CHAPTER IV. BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTIONCHAPTER IV. BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTION\ARTICLE 9. DANGEROUS AND UNFIT STRUCTURES

It shall be unlawful for any owner, occupant or agent or other person having charge or control of any premises in such municipality to permit to exist any dangerous structure which is unfit for human use or habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation light or sanitary facilities, or due to other conditions which render such structure unsafe or unsanitary, or dangerous or detrimental to the health, safety or morals, or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the city, and it is hereby deemed necessary by such governing body of the city to require or cause the repair, closing or demolition or removal of such structures in the manner hereinafter provided. For purposes of this article, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)   Dangerous Structure - A structure which is unfit for human use or habitation due to conditions that exist which are dangerous or injurious, or which are potentially dangerous or injurious, to the health, safety or morals of the occupants of such buildings or other residents of the city, or which have a blighting influence on properties in the area, which such conditions may include (but shall not be limited to) the following: Defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation or heating; air pollution; lack of adequate sanitary facilities; dilapidation, disrepair, structural defects or uncleanliness; overcrowding; inadequate ingress or egress; dead or dying trees, limbs or other unsightly natural growth causing a blight to adjoining property; vermin infestation; abandoned structures which are open and readily accessible to children, transients or others without right or privilege to be therein; inadequate drainage; or any violation of health, fire, building, zoning or nuisance regulations or any other laws or regulations relating to the use of land and the use and occupancy of buildings and improvements.

(b)   In addition to the foregoing, the term dangerous structure also means a building or structure which may be deemed to be a dangerous building due to the existence of defects as set forth in the Uniform Housing Code incorporated by reference in section 4-902.

(c)   A residential structure or dwelling shall mean any building or structure, or part thereof, used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.

(d)   A nonresidential structure shall mean any structure which is used for other than residential purposes, or a part of such structure, or a structure a part of which is used for other than nonresidential purposes and, where applicable, the premises on which such structures are situated.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

(a)   There is hereby incorporated by reference the certain code known as the 2012 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code, including all appendices, as published by the International Code Council, except such articles, sections, parts or portions as are hereinafter omitted, deleted, modified or changed. Any errata officially published by the International Code Council shall become part of the International Property Maintenance Code when placed on file by the administrative authority. If any conflict or discrepancy exists between this article and the referenced code, the provisions of this article shall rule. At least one copy of the International Property Maintenance Code shall be marked or stamped “Official Copy as Incorporated by Reference by the Code of the City of Hillsboro, Kansas,” with all sections or portions thereof intended to be deleted, changed or amended, clearly marked to show such deletion, change or amendment, and to which shall be attached a copy of this code section and filed with the city clerk to be open to inspection and available to the public at all reasonable hours. All administrative departments of the city charged with enforcement of this article shall be supplied, at the cost of the city, such number of official copies of such International Property Maintenance Code similarly marked, deleted and changed as may be expedient.

(b)   As prescribed by Section 106, of the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code, and any future edition of said code similarly adopted, the following penalties for violation of the code are established:

(1)   Should any person fail to either comply with the notice and correction order or request a hearing, or should any person following a requested appeal, fail to comply with any order which is then issued by the board of appeals, within the time prescribed by the board of appeals, the city clerk, the chief of police or the code official may file a complaint in the municipal court of the city against such person. Conviction of any violation of provisions of this code shall be punishable by a fine in an amount not to exceed $500, or by imprisonment not to exceed three months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(2)   Each day that a violation continues after notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense.

(b)   Sections 111.2 through 111.2.5 of the International Property Maintenance Code, and its future revisions, are repealed and replaced with the following new section 111.2:

111.2 The board of appeals for this code shall be designated as the Board of Zoning Appeals. A member shall not hear an appeal in which that member has a personal, professional or financial interest.

(Ord. 1029; Ord. 1224; Ord. 1231; Ord. 1251; Code 2016)

(a)   Whenever a petition is filed with the standards hearing officer by at least five residents of the municipality or by the public officer or by a representative of the building inspection staff of the municipality charging that any structure is a dangerous structure as defined herein, the standards hearing officer shall review such petition to determine whether it discloses a reasonable basis for such charges. In making such determination, the standards hearing officer may request that the public officer or any member of the building inspection staff of the municipality conduct a preliminary investigation as to such matters and submit a report thereon to the standards hearing officer for review. If the standards hearing officer makes a determination that such petition, together with the results of any such preliminary investigation, discloses a reasonable basis for such charges, the standards nearing officer shall then issue and cause to be served upon the owner, every mortgagee of record and all parties in interest in such structure (including persons in possession) a complaint stating the charges in that respect. Such complaint shall contain a notice that a hearing will be held before the standards hearing officer at a place therein fixed, which shall be not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint, and that the owner, mortgagee and parties in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, at the hearing and give testimony. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the standards hearing officer, provided that all parties are afforded basic procedural due process in such hearings. Standards hearing officer may continue the hearing from time to time as necessary for the determination of the issues under hearing. No further notice of such continuance shall be necessary if the time and place of the continued hearing is announced during the hearing which is being continued.

(b)   After such notice and hearing, the standards hearing officer shall determine whether the structure under consideration is a dangerous structure under the provisions of this article. If such a determination is made, the standards hearing officer shall also determine the nature of the repairs, alterations or other improvements that would be necessary to abate such conditions, and whether such repairs, alterations or other improvements can be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the replacement value of the structure. The governing body hereby establishes that such costs shall be deemed to be reasonable for purposes of this article if they do not exceed 50 percent of the existing value of the structure in its then current condition. The standards hearing officer shall set forth such findings and conclusions of existing conditions in writing and shall cause a copy thereof to be issued and served upon the owner thereof and any other party in interest along with any orders issued by the standards hearing officer as follows:

(1)   If the standards hearing officer finds that the necessary repairs, alterations or other improvements can be made at a reasonable cost, the owner of the property and any other appropriate party in interest shall be ordered within a specified time to make such necessary repairs, alterations or improvements; and, in relation to such orders, if the findings of the standards hearing officer include a finding that the existing conditions present a significant danger or hazard to anyone present within such structure, the standards hearing officer may also order that any such structure be vacated and closed until conformance with this article can be met.

(2)   If the standards hearing officer finds that the necessary repairs, alterations or other improvements cannot be made at a reasonable cost, the owner of the property and any other appropriate party in interest shall be ordered within a specified time to remove or demolish such structure, and to vacate and close such structure until such removal and demolition is accomplished.

(3)   The orders issued by the standards hearing officer shall include an order that a review hearing or hearings shall be conducted as the standards hearing officer shall prescribe to determine whether satisfactory compliance has been made with the orders issued. At any such review hearing the standards hearing officer may issue such modified or additional orders as then determined necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this article.

(c)   If, during the course of such proceedings, the owner or other appropriate party in interest has been found to have failed to comply with any such orders, the standards hearing officer shall issue a report to that effect with the public officer, or with his or her designee, the receipt of which shall constitute authorization for the public officer or his or her designee to proceed to cause such structure to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed, or to be removed or demolished as the findings and orders of the standards hearing officer have determined as necessary.

(d)   The amount of the cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or of such vacating and closing, or of such removal or demolition by the public officer or his or her designee shall be a lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred, and such lien, including as part thereof allowance of the standards hearing officer’s costs and the necessary attorney’s fees, may be foreclosed in judicial proceedings, in the manner provided or authorized by law for loans secured by liens on real property. In lieu of foreclosure, the costs, including the standards hearing officer’s costs, may be assessed as a special assessment against the lot or parcel of land on which structure was located, and the city clerk shall at the time of certifying other city taxes certify the unpaid portion of the aforesaid costs, and the county clerk shall extend the same on the tax rolls of the county against the lot or parcel of land. If the structure is removed or demolished by the public officer or by his or her designee, the materials of such structure shall be sold and the proceeds thereof shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition; and, if there be any balance of such proceeds remaining, it shall be paid to the parties entitled thereto as determined by proper judicial proceedings instituted by the public officer or his or her designee after deducting the costs of such judicial proceedings, including his or her necessary attorney’s fees incurred therein, as determined by the court.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

