Chapter 8.05
NUISANCES

Sections:

I. Definitions

8.05.010    Definitions.

II. Nuisances Affecting Public Health

8.05.020    Nuisances affecting public health.

8.05.030    Rodent control – Conditions attracting rats prohibited.

III. Nuisances Affecting Public Safety

8.05.040    Creating a hazard.

8.05.050    Attractive nuisances.

8.05.060    Noxious vegetation.

8.05.070    Scattering rubbish.

8.05.080    Trees.

8.05.090    Fences.

8.05.095    Sidewalks.

8.05.100    Surface waters – Drainage.

IV. Nuisances Affecting Public Peace

8.05.110    Radio and television interference.

8.05.120    Junk.

V. Unenumerated Nuisances

8.05.130    Unenumerated nuisances.

VI. Abatement Procedure

8.05.140    Notice.

8.05.150    Abatement by the person responsible.

8.05.160    Joint responsibility.

8.05.170    Abatement by the city.

8.05.175    Abatement of prohibited camping-related activity.

8.05.180    Assessment of costs.

VII. General

8.05.190    Summary abatement.

8.05.200    Penalties.

8.05.210    Separate violations.

I. Definitions

8.05.010 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following words shall mean:

(1) “Person” means a natural person, firm, partnership, association or corporation.

(2) “Person in charge of property” means an agent, occupant, lessee, contract purchaser or other person having possession or control of the property or the supervision of any construction project.

(3) Person Responsible. The “person responsible” for abating a nuisance shall include:

(a) The owner;

(b) The person in charge of property, as defined in subsection (2) of this section;

(c) The person who caused to come into or continue in existence a nuisance as defined in this chapter or another ordinance of this city.

(4) “Public place” means a building, way, place or accommodation, whether publicly or privately owned, open and available to the general public.

(5) Rodentproof. Any building, structure, or part thereof is “rodentproof” when it is constructed of concrete, metal or some equally impermeable material in a manner that excludes rats, mice, or other rodents and vermin therefrom. (Ord. 421 § 1, 2000)

II. Nuisances Affecting Public Health

8.05.020 Nuisances affecting public health.

No person shall cause, or permit on property owned or controlled by that person, a nuisance affecting public health. The following are nuisances affecting public health and may be abated as provided in this chapter.

(1) Privies. Open vaults, privies, or other facilities intended or used for the disposal of sewage, constructed and maintained within the city. This chapter does not extend to privies constructed or maintained in accordance with health division regulations and used in connection with construction projects, temporary public events of no more than five days, and public parks.

(2) Debris. Accumulations of debris, rubbish, manure and other refuse that are not removed within a reasonable time and that affect the health of the city.

(3) Stagnant Water. Stagnant water which affords a breeding place for mosquitoes and other insect pests.

(4) Water Pollution. Pollution of a body of water, well, spring, stream or drainage ditch by sewage, industrial wastes or other substances placed in or near the water in a manner that will cause harmful material to pollute the water.

(5) Food. Decayed or unwholesome food which is offered for human consumption.

(6) Odor. Premises which are in such a state or condition as to cause an offensive odor, or which are in an unsanitary condition.

(7) Surface Drainage. Drainage of liquid wastes from private premises, including stormwater runoff from cuts, fills, immature landscaping, or logging activities into drainageways or onto adjacent properties.

(8) Cesspools. Cesspools or septic tanks which are in an unsanitary condition or which cause an offensive odor.

(9) Slaughterhouses, etc. Slaughterhouses, tanneries or pigsties.

(10) Prohibited Camping. Any camping that is not authorized by or does not comply with city code is prohibited camping. (Ord. 545 § 1, 2018; Ord. 421 § 2, 2000)

8.05.030 Rodent control – Conditions attracting rats prohibited.

(1) No owner or person in charge of property shall allow conditions to exist thereon or therein, which attract or are likely to attract, feed or harbor rats, mice, or other vermin.

(2) All portions of every building or other structure in which handling, storing or keeping any substance on which rats, mice, or other vermin can feed shall be rodentproof.

(3) All food for chickens, horses, mules, cows, goats, pigs or other domestic animals shall be kept and stored either in a building, structure, part thereof, or container that is rodentproof.

(4) All garbage or refuse consisting of waste material upon which rats, mice, or other vermin may feed shall be placed in covered rodentproof containers of a type prescribed by the city administrator or the administrator’s designee, until collected by garbage haulers.

(5) All premises improved or unimproved, and all open lots, streets, sidewalks, alleys and other areas in the city shall be kept clean and free from all rubbish, as well as from loose material that might serve as a harbor for rats, mice, or other vermin. All lumber, boxes, barrels, loose iron and material that might harbor vermin shall be placed upon supports in a such manner as to provide no refuge for rats, mice, or other vermin.

