide the building official with a work plan to accomplish the repairs, which plan shall be submitted within forty-five (45) days of the making of the notice and shall be subject to the approval of the building official.

(2) In the case where a move or demolition is required, move or demolish the building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation within a reasonable time set out in the notice, which time shall not be less than forty-five (45) days of the notice.

The notice shall state that, in the event the owner does not comply within the time specified therein, the repairs, the move, or the demolition shall be accomplished by the City and the cost thereof assessed against the property. The repair, move, or demolition must be completed to the building official’s satisfaction, or the same may be completed and accomplished by the City and the cost thereof assessed against the property. The notice shall inform the recipients that a public hearing as provided for by Section 5-227(a) shall be held on the finding of the building official at a date, time, and location specified in the notice.

The building official may also order that any building, structure, or part of building or structure ordered to be repaired, moved, or demolished be vacated along such terms as the building official deems appropriate.

(b) The building official shall give the notice required by Subsection (a) of this Section by all of the following means:

(1) By certified or registered mail, properly addressed and postage prepaid, to all of the following persons or entities:

i. The person or persons, firm, association, or corporation last assessing the property for state taxes to the address on file in the Lee County Revenue Commissioner’s Office;

ii. The record property owner or owners (including any owner or owners of an interest in the property) as shown from a search of the records of the office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, at the owner or owners’ last known address and at the address of the subject property;

iii. All mortgagees of record as shown from a search of the records of the office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, to the address set forth in the mortgage or, if no address for the mortgagee is set forth in the mortgage, to the address determined to be the correct address by the building official;

iv. All lien holders of record as shown from a search of the records of the office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, to the address set forth in the statement or certificate of lien or, if no address for the lien holder is set forth in the statement of lien, to the address determined to be the correct address by the building official; and

v. Any person who is otherwise known to the building official to have an interest in the property;

(2) By posting notice of the order, or a copy thereof, within three (3) days of the date of mailing required by Subsection (b)(1) of this Section, at or within three feet 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; and

(3) By recording a lis pendens, or a copy thereof, in the office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, on or before the date of mailing required by Subsection (b)(1) of this Section.

(c) In addition to the required notice provisions in Subsection (b) of this Section, the building official may, in his sole discretion, publish a short form of the notice described in Subsection (a) of this Section in a newspaper of general circulation in Lee County, Alabama.

(d) A failure by the City Council to act on the findings of the building official within one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of mailing required by Subsection (b)(1) of this Section shall constitute an abdication of the building official’s findings. However, this shall in no way prevent the City from reinitiating the proceedings authorized by this article at any time so long as all the requirements of this article are satisfied anew. Furthermore, this does not require that the ordered demolition, move, or repairs take place within one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of mailing required by Subsection (b)(1) of this Section.

Sec. 5-227. Hearings, appeals, and extensions.

(a) After the time specified in the notice provided for by Section 5-226(a) but no less than fifty (50) days from the date the notice is given as provided for by Section 5-226(b)(1), whichever is later, if the owner of any property cited hereunder fails to comply with the notice prescribed, the City Council shall hold a public hearing to receive any objections to the finding by the building official that the building or structure is unsafe to the extent of becoming a public nuisance. A written request for a public hearing is not necessary. At the public hearing, the City Council shall also receive any written objections to the finding by the building official. Any such written objection must be submitted to the City Clerk prior to the start of the City Council meeting at which the public hearing is held. No action shall be taken on the finding of the building official until determination thereon is made by the City Council.

(b) Upon holding the hearing, the City Council may determine whether or not the building or structure is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance. If it is determined by the City Council that the building or structure is unsafe to the extent that it is a public nuisance, the City Council may take either of the following actions:

(1) In the case where repair is required, order repair of the building at the expense of the City and assess the expenses of the repair on the land on which the building stands or to which it is attached.

(2) In the case where a move or demolition is required, order moving or demolition of the building at the expense of the City and assess the expenses of the move or demolition on the land on which the building stands or to which it is attached. The City Council may also order that any building, structure, or part of building or structure to be repaired, moved, or demolished be vacated along such terms as the City Council deems appropriate.

(c) Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Council at the hearing may, within ten (10) days thereafter, appeal to the Circuit Court of Lee County, Alabama, upon filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Lee County, Alabama, 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 of the court 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.

(d) After twenty (20) days of the decision of the City Council, if a repair, move, or demolition is ordered by the City Council and if an appeal has not been taken to the Circuit Court as provided for by Subsection 5-227(c), then the repair, move, or demolition may be accomplished by the City by the use of its own forces, or it may provide by contract for the repair or demolition. In the event that an appeal is taken to the Circuit Court as provided for by Subsection 5-227(c), once a judgment authorizing a repair, move, or demolition becomes final as provided by law, then the repair, the move, or the demolition may be accomplished by the City by the use of its own forces, or it may provide by contract for the repair, the move, or the demolition.

