Chapter 6.05
ADMINISTRATIVE IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTIES

Sections:

6.05.010    Legislative declaration.

6.05.020    Purpose – Applicability of title.

6.05.030    Definitions.

6.05.040    Notice of violation.

6.05.050    Failure to comply.

6.05.060    Daily violations.

6.05.070    Reoccurring violations.

6.05.080    Multiple violations.

6.05.090    Payment.

6.05.100    Extensions of time.

6.05.110    Appeals.

6.05.120    Hearing Officer.

6.05.130    Collection.

6.05.140    Collection action not relief of correction responsibility.

6.05.150    Assistance of Syracuse City Police Department.

6.05.010 Legislative declaration.

The City Council of Syracuse City finds that public nuisances exist in the City in the operation of certain commercial establishments and the use, alteration, maintenance or operation of residential, commercial, and industrial properties, in flagrant violation of the ordinances of the City or the laws of the state of Utah. All of these interfere with the interest of the public in property values, public health, safety, and welfare, and the quality of life and community environment. The Council further finds that the continued occurrence of such activities and violations is detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the City and the businesses thereof. It is the purpose of the Council to create a standardized procedure for securing legal and equitable remedies in the civil courts relating to the subject matter encompassed by this law, without prejudice to the use of other remedies or procedures available under existing and subsequently enacted statutes or ordinances, and to strengthen existing laws on the subject. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-1.]

6.05.020 Purpose – Applicability of title.

The purpose of this title is to provide a standardized procedure for the administrative imposition of certain civil penalties authorized under various sections, articles, chapters, or titles of this code and to encourage the correction of code violations without resort to the criminal courts. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-2.]

6.05.030 Definitions.

The following terms, as used in this title, are defined as follows:

“Abate” or “abatement” means to repair, replace, rehabilitate, remove, destroy, demolish, correct, or otherwise remedy a condition that constitutes a public nuisance.

“Civil citation” or “citation” means a written notice, issued by an Enforcement Officer to a responsible party, that a violation of this code has occurred and that a civil penalty has been assessed.

“Closing” or “closing order” means a court order prohibiting use or occupancy of premises or property, except as reasonably necessary for the performance of maintenance or abatement work in accordance with City ordinances.

“Date of notice” means:

(1) The date of personal delivery of any notice or civil citation to the responsible party; or

(2) Five days after any notice or civil citation is mailed via first class mail, postage prepaid, to the:

(a) Owner of the real property that is subject of the notice or citation at the last known address as shown on the records of the Davis County assessor, as evidenced in the records maintained in the Davis County recorder’s office;

(b) Occupant of the real property that is subject of the notice or citation at the address of the property in violation, unless another address for such occupant is shown on the records of the Davis County assessor’s office, as evidenced in the records maintained in the Davis County recorder’s office; or

(c) The date that a notice or civil citation is affixed to a vehicle found in violation or mailed via first class mail, postage prepaid, to the registered owner of such vehicle at the address as shown in the registration records of the state of Utah.

“Enforcement Officer” means an officer, employee, or other person authorized to issue any notice of code violation or civil citation.

“Habitual nuisance” means any premises or property located within the City:

(1) Where there have occurred two or more convictions of a public nuisance related offense on the part of the lessees, owners, operators, or occupants within the period of one year prior to the commencement of an action under this title.

(2) Where there have occurred three or more violations of a public nuisance related offense on the part of the lessees, owners, operators or occupants within the period of one year prior to the commencement of an action under this title.

“Hearing Officer” means any Hearing Officer appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the City Council.

“Junk or salvage material” means discarded or waste material; rubbish, trash; a collection of miscellaneous items of little value.

“Litter” means rubbish carelessly dropped or left about.

“Notice of violation” or “notice of code violation” (also known as “notice and order” or “warning notice”) means a written notice, issued by an Enforcement Officer to a responsible party, that a violation of this code has occurred.

“Notice to abate” means a written notice to abate or otherwise correct a public nuisance as defined herein.

“Personal delivery” means hand delivery to the responsible party, or leaving the notice at the responsible party’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.

“Premises” means a building or structure, or the premises on which a building or structure is located, or undeveloped land.

“Property” means a lot, parcel, or plot of ground, whether occupied or not.

“Responsible party” means any person liable for a violation or civil penalty under the applicable provisions of this code.

“Utah Code” means Utah Code Annotated 1953, as amended.

“Warning period” means 10 days after the date of notice, unless a greater period of time is given by the Enforcement Officer. If the notice of violation is delivered by first class mail, the time for correction listed in such notice shall include the additional five days required for delivery. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-3.]

6.05.040 Notice of violation.

If an Enforcement Officer finds that a violation exists within the City, the Enforcement Officer may provide a notice of violation to the responsible party. The notice of violation shall indicate the nature of the violation, the action necessary to correct it, the warning period established before imposition of civil penalties, and the civil penalty amount for failure to correct the violation within the established warning period. The notice shall also include photographs of the actual violation existing on the property. The date of notice applicable to such notice shall serve to start the warning period. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-4.]

6.05.050 Failure to comply.

If a violation within the City remains uncorrected after expiration of the warning period, the responsible party shall be liable for the civil penalties imposed under such title, chapter, article, or section of this code. Such penalty shall be assessed by the issuance of a citation by the Enforcement Officer. Any penalty assessed herein shall be in addition to such other penalties as may be provided in this code. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-5.]