(6) All improvements, repairs, construction and maintenance of a building or structure, or any equipment or fixtures therein shall comply with this section.

(7) The city administrator or the administrator’s designee is hereby authorized and empowered to make inspection of the exterior, interior, and underneath any building or structure or premises in the city. It shall be unlawful for a person responsible to fail to permit such inspection when requested to do so in accordance with law. (Ord. 421 § 3, 2000)

III. Nuisances Affecting Public Safety

8.05.040 Creating a hazard.

No person shall create a hazard by:

(1) Maintaining or leaving in a place accessible to children a container with a compartment of more than one and one-half cubic feet capacity and a door or lid which locks or fastens automatically when closed and which cannot be easily opened from the inside; or

(2) Being the owner or otherwise having possession of property upon which there is a well, cistern, cesspool, excavation, or other hole of a depth of four feet or more and a top width of 12 inches or more, and failing or refusing to cover or fence said hole with a suitable protective cover. (Ord. 421 § 4, 2000)

8.05.050 Attractive nuisances.

(1) No owner or person in charge of property shall permit thereon:

(a) Unguarded machinery, equipment or other devices which are attractive, dangerous and accessible to children;

(b) Lumber, logs or piling placed, or stored, in a manner so as to be attractive, dangerous and accessible to children;

(c) An open pit, quarry, cistern or other excavation without safeguards or barriers to prevent such places from being used by children.

(2) This section shall not apply to authorized construction projects with reasonable safeguards to prevent injury or death to playing children. (Ord. 421 § 5, 2000)

8.05.060 Noxious vegetation.

(1) The term “noxious vegetation” does not include vegetation that constitutes an agricultural crop nor vegetation on a parcel in excess of one acre unless that vegetation is a health hazard, a fire hazard or a traffic hazard within the meaning of subsection (2) of this section or is within 50 feet of a dwelling unit.

(2) The term “noxious vegetation” does include, at any time between June 1st and September 30th of any year:

(a) Weeds more than 10 inches high;

(b) Grass more than 10 inches high and not within the exception stated in subsection (1) of this section;

(c) Poison oak;

(d) Poison ivy;

(e) Blackberry bushes that extend into a public thoroughfare or across a property line;

(f) Vegetation that is:

(i) A health hazard;

(ii) A fire hazard, as determined by the chief of the fire department, the director of public works or any other city official;

(iii) A traffic hazard because it impairs the view of a public thoroughfare or otherwise makes use of the thoroughfare hazardous.

(3) Between June 1st and September 30th of any year, no owner or person in charge of property shall allow noxious vegetation to be on the property or in the right-of-way of a public thoroughfare abutting on the property. An owner or person in charge of property shall cut down or destroy grass, shrubbery, brush, bushes, weeds, or other noxious vegetation as often as needed to prevent them from becoming unsightly, from becoming a fire hazard, or, in the case of weeds or other noxious vegetation, from maturing or from going to seed.

(4) Between April 15th and June 1st of each year the city recorder may cause to be published three times in a newspaper of general circulation in the city a copy of subsection (3) of this section as a notice to all owners and persons in charge of property of the duty to keep their property free from noxious vegetation. The notice shall state that the city is willing to abate the nuisance on a particular parcel of property at the request of the owner or person in charge of the property for a fee sufficient to cover the city’s abatement costs. The notice shall also state that, even in the absence of such request, the city intends to abate all such nuisances 10 or more days after the final publication of the notice and to charge the cost of doing so on a particular parcel of property to the owner or the person in charge of the property, or the property itself.

(5) If the notice provided for in subsection (4) of this section is used, it shall be in lieu of the notice required by VMC 8.05.140. (Ord. 421 § 6, 2000)

8.05.070 Scattering rubbish.

No person shall deposit upon public or private property any kind of rubbish, trash, debris, refuse or any substances that would mar the appearance, create a stench or fire hazard, detract from the cleanliness or safety of the property or would be likely to injure a person, animal or vehicle traveling upon a public way. (Ord. 421 § 7, 2000)

8.05.080 Trees.

(1) No owner or person in charge of property that abuts upon a street or public sidewalk shall permit trees, bushes, or other vegetation on that person’s property to interfere with street or sidewalk traffic. It shall be the duty of an owner or person in charge of the property that abuts upon a street or public sidewalk to keep all trees and bushes on that person’s premises, including the adjoining parking strip, trimmed to a height of not less than eight feet above the sidewalk and not less than 10 feet from the roadway.

(2) No owner or person in charge of property shall allow to stand a dead or decaying tree that is a hazard to the public or to persons or property on or near the property. Prior to the removal of more than three such dead or decaying trees, notice shall be given to the city, to allow the city to inspect the trees and insure no permit is required. (Ord. 421 § 8, 2000)

8.05.090 Fences.

(1) No owner or person in charge of property shall construct or maintain a barbed-wire fence thereon, or permit barbed wire to remain as part of a fence along a sidewalk or public way; except such wire may be placed above the top of other fencing not less than six feet, six inches high.