Any person or party affected by an order issued by the standards hearing officer may petition the District Court of Marion County, Kansas, pursuant to K.S.A. 17-4759(e), as such person or party’s exclusive remedy applicable to these proceedings.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

The owner of any structure ordered by the standards hearing officer to be repaired or to be demolished or removed shall comply with all pertinent provisions of the building codes of the city, and shall pay or cause to be paid any applicable building, demolition or wrecking permit fee. Upon removing any such structure, the owner, wrecker or licensed contractor shall seal the sanitary sewer connection in the manner set forth by the building inspector. In addition, after the demolition and removal of any structure the owner or licensed contractor shall fill any basement or other excavation located upon the premises and take such other action necessary to leave the premises in a safe condition.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

When in the opinion of the public officer, upon consultation with the mayor or, in the mayor’s absence, with the members of the city council, that any structure or portion thereof is in a condition constituting an immediate hazard and requiring immediate action to protect the public, such officer may erect barricades, cause the property to be immediately vacated, shored or taken down without delay and without prior notice or hearing to the owner, agents, lienholders or occupants. Costs of such action shall be assessed against the property as hereinafter provided.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

The standards hearing officer is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this article, including the following powers in addition to others herein granted:

(a)   To investigate the structural and property conditions in the municipality in order to determine whether violations of this chapter are present;

(b)   To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence; and

(c)   To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations; provided, that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconveniences to the persons in possession, and to obtain an order for this purpose from a court of competent jurisdiction in the event entry is denied or resisted.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

Upon the issuance of an order by the standards hearing officer under section 4-903 of this article finding the existence of dangerous structure conditions which render such structure unfit for human habitation, the standards hearing officer shall give notice thereof to the public officer of the city, who shall then place or cause to be placed on the particular structure covered by the order of notice as follows:

       “This structure has been found unfit for human habitation by the order of the standards hearing officer of the City of Hillsboro. This notice shall remain on this structure until its [use either of the following phrases as applicable] (1) repaired, altered or improved or vacated and closed as required by the order of the standards hearing officer; (2) removed and demolished as required by the order of the standards hearing officer. Any unauthorized removal of this order is punishable as a violation of the Hillsboro City Code.”

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)

Nothing in this article shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of this city to enforce any other provisions of its ordinances or its charter, or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof, nor to proceed in an appropriate court to enjoin and seek removal of a nuisance condition pursuant to K.S.A. 60-908, and amendments thereto; and the powers conferred by this chapter upon the designated public officer, standards hearing officer or other public officials shall be in addition and supplemental to the other powers conferred by the city.

(Ord., 1029, Sec. 1)

(a)   It shall be unlawful for any person: (i) to use or occupy any such structure which has been found to be a dangerous structure which is unfit for human use or habitation; (ii) to remove any notice posted upon any structure pursuant to section 4-908 of this article; (iii) to fail to comply with any order issued by the standards hearing officer for the abatement of any nuisance conditions or of any dangerous or dilapidated structure condition; (iv) to relocate to any other property within the city any items or structures found under this article to constitute a nuisance condition or a dangerous or dilapidated structure condition when the location thereof on such other property would also be a violation of the provisions of the Hillsboro City Code.

(b)   Any person convicted of a violation of the provisions of this chapter shall upon conviction thereof, and in the absence of any other prescribed penalty herein, be fined not less than $500.00, or be imprisoned not more than three months, or be both so fined and imprisoned.

(Ord. 1029, Sec. 1)