01-006-O
ORDINANCE NO. __________

AN ORDINANCE CHANGING THE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE FOR THE DEMOLITION OF DANGEROUS OR DILAPIDATED STRUCTURES WHEN THE BUILDING OWNER IS KNOWN TO BE DECEASED; AMENDING SECTION 10-3 OF THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED.

BY COUNCILOR STENBERG:

        The city of Duluth does ordain:

                Section 1. That Section 10-3 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 10-3.    Demolition procedure.

        (a)    General. Whenever it comes to the notice of the building official that any building or structure is in a damaged, dilapidated or dangerous condition, it shall be his duty to make an inspection of such building or structure. It shall be unlawful to repair or alter any such building or structure located within Fire Zone No. 1 if, in the opinion of the building official, such building or structure has been damaged or deteriorated from any cause to the extent of more than 50 percent of the value of a similar new building and all such buildings or structures so damaged or deteriorated shall be torn down and removed when so ordered by the building official. It shall be unlawful to repair or alter any building or structure located in Fire Zone No. 3 if, in the opinion of the building official, such building or structure has been damaged or deteriorated from any cause to the extent of more than 60 percent of the value of a similar new building and all such buildings or structures so damaged or deteriorated shall be torn down and removed when so ordered by the building official;
        (b)    Orders for demolition and assessment of costs. All orders for the demolition of a dangerous, defective or deteriorated building, or for repairs to the same, shall be in writing, signed by the building official, and shall allow not less than 30 days in which to comply with said order. Should any such order not be complied with within the time allowed therefor or the appeal provided for in Section 10-6 of this Chapter not be taken, the building official shall, in writing, communicate such information to the city council. The city council may direct the building official to proceed with the work ordered, or to contract to have the work done. In case of the demolition of a building, should the sale of the salvage from such building exceed the cost of the demolition, the balance in excess of the cost shall be paid to the owner of said building or to such other persons as may by law be entitled thereto. A statement of the cost of such work shall be transmitted to the city council which may cause the same to be charged against the land on which the building existed as a municipal lien, which lien shall be recorded with the register of deeds or registrar of titles as a lien against such land, or to be recovered in a suit at law against the owner, or to cause any or all of such costs to be assessed against the property from which such removal takes place. If the city council decides to assess the cost of demolition against the affected property, such assessment shall be made by resolution of the council, and such resolution shall state a time by which such assessment shall be payable, which time shall be not less than 30 days after publication of such resolution and service of notice of the assessment upon the property owner. Notice of such assessment and the time within which it shall be paid, shall be served on the owner of such property in the manner provided in Subsection (c) of this Section below, except that it shall not be necessary to post such notice on the affected property or to publish such notice other than to publish in the regular manner the resolution by which such assessment is made. Delinquent assessments shall be certified to the county auditor of St. Louis County for collection in the same manner as other assessments, pursuant to Section 70 of the Duluth City Charter;
        (c)    Notice to owner. Except as otherwise provided for in Subsection (b) above, service of all orders provided for in this Section shall be made as follows:
                (1)    Upon an individual owner, residing within the city of Duluth, by delivering a copy to him personally or by leaving a copy at his usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. If the owner does not reside within the city of Duluth, by sending a copy of such order by registered mail to his last known address, and in addition a copy of such order shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the building to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service. If it should come to the attention of the building official that the owner, as shown by the land records of the register of deeds or the registrar of titles of the county of St. Louis, Minnesota, is deceased, such order shall be sent by registered mail to the known heirs of the deceased owner if the building official is reasonably able to ascertain such heirs. In addition, a copy of the said order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the building to which it relates, and said order shall be published in the official newspaper of the city of Duluth for one day in each of two consecutive days weeks during the period to which the order relates. Such mailing, posting and publication shall be deemed adequate service;
                (2)    If the owner is confined to a state institution, by serving also the chief executive officer of the institution;
                (3)    If the owner be an infant under the age of 14 years, by serving a resident guardian, and if he has none, then by serving the person having control of such infant or with whom he resides;
                (4)    If the owner be a partnership or association, by delivering the order to a member or the managing agent of the partnership or association;
                (5)    If the owner be a domestic or foreign corporation, by delivering the order to an officer or managing agent. If such corporation be a foreign corporation and has no such agent in the city of Duluth, then service may be made upon any such agent of the corporation within the state.

                Section 2.    That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days from and after its passage and publication.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This ordinance slightly alters the notification provisions in Section 10-3 of the City Code, which sets forth the procedures for demolishing dangerous and dilapidated buildings. The provision being amended provided that if the owners of the building to be demolished was deceased, the building official would send copies of the demolition order to all known heirs and publish the order on two consecutive days in the city's official newspaper. This provision is the only place in the City Code where publication is required on consecutive days. The practical effect of the provision was to eliminate all newspapers that did not publish on a daily basis from consideration to be the city's official newspaper. This amendment changes the requirement so that the order has to be published "one day in each of two consecutive weeks" in the period to which the order relates. Legally, the change is insignificant and perhaps improves the published notice provision in this seldom used part of the procedure. Practically, the change will allow more newspapers to compete for designation as the city's official newspaper.