(2) No owner or person in charge of property shall construct, maintain or operate an electric fence along a sidewalk or public way or along the adjoining property line of another person except in areas zoned rural residential. (Ord. 421 § 9, 2000)

8.05.095 Sidewalks.

No owner or person in charge of property shall allow a sidewalk abutting that owner’s or person’s property to fall into disrepair, in violation of applicable city sidewalk design standards and VMC 12.15.060. (Ord. 526 § 1, 2016)

8.05.100 Surface waters – Drainage.

(1) No owner or person in charge of a building or structure shall suffer or permit rainwater, ice or snow to fall from the building or structure onto a street or public sidewalk or to flow across the sidewalk.

(2) The owner or person in charge of property shall install and maintain in proper state of repair adequate drainpipes or a drainage system, so that any overflow water accumulating on the roof or about the building is not carried across or upon the sidewalk. (Ord. 421 § 10, 2000)

IV. Nuisances Affecting Public Peace

8.05.110 Radio and television interference.

(1) No person shall operate or use an electrical, mechanical or other device, apparatus, instrument or machine that causes reasonably preventable interference with radio or television reception by a radio or television receiver of good engineering design.

(2) This section does not apply to devices licensed, approved and operated under the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. (Ord. 421 § 11, 2000)

8.05.120 Junk.

(1) No person shall keep any junk outdoors on any street, lot or premises, or in a building that is not wholly or entirely enclosed with the exception of doors used for ingress and egress.

(2) The term “junk,” as used in this section, includes all old motor vehicles, old motor vehicle parts, abandoned automobiles, old machinery, old machinery parts, old appliances or parts thereof, old iron or other metal, glass, paper, lumber, wood or other waste or discarded material.

(3) This section shall not apply to junk kept in a duly licensed junkyard or automobile wrecking house. (Ord. 421 § 12, 2000)

V. Unenumerated Nuisances

8.05.130 Unenumerated nuisances.

(1) The acts, conditions or objects specifically enumerated and defined in VMC 8.05.020 through 8.05.120 are declared public nuisances, and such acts, conditions or objects may be abated by any of the procedures set forth in VMC 8.05.140 to 8.05.190.

(2) In addition to the nuisances specifically enumerated within this chapter, every other thing, substance or act which is determined by the council to be injurious or detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare of the city is declared a nuisance and may be abated as provided in this chapter. (Ord. 421 § 13, 2000)

VI. Abatement Procedure

8.05.140 Notice.

(1) On determination by the city administrator that a nuisance exists, the city administrator shall cause a notice to be posted on the premises or at the site of the nuisance, directing the person responsible to abate the nuisance.

(2) At the time of posting, the city recorder shall cause a copy of the notice to be forwarded by registered or certified mail to the person responsible at the person’s last known address.

(3) The notice to abate shall contain:

(a) A description of the real property, by street address or otherwise, on which the nuisance exists;

(b) A direction to abate the nuisance within 10 days from the date of the notice;

(c) A description of the nuisance;

(d) A statement that, unless the nuisance is removed, the city may abate the nuisance and the cost of abatement will be charged to the person responsible;

(e) A statement that failure to abate a nuisance may warrant imposition of a fine or jail sentence;

(f) A statement that the person responsible may protest the order to abate by giving notice to the city recorder within 10 days from the date of the notice.

(4) If the person responsible is not the owner, an additional notice shall be sent to the owner, stating that the cost of abatement not paid by the person responsible may be assessed to and become a lien on the property.

(5) Upon completion of the posting and mailing, the persons posting and mailing shall execute and file certificates stating the date and place of the mailing and posting.

(6) An error in the name or address of the person responsible shall not make the notice void, and in such case the posted notice shall be sufficient. (Ord. 421 § 14, 2000)

8.05.150 Abatement by the person responsible.

(1) Within 10 days after the posting and mailing of such notice, as provided in VMC 8.05.140, the person responsible shall remove the nuisance or show that no nuisance exists.

(2) A person responsible, protesting that no nuisance exists, shall file with the city recorder a written statement which shall specify the basis for so protesting.

(3) The statement shall be referred to the city council as a part of its regular agenda at its next succeeding meeting. At the time set for consideration of the abatement, the person protesting may appear and be heard by the council; the council shall determine whether or not a nuisance in fact exists; and the determination shall be entered in the official minutes of the council. Council determination shall be required only in those cases where a written statement has been filed as provided above.