(e) A failure by the City to accomplish the repair, move, or demolition of a building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation within one hundred eighty (180) days of the passage of the resolution ordering the same shall constitute an abdication of the City Council’s order unless one of the following conditions is satisfied:

(1) An aggrieved party has filed an appeal pursuant to or allegedly pursuant to this Article;

(2) A court of competent jurisdiction has enjoined or otherwise halted the repair, move, or demolition;

(3) All parties identified by the building official pursuant to Section 5-226(b)(1) have entered into a written agreement allowing for an extended period of time within which the repair, move, or demolition may be accomplished;

(4) All parties identified by the building official pursuant to Section 5-226(b)(1) have noted at a meeting of the City Council their agreement allowing for an extended period of time within which the repair, move, or demolition may be accomplished and the agreement is reflected in the minutes of the City Council; or

(5) Further action is taken by the City Council as provided by Subsection (f) of this Section.

(f) If for any reason an ordered repair, move, or demolition cannot be accomplished within one hundred eighty (180) days of the passage of the resolution ordering the same, the building official shall make a report of the same and the length of any desired extension to the City Council. The City Clerk shall distribute a copy of the report to the members of the City Council. The City Clerk shall set the report on the proposed extension for a public hearing at a meeting of the City Council. The City Clerk shall give no less than ten (10) days notice of the meeting at which the proposed extension is to be considered by first-class mail to all persons or entities listed in Section 5-226(b)(1). Notice shall be deemed complete upon mailing. Any person, firm, or corporation having an interest in the property may be heard at the meeting as to any objection to the proposed extension or the length thereof. Following the public hearing, the City Council may adopt a resolution extending the time for the repair, move, or demolition to be accomplished for such period of time as it deems necessary. The City Council need not order an extension before the time to complete the repair, move, or demolition expires in order for the extension to be effective, but if the City Council desires to extend the time to complete the repair, move, or demolition, then the City Council must order the extension no more than sixty days after the expiration of the then existing deadline to complete the repair, move, or demolition.

(g) Nothing in this article shall prevent the City from reinitiating the proceedings authorized by this article at any time so long as all the requirements of this article are satisfied anew.

(h) The City may sell or otherwise dispose of salvaged materials resulting from any demolition pursuant to this article.

Sec. 5-228. Fixing of costs as final assessment.

(a) Upon repair, move, or demolition of the building or structure, the building official shall make a report to the City Council of the cost thereof by tendering a copy of the report to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall distribute a copy of the report to the members of the City Council. 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. The City Clerk shall set the report of costs for a public hearing at a meeting of the City Council.

(b) The City Clerk shall give no less than ten (10) days notice of the meeting at which the fixing of the costs is to be considered by first-class mail to all persons or entities listed in Section 5- 226(b)(1). Notice shall be deemed complete upon mailing.

(c) Any person, firm, or corporation 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.

(d) Following the public hearing, the City Council may adopt a resolution fixing the costs which it finds were reasonably incurred in the repair, the move, or the demolition and assessing the costs against the lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land upon which the building or structure was located (“the final assessment”).

Sec. 5-229. Tax lien for the final assessment of a move or demolition.

(a) The final assessment for a move or demolition once made and confirmed by the City Council shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the final 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 or Revenue Officer shall file a certified copy of the resolution in the office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, and with the Lee County Revenue Commissioner’s office. In the case of a final assessment resulting from a move or demolition accomplished pursuant to this Article, upon filing, the tax collector or revenue commissioner of the county 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.

(b) The City may assess the final assessment of a move or demolition 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 the 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 any manner affect the lien of the City for the assessment, but any redemptioner or purchaser at any sale by the state of any lot or lots, parcel 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.

Sec. 5-230. Payment of assessments.

(a) Payment of a final assessment resulting from a move or demolition accomplished pursuant to this article shall be made in the manner and as provided for the payment of municipal improvement assessments in Section 11-48-48 of the Code of Alabama (1975), as the same has heretofore or may hereafter be amended. Upon the property owner’s failure to pay the assessment, the officer designated by the City to collect the assessments shall proceed to collect the assessment as provided in Sections 11-48-49 to 11-48-60, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975). The City may, in the latter notice, elect to have the Lee County Revenue Commissioner collect the assessment by adding the assessment to the tax bill. Upon the election, the Revenue Commissioner shall collect the assessment using all methods available for collecting ad valorem taxes.

