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(A) Purpose and administration. It is the purpose of this section to protect the public safety, health and welfare and enhance the environment of the people of the town by making it unlawful to allow to maintain a public nuisance. This section is to be administered by the Town's Building Commissioner.
(B) Incorporation of state law. This section incorporates the provisions, where applicable, of I.C. 36-1-6 as it now exists and is hereafter amended.
(C) Authority to make inspections. All officers and employees of the town shall report the existence of nuisances to the Building Commissioner. The Building Commissioner has the authority to visit and enter into or upon any property or premises within the limits of the town to ascertain and discover any nuisance and to make examination thereof.
(D) Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
NUISANCE. Those offenses declared in this section to be a public nuisance and those offenses which are known to the common law and the state statutes as a public nuisance, particularly where such offenses continue for such length of time to: (a) substantially interfere, injure or endanger the comfort, health, or safety of the public; (b) in any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property; (c) greatly offend the public morals or decency; (d) unlawfully or substantially interfere with, obstruct or tend to obstruct, or render dangerous for passage any street, alley, highway, navigable body of water or other public way; or (e) is injurious to health, or indecent, or offensive, to the senses of a reasonable person so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property. Whenever the word NUISANCE is used in this section, it refers to a public nuisance as defined herein.
OWNER. The record owner and any record contract purchaser of the real estate, all as shown by the records maintained by the Warrick County Auditor or Recorder.
RANK VEGETATION. Plant life which grows excessively and unmanageably upon the land.
WEED. A plant held to have little or no material public value, which tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants, and is usually growing, or has the potential to grow, plentifully and detrimentally upon the land which shall include without limitation plants commonly identified as invasive species to the Town of Newburgh.
(E) Conditions constituting public nuisance.
(1) In addition to what is declared in this section to be a public nuisance, those offenses which are known to the common law and the statutes of Indiana as a public nuisance may, when found to exist within the town limits, be treated as such and be proceeded against as provided in this town's ordinances, or in accordance with any other provisions of law.
(2) No owner, occupant, tenant, or any other person having a substantial interest in any improved or unimproved real property within the town, or any agent thereof, shall permit or allow to remain on or within that property or upon abutting public ways any materials, trash, garbage, debris, or any other matter which is detrimental to the public health, comfort, safety, or the aesthetic well-being of the community.
(3) The following conditions, but not limited only to those, shall constitute public nuisances for the purpose of this section:
(b) Fallen trees, stumps, or dead trees;
(c) Boxes, appliances, furniture, household items, tires, tools, fixtures, and long- term storage of construction material;
(d) Demolition remains;
(e) Open excavations, uncovered or improperly covered holes, whether lined or unlined, and dirt piles on any open or unfenced real property, including open foundations;
(f) Dressing of poultry, rabbits or other game;
(g) Structure defaced with paint or wording;
(h) Any wastewater, filth, offal, garbage, trash, rubbish, animal waste, or human excrement which is deposited, allowed or caused to be upon any property;
(i) Any substance which is caused or permitted to flow onto or be deposited upon any public property or public way, except natural surface water drainage;
(j) The erection of a dam or any other obstruction by a private party which prevents the flow of water and causes it to collect or pool upon any private property;
(k) Any dead animal;
(l) Any real or personal property which is infected with contagious disease and is likely to cause an imminent health hazard;
(m) The placing or accumulation on or within any real or personal property, or the permitting of same, of any matter, except natural surface water drainage, which attracts or may attract rodents, insects, or animals in such a manner as to create a health hazard or unsanitary or dangerous condition;
(n) Any real or personal property used as a place of residence or habitation for sleeping that is maintained in such a way as to be dangerous or detrimental to life or health due to the lack of or defects in water, drainage, heating, plumbing or ventilation;
(o) Any dilapidated or condemned building, structure or dwelling, or remains thereof, so out of repair that it constitutes a fire hazard liable to catch on fire or communicate fire to surrounding properties;
(p) Any noxious or repugnant odor, smoke, dust, or noise that emits from the premises into the surrounding atmosphere which created an uncomfortable condition to surrounding properties;
(q) The storage of explosive, combustible, or other flammable material which creates a safety or health risk;
(r) Any trees, shrubbery, weeds, snow, fences, or other materials that obstruct public ways or cause a visual barrier for vehicular traffic;
(s) Any junk automobiles, broken concrete, scrap metal or automobile parts; and
(t) Any growth of weeds, grass or other rank vegetation which is either:
1. Neglected, disregarded or not adequately managed or controlled, cut, mown or removed;
2. Has attained a height of 12 inches or more; or
3. Is actually or imminently detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare.
(F) Notice of violation. Violations of this section shall be addressed by the Building Commissioner:
(1) When a public nuisance is found to exist, the Building Commissioner shall notify the property's owner of the existence of the nuisance and order the owner to abate the nuisance.
