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(A) Definition. The following definition shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
CLEARED AREA. An area free of trash and all undergrowth of the height and density as not to be readily flammable. Undergrowth shall not include growing trees, individually or in open groves, free of parasitical plants and smothering vines.
(B) Duty of property owners not to permit accumulations of garbage and weeds on land. Any person owning or controlling any lot or acreage within the town is prohibited from permitting the accumulation of garbage or trash thereon. Further, any person owning or controlling any lot or acreage on which any structure is located is prohibited from permitting the growth or accumulation of weeds, grass or underbrush thereon above the height of one foot, except as specifically protected by state or federal law.
(C) Resolution prescribing land to be cleared; notice to property owner; failure to comply with notice.
(1) The Mayor and Town Council may, when necessary for fire protection or public health, safety and welfare or when upon receipt of a written complaint by any person concerned, prescribe by resolution the land to be cleared, and adhere to established procedure to investigate this matter for notice, timely compliance and the setting of hearing dates.
(2) The Mayor may cause notice of the resolution required by this section to be served in conformity with the procedures provided in F.S. § 162.12 on the owner or his or her agent.
(3) Failure to comply with the resolution within 30 days shall be considered evidence of intention not to comply with the resolution, and the Mayor, with the concurrence of the Town Council, may proceed to have the lot or area cleared. When land is cleared by the town, a record of the costs of the same shall be kept by the Town Clerk. A bill shall be mailed to the land owner or his or her agent to his or her last known address. If the bill is not paid within 30 days from the date the bill is sent, the Town Clerk shall certify the fact to the Town Council together with a copy of the bill and a description of the property.
(4) The cost of clearing land by the town shall be a lien upon the land invoiced, and the lien shall be enforced by the Town Council in the manner provided by state law. The Town Clerk shall keep a record of all liens obtained by the town under the provisions of this division and shall file a notice of the liens with the clerk of the circuit court. All liens shall bear interest at the rate of 1% per month until redeemed by the owner.
(5) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to require the town to do any remedial work on any private property within the town, nor may the town be compelled to perform any remedial work provided for under this section and the decision to perform such remedial work shall be within the sole and exclusive discretion of the Town Council.
(D) Tree and shrub removal affecting public property or utilities serving the public.
(1) No owner, occupant or lessee of private property, or his or her agent, shall permit, allow or maintain any dead, diseased, decayed or damaged trees, shrubs or branches or parts thereof which overhang or interfere with or may, due to their condition, overhang, interfere with or collapse upon public sidewalks, public property, public rights-of-way, public or private streets or roadways or utilities serving the public. The owners, lessees or occupants of private property also shall remove or trim trees or shrubs or parts thereof which obstruct public view of traffic or public safety signs located within public rights of-way. It shall be the responsibility of every property owner or occupant to maintain trees or shrubs on their property in a safe and healthy manner, properly trimmed and pruned so to avoid hazards to persons on public property, to public property or to utilities serving the public.
(2) The Building Official or Mayor may seek entry to private property in order to inspect trees and shrubs upon the property to determine compliance with this division. The Building Official/Mayor shall first seek the property owner’s/lessee’s permission to conduct an inspection. Should the property owner/lessee object to the inspection, the Building Official/Mayor may seek, from a court of competent jurisdiction, a warrant to inspect the premises in accordance with this division and applicable state law. Should a condition of extreme danger or imminent peril to public property, persons on public property or to utilities serving the public be known to exist or readily apparent, the warrant requirements of this section may be dispensed with, but only if there is reasonable cause to believe that the delay involved in compliance with the warrant requirement would pose an imminent peril or extreme danger to persons on public property, public property or to utilities serving the public.
(3) Upon finding that any tree or shrub or part thereof constitutes a nuisance, an imminent peril or extreme danger to persons upon public property, public property or utilities serving the public, the Building Official/Mayor direct the property owner, lessee or other person to remove, treat or trim the tree or shrub to a degree and in a manner as the Building Official/Mayor shall determine will correct the nuisance, imminent peril or extreme danger. Service of an order by the Mayor to accomplish the foregoing may be in the manner specified in F.S. § 162.12. The order shall set forth the time limit for compliance, which shall depend upon the degree of extreme danger, imminent peril or nuisance created by the tree or shrub. In cases of imminent peril or extreme danger to public property, persons on public property or to utilities serving the public, the Mayor shall have the authority to require immediate compliance.
(4) If, at the end of the time period set forth in the order, the tree or shrub has not been removed or trimmed as directed, it may be declared a nuisance and the Mayor may have the tree or shrub removed or trimmed as appropriate to avoid extreme danger or imminent peril. The costs of this service, including labor, equipment and materials, may be assessed to the private property owner. A tree or shrub may be deemed a nuisance if it, or any part of it:
(a) Appears dead, decayed, diseased, insect infested, dangerous or likely to fall on public property, persons on public property or utilities serving the public;
(b) Is not pruned to a height of 14 feet above the street to accommodate vehicles such as garbage trucks, buses and street maintenance trucks;
(c) Is not pruned to a height of nine feet above the sidewalk;
(d) Interferes with sewers;
(e) Is in dangerous proximity to interfere with utilities serving the public; or
(f) Interferes with a planned public improvement.
(E) Recorded statement constitutes a lien. Where the amount due the town is not paid by the owner within 30 days after the cutting, trimming and/or removal of the trees or shrubs performed by or on behalf of the town, under this section, the Mayor may cause to be recorded in the public records of the county a sworn statement showing the cost and expenses incurred for the work done and the date, place and property on which the work was done. The recording of the sworn statement shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount due in principal for labor, administrative costs and fees incurred by the town, plus interest and court costs, if any, for collection, including reasonable attorney fees, until payment has been made. The costs and expenses shall be collected in the manner fixed by law for the foreclosure of mortgages. Lien shall accrue interest at the rate of 12% per annum. Sworn statements recorded in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be prima facie evidence that all legal formalities have been complied with and that the work has been done properly and satisfactorily, and shall be full notice to every person concerned that the amount of the statement, plus interest, constitutes a charge against the property designated or described in the statement and that the same is due and collectible as provided by law.
(Ord. 2009-02, passed 7-28-2009; Ord. 2018-01, passed 2-28-2018) Penalty, see § 91.999