§ 94.03  UNCUT WEEDS AND THE LIKE; ABATEMENT; COSTS.
   (A)   Uncut weeds and the like. All weeds, high grass or shrubbery growing on or standing uncut or otherwise uncontrolled on any premises in the city is hereby declared a nuisance.
   (B)   Obstruction of view; eyesores. No owner or tenant of any property within the city shall allow weeds, grass or shrubbery to grow on his or her property where such weeds, grass or shrubbery obstructs the vision of users of any street, road, highway, driveway or alley within the city or where such weeds, grass or shrubbery tends to detract from the beauty or esthetics of the surrounding properties.
   (C)   Maintenance of the public right-of-way. The owner or tenant of any property within the city abutting a public street or alley shall maintain the vegetation in the abutting public right-of-way or parkway in the same manner as is required for the owner’s or tenant’s property by the city’s Property Maintenance Code including but not limited to weeds, high grasses and rubbish.
      (1)   Exemptions. The following are generally exempted from the provisions of this section:
         (a)   Lands zoned Agriculture as designated in Title XV, Chapter 158, Article 2 of this code and shown on the official zoning map of the city unless used for nonagricultural purpose (for example, church school, house). For purposes of this division, AGRICULTURAL USE shall be construed to mean vacant land or the production of products such as field crops, livestock, fowl and other conventional agricultural pursuits;
         (b)   The right-of-way is inaccessible, including but not limited to interstate right-of-way;
         (c)   The depth or slope of the roadway ditch makes maintenance hazardous, generally any slopes steeper than three feet horizontal to one foot vertical (3:1);
         (d)   In a floodplain area designated on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps;
         (e)   Within a natural drainage way or riparian zones, generally saturated or filled with water.
      (2)   Appeal and clarification. A written request of an appeal to a notice to abate must be submitted to the City Administrator within five days of the owner of the property receiving the notice. The owner must provide a hardship claim based on the list of exemption provisions of division (C) above. The appeal must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Community Development or his or her designee. Affected property owners may seek clarification for specific properties through the Community Development Department.
   (D)   Notice to abate. In the event weeds, grass or shrubbery is permitted to grow and to obstruct the vision of users of any street, road, highway, driveway or alley within the city or to detract from the beauty or aesthetics of the surrounding properties, it shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to give the owner and/or tenant of such property a written notice to abate the nuisance. The notice shall designate the property and describe the nuisance and shall direct the owner and/or tenant to abate the nuisance within ten days from the date of delivery of the notice. The notice shall be delivered to the owner of the property by certified mail at the address  of the property if the owner occupies the property or, if it is determined the owner does not occupy the property, notice shall be sent by certified mail to the owner’s reasonably ascertainable address, or if none, to the person to whom was sent the tax bill for the general taxes on the property as then shown on the records of the Treasurer of the county. Notice shall be sent to the tenant by certified mail at the address of the property if occupied by the tenant, otherwise, to the reasonably ascertainable address of the tenant. If the address of the owner or tenant cannot be reasonably ascertained, notice may be posted upon the property.
   (E)   Abatement by city. In the event the owner and/or tenant fails to abate the nuisance within ten days from the date of service of the notice to abate, the Code Enforcement Officer or other person acting under his or her direction may enter upon the property to abate the nuisance by causing all weeds, grass or uncontrolled shrubbery to be cut, sprayed or otherwise removed or abated.
   (F)   Lien for costs.
      (1)   The reasonable cost of cutting or spraying of the weeds, grass or uncontrolled shrubbery or otherwise abating the nuisance shall be a lien upon the owner’s premises superior to all other liens and encumbrances except tax liens; provided, within 60 days after such cost and expenses are incurred by the city or the person or entity performing the service by authority of the city, the city files a notice of lien in the office of the Recorder of Deeds of the county, with said notice to consist of a sworn statement setting out:
         (a)   A description of the real estate sufficient for identification thereof;
         (b)   The amount of money representing the cost and expense incurred or payable by the city; and
         (c)   The date or dates when such cost and expense was incurred by the city.
      (2)   The cost of abating the nuisance shall, however, not be a lien on the property unless a written notice is personally served on, or sent by certified mail to, the person to whom was sent the tax bill for the general taxes on the property for the last preceding year. The notice shall state the substance of ILCS Ch. 65, Act 5, § 11-20-7, and of this section, and further shall identify the property by common description and the location of the nuisance abated.
      (3)    Further, the lien of the city shall not be valid as to any purchaser whose rights in and to such real estate have arisen subsequent to the nuisance abatement and prior to the filing of such notice, and the lien of the city shall not be valid as to any mortgagee, judgment creditor or other lienor whose rights in and to such real estate arise prior to the filing of such notice. Upon payment of the cost and expense by the owner of or persons interested in such property after notice of lien has been filed, the lien shall be released by the city and the release may be filed of record as in the case of the filing of the notice of lien.
   (G)   Violations. In addition to the enforcement provisions of division (F) above, any owner or tenant of the premises who fails to abate any nuisance in the notice to abate within the time prescribed in the second notice shall be subject to a fine upon conviction of violating this section as provided in § 94.99.
(1999 Code, § 94.03)  (Ord. 798, passed 9-20-1976; Ord. 1972, passed 2-2-1998; Ord. 3879, passed 5-18-2015)  Penalty, see § 94.99
Statutory reference:
   Weed destruction and cutting, see ILCS Ch. 65, Act 5, §§ 11-20-6 and 11-20-7