6.05.060 Daily violations.

Each day a violation remains uncorrected after expiration of the warning period shall give rise to a separate civil penalty. The City may combine any action to recover daily penalties with any other civil penalty regarding the same property or person. No civil citation shall be issued for a daily violation that occurs in conjunction with another criminal violation as part of a single criminal episode that will be prosecuted in a criminal proceeding. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-6.]

6.05.070 Reoccurring violations.

If a violation is corrected but reoccurs on or related to the same property within two years following the imposition of any civil penalty and the violation is committed by the same person, after expiration of a new warning period such violation shall subject that person to the applicable maximum penalty. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-7.]

6.05.080 Multiple violations.

If a notice of violation describes more than one violation on or related to the same property, only the highest civil penalty shall be applicable for daily violations. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-8.]

6.05.090 Payment.

Any person issued a civil citation shall, within 20 days of the date of the notice, pay the civil penalty unless a written request for a hearing is filed pursuant to SCC 6.20.010. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-9.]

6.05.100 Extensions of time.

Upon receipt of a written application from any person who may be subject to future civil penalties under the provisions of this chapter and by agreement of such person to comply with the notice if allowed additional time, the Enforcement Officer may grant an extended warning period, if the officer determines that good cause exists for such extended warning period and the extension will not seriously threaten the effective enforcement of the applicable title, chapter, article, or section of this code, nor pose an imminent danger to the public health, safety, or welfare. The City Council may adopt written guidelines for the granting of extensions under this section. The grant of an extension shall not restrict the power of the Building Official to require vacation of premises, nor restrict the enforcement of other code violations. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-10.]

6.05.110 Appeals.

(A) Request – Application. Any person having received a notice of violation or a civil citation may request a hearing before a Hearing Officer by filing a written application for a hearing in the office of the Planning Division of the City within 10 calendar days of the date of the notice. Hearings shall be conducted as provided in Chapter 6.20 SCC. All applications for hearing shall be accompanied by a copy of the notice of violation and by a filing fee established by the City’s fee schedule.

(B) Notification of Enforcement Officer. Upon receipt of an application for hearing, the Planning Division shall immediately notify the Enforcement Officer.

(C) Burden of Proof. The burden to prove any defense shall be upon the person raising such defense.

(D) Applicable Defenses. The Hearing Officer may dismiss the notice and release the person from liability if any of the following defenses are applicable:

(1) Notice was not served in compliance with the provisions of this chapter;

(2) The violation was corrected within the warning period;

(3) It is determined that no violation of the ordinance existed under the notice or civil citation; or

(4) At the time of the notice or civil citation, compliance would have violated the criminal laws of the state.

(E) Mitigating Circumstances. If the Hearing Officer finds that a violation did occur, but that mitigating circumstances did exist, the penalty may be reduced after the violation is corrected. Mitigating circumstances may include:

(1) If a change of the actual ownership of the subject property was recorded with the Davis County recorder’s office after the notice of violation was issued and the new owner is not related by blood, marriage, or common ownership to the prior owner;

(2) If the violation or inability to cure were caused by a force majeure event such as war, act of nature, strike, or civil disturbance;

(3) Compliance with the notice would have presented an imminent and irreparable injury to persons or property; or

(4) Such other mitigating circumstances as may be approved by the Hearing Officer.

(F) Correction after Expiration of Warning Period Not a Defense. It shall not be a defense that the responsible party corrected the violation after expiration of the warning period.

(G) Agreement for Delayed or Periodic Payments. If the Hearing Officer finds that the violation occurred and no applicable defense applies, the City may, in the interest of justice, enter into an agreement for the delayed or periodic payment of the applicable penalties. In the absence of an agreement for delayed or periodic payments, any civil penalty upheld or reduced by the Hearing Officer shall be paid within 20 days of the date of the Hearing Officer’s written decision.

(H) Appeal to Board of Zoning Adjustment. Any administrative determination by the Hearing Officer regarding an interpretation of the provisions of the City zoning code may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment.

(I) Appeal to District Court. Any person adversely affected by the decision of the Hearing Officer may petition the district court for review of the administrative determination pursuant to Section 10-3-703.7(5), Utah Code Annotated 1953, or its successor provision. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-11.]

6.05.120 Hearing Officer.

A Hearing Officer shall conduct requested appeals hearings in accordance with standards and procedures established in SCC 6.05.110 and Chapter 6.20 SCC.

(A) Selection of Hearing Officer. The Mayor shall appoint an individual or individuals to fill this position, subject to the advice and consent of the City Council.

(B) Compensation. The Hearing Officer shall be compensated for their services on a per-hearing basis, as established by resolution of the City Council.

(C) Scheduling of Hearings. Hearings shall be established on a monthly basis by the Hearing Officer in coordination with the Community Development Department. Hearings shall occur on the same date and time of the month (i.e., first Wednesday of every month at 5:00 p.m.). All requested hearings shall be scheduled in accordance with this calendar, as established by the Hearing Officer and Community Development Department. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-12.]

6.05.130 Collection.

If a civil penalty imposed pursuant to this chapter remains unpaid, the City may use such lawful means as are available to collect such penalty, including costs and attorney’s fees. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-13.]

6.05.140 Collection action not relief of correction responsibility.

Commencement of any collection action shall not relieve the responsibility of any person to cure any violation if still uncorrected. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-14.]

6.05.150 Assistance of Syracuse City Police Department.

The Syracuse City Police Department shall, upon the request of the Code Enforcement Officer, assist in the enforcement of any order issued pursuant to this chapter. [Ord. 10-09 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 10-06 § 1 (Exh. A); Code 1971 § 6-1-15.]