[Adopted 12-7-2005 as Title 8, Ch. 1, Sec. 8-1-6, of the 2005 Village Code]
This article is adopted due to the unique nature of the problems associated with lawns, grasses and noxious weeds being allowed to grow to excessive length in the Village of Argyle.
The Village Board finds that lawns, grasses and noxious weeds on nonagricultural lots or parcels of land, as classified under the Village Zoning Code, within the Village of Argyle which exceed eight inches in length adversely affect the public health and safety of the public in that they tend to emit pollen and other discomforting bits of plants, constitute a fire hazard and a safety hazard in that debris can be hidden in the grass, interfere with the public convenience and adversely affect property values of other land within the Village. For that reason, any nonagricultural lawn, grass or weed on a lot or other parcel of land which exceeds eight inches in length is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, except for property located in a designated floodplain area and/or wetland area or where the lawn, grass or weed is part of a natural lawn approved pursuant to Article II above.
No person, firm or corporation shall permit any public nuisance as defined in § 326-13 above to remain on any premises owned or controlled by him/her within the Village.
The Weed Commissioner or his/her designee shall inspect or cause to be inspected all premises and places within the Village to determine whether any public nuisance as defined in § 326-13 above exists.
If the Weed Commissioner shall determine with reasonable certainty that any public nuisance as defined in § 326-13 above exists, the Weed Commissioner shall immediately cause written notice to be served that the Village proposes to have the lot grass or lawn cut so as to conform with this article and Article II of this chapter.
The notice shall be mailed or served on the owner of the lot or parcel of land or, if he/she is not known and there is a tenant occupying the property, then to the tenant.
If the owner believes that his/her grasses or weeds are not a nuisance, he/she may request a hearing before the Village Board. The request for said hearing must be made in writing to the Village Clerk-Treasurer's office within the five days set forth in the Weed Commissioner's notice. Upon application for the hearing, the property owner must make a deposit as prescribed from time to time by resolution of the Village Board. If a decision is rendered in the property owner's favor, the deposit will be returned to the property owner. If the property owner fails to appear for the hearing or if the decision is rendered against the property owner, the deposit shall be forfeited and applied to the cost of Village personnel abating the nuisance, if necessary. When a hearing is requested by the owner of the property, a hearing by the Village Board shall be held within seven days from the date of the owner's request. The property in question will not be mowed by the Village until such time as the hearing is held by the Village Board. At the hearing, the owner may appear in person or by his/her attorney, may present witnesses in his/her own behalf and may cross-examine witnesses presented by the Village as well as subpoena witnesses for his/her own case. At the close of the hearing, the Village Board shall make its determination in writing specifying its findings, facts and conclusions. If the Village Board determines that a public nuisance did exist, the Village Board shall order the Weed Commissioner to mow the property in question unless the property has been mowed by the owner within 48 hours of the Village Board' decision. If the owner does not abate the nuisance within the described 48 hours, the Weed Commissioner shall cause the same nuisance to be abated and cost in excess of the forfeited fee assessed accordingly.
In any case where the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property shall fail to cut his lawn, grass or weeds as set forth above, then, and in that event, the Village may elect to cut said lawn, grass or weeds as follows:
The written notice required in § 326-16 shall inform said person that, in the event of his/her failure to abate the nuisance within the prescribed time, the Village shall abate the same and the cost thereof shall be assessed to the property owner as a special charge.
The Village shall cut or cause to be cut all grass and weeds from the subject's property and shall charge the expenses of so doing at a rate as established by the Village Board, with a minimum charge of $50. The charges shall be set forth in a statement to the Village Clerk-Treasurer who, in turn, shall mail the same to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the subject premises. If said statement is not paid in full within 30 days thereafter, the Village Clerk-Treasurer shall enter the charges in the tax roll as a special tax against said lot or parcel of land, and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate or as provided under § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.