(4) If the council determines that a nuisance does in fact exist, the person responsible shall, within 10 days after the council determination, abate the nuisance. (Ord. 421 § 15, 2000)

8.05.160 Joint responsibility.

If more than one person is a person responsible, they shall be jointly and severally liable for abating the nuisance, or for the costs incurred by the city in abating the nuisance. (Ord. 421 § 16, 2000)

8.05.170 Abatement by the city.

(1) If, within the time allowed, the nuisance has not been abated by the person responsible, the council may cause the nuisance to be abated.

(2) The officer charged with abatement of the nuisance shall have the right at reasonable times to enter into or upon property to investigate or cause the removal of a nuisance.

(3) The city recorder shall keep an accurate record of the expense incurred by the city in physically abating the nuisance, and shall include therein a charge of $10.00 or 10 percent of those expenses (whichever is the greater) for administrative overhead. (Ord. 421 § 17, 2000)

8.05.175 Abatement of prohibited camping-related activity

(1) At the time that a 24-hour notice is posted, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, or designee, will inform local agenc(ies) or designated advocate that delivers social services to homeless individuals where the notice has been posted. The city may arrange for local agenc(ies) or designated advocate to visit the camp site where a notice has been posted to assess the need for social service assistance in arranging shelter and other assistance.

(a) All unclaimed personal property shall be given to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office or enforcement designee whether 24-hour notice is required or not.

(b) The property shall be stored for a minimum of 30 days during which it will be available to any individual claiming ownership. Any personal property that remains unclaimed for 30 days may be disposed of.

(c) Items that have no apparent utility or are in unsanitary condition may be immediately discarded upon removal of the campers from the camping site.

(d) Weapons, drug paraphernalia and items that appear to be either stolen or evidence of a crime shall be given to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

(2) Following the removal of camper(s) from a campground on public property, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, enforcement designee, VHAB, and/or local agency officials and outreach workers determined as qualified by the city administrator, may meet to assess the notice and removal policy, to discuss whether the removals are occurring in a humane and just manner, and to determine if any changes are needed in the policy.

(3) The 24-hour notice required under subsection (4) of this section shall not apply:

(a) When there are grounds for the Lane County Sheriff’s Office or enforcement designee to believe that illegal activities other than camping are occurring.

(b) In the event of an exceptional emergency such as possible site contamination by hazardous materials or when there is immediate danger to human life or safety.

(c) A person authorized to issue a citation for unlawful camping under state law, administrative rule or city or county ordinance may not issue the citation if the citation would be issued within 200 feet of the notice described in this section and within two hours before or after the notice was posted. (Ord. 545 § 2, 2018)

8.05.180 Assessment of costs.

(1) The city recorder, by registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, shall forward to the person responsible a notice stating:

(a) The total cost of abatement, including the administrative overhead;

(b) That the cost as indicated will be assessed to and become a lien against the property, unless paid within 30 days from the date of the notice;

(c) That if the person responsible objects to the cost of the abatement as indicated, he may file a notice of objection with the city recorder not more than 10 days from the date of the notice.

(2) Upon the expiration of 10 days after the date of the notice, the council, in the regular course of business, shall hear and determine the merit of any objections raised to the costs assessed.

(3) If the costs of the abatement are not paid within 30 days from the date of the notice, an assessment of the costs, as stated or as determined by the council, shall be made by resolution and shall thereupon be entered in the docket of city liens, and upon such entry being made shall constitute a lien upon the property from which the nuisance was removed or abated.

(4) The lien shall be enforced in the manner as liens for street improvements are enforced, and shall bear interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum. The interest shall commence to run from the date of the entry of the lien in the lien docket.

(5) An error in the name of the person responsible shall not void the assessment, nor will a failure to receive the notice of the proposed assessment render the assessment void, but it shall remain a valid lien against the property. (Ord. 421 § 18, 2000)

VII. General

8.05.190 Summary abatement.

The procedure provided by this chapter is not exclusive, but is in addition to any procedures provided by other ordinances. The city administrator or the administrator’s designee may proceed to summarily abate a nuisance which unmistakably exists, and which imminently endangers the environment, human life, health, safety or property. The cost of such abatement may be assessed as provided in VMC 8.05.180. (Ord. 421 § 19, 2000)

8.05.200 Penalties.

A person violating a provision of this chapter or an order issued under authority of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be deemed guilty of a violation and shall be fined an amount not to exceed $4,000. (Ord. 486 § 10, 2009; Ord. 421 § 20, 2000)

8.05.210 Separate violations.

(1) Each day’s violation of a provision of this chapter constitutes a separate offense.

(2) The abatement of a nuisance is not a penalty for violating this chapter, but is an additional remedy. The imposition of a penalty does not relieve a person of the duty to abate the nuisance, however, abatement of a nuisance within 10 days of the date of notice to abate, or if a written protest has been filed, then abatement within 10 days of council determination that a nuisance exists, will relieve the person responsible from the imposition of any fine or imprisonment under VMC 8.05.200. (Ord. 421 § 21, 2000)