Town of Bethlehem, CT
Litchfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Bethlehem as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-15-1997]

§ 1-1 Statutory authority; applicability.

The Town of Bethlehem hereby creates and establishes an ordinance regarding a citation hearing procedure pursuant to C.G.S. § 7-152c, as amended. Any assessments on judgments provided herein shall be enforced by the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut. This procedure shall apply to enforcement of ordinances adopted by the Town of Bethlehem pursuant to C.G.S. § 7-148 and/or § 22a-226d, as amended.

§ 1-2 Appointment of citation hearing officers.

Within 30 days of the effective date hereof, the First Selectman of the Town of Bethlehem (hereinafter the "municipality") shall appoint one or more citation hearing officers, other than police officers or employees or persons who issue citations, to conduct the hearings authorized by this article and by C.G.S. § 7-152c.

§ 1-3 Notice of violation.

At any time within 12 months from the expiration of the final period for uncontested payment of fines, penalties, costs or fees for any citations issued under any ordinance adopted pursuant to C.G.S. § 7-148 or 22a-226d, for an alleged violation thereof, the First Selectman shall send notice to the person cited. Such notice shall inform the persons cited:
A. 
Of the allegations against him and the amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees due;
B. 
That he may contest his liability before a citation hearing officer by delivering in person or by mail, to a specific office or address, written notice within 10 days of the date thereof;
C. 
That if he does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him; and
D. 
That such judgment may issue without further notice.

§ 1-4 Admission of liability.

If the person who is sent notice pursuant to § 1-3 of this article wishes to admit liability for any alleged violation, he may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees admitted to in person or by mail to an official designated in the notice by such municipality. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of such person or other person making the payment. Any person who does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the first notice provided for in § 1-3 of this article shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the designated municipal officer shall certify such person's failure to respond to the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall thereupon enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees provided for by the applicable ordinance and shall follow the procedures set forth in § 1-6 of this article.

§ 1-5 Hearing procedure.

A. 
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice by regular mail of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of notice, provided that the hearing officer shall grant upon good cause shown any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance.
B. 
An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation issued by the issuing official or policeman shall be filed and retained by the municipality and shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of C.G.S. § 52-180 and evidence of the facts contained therein. The presence of the issuing official or policeman shall be required at the hearing if such person so requests.
C. 
A person wishing to contest his liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his behalf. A designated municipal official, other than the hearing officer, may present evidence on behalf of the municipality. If such person fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter an assessment by default against him upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable statutes or ordinances.
D. 
The hearing officer may accept from such person copies of police reports, investigatory and citation reports and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is unnecessary.
E. 
The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as he deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
F. 
The hearing officer shall announce his decision at the end of the hearing. If he determines that the person is not liable, he shall dismiss the matter and enter his determination in writing accordingly. If he determines that the person is liable for the violation, he shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against such person as provided by the applicable ordinances of the municipality.

§ 1-6 Record of assessment.

[Amended 1-2-2013]
If such assessment is not paid on the date of its entry, the hearing officer shall send, by first-class mail, a notice of the assessment to the person found liable and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the Clerk of the Superior Court facility designated by the Chief Court Administrator, together with an entry fee of $8. The certified copy of the notice of assessment shall constitute a record of assessment. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same person may be accrued and filed as one record of assessment. The Clerk shall enter judgment, in the amount of such record of assessment and court costs of $8, against such person in favor of the municipality. Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, the hearing officer's assessment, when so entered as a judgment, shall have the effect of a civil money judgment, and a levy of execution on such judgment may issue without further notice to such person.

§ 1-7 Appeals.

[Amended 1-2-2013]
A person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this article is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal. An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the mailing of notice of such assessment by filing a petition to reopen assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to C.G.S. § 52-259, at a Superior Court facility designated by the Chief Court Administrator, which shall entitle such person to a hearing in accordance with the rules of the Judges of the Superior Court.
[Adopted 1-2-2013]

§ 1-8 Adoption.

The compilation of the ordinances and regulations of the Town of Bethlehem of a general and permanent nature, codified and consolidated into parts, chapters and sections in the form attached hereto and made a part hereof, and consisting of Chapters 1 through 132, is hereby approved, adopted, ordained and enacted as the "Code of the Town of Bethlehem, Connecticut," hereinafter called the "Code." All provisions contained in the compilation provided for herein and known as the "Code of the Town of Bethlehem" shall be in force and effect on and after the effective date of this ordinance.

§ 1-9 Continuation of existing provisions.

The provisions of the Code, insofar as they are substantively the same as those ordinances and regulations in force immediately prior to the enactment of the Code by this ordinance, are intended as a continuation of such ordinances and regulations and not as new enactments, and the effectiveness of such provisions shall date from the date of adoption of the prior ordinance or regulation. All such provisions are hereby continued in full force and effect and are hereby reaffirmed as to their adoption by the Town Meeting.

