§ 10.99  GENERAL PENALTY.
   The provisions of this code may be enforced by one, all, or a combination of the remedies authorized and prescribed by this section.
   (A)   Violation a misdemeanor.  Unless otherwise provided herein, each violation of this code shall constitute a misdemeanor, except as otherwise provided by statute, and violations of such provisions of this code shall be punished by fine or imprisonment as provided by law. Each day any violation of this code shall continue shall constitute a separate offense, except as may be specifically provided.
   (B)   Violation as subject to a civil penalty.
      (1)   Violations of this code shall constitute either a misdemeanor or, at the election of the village, shall subject the offender to a civil penalty upon the issuance of a citation for the violation as hereinafter provided.
      (2)   The civil penalty, if not paid to village within 15 days of the issuance of a citation, may be recovered by the village in a civil action in the nature of debt. 
      (3)   Unless otherwise provided by a specific provision of this code, civil penalties shall be in the amount of $50 for each violation, and each day any single violation continues shall be a separate violation.
   (C)   General Court of Justice as court of competent jurisdiction.
      (1)   In addition to the civil penalties set out above, any provision of this code may be enforced by an appropriate equitable remedy issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction. 
      (2)   In such case, the General Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders as may be appropriate, and it shall not be a defense to the application of the village for equitable relief that there is an adequate remedy at law.
   (D)   Injunction and order of abatement.  In addition to the civil penalties set out above, any provision of this code that makes unlawful a condition existing upon or a use made of real property may be enforced by injunction and order of abatement by the General Court of Justice.
      (1)   When a violation of such a provision occurs, the village may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for a mandatory or prohibitory injunction and/or order of abatement commanding the defendant to correct the unlawful condition upon or cease the unlawful use of the property. The action shall be governed in all respects by the laws and rules governing civil proceedings, including the Rules of Civil Procedure in general, and Rule 65 in particular.
      (2)   An order of abatement may direct that buildings or other structures on the property be closed, demolished or removed; that fixtures, furniture or other movable property be removed from buildings on the property; that grass and weeds be cut; that abandoned or junked vehicles be removed; that improvements or repairs be made; or that any other action be taken that is necessary to bring the property into compliance with the applicable village code.
         (a)   If the defendant fails or refuses to comply with an injunction or with an order of abatement within the time allowed by the court, he or she may be cited for contempt, and the Village may execute the order of abatement.
         (b)   The village shall have a lien on the property for the cost of executing an order of abatement in the nature of a mechanic's and materialman's lien. 
         (c)   The defendant may secure cancellation of an order of abatement by paying all costs of the proceedings and posting a bond for compliance with the order. 
         (d)   The bond shall be given with sureties approved by the clerk of superior court in an amount approved by the judge before whom the matter is heard, and shall be conditioned on the defendant's full compliance with the terms of the order of abatement within a time fixed by the judicial order.
         (e)   Cancellation of an order of abatement shall not suspend or cancel an injunction issued in conjunction therewith.
   (E)   Warning citation.  Upon determination of a violation of any section of this code, the penalty for which is a civil penalty, the Zoning Administrator shall cause a warning citation to be issued to the violator.
      (1)   Such warning citation shall set out the nature of the violation, the section violated, the date of the violation, and shall contain an order to immediately cease the violation.
      (2)   If the violation is in the nature of an infraction for which an order of abatement would be appropriate in a civil proceeding, a reasonable period of time must be stated in which the violation must be abated.
      (3)   The warning citation shall specify that a second citation shall incur a civil penalty, together with costs, and attorney fees.
   (F)   Appeal from a warning citation.
      (1)   An appeal from a warning citation shall be taken within 10 days from the date of the warning citation to the Office of the Zoning Administrator to be placed on the agenda of the Board of Adjustment.
      (2)   Except in any case where the ordinance violated, which is the subject of the warning citation, specifically grants to the Board of Adjustment other powers in considering appeals, and such appeal is applied for, the Board of Adjustment, in considering appeals of warning citations, shall have the power only in the manner of administrative review and interpretation where it is alleged that the Zoning Administrator has made an error in the application of this code, or in the factual situation as it relates to the application of the code, or both.
   (G)   Amending a warning citation to provide additional time.  Where the Zoning Administrator determines that the period of time stated in the original warning citation is not sufficient for abatement, based upon the work required or a schedule agreed upon with the violator for abatement, the Zoning Administrator may amend the warning citation to provide for additional time.
   (H)   Civil citation. Upon failure of the violator to obey the warning citation, a civil citation shall be issued by the Zoning Administrator, and either served directly in person on the violator, his or her duly designated agent, or registered agent if a corporation, or posted in the United States mail service by first class mail addressed to the last known address of the violator, as contained in the records of village or obtained from the violator at the time of issuance of the warning citation.
      (1)   The violator shall be deemed to have been served upon the mailing of the citation.
      (2)   The citation shall direct the violator to appear before the Village Finance Department, or designee, within 15 days of the date of the citation, or alternatively to pay the citation by mail.
      (3)   The violation for which the citation is issued must have been corrected by the time the citation is paid; otherwise, further citations shall be issued.
      (4)   Citations may be issued for each day the offense continues until the prohibited activity is ceased or abated.
      (5)   If the violator fails to respond to a citation within 15 days of its issuance, and pay the penalty prescribed therein, the village may institute a civil action in the nature of debt, in the appropriate division of the North Carolina General Court of Justice, of the collection of the penalty, costs, attorney fees, and such other relief as permitted by law.
(Ord. passed 8-19-2008)
Statutory reference:
   Enforcement of ordinances, see G.S. § 160A-175