(b) Payment of a final assessment resulting from a repair accomplished pursuant to this article shall be made in the manner and as provided in Section 11-53B-7 of the Code of Alabama (1975), as the same has heretofore or may hereafter be amended. Upon the property owner’s failure to pay the assessment, the officer designated by the City to collect the assessments shall proceed to collect the assessment as provided in Sections 11-53B-8 to 11-53B-14, inclusive, of the Code of Alabama (1975).

Sec. 5-231. Emergency action.

(a) The building official is hereby authorized to initiate the immediate repair, move, or demolition of a building, structure, or portion thereof when in the opinion of the building official such emergency action is required due to imminent danger of structural collapse endangering adjoining property, the public right of way, or human life or health. In the case of emergency action pursuant to this Subsection (a), the building official may promptly cause such building, structure, or portion thereof to be made safe, secured, or removed. For this purpose, the building official may at once enter such structure with such assistance and at such cost as the building official may deem necessary. The building official may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate fence or such other means as may be necessary, and for this purpose, the building official may close a public or private way.

(b) Alternatively, the City Council is hereby authorized to, by resolution or motion reflected upon the minutes of its proceedings, order the immediate repair, move, or demolition of a building, structure, or portion thereof when in the opinion of the City Council such emergency action is required due to imminent danger of any type endangering adjoining property, the public right of way, or human life or health. In the case of emergency action pursuant to this Subsection (b), the City Council may promptly order and cause such building, structure, or portion thereof to be made safe, secured, or removed. The City Council may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate fence or such other means as may be necessary, and for this purpose, the City Council may close a public or private way.

(c) To the extent that the circumstances allow without furthering the risk of harm or danger, prior to taking any action, the building official or the City Council as applicable shall attempt to give actual notice of the proposed action to those persons and/or entities identified in Section 5-226(b)(1) and seek to secure their cooperation.

(d) In the case of any action taken pursuant to this Section, the building official shall prepare a declaration of the emergency that shall set forth in detail the reason or reasons for emergency repair, move, or demolition. The declaration shall identify the street address, the legal description, and the parcel identification number of the property where the building, structure, or portion thereof is located. The building official shall serve, post, and file the declaration as soon as practicable as provided for the service of a notice in Section 5-226(b). The building official shall also provide the declaration to the City Council by tendering a copy of the report to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall distribute a copy of the report to the members of the City Council.

(e) The cost of the emergency action may be fixed by the City Council and shall be assessed pursuant to this article in the same manner provided for non-emergency repairs, moves, or demolitions.

(f) In cases of emergency action pursuant to this Section, the decision of the building official and/or the City Council, as applicable, shall be final, and there shall be no right to appeal the decision of the building official and/or the City Council, as applicable, in the case of an emergency.

Sec. 5-232. Duties of the Fire Department.

The employees of the Fire Department shall make a report in writing to the building official of all buildings or structures which are, may be, or are suspected to be “dangerous buildings.” Such reports should be delivered to the building official within twenty-four (24) hours of the discovery of such buildings by an employee of the Fire Department.

Sec. 5-233. Duties of the Police Department.

All employees of the Police Department shall make a report in writing to the building official of all buildings or structures which are, may be, or are suspected to be “dangerous buildings.” Such reports should be delivered to the building official within twenty-four (24) hours of the discovery of such buildings by an employee of the Police Department.

Sec. 5-234. Building official—authority to inspect.

(a)  Whenever necessary to make an inspection to enforce any provisions of this article, or whenever the building official or his authorized representative has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition which is contrary to or in violation of this article which makes the structure or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the building official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this article, provided that if said structure or premises is occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested.  If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the building official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry.  If entry is refused, the building official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.

(b)  No person, owner or occupant of any building shall refuse to permit entry into any building, structure or premises or onto any property by the building official or his authorized representative after proper credentials are displayed at a reasonable hour for the purpose of inspection pursuant to this article.  Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the fines and penalties as stated in Section 5-235 of this Code.

Sec. 5-235. Enforcement and penalties.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any agent, servant or employee of such person, to fail to comply with an order or notice given pursuant to this article.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any agent, servant or employee of such person, to fail or refuse to perform any duty imposed by this article.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any agent, servant or employee of such person, to obstruct or interfere with the building official in carrying out the purposes of this article.

(d) It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any agent, servant or employee of such person, to obstruct or interfere with a repair, move, or demolition ordered pursuant to this article by remaining upon the premises or in such proximity to the premises and at such a time and location where the work cannot be accomplished without endangering the life, health, safety, or general welfare of himself or another person.

(e) It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any agent, servant or employee of such person, to mutilate, destroy, tamper with, or remove a notice posted pursuant to Section 5-226(b)(2) or Section 5-231(d).

(f) It shall be unlawful for any person, including an occupant or lessee in possession, to fail to comply with any notice to vacate pursuant to this article.