(2) The written notice to abate shall be served upon an owner by personal service, by certified mail, or by a "notice" placard conspicuously posted on the property with a copy of the notice being sent by regular first class United States mail, postage prepaid, granting a minimum of ten calendar days to abate the nuisance. That notice shall state the nature of the nuisance and the penalty for neglect or refusal to abate the nuisance. That notice shall also contain the address and the telephone number of the town, and a notification that if the nuisance is not abated within ten calendar days of that notice, the town may abate the nuisance and seek recovery for its costs of doing so.
(3) Within ten calendar days of delivery of a notice to abate, the owner may notify the town in writing of any specific objection to that notice. If the owner notifies the town of the owner's objection, no further abatement action shall be pursued until such action is directed by the Council.
(4) If after the expiration of those ten days, the public nuisance continues unabated, and either no objection has been made or an objection has been made and considered by the Council and the Council has overruled the objection, further action shall be taken to abate that nuisance in accordance with this section and applicable law.
(G) Citation for failure to abate nuisance. Whenever the Building Commissioner, after the expiration of the notice, determines that the property's owner has failed to abate the nuisance, the Building Commissioner may cause a citation to be issued against that owner. For each violation the fine shall be $100, and each subsequent day of violation shall be considered a separate and chargeable offense.
(H) Abatement of nuisance by town. Upon failure, neglect, or refusal of any party to comply with the notice to abate, in addition to the issuance of a citation under this section, the Building Commissioner in the name of the Council may cause the town to abate by any reasonable means the public nuisance, and thereafter furnish the Council with a statement of the costs of that abatement. The Building Commissioner shall give notice to the property owner, in writing, at least 24 hours in advance of entering the real estate of its intent to enter and abate. Such notice may be left at the real estate upon which the condition exists, may be mailed to the property owner by regular United States mail or may be hand delivered to the property owner.
(I) Continuous enforcement orders. If an initial notice of violation of this section is provided to a property owner by certified mail and first class mail as provided herein, a continuous enforcement order may be posted at the property at the time of abatement instead of by certified mail or first class mail. A continuous enforcement order serves as notice to the property owner that any subsequent violation during the same year for which the initial notice of violation was provided may be abated by the Town of Newburgh or its contractors without need of further notice to the property owner.
(J) Institution of legal action. An action for appropriate relief may be brought against an alleged violator in the Warrick County Superior Court.
(K) Procedure for collection of abatement and administrative costs.
(1) The Building Commissioner shall make and issue to the owner a bill for all costs incurred by the town in abatement of the public nuisance. The cost billed to the property owner under this section shall include all actual costs incurred by the Town of Newburgh, Indiana, including without limitation, the cost of a private contractor should only be used or the actual cost per hour or any labor spent by town employees in abating the nuisance, equipment and supply costs, the cost of any title or other record search and the cost of all postage, plus an administrative fee equal to 2% of the total of such costs. The owner shall pay the amount of the bill to the Clerk-Treasurer's office within 30 days of the date of that delivery unless, within those 30 days the owner notifies that office in writing of any objection to that bill. If that notice is given, no further collection action shall be taken until the Council acts on the objection.
(2) If the 30 days has expired and either no timely objection to the bill has been made or the Council has overruled any timely objection and the bill is not paid in full, then the bill for all such costs which the owner has failed to pay shall be considered delinquent.
(3) Whenever the Building Commissioner deems it necessary, the Building Commissioner shall prepare:
(a) A list of delinquent fees, penalties, and costs that are enforceable under this chapter, including:
1. The name or names of the owners of each lot or parcel of real property on which fees, penalties and costs are delinquent;
2. A description of the premises, as shown on the records of the County Auditor;
3. The amount of the delinquent fees, penalties and costs due under this chapter; or
(b) An instrument for each lot or parcel of real property on which the fees are delinquent.
(4) The Building Commissioner shall record a copy of each list or each instrument with the County Recorder in accordance with I.C. 36-1-6-2(e).
(5) The Building Commissioner shall provide a copy of the recorded list or instrument to the County Auditor to be placed on the tax duplicate for that property, with the result that the amount so certified shall be collected as delinquent taxes are collected in accordance with I.C. 36-1-6-2(f).
(Ord. 2019-2, passed 5-22-2019)