[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Elkton 12-18-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to create a system to maintain and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Town of Elkton and to establish the means by which compliance shall be accomplished.
It is unlawful for any responsible person or owner to permit, maintain, suffer, carry on or allow a public nuisance to exist, as defined by this chapter, upon his/her premises any act or thing declared a nuisance by this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to allow a public nuisance upon any premises within the Town of Elkton. Such violations shall be corrected by any reasonable and lawful means as provided in this chapter or the Code of Virginia.
The Town officers are charged with enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be a public nuisance within the Town of Elkton if any responsible person or persons shall maintain or allow to be maintained on real property which he or she may have charge, control or occupy, except as may be permitted by any other Town ordinance, whether visible or not from any public street, alley or residence, any of the following conditions:
The making or keeping of any explosive or combustible substance in the town, or carrying it through the streets thereof, and causing injury to the person or property of another by careless, negligent or unauthorized use or management of any such explosive or combustible substance.
Permitting or allowing outside of any dwelling, building or other structures or within any unoccupied or abandoned building, dwelling or other structure, in a place accessible to children, any abandoned, unattended or discarded icebox, refrigerator or other container which has an airtight door or lid, snap lock or other automatic locking device which may not be released from the inside, without first removing said door or lid, snap lock or other locking device from said refrigerator, icebox or container. Every violation of this section is a public nuisance.
Abandonment or discontinuance of the use of or permitting or maintaining any abandoned or unused well, cistern or storage tank, without first demolishing or removing from the Town such storage tank, or securely closing and barring any entrance or trap door thereto, or filling any well or cistern, or capping the same with sufficient security to prevent access thereto by children. Any such violation is a public nuisance.
Any tin cans, bottles, glass, cans, ashes, small pieces of scrap iron, wire, pipe, metal articles, bric-a-brac, broken stone or cement, broken crockery, broken glass, broken plaster, and all other trash or abandoned material, unless the same is kept in covered bins or metal receptacles approved by the building official and not stored in front yard.
Any trash, litter, rags, accumulations of empty barrels, boxes, crates, packing cases, mattresses, bedding excelsior, packing hay, straw or other packing material, lumber not neatly piled, scrap iron, tin, pipe and other metal not neatly piled and not stored in the front yard or on Town right-of-way.
Any attractive nuisances dangerous to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned, broken or neglected buildings, equipment, machinery, refrigerators and freezers, excavations, shafts, or insufficiently supported walls or fences in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.
Broken or discarded furniture, furnishings, appliances, household equipment and other similar items, in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.
Dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous trees or vegetation/grass clippings (except that used as compost for fertilizer), so covered or concealed as not to affect the health, safety or depreciation of adjoining property including that which by casual contact with the skin is dangerous to public health, safety and welfare located in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.
Graffiti on the exterior of any building, fence, or other structure in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.
Deposit, keep or leave or permit to be deposited, kept or left in any place accessible to children, or in any place viewable from a public street or alley, any abandoned, nonrunning discarded or inoperable motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer, or any vehicle hulk or any part thereof, or other articles of personal property. For the purposes of this subsection "abandoned, nonrunning and inoperative" refers to a vehicle as defined in § 158-17B.
Weeds exceeding eight inches in height (Weeds mean any plant, grass, weed, brush, vines or any other vegetation, herbaceous or woody, other than (1) trees, ornamental shrubbery and vegetable and flower gardens purposefully planted and maintained free of weed hazard or nuisance: (2) cultivated crops; (3) public recreational areas or trails intended to be left in their natural state: and (4) vegetation along natural streams or watercourses when necessary to deter erosion.) located in any front yard, side yard, rear or vacant lot, not deemed agricultural, conservation government or within 200 feet of any residential lot.
Burning or disposal of refuse, sawdust or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit ashes, sawdust, soot or cinders to be cast upon the streets or alleys of the town, or to cause or permit dense smoke, noxious fumes, ashes, soot or gases arising from such burning to become annoying or injurious to the health, comfort or repose of the general public.
Carcasses of animals not buried or destroyed within 24 hours after death.
Ponds or pools of stagnant water.
All limbs or trees overhanging a public sidewalk which are less than 10 feet above the surface of such sidewalk.
