§ 158.18  PENALTIES.
   (A)   Civil penalties.
      (1)   Any person who violates any of the provisions of the applicable State, Federal or local laws, rules, regulations or ordinances, including this Ordinance, or rules or orders adopted or issued pursuant to applicable State, Federal or local laws, rules, regulations or ordinances, including this Ordinance, or who initiates or continues a land-disturbing activity for which a plan is required except in accordance with the terms, conditions, and provisions of an approved plan, is subject to a civil penalty. A person may be immediately assessed a maximum civil penalty of up to $5,000 on the date any violation is first assessed by the City of Monroe Erosion Control Specialist. An additional maximum civil penalty of up to $5,000 per day may be assessed by the City of Monroe Erosion Control Specialist from the day following the date of initial assessment of a violation if the cure period provided in the Notice of Violation is not met. If a civil penalty is not assessed immediately on the date of assessment of a violation the City of Monroe Erosion Control Specialist is not precluded from later assessing a penalty for that date in addition to other penalties (if any). Penalties are due and payable immediately upon assessment unless a cure period has been provided in which case the penalties attributed to any uncured actions (or failures to act) covered by the cure period are due and payable immediately following failure to cure and lapse of the cure period. Penalties continue to accrue until the applicable violations are corrected. When the person has not been assessed any civil penalty under this subsection for any previous violation, and that person abated continuing environmental damage resulting from the violation within 180 days from the date of the notice of violation, the maximum cumulative total civil penalty assessed under this subsection for all violations associated with the land-disturbing activity for which the erosion and sedimentation control plan is required is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
      (2)   The City of Monroe Erosion Control Specialist shall determine the amount of the civil penalty within established guidelines and shall notify the person who is assessed the civil penalty of the amount of the penalty and the reason for assessing the penalty. The notice of assessment shall be served by any means authorized under G.S. §lA-1, Rule 4, and shall direct the violator to either pay the assessment or contest the assessment as provided in this Ordinance or file a request with the Sedimentation Control Commission for remission of the assessment within 60 days of receipt of the notice. A remission request must be accompanied by a waiver of the right to a contested case hearing pursuant to Chapter 150B of the North Carolina General Statutes and a stipulation of the facts on which the assessment was based. If a violator does not pay a civil penalty assessed by the City of Monroe Erosion Control Specialist within 60 days after it is due, the Specialist may institute a civil action to recover the amount of the assessment. The civil action may be brought in the General Court of Justice of any county where the violation occurred or the violator's residence or principal place of business is located. A civil action must be filed within three years of the date the assessment was due. An assessment that is not contested is due immediately when the violator is served with a notice of assessment. An assessment that is contested by the recipient continues to accrue pending appeal, so long as the violation continues.
      (3)   The maximum civil penalty for a violation is $5,000 per day.  The notice of violation shall describe the violation with reasonable particularity, specify a permitted cure period within which the violation is to be corrected, and warn that failure to correct the violation within the prescribed cure period may result in the assessment of a civil penalty(ies) (or assessment of additional civil penalties, as the case may be) and other available enforcement action(s).  Permitted cure periods for violations begin the day following the initial date such violation is first assessed.  If, after the cure period has expired, the violator has not completed the prescribed corrective action, a civil penalty(ies) may be retroactively assessed on a daily basis, from and including the date the violation was assessed.  Each day of continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.
      (4)   No cure period for compliance need be given for any violation (including without limitation, a failure to submit a plan for approval or for obstructing, hampering or interfering with an authorized representative while in the process of carrying out his or her official duties) prior to assessment of an initial civil penalty for the day the violation is detected, up to the maximum amount permitted per day.
      (5)   In determining the amount of the penalty, items which may be considered are the degree and extent of harm caused by the violation, the cost of rectifying the damage, the amount of money the violator saved by non-compliance, whether the violation was committed willfully and the prior record of the violator in complying with or failing to comply with this ordinance.
      (6)   Civil penalties collected by a local government under this subsection shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C-457.2. Penalties collected by the City of Monroe may be diminished only by the actual costs of collection. The collection cost percentage to be used shall be established and approved by the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management on an annual basis, based upon the computation of actual collection costs by The City of Monroe for the prior fiscal year. The cost percentage shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of penalties collected.
   (B)   Criminal penalties.  Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of this ordinance, or rule, regulation or order adopted or issued pursuant to this ordinance, or who knowingly or willfully initiates or continues a land-disturbing activity for which a plan is required, except in accordance with the terms, conditions, and provisions of an approved plan, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which may include a fine not to exceed $5,000.
(Ord. O-2002-18, passed 4-2-02; Am. Ord. O-2019-14, passed 4-2-19)