Town of Smithsburg, MD
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Smithsburg 2-3-2004 as Ch. 11, Title 7, of the 2004 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 146.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 292.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 335.
Zoning — See Ch. 405.
No person shall permit a barbed wire or an aboveground electric-charged, high-tensile fence (hereinafter referred to as a "nonpermitted fence") to be installed, operated or maintained within the corporate limits of the Town. The term "electric-charged, high-tensile fence" does not include the underground facilities commonly known as "pet fences."
The Town's police officers, Zoning Administrator, Code Enforcement Officer, or other authorized representative may enter on and inspect any private property to determine whether a nonpermitted fence exists.
The Town may bring an action to enjoin any person from permitting any nonpermitted fence subject to this chapter to be installed, operated or maintained within the corporate limits of the Town.
A. 
Investigation. The Town's police officers, Zoning Administrator, Code Enforcement Officer, or other authorized representative (hereinafter referred to as the "officer"):
(1) 
May investigate the exterior portion of any real property in the Town upon receipt of a report or information that a nonpermitted fence exists; and
(2) 
Shall investigate and report on the existence of that fence.
B. 
Abatement notice. If the officer finds that the fence exists, the Town shall serve a written notice on the person who is installing, operating or maintaining the nonpermitted fence, ordering the person to abate the nonpermitted fence within a time specified in the notice.
C. 
The abatement notice shall be served:
(1) 
On the person who is installing, operating or maintaining the nonpermitted fence; or
(2) 
If the person who is installing, operating or maintaining the nonpermitted fence cannot be found, on the owner or occupant of the property where the nonpermitted fence exists.
D. 
Prohibition. A person may not refuse or neglect to comply with the requirements of a notice served under this section.
E. 
Failure to abate. The Town may file a complaint in the Circuit Court if:
(1) 
The person served with the notice fails to comply with the requirements of the notice; or
(2) 
Although the person served complies with the requirements of the notice, under the circumstances, the nonpermitted fence is likely to recur on the same property.
F. 
A complaint filed under this chapter may seek a court order requiring the person served with the notice to do any or all of the following:
(1) 
To comply with the requirements of the Town's abatement notice.
(2) 
To abate the nonpermitted fence within a time specified in the order.
(3) 
To prevent the nonpermitted fence from recurring.
A. 
In general.
(1) 
If, after investigation, the officer finds that the nonpermitted fence exists, the real property on which the nonpermitted fence exists is in a state of noncompliance with this chapter.
(2) 
The Town may summarily abate any condition that is in a state of noncompliance with this chapter under this section.
B. 
Abatement order. Before summarily abating a nonpermitted fence under this section, the Town shall:
(1) 
Serve an abatement order on the owner of the property where the nonpermitted fence exists or, if the owner cannot be found, on the occupant or tenant of the property; or
(2) 
If the property is unoccupied and the owner cannot be found, attach an abatement order to the property where the nonpermitted fence exists.
C. 
Contents of order.
(1) 
The abatement order shall require and state:
(a) 
A time period within which the owner, occupant, or tenant of the property where the nonpermitted fence exists shall abate the nonpermitted fence; and
(b) 
The work and materials necessary to abate the nonpermitted fence.
(2) 
The time period within which to abate the nonpermitted fence may not be less than 24 hours nor more than five days from the date and hour that the order is served.
D. 
Failure to abate.
(1) 
If the owner, occupant, or tenant served with an abatement order fails to abate or only partially abates the nonpermitted fence within the time specified in the order, the Town or a representative of the Town may:
(a) 
Enter on the property; and
(b) 
At the expense of the owner, occupant, or tenant of the property, do any work and use any materials necessary to abate the nonpermitted fence.
(2) 
The Town may not expend more than $500 to abate the nonpermitted fence.
E. 
Cost of abatement. If, within 60 days after the Town has completed an abatement under this section, the owner, occupant, or tenant does not pay to the Town the cost of the abatement, the Town shall file suit against the owner, occupant, or tenant in the district court for the county where the nonpermitted fence was abated.
F. 
Prohibited acts. A person may not:
(1) 
Interfere with the Town, an officer, or a representative of the Town summarily abating a nonpermitted fence under this section; or
(2) 
Refuse to allow the Town, an officer or a representative of the Town to enter on any property for the purpose of summarily abating a nonpermitted fence under this section.
A person who refuses or neglects to comply with the requirements of a notice served under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.
A. 
Due diligence. A person who fails to exercise due diligence under a court order to abate a nonpermitted fence under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to:
(1) 
A fine not exceeding $100 for each day the condition is not abated; and
(2) 
The cost of prosecution.
B. 
Knowing or willful violation. A person who knowingly or willfully acts contrary to a court order to abate a nonpermitted fence under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to:
(1) 
A fine not exceeding $200 for each day the violation continues; and
(2) 
The cost of prosecution.
In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both, if the person:
A. 
Interferes with the Town, an officer or a representative of the Town summarily abating a nonpermitted fence under this chapter; or
B. 
Refuses to allow the Town, an officer or a representative of the Town to enter on any property for the purpose of summarily abating a nonpermitted fence under this chapter.