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person to enter, access, or be upon a building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation that the building official has ordered to be vacated and that is the subject of a notice pursuant to Section 5-226 or a declaration pursuant to Section 5-231 except for the purposes of demolishing the same, of moving the same, or of making the required repairs.

(h) It shall be unlawful for any person who has received a notice pursuant to Section 5-226 or a declaration pursuant to Section 5-231 to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease, encumber, or otherwise dispose of such building, structure, part of building or structure, party wall, or foundation that is the subject of notice to another until such person shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee, or lessee a true copy of the notice served pursuant to Section 5-226 or the declaration served pursuant to Section 5-231 and shall furnish to the City building official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee, or lessee acknowledging the receipt of the notice served pursuant to Section 5-226 or the declaration served pursuant to Section 5-231 and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such notice served pursuant to Section 5-226 or Section 5-231.

(i) A violation of this Section shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed the sum of five hundred ($500) for each offense, and if a willful violation, by imprisonment, not to exceed six months, or both, at the discretion of the court trying the same. Each day shall constitute a separate offense.

(j) The penalties and remedies provided by this article shall not apply to the City or any official (elected or appointed), agent, officer, or employee of the City who is administering this article or otherwise performing its, his, or her official duties.

Sec. 5-236. Civil remedies.

The continued or recurrent performance of any act or acts deemed unlawful under Section 5-234 or Section 5-235 of this article is hereby declared to be detrimental to the health, safety, comfort and convenience of the public and is a nuisance. The City, as an additional or alternative remedy, may institute injunctive proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction to abate the same or proceed as otherwise authorized under law to address nuisances.

Sec. 5-237. No effect on immunities.

This article is adopted only to provide a service for the public as a whole, and is not for the benefit of any individual person or entity. By the adoption of this article, the City and its agents, officers, and employees accept no duty for the benefit (intended or unintended) of any person, including but not limited to any owner, mortgagee, lien holder, landlord, tenant, occupant, roomer, invitee of any type, trespasser, or any of their agents, officers, or employees. Any duty alleged to arise under this article on the part of the City or any of its agents, officers, or employees for the benefit of any person is hereby expressly rejected. The City and its agents, officers, and employees hereby expressly reserve all applicable immunities existing under any doctrine, authority, or law (whether under the common law, statute, or otherwise), including but not limited to substantive immunity, qualified immunity, and discretionary function immunity. Save for the powers and remedies that this article gives to the City and to its agents, officers, and employees who are administering this article or otherwise performing its, his, or her official duties, this article does not create any private cause of action for the benefit of any person.

Sec. 5-238. Cumulative effect.

This article is cumulative in nature and is in addition to any power and authority that the City may have under any other law.

Section 2.  Effect on Existing Prosecutions and Actions.   The adoption of this Ordinance shall not in any manner affect any prosecution of any act illegally done contrary to the provisions of any ordinance now or heretofore in existence, and every such prosecution, whether begun before or after the enactment of this Ordinance shall be governed by the law under which the offense was committed; nor shall a prosecution, or the right to prosecute, for the recovery of any penalty or the enforcement of any forfeiture or lien be in any manner affected by the adoption of this Ordinance; nor shall any civil action or cause of action existing prior to or at the time of the adoption of this Ordinance be affected in any manner by its adoption.

Section 3.  Incorporation in the Code of Ordinances.  The provisions of this Ordinance shall be included in and incorporated in the Code of Ordinances of the City of Opelika, Alabama, as an addition or amendment thereto, and shall be appropriately renumbered to conform to the uniform numbering system of the Code.

Section 4. Conflict.  All former ordinances or parts thereof which are in conflict with this Ordinance are repealed in their entirety to the extent they are in conflict.

Section 5.   Severability Clause.  If any section, subsection, clause, sentence or phrase of this ordinance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of valid jurisdiction, then such holding shall in no way affect the validity of the remaining portion of this Ordinance.

Section 6.  Effective Date.  This ordinance and the section adopted shall become effective and enforced immediately upon its passage and publication as required by law.

Section 7.  Publication.  The City Clerk of the City of Opelika, Alabama is hereby authorized and directed to cause this Ordinance to be published one (1) time in a newspaper of general circulation published in the City of Opelika, Lee County, Alabama.

ADOPTED AND APPROVED this the 16th day of June, 2015.

/s/ C. E. “Eddie” Smith, Jr

PRESIDENT OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE

CITY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA

ATTEST:

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

TRANSMITTED TO MAYOR on this the 17th day of June, 2015.

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

ACTION BY MAYOR

APPROVED this the 17th day of June, 2015.

/s/ Gary Fuller

MAYOR

ATTEST:

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

Legal run 6/19/15

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