Purdy adopts new nuisance ordinance

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

15 scenarios identified as prosecutable problems

The Purdy City Council has adopted a new nuisance ordinance with greater detail than the earlier version, though aldermen still expressed concern that it may not be specific enough.

Mayor Steve Roden said the earlier ordinance was “more generic,” and the new one would clarify issues that in the past were interpretations.

The new four-page ordinance specifies 15 violations that may be considered nuisances. The city law adds, “This list is not exhaustive of all possible nuisances.”

The following items received specific identification as unlawful nuisances:

• Dangerous or unlawful amounts of combustible, explosive or otherwise hazardous materials

• Conditions arising from defective or improperly installed equipment for handling combustible, explosive or otherwise hazardous materials

• Dangerous accumulations of rubbish or other highly flammable materials

• Obstructions to doors, stairs and fire escapes that can interfere with access by firefighters

• Buildings that create a hazardous condition due to dilapidation, lack of exits or fire alarms

• High weeds, brush or other vegetation on lots inside the city constituting a menace to public safety, with the designation set at excess of seven inches in height

• The exposed carcass of an animal more than six hours after death

• Ashes, filth, excrement, stagnant water, decaying vegetation, broken kitchen waste, wrecks or parts of worn out automobiles or other machines, scrap iron or other metal or any other offensive or disagreeable substance or thing, including dilapidated barns or sheds that may be offensive to sight or become harbors or breeding places for insects, animals or vermin, including those left or deposited on private property

• Creation of dust by operation of vehicles, including race cars or other motor driven contrivances, where the dust is carried beyond the borders of the property where the operation takes place

• Garbage deposited not in a suitable container for removal

• Limbs or trees projecting over a sidewalk or street under a height of 10 feet

• Privies or septic tanks that overflow or leak

• Ponds or pools of unclean water

• Stables, stalls or pens where animals are kept, left in an unclean or unsanitary condition

• Burning of leaves or other combustible material where deemed a hazard

Police Chief Jackie Lowe expressed reservations that the ordinance, unlike its predecessor, no longer specified the presence of unlicensed vehicles.

“There are junk cars that are literally falling apart, and then there are classic cars,” Lowe said.

Alderman Bo Prock suggested a separate ordinance might be needed for that issue. Alderman Wayne Rupp suggested that if a vehicle moves, it would not fall under the listed restrictions. That was good enough for Prock.

“If it doesn’t run, it falls under parts,” Prock said. “If it can’t start and move, then it’s…”

“A lawn ornament,” said Officer Jon Egleston.

Lowe nonetheless said he would prefer that vehicles were covered and out of sight.

The ordinance specified that upon discovery of any nuisance, police were authorized to issue a written notice by posting it on the property or delivering a copy to the owner, who would have seven days to abate the nuisance. If sufficient action had not been taken in that time, the city would have the authority to take action, leaving the owner civilly liable for the expense. A certified copy of the bill would be sent to the property owner.

“[The bill] shall be collected by all legal means available including but not limited to a special tax assessment against the property,” the ordinance said.

Property owners would also face prosecution in municipal court for the nuisance. In the standard language of ordinances for the court, offenders face fines of up to $500, at the discretion of the municipal judge, and possible imprisonment of up to 90 days.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: