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(A) (1) Any employee, officer, or resident of the city may file, in accordance with this section, a complaint alleging the existence of a public nuisance. Such complaint shall only be for those nuisances enumerated above in § 93.23 and shall state facts that reasonably tend to establish the existence of such public nuisance.
(2) All complaints shall be filed with the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator. The Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall review each complaint filed to determine whether the facts presented establish the requisite number of incidents or occurrences required under § 93.23 of this Code. Where the complaint alleges the requisite number of incidents or occurrences to establish a nuisance under this subchapter, the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall forward the complaint, with any relevant incident or arrest reports generated by the Police Department substantiating such incidents or occurrences or evidencing new or additional incidents or occurrences, to the City Attorney.
(B) (1) The City Manager shall review all complaints received from the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator for legal sufficiency. If the City Manager deems the complaint sufficient under the code to support a probable finding of the existence of a public nuisance, the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall prepare a courtesy notice of violation to be served, in accordance with this section, upon the owner of the property in question. The courtesy notice of violation shall provide the name of the owner of the premises, the address of the premises where the nuisance has occurred, a brief statement describing the incidents or occurrences which support the finding of a public nuisance upon the premises, and recommendations of remedial action to be taken to abate the public nuisance upon the property. The owner of the premises shall have ten (10) days from the date of the notice to contact the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator to indicate what action will be taken to abate the nuisance upon the premises. Failure of the owner to receive this notice of violation shall not invalidate any further proceedings hereunder.
(2) If a recurring public nuisance or emergency situation exists, the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall not be required to provide a courtesy notice of violation, but instead the City Manager may prepare and serve a statement of violation and notice of hearing as provided below.
(C) Should the owner or operator fail to contact the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator, fail to commit to a course of action designed to abate the nuisance upon the property, or should there be any further incidents or occurrences which constitute a nuisance upon the property, a hearing date shall be scheduled before the Board. Such hearing shall be held no sooner than ten (10) days after the notice of hearing is sent to the owner of the place or premises at the owner's last known address. The Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall then prepare and serve upon the owner or operator, in accordance with this subchapter, a statement of violation/notice of hearing providing the following information:
(1) A statement of the time, place and nature of the hearing;
(2) A statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;
(3) A reference to the particular sections of the statutes and ordinances involved; and
(4) A copy of the statement of violation, including all documentation in support thereof.
(D) All notices under this subchapter shall be hand-delivered by the City Police Department where practical or where not practical or impossible by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the property owner of record at the address as it appears in the public records of the County Property Appraiser's Office. If the notice is returned for any reason, then service shall be effected by mailing the notice through regular delivery to the address of the premises and by posting the notice in accordance with Fla. Stat. Ch. 162. Proof of service shall be by written declaration indicating the date, time, and manner in which service was made.
(E) The City Manager may negotiate stipulated settlement agreements with a property owner to facilitate the abatement of a public nuisance. All stipulated agreements shall be reviewed and approved by the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator and Board prior to being effective.
(F) (1) At the hearing, the Nuisance Abatement Coordinator shall present evidence before the Board on behalf of the city and has the burden to prove the existence of a public nuisance by substantial and competent evidence. The Board may consider any evidence, regarding the activities alleged in the statement of violation and occurring about the place or premises, and the owner(s) of the place or premises shall have the opportunity to appear before the Board, in person and/or through legal counsel, to present evidence in defense or in mitigation against the complaint, conduct cross-examination, submit rebuttal evidence, and make brief opening and/or closing statements. Irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitive evidence shall be excluded. All testimony shall be taken under oath and shall be recorded. Any member of the Board, or Counsel to the Board, may inquire of any witness testifying before the Board. The Board shall take testimony of such witnesses as may be called by the respective sides. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but fundamental due process shall be observed and govern said proceedings. In addition, the Board may consider testimony and evidence relating to the general reputation of the place or premises; and
(2) The Board may proceed with a hearing in absentia on the merits of an alleged public nuisance against any property owner who has been properly noticed under this subchapter and has failed to appear. Any findings or orders entered by the Board are valid and binding upon each respondent who has been properly noticed.
(3) The Board in its discretion may continue a hearing to receive additional evidence, testimony, or for any other reason the Board deems appropriate.
(G) At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall issue findings of fact based on evidence in the record and conclusions of law, and shall issue an order affording the proper relief consistent with the powers granted by Florida Statutes and by this section. The order shall be stated orally at the meeting and shall be reduced to writing and mailed to the alleged violator within ten (10) days after the hearing.
(H) (1) If the Board declares a place or premises to be a public nuisance, it may enter an order immediately prohibiting:
(a) The maintaining of the nuisance;
(b) The operating or maintaining of the place or premises;
(c) The conduct, operation, or maintenance of any business or activity on the premises which is conducive to such nuisance; or
(d) Any other measures or conditions the Board deems appropriate to abate a public nuisance.
(2) Any other measures or conditions the Board deems appropriate to abate a public nuisance.
(I) This subsection does not restrict the right of any person, including the city, to proceed under Fla. Stat. § 60.05, against any public nuisance.
(J) If the City proves the existence of a public nuisance or recurring public nuisance before the Board, the City as the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys' fees and costs associated with the investigation, hearing and prosecution on the public nuisance through all appellate proceedings, including the costs of recording any order, notice or agreement.
(K) An order of the Board shall expire not more than one (1) year or as otherwise designated in the order after entry of the order by the Board. The order may include deadlines or other notice for requiring compliance by a certain date and that a fine may be imposed in accordance with this subchapter.
(Ord. 2016-37, passed 6-16-16)