On January 1, 2003, the City of Utica, along with all other municipalities in the state, were mandated by Albany to adopt the International Building, Plumbing, Energy Conservation Construction, Fire and Property Maintenance Codes. This was done to attract new investment and construction in the State by streamlining the sometimes conflicting and confusing local building codes found throughout the state.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Any property owner or resident cited for codes violations by the City of Utica Codes Department is done so with a Notice and Order. This notice is time-limited and compliance is required within the time period as stated on the notice. If compliance is not achieved during the time period allotted, then an extension may be granted by the Codes Enforcement Official. This extension must be requested in writing before it may be granted by the department. If, upon re-inspection, the violation is still not corrected, then several actions may be taken by the Codes Department. These include:
An appearance ticket may be served on an individual named in a Notice and order for the violations to be heard in front of a judge in City of Utica City Court. Penalties for Violations (Utica City Code Sec. 2-12-5) may include a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) imprisonment for a term not exceeding fifteen (15) days or any combination thereof.
A case may be referred to Supreme Court if voluntary compliance cannot be achieved through a court order. If court-ordered compliance is not achieved by the defendant property owner or resident, the City of Utica may undertake to bring the property into compliance and:
a) seek a judgment for financial restitution for the work needed to comply the property, or
b) add the cost of the work performed to the taxes for the property.
The Supreme Court Judge can also order that a property be demolished. If the property owner refuses to perform the court ordered demolition, the City of Utica may choose to exercise its legal right to do so and seek a judgment to reimburse the cost of said demolition from the property owner.
If the Codes Violations are of a nature to jeopardize the health and safety of the residents or citizens of the City of Utica, then the commissioner may order its immediate closure (NYS PMC Sec. 108). If a building is closed by the department, before it can be re-opened, a new Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained. This will include an Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Safety and Codes Inspection. Upon successful completion of these inspections, a new Certificate of Occupancy may be issued and the building may be re-opened.