The new dilapidated structures ordinance is copied below. It has not been passed by the village council yet.
A “dilapidated structure” according to the ordinance is “a structure which through neglect or injury lacks necessary repairs or otherwise is in a state of decay or partial ruin to such an extent that the structure is a hazard to the health, safety or welfare of the general public or a vacant structure which is unfit for human occupancy due to the lack of necessary repairs and is considered uninhabitable and is a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the general public.”
The ordinance calls for owners to register the structure with the fire department, maintain a key box for emergency access, maintain the property to comply with village ordinances and carry $1,000,000 of liability insurance.
Violators are subject to a fine of up to $150 per day in Ripley Mayor’s Court.
Please see below for the full text of the ordinance:
VILLAGE OF RIPLEY, OHIO
ORDINANCE NO. ________
AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING THE REGISTRATION OF DILAPIDATED STRUCTURES IN THE VILLAGE OF RIPLEY
WHEREAS, The Village of Ripley recognizes that the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and first responders require that real property contained within the municipal limits, such as dilapidated structures shall be maintained in a fashion that promotes the utmost safety; and
WHEREAS, The Village of Ripley seeks to establish a program to identify, register and inspect dilapidated structures that may present a fire hazard, that may provide temporary occupancy for transients, and that may detract from private or public efforts to rehabilitate or maintain surrounding structures.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the Village of Ripley, State of Ohio, by a majority or more vote of all of its members elected to the legislative authority:
SECTION 1: PURPOSE
This Ordinance is adopted to establish a program for identifying and registering dilapidated structures within the Village of Ripley that may present a fire hazard, that may provide temporary occupancy by transients, that may detract from private and/or public efforts to rehabilitate or maintain surrounding structures, and that may present a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the public. Through a registration, inspection, and monitoring process, dilapidated structures will be kept weather tight and secure from trespassers, will provide safe entry to police officers and firefighters in times of emergency, will not impede private and/or public efforts to rehabilitate or maintain surrounding structures, and will not otherwise present a public hazard so that the health, safety, and welfare of the public is served by these regulations.
SECTION 2: DEFINITIONS
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall for the purpose of this Ordinance, have the following meanings:
(a) “Authorized agent” means a person that resides within Brown County, Ohio who shall be authorized in writing by the owner or person in control of a dilapidated structure to be responsible for the security and maintenance of the structure and property, who shall have access to the structure and property and who shall be available at all times in the case that an emergency occurs requiring immediate response and/or to make immediate repairs.
(b) “Dilapidated structure” means a structure which through neglect or injury lacks necessary repairs or otherwise is in a state of decay or partial ruin to such an extent that the structure is a hazard to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public or a vacant structure which is unfit for human occupancy due to the lack of necessary repairs and is considered uninhabitable and is a hazard to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public
(c) “Fire Chief” means the Fire Chief of the Village of Ripley or his or her designee.
(d) “Fire Department” means the Fire Department of the Village of Ripley.
(e) “Key box” means a secure device with a lock operable only by a fire department master key, and containing structure entry keys and other keys that may be required for access in an emergency.
(f) “Owner” means any person who, alone, or jointly or severally with others, shall have the legal or equitable title to a property, and shall include executors, administrators, trustees or guardians of the estate of the owner, and any purchaser or assignee under a certificate of sale pursuant to a mortgage foreclosure as evidenced by the signature of the judge upon the confirmation of sale, whether or not the deed has been filed with the Brown County Recorder’s Office. The term “owner” shall also include partnerships, corporations, and other unincorporated associations. Any individual owner, regardless of whether he or she shares ownership responsibility with any other person, any general partner of a partnership, and any officer of a corporation or unincorporated association, shall have direct and personal responsibility and liability for compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance.
(g) “Person” means an individual, partnership, association, syndicate, company, firm, trust, corporation, government corporation, department, bureau, agency, or any entity recognized by law.
(h) “Person in control” means the owner of the property; a mortgagee or vendee in possession; a receiver; an executor; a trustee; and any person, public or private entity, lessee or holder of a lesser estate in the property, and/or its duly authorized agent(s), with the authority to bring a structure or property into compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, including but not limited to any mortgagee that has filed an action in foreclosure on the particular property at issue, based on breach or default of a mortgage agreement, until title to the property is transferred to a third party.
(i) “Property” means not only the dilapidated structure and any other structures of any kind or nature located on the lot, but also the entire parcel of land surrounding the dilapidated structure, including, but not limited to, fences, walkways, walls, and appurtenances.
SECTION 3: OBLIGATIONS OF OWNERS AND PERSONS IN CONTROL
No owner or person in control of a dilapidated structure shall fail to do any of the following:
(a) Register the dilapidated structure with the Fire Department in accordance with the requirements of this Ordinance.
(b) Designate an authorized agent if the owner or person in control of the dilapidated structure does not reside within Brown County, Ohio or a contiguous county.
(c) At all times maintain an operable key box for use by the Fire Department to access the dilapidated structure.
(d) At all times maintain the property in accordance to the Ordinances of the Village of Ripley.
(e) Acquire or otherwise maintain general liability insurance covering the dilapidated structure in an amount of not less than one million dollars ($1,000,000). The insurance policy shall provide for written notice to the Fire Chief within thirty (30) days of any lapse, cancellation, or change in coverage.
SECTION 4: REGISTRATION
(a) All dilapidated structures located within the Village shall be registered by the owner or person in control thereof with the Fire Department within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this Ordinance and no later than December 31st of every year thereafter.
(b) Registration shall be made on forms provided by the Fire Chief and verified by the owner or person in control of the dilapidated structure and shall contain all of the following:
(1) The name, address and telephone number of the owner or person in control;
(2) The name, address and telephone number of the authorized agent, if required;
(3) The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all known lien holders and all other parties with any legal interest in the dilapidated structure;
(4) If the dilapidated structure is for sale, the name, address and telephone number of the company and the realtor or agent responsible for marketing the property;
(5) The address of the dilapidated structure and the permanent parcel tax identification number of the land on which the dilapidated structure is located;
(6) A certificate of general liability insurance; and
(c) No person shall furnish false information to the Fire Department in the Registration Form.
(d) Registration shall be valid until December 31st of each year.
(e) No owner or person in control of a dilapidated structure shall fail to notify the Fire Department and file an amended registration form within seven (7) days of any change in the registration information required by this section.
SECTION 5: PENALTY FOR FAILING TO PROPERLY REGISTER
If an owner or person in control of a dilapidated structure knowingly fails to comply with any provision of Section 3 and/or Section 4 of this Ordinance they shall be guilty of a minor misdemeanor, with each day in violation consisting of a separate offense, subject to a fine up to $150.00 (one-hundred and fifty dollars) per each separate offense.
SECTION 6: Council hereby finds and determines that all formal actions relative to the passage of this Ordinance were taken in legally convened and open regular meetings of this Council, and that all deliberations of this Council and of its committees, if any, which resulted in formal action, were taken in meetings open to the public, in full compliance with applicable legal requirements, including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.
PASSED AND ADOPTED THIS 12th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2023.
___________________________________ Nowana Bingaman, Mayor
ATTEST: Approved to as Form:
Amber Ackley, Fiscal Officer Nicholas R. Owens, Solicitor
First Reading: August 8, 2023 (Regular Council Meeting)
Second Reading: August 22, 2023 (Regular Council Meeting)
Third Reading: September 12, 2023 (Regular Council Meeting)