Chapter 6.01
Nuisance Abatement Regulations
Section 1. Nuisance Abatement Regulations. Definition of a nuisance. The term “nuisance” in this ordinance refers to a class of legal wrongs which arise from a property owner/person’s unreasonable or unlawful use of real or personal property and produces annoyance, inconvenience, discomfort, hurt or is a threat to the general welfare, health, and safety of the City.
Also, whoever has control of real property and permits it to be used to maintain a nuisance or lets the same, knowing it will be so used: is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Section 2. Public Nuisances: The following is hereby declared a non-exclusive list of nuisances:
1. Accumulations of refuse, or other debris;
2. Fences, walls, posts, trees, bushes, or other plant life located within the public right-of-way;
3. Passenger vehicles and trucks parked on an unapproved surface or in an inoperative state or unlicensed or unregistered, or any combination shall be abated by using Chapter 19.02 entitled “Abandoned Motor Vehicles” of the City Code.
4. All material and equipment not stored within a building or not fully screened so as to be visible from adjoining properties, except for the following; Laundry equipment, recreational equipment and vehicles, construction and landscaping material currently being used in the premises, and off-street parking of passenger vehicles;
5. All weeds and grass that exceed eight (8) inches in height on developed parcels and twelve (12) inches in height on undeveloped parcels. (This doe not include buffer zones that have been developed for sedimentation control purposes and approved by the City or wetland areas.) In special circumstances, the discretion of the code enforcement officer may also determine a property to be noncompliant where the neighborhood character is compromised.
6. All noxious weeds upon public and private property as determined by State Law;
7. The discharge, disposal, accumulation, or collection of sewage or industrial waste in violation of this code;
8. Dumpsters and garbage cans which are not rodent-free or fly-tight or which are so maintained as to constitute a health hazard or to emit foul and disagreeable odors;
9. Over abundant or dense growths of vegetation upon public or private property within five (5) feet of any right-of-way;
10. Burning in violation of Chapter 5.01, Section 9 of the city code;
11. All snow and ice removal must conform to Chapter 12.03, entitled Snow Plowing and Ice Control Procedures;
12. All trees, hedges, billboards, temporary buildings or structures or other obstructions which prevent persons from having a clear view of all traffic approaching an intersection;
13. All wires and limbs of trees which are so close to the surface of a sidewalk or street as to constitute a danger to pedestrians or vehicles;
14. Placing or storing on any street, sidewalk, alley, or public right-of-way any boxes, goods, wares, merchandise, building materials, machinery, business or trade article, except for the purpose of immediately transferring the same to some other proper place;
15. Any hanging signs, awning, and other similar structures over streets and sidewalks, or so situated so as to endanger public safety, or not constructed and maintained as provided by the Zoning Ordinance;
16. All dangerous, unguarded machinery in any public place, or so situated or operated on private property as to attract the public;
17. Accumulations in the open of discarded or disused machinery, household appliances, vehicle bodies, tires or other material, in a manner conducive to the harboring of rats, mice, snakes, or vermin, or the over abundant or dense growth of vegetation among the items so accumulated, or in a manner creating fire, health, or safety hazards from such accumulation;
18. Accumulation in the open of broken or unused metal, wood, lumber, cement, electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, building materials (but excluding building materials awaiting use in construction or improvement presently in progress on the same premises), trash, debris, rubbish, or tires, in a manner conducive to the harboring of rats, mice, snakes, or vermin, or the over abundant or dense growth of vegetation among the items so accumulated, or in a manner creating fire, health, or safety hazards from such accumulation;
19. Any well, hole or similar excavation which is left uncovered or in such other condition as to constitute a hazard to any child or other person coming on the premises where it is located;
20. The depositing of refuse on a public right-of-way or on an adjacent private property;
21. Throwing, placing, or depositing dirt, sand, leaves, trash, lawn clippings, weeds, grass, snow, or other materials in the streets, sidewalks, other public ways and the gutters thereof;
22. Permitting dirt or mud from construction or landscaping activities to be carried or deposited unto nearby streets, sidewalks, other public ways and the gutters thereof;
23. Any used refrigerator, ice box, freezer, or other appliance which is accessible to children;
24. All residential garbage receptacles must be stored out of public view, and at least ten (10) feet from all public right-of-ways except on garbage pick up day;
25. Any tree living or standing with an epidemic disease;
26. Any other violation of State Law or the City Code, including but not limited to the Zoning Code, Housing Maintenance Code, and Building Code which the City Council deems likely to cause annoyance, inconvenience, discomfort, hurt or is a threat to the general welfare, health, and safety of the City.