§ 1-10 Repeal of inconsistent ordinances.

All ordinances and regulations or parts thereof of the Town of Bethlehem of a general and permanent nature in force on the date of the adoption of this ordinance which are inconsistent with any provisions of the Code are hereby repealed from and after the effective date of this ordinance; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as repealing or altering the subdivision or inland wetlands regulations or the road specifications of the Town.

§ 1-11 Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, article or part of this ordinance or of any ordinance or regulation appearing in the Code or included in this Code through supplementation shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section, article or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which judgment shall have been rendered.

§ 1-12 Copy of Code on file; publication.

A copy of the Code has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethlehem and shall remain there for use and examination by the public until final action is taken on this ordinance; and, if this ordinance shall be adopted, such copy shall be certified to by the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethlehem, and such certified copy shall remain on file in the office of said Town Clerk to be made available to persons desiring to examine the same during all times while said Code is in effect. The enactment and publication of this ordinance, coupled with the availability of a copy of the Code for inspection by the public, shall be deemed, held and considered to be due and legal publication of all provisions of the Code for all purposes.

§ 1-13 Amendments to Code.

Any and all additions, deletions, amendments or supplements to any of the ordinances or regulations in the Code of the Town of Bethlehem, or any new ordinances or regulations, when enacted or adopted in such form as to indicate the intention that they be a part thereof, shall be deemed to be incorporated into such Code so that reference to the Code shall be understood and intended to include such additions, deletions, amendments or supplements. Whenever such additions, deletions, amendments or supplements to the Code shall be enacted or adopted, they shall thereafter be inserted in the Code as amendments and supplements thereto. Nothing contained in this ordinance shall affect the status of any ordinance or regulation contained herein, and such ordinances and regulations may be amended, deleted or changed from time to time as the Town Meeting deems desirable.

§ 1-14 Gender-neutral language.

Whenever in the Code, in describing or referring to any person, party, matter or thing, any word importing the singular number or masculine gender is used, the same shall be understood to include and to apply to several persons or parties as well as to one person or party, and to females as well as males, and to bodies corporate as well as individuals, and to several matters and things as well as one matter or thing.

§ 1-15 Code to be kept up-to-date.

It shall be the duty of the Town Clerk to keep up-to-date the certified copy of the Code of the Town of Bethlehem required to be filed in the office of the Town Clerk for use by the public. All changes in said Code and all ordinances adopted by the Town Meeting subsequent to the enactment of this ordinance in such form as to indicate the intention that they be a part of said Code shall, when finally enacted or adopted, be included therein by temporary attachment of copies of such changes until such changes are included as supplements to said Code.

§ 1-16 Sale of Code; supplementation.

Copies of the Code, or any chapter or portion of it, may be purchased from the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethlehem or an authorized agent of the Town Clerk upon the payment of a fee to be set by the Town. The Town Clerk may also arrange for procedures for the periodic supplementation thereof.

§ 1-17 Penalties for tampering with Code.

Any person who, without authorization from the Town Clerk, changes or amends, by additions or deletions, any part or portion of the Code of the Town of Bethlehem, or who alters or tampers with such Code in any manner whatsoever which will cause the legislation of the Town of Bethlehem to be misrepresented thereby, or who violates any other provision of this ordinance, shall be guilty of an offense and shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than $100.

§ 1-18 Changes in previously adopted legislation.

A. 
In compiling and preparing the ordinances and regulations for publication as the Code of the Town of Bethlehem, no changes in the meaning or intent of such ordinances or regulations have been made, except as have been made by formal amendment thereto. Certain grammatical changes and other minor nonsubstantive changes were made in one or more of said ordinances and regulations, as authorized by the Town Meeting. It is the intention of the Town Meeting that all such changes be adopted as part of the Code as if the ordinances and regulations had been previously formally amended to read as such.
B. 
In addition, the amendments and/or additions as set forth in Schedule A[1] attached hereto and made a part hereof are made herewith, to become effective upon the effective date of this ordinance. (Chapter and section number references are to the ordinances as they have been renumbered and appear in the Code.)
[1]
Editor's Note: In accordance with § 1-18B, the chapters, parts and sections which were added, amended, adopted or deleted by this ordinance are indicated throughout the Code by a footnote referring to Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II. During routine supplementation, footnotes indicating amendments, additions or deletions will be replaced with the following history: “Amended (added, repealed) 1-2-2013.” Schedule A, which contains a complete description of all changes, is on file in the Town offices.
C. 
Nomenclature. Throughout the Code, references to the following agencies or officials are updated as indicated:
(1) 
"Department of Environmental Protection" is changed to "Department of Energy and Environmental Protection."
(2) 
"Soil Conservation Service" and "SCS" are changed to "Natural Resources Conservation Service" and "NRCS."

§ 1-19 When effective.

This ordinance shall take effect upon passage and publication as required by law.