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(a) Noxious Weeds. The owner of any lot or land within this Municipality shall keep the property free and clear from all noxious weeds. Permitting noxious weeds to bloom, spread pollen or maturing to see is injurious to the public health and safety. Any land covered thereby is declared to be a public nuisance.
(1) For purposes of this section, “noxious weeds” shall include, per se, those weeds specifically defined as such by the Director of Agriculture, State of Ohio, as published in OAC 901:5-31-01 and 901:5-7-01 et seq., as amended, and shall include also those weeds which are determined hereunder to constitute a public nuisance or a hazard to the public health.
(2) It shall be a prima facie violation of this chapter when noxious weeds are reasonably believed to be any one of the following:
A. Eight inches or more in height;
B. Blooming or maturing to seed; or
C. Spreading pollen which may be harmful to human health.
(3) This section shall not apply to vines, shrubs or trees of a type customarily cultivated for their fruits or for decorative or other utilitarian purposes and which are kept from any conditions or effects constituting a public nuisance or a hazard to the public health, unless otherwise defined as noxious by the Ohio Director of Agriculture.
(4) This section shall not apply to land actively used for agricultural purposes or back land the owner is allowing to return to its natural state more than 200 feet from the front right-of-way of the parcel where the parcel is two acres or larger.
(b) Notice to Remove.
(1) Upon information that noxious weeds are growing on land in the City and are about to spread or mature to seed, the Director of Public Service shall cause an investigation to be made. If the Director finds that the growth of such noxious weeds constitutes a nuisance or detriment to the public safety, or public health or welfare, he or she shall have a written notice either hand delivered to the owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of such land, or sent by regular mail to the owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of such land and/or posted on the property, notifying him or her that noxious weeds are growing on such land and that they must be cut and destroyed within five days after service and/or posting of such notice.
(2) If the owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of such land cannot be found, a notice or sign shall be posted upon the property. If the noxious weeds are not cut or destroyed within five days after the posting of such notice or sign, the Director shall cause such noxious weeds to be cut or destroyed.
(3) Any police officer, City Inspector, health official or the Director of Public Service may make the notice provided for in division (b)(1) of this section. The fees therefor shall be the actual costs for service of the written notice.
(4) One notice to cut or destroy noxious weeds per calendar year shall be deemed notice for all subsequent violations during the same calendar year.
(c) Appeals and Hearing. The owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of a lot or land may present him or herself before the Director of Public Service, within the required five days after receiving notice of the noxious weeds for a hearing. If the owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of such land responds, or presents himself or herself, before the Director for an appeals hearing, the Director:
(1) Shall consider any appropriate objections and rule thereon; or
(2) May permit such personal additional time to cut or destroy the weeds; or
(3) May order the cutting or destruction of the weeds by the City; or
(4) May reverse or modify the earlier finding, as may be appropriate.
Any order of the Director shall be final.
(d) Failure to Comply; Remedy of City. If the owner, lessee, agent or tenant having charge of the land fails to comply with the notice, and fails to respond as provided in subsection (b) hereof, the Director of Public Service shall authorize the noxious weeds to be cut and destroyed and may employ the necessary labor to perform such tasks. Laborers may enter upon private land on which such noxious weeds are growing to perform such tasks, and all expenses shall be paid out of the money in the Treasury of the City not otherwise appropriated.
(e) Authorization for Entry. The Director of Public Service, City inspectors, authorized laborers sent at the direction of the Director of Public Service, or health officials are hereby expressly authorized to enter upon private property at all reasonable hours for the purpose of cutting, destroying and/or removing such noxious weeds in a manner consistent with this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with or to attempt to prevent the Director of Public Service, City inspectors, laborers, or health officials from entering upon any such lot or property, posting of a notice or sign on the property, or from proceeding with the cutting and destroying of noxious weeds. Such unlawful interference shall constitute a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(f) Statement of Charges for Services by City; Lien. The Director of Public Service shall make a written return to the County Auditor when work is performed by the City under this section, with a statement of the charges for services, the amount paid for performing such labor, the fees for the service of the notice and return and a proper description of the premises. Such amounts shall be entered upon the tax duplicate, shall be a lien upon such lands from the date of the entry and shall be collected as other taxes and returned to the General Fund. The remedy provided for herein is in addition to any other remedy or penalty provided by law.
(g) Penalty. Whoever fails to comply with a notice to remove as set forth in subsection (b) hereof is guilty of a minor misdemeanor for a first offense. For a subsequent offense within one year from the first offense, such person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(Ord. 12-1992. Passed 3-9-92; Ord. 6-2005. Passed 2-28-05; Ord. 50-2007. Passed 7-9-07; Ord. 40-2012. Passed 7-9-12.)