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(A) (1) It shall be unlawful for owners of unimproved real property located within the city whose property line adjoins or abuts improved real property to either permit weeds, grass, undergrowth or other vegetative matter to grow thereon to a height of more than twenty-four inches (24") within fifteen feet (15') of the side and rear lot lines. Enforcement of the above requirement shall only require one individual side or rear lot line be brought into compliance. The requirement to remove vegetation along a lot line shall only be required abutting improved properties. Each unimproved real property cited under this subsection shall only receive one violation within any six (6) month period.
(2) Owners of unimproved property shall also keep their property free from rubbish, trash, debris, junk, dead, fallen or partially fallen trees which may endanger other persons or property or to allow other unsightly or unsanitary matter to remain thereon, or to allow any condition to remain or continue by act or omission that shall constitute a public nuisance.
(3) Owners of unimproved lots adjacent to improved lots may petition for exemption from this subsection by providing a written request from adjacent improved property owners indicating that said property owners do not object to the encroachment of weeds, grass, undergrowth, or other vegetative matter from the unimproved lot.
(B) It shall be unlawful for owners of unimproved real property located within the city to allow weeds, grass, undergrowth, bushes, or other vegetative material to grow thereon to a height of more than twenty-four inches (24") for a minimum distance of fifteen feet (15') from the road or drainage right-of-way line. Owners of such unimproved property shall keep the referenced fifteen foot (15') area clear of any obstruction that will interfere with the city's maintenance of roadway and drainage facilities.
(C) The City Manager, in order to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the public, may, upon recommendation of the Fire Chief, authorize clearing the entire unimproved real property or portions thereof as the Fire Chief shall deem warranted. If such property has already been found to be in violation of this chapter by the Code Enforcement Board.
(D) In the event the owner fails to maintain his/her property in accordance with the referenced standards herein, the city may perform such maintenance as may be necessary and shall not be responsible for any damage to other vegetation that is in the vicinity of such maintenance activity. If such property has already been found to be in violation of this chapter by the Code Enforcement Board.
(E) Owners of unimproved property shall not be required to remove weeds, grass, undergrowth, bushes, trees, or other vegetative material if such removal would destroy the habitat of the Florida Scrub Jay, gopher tortoise, black indigo snake, or any other state or federally endangered species to the extent that such removal would be considered a “taking” under applicable state or federal law.
Further, the enforcement of subsection (A)(1) above is limited to complaints received from property owners, tenants, lessees, or occupants, whose properties abut the rear or side setbacks of unimproved properties.
('74 Code, § 16-24) (Ord. 76-27, passed 7-21-76; Am. Ord. 96-64, passed 1-9-97; Am. Ord. 2003-35, passed 10-16-03; Am. Ord. 2009- 49, passed 10-22-09; Am. Ord. 2011-31, passed 4-21-11; Am. Ord. 2013-30, passed 4-4-13; Am. Ord. 2020-06, passed 3-19-20; Am. Ord. 2021-21, passed 4-15-21)