The existence of any vines or climbing plants growing into or over any street, public hydrant, pole or electrolier, or the existence of any shrub, vine or plant growing on, around or in front of any hydrant, standpipe, sprinkler system connection or other appliance or facility provided for fire protection purposes in such a way as to obscure the view thereof or impair the access thereto, or obstruct or interfere with the proper diffusion of the light from any streetlamp.
Any use of property abutting on a public street or sidewalk or any use of public street or sidewalk which causes any obstructing of traffic and the free use of the streets or sidewalks, provided that this subsection shall not apply to events, programs or parades authorized by the Town Council.
Any poisonous or harmful substance which is reasonably accessible to persons or to animals.
The existence of caterpillar infestations or other horticultural pests.
The existence of any fence or other structure or thing on private property abutting or fronting upon any public street, sidewalk or place which is in a sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed or other dilapidated or unsafe condition.
Any unsightly and dangerous building, billboard or other structure, or any old, abandoned or partially destroyed building or structure, any building or structure in disrepair, or any structure commenced and left unfinished.
Repair of an automobile, truck or other motor vehicle of any kind upon the public streets, alleys or other public property of the town.
Any putrid, unsound or unwholesome bones, meat, hides, skins, or the whole or any part of any dead animal, fish or fowl, butcher's trimmings and offal, or any waste vegetable or animal matter in any quantity, garbage, human excreta or other offensive substance, provided nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the temporary retention of waste in receptacles in the manner approved by the building official of the town.
Any other condition which would constitute a nuisance under Virginia laws.
If at any time a Town officer shall find that a condition which constitutes a nuisance exists within the Town, he or she shall give notice in writing to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the premises upon which such condition exists, stating therein the condition which constitutes a nuisance and directing such addressee to remedy the condition within the time stated in such notice, which shall be not more than 30 days. It shall be unlawful for any such owner, occupant or person in charge to fail to comply with the terms of such notice. If the officer giving notice shall state in such notice that the condition which constitutes a nuisance is such as to be an imminent hazard to the health, safety or welfare of the public or any person within or near the premises upon which such nuisance exists, then the addressee shall comply with the terms of such notice.
Any property owner to whom a notice is sent may appeal, in writing, to the Town Council, within 15 days after notice is sent, and protest the decision of the Town officer. The Council shall thereupon affirm, modify or overrule the decision which was appealed. If the ruling is appealed, the terms of such notice shall be stayed pending action of the Town Council, which shall be final.
It is expressly the purpose of this chapter to provide for and promote the health, safety and welfare of the general public and not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by the terms of this chapter.
No provision or term used in this chapter is intended to impose any duty whatsoever upon the Town or any of its officers, agents or employees for whom the implementation or enforcement of this chapter shall be discretionary and not mandatory.
Nothing contained in this chapter is intended nor shall be construed to create or form the basis of any liability on the part of the town, or its officers, employees or agents, for any injury or damage resulting from any action or inaction on the part of the town, its officers, employees or agents.
Violations of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty, in the amount of $50 for the first violation, or violations arising from the same set of operative facts. The civil penalty for subsequent violations not arising from the same set of operative facts within 12 months of the first violation shall be $200. Each business day during which the same violation is found to have existed shall constitute a separate offense. In no event shall a series of specified violations arising from the same set of operative facts result in civil penalties that exceed a total of $3,000 in a twelve-month period.
These penalties are in accordance with Virginia Code § 15.2-900 et seq. In the event the penalty provisions of these Virginia Code sections are amended, then these penalties shall also be automatically amended to reflect the highest penalty allowed.
[Added 10-27-2003; amended 10-20-2008; 10-21-2013]
If 15 days elapse after written notice from a Town officer to the owner, occupant, or person in charge of the premises upon which a nuisance exists without such condition being abated or removed, and after the expiration of any right to appeal pursuant to § 120-6, the Town may abate such nuisance or remove it, charging the costs thereof to such owner or occupant and collecting such costs in the same manner as the local real estate tax. However, if the nuisance presents an imminent and immediate threat to life or property, then the Town may abate, raze, or remove such nuisance, without notice, and the Town may bring an action against the responsible party to recover the necessary costs incurred for the provision of public emergency services reasonably required to abate any such nuisance, in accordance with the provisions of Virginia Code § 15.2-900, and any future amendments to such code section.