Section 3. Abatement Procedure. Abatement Procedure shall follow the steps listed below:
1. Record Complaint. Record all complaints received on the appropriate City form that lists the nature and location of the alleged violation.
2. Inspect Property. Inspect property in question (after obtaining any necessary warrant/permission if necessary) and document the existence of any perceived nuisance.
3. Prepare Correction Notice. If it is determined that a nuisance exists, a notice of violation must be provided to the violator and said notice shall contain the following:
(a) The nature of the violation and appropriate ordinance citation.
(b) The necessary action needed to correct the violation.
(c) The date by which the corrections must be made before the City will seek abatement.
(d) The right of and the manner for the alleged violator to request a hearing before the City Council unless it is an emergency case.
(e) A description of the penalties if the violation is not corrected.
(f) A statement that all costs incurred by the City in abating the nuisance shall be assessed against the property.
(g) In the instance of abating tall weeds/grass, the property owner shall be issued only one letter per year. After which, the city shall reserve the right to abate the nuisance at any time violations reoccur.
4. Serve Correction Notice. A notice shall be served to the property owner in person or by mail. If the premises are not occupied and/or the owner is unknown, the notice may be served by posting it on the premises.
5. Determine Violation Status. Determine whether the violation has been corrected by the set date in the notice.
6. Order Abatement. If the violation has not been corrected the city Administrator or his/her appointee may order the abatement be implemented by the City staff or by a designated contractor or may place the abatement on the City Council Agenda for approval by resolution to abate.
7. Conduct Clean Up. If there is removal of personal property, the property shall be stored and the property owner shall be provided notice of where the property can be reclaimed and by what date it must be reclaimed before it will be disposed of by the City. (Storage of and payment for all property seized through the abatement process shall be handled in accordance with Minnesota State Law.)
8. Document All Costs. Document all costs involved including administrative, legal, clean up, and storage and/or disposal of any property removed.
9. Submit A Bill. Submit a bill for the amount of the total costs of the abatement to the property owner. The amount shall be immediately due and payable in full 30 days after the bill is mailed to the violator. The bill shall be payable at the office of the Clerk/Treasurer.
10. Unpaid Bills/Assessment. If the bill is not paid by the due date then the amount shall be a lien against the subject property and the amount shall be collected as a special assessment in the manner provided by Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 429.
Section 4. Time To Correct. All nuisance correction must be made within 13 days of mailing of the correction notice, unless a shorter or longer time is provided for by the City Code or by the City Council through the appeal process. Specific timelines shall be followed for the following nuisances:
7 days for tall weeds/grass, noxious weeds.
10 days for accumulations of refuse or other debris
10 days for abandoned, inoperable, unlicensed vehicles
10 days for vehicles, trailers on unapproved surfaces
30 days for items constructed, placed in right of way (exception vehicles, other items that are perceived to be more mobile in nature.)
Section 5. Appeal. Any appeal of the correction notice must be served upon the City Administrator or City Clerk/Treasurer within 7 days of the mailing of the corrections notice. All appeals shall be heard by the City Council at their regular meetings. Notice of the date of the appeal hearing to be held before the City Council shall be mailed to the violator at least 10 days prior to the hearing. The written decision of the City Council shall be mailed to the violator by mail. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Council shall have the right to appeal the decision of the City Council to the Wright County District Court. Any such appeal to the District Court must be served upon the City Administrator or City Clerk/Treasurer and filed in the Wright County Court Administrator’s Office within 20 days after it is served by mail upon the violator.
Section 6. Emergency Case. The City Council or its appointee shall have the authority to determine which violations constitute an emergency case. (An emergency case has no appeal process and requires immediate action.) When the officer charged with enforcement determines that a nuisance constitutes a serious and imminent danger to the public safety or health, the officer may summarily abate the nuisance after a reasonable attempt to notify the owner or occupant of the property. The officer shall immediately thereafter notify in writing the owner or occupant of the premises of the action taken. The notice shall be served in person or by registered mail.
Section 7. The City Council may institute any lawful action or proceeding in the name of the City of Howard Lake to prevent, remedy or ablate any violation of the City Code.
Section 8. Nothing in chapter 6.01 shall prevent the City from taking such other actions as are permitted under law and the penalties provided herein shall be accumulative.
Section 9. The City Council shall conduct a nuisance violation inspection of the City periodically or as the City Council deems necessary.
Section 10. The City Council in cooperation with the City Administrator, Police and Fire Departments, Building Inspector, City Attorney, County Health officers and the Clerk-Treasurer, shall enforce the provisions of this chapter. Such officers shall have the power to enter upon and inspect private yards and take all reasonable precautions to prevent the commission and maintenance of public nuisances.
Section 11. Penalty. Any person or property owner violating this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 12, 2012.

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