[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of West Haven 7-24-1995 by Ord. No. 348. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to Sections 7-148(c)(10)(A) and 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes, as such sections may be amended from time to time, the City of West Haven (the City) hereby adopts the following procedure for citations issued for violations of town ordinances.
Unless otherwise specifically provided in a City ordinance or the Connecticut General Statutes, all City ordinances may be enforced by citations issued by municipal officers or employees designated by the Mayor. Such designated municipal officers or employees may issue a written warning providing notice of the specific violation before issuing the citation.
The Mayor shall appoint one or more persons who shall serve as hearing officers to conduct hearings into the violation of City ordinances. The hearing officers shall be electors of the town, but no police officer or any employee or person authorized to issue citations for the violations of any City ordinance shall be permitted to serve as a hearing officer.
Within 12 months from the expiration of the period for the uncontested payment of fines, penalties, costs or fees for any citation issued under any town ordinance for a violation thereof, the town shall send notice to the owner of the property which is the subject of the violation or such other person as may be appropriate (the "cited person"). Such notice shall inform the cited person:
Of the allegations against the cited person and the amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees due;
That the cited person may contest liability before a hearing officer by delivering in person or by mail written notice within 10 days of the date thereof;
That if a hearing is not demanded, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against the cited person; and
That such judgment may issue without further notice.
If a cited person who is sent notice pursuant to § 128-4 wishes to admit liability for an alleged violation, the cited person may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees in person or by mail to the City at the address specified in the notice. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of the cited person or other person making the payment. Any cited person who does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice provided for in § 128-4 shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the issuing official shall certify the cited 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 § 128-6 below.
Any cited person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. The hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, provided that the hearing officer shall grant, upon good cause shown, any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance. An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation, issued by the issuing official or police officer shall be filed and retained by the town and shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of Section 52-180 of the Connecticut General Statutes and evidence of the facts contained therein. The hearing officer shall conduct a hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as the hearing officer 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. The hearing officer shall announce a decision at the end of the hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the cited person is not liable, then the matter shall be dismissed and the hearing officer's determination shall be entered in writing accordingly. If the cited person is found liable for the violation, the hearing officer shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against the cited person as provided by the applicable ordinance.
The presence of the issuing official or police officer shall be required at the hearing if the cited person so requests. A designated town official, other than the hearing officer, may present evidence on behalf of the town. The cited person wishing to contest liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his or her behalf. The hearing officer may, however, accept from the cited person copies of police reports, investigatory and citation reports and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of the cited person at the hearing is unnecessary. If the cited person fails to appear and such appearance has not been determined by the hearing officer to be unnecessary, the hearing officer may enter an assessment by default against the cited person upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable ordinance.
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 cited person 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 at Milford together with such entry fee as may be required by the Superior Court. The certified copy of the notice of assessment shall constitute a record of assessment. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same cited 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, against the cited person in favor of the town. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Connecticut 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 of such judgment may issue without further notice to the cited person.
A cited person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this chapter is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal. Any 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 Section 52-259 of the Connecticut General Statutes, in the Superior Court at Milford, which shall entitle the cited person to a hearing in accordance with the rules of the judges of the Superior Court.
Pursuant to Section 8-12a of the Connecticut General Statutes, violations of the Zoning Regulations of the City of West Haven shall be punishable by citation. All citations issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agency shall state the violation for which the citation is being issued, the fine imposed for the violation, the time period within which the fine must be paid and an address for the remittance of the fine. Notice of citations will also include availability of a hearing with respect to said violation. The fine for each violation shall be $100 for each day that such violation continues. Citations shall be issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent by hand or by delivery to the abode or residence of the person in violation.
Upon the issuance of a citation by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent, the time period for correction of the violation cited in such citation shall be in accordance with the following requirements:
For violations that involve the illegal use of a property by a nonstructural object such as a sign, vehicle, junk, etc., compliance with the regulations shall be within 48 hours of issuance of the citation.
For violations that involve the illegal use of a property by the conduct of an activity which is not permitted, compliance with the regulations shall be within 48 hours of issuance of the citation.
For violations that involve the illegal placement of a structure, all work on the structure shall immediately cease. Further, all violations not included in Subsections A and B of this section shall be brought into compliance with the regulations within 48 hours of issuance of the citation, or within such other period as designed in writing by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent.
Any violation for which a citation is issued and which is not corrected within the time period allowed in this section, shall be a new violation of the Zoning Regulations and every twenty-four-hour period thereafter in which the violation is not corrected shall constitute a new violation.
The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall not be responsible for a daily reinspection; rather the person to whom the citation has been issued shall be responsible for reporting subsequent compliance to the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent. The Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent, shall reinspect to confirm compliance within 24 hours of such report.
All fines imposed under this article shall be made payable to the Treasurer, City of West Haven, and shall be received by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent within 10 days from the receipt of the citation. All fines collected by the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall be directed to the City Treasurer.
The penalties established by this article shall not be exclusive of any other enforcement remedy which may be imposed by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her agent for violations of the West Haven Zoning Regulations, as authorized by state statute, ordinances or the West Haven Zoning Regulations.
Any Zoning Enforcement Officer who issues a citation pursuant to this article shall be liable for treble damages in any civil action if the court finds that such citation was issued frivolously or without probable cause.