[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Blue Mounds 7-11-2012 by Ord. No. A-215. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Village Board hereby finds and declares as follows:
First, maintenance of land, buildings and structures (sometimes referred to collectively herein as "premises") in the Village of Blue Mounds affects the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the Village of Blue Mounds.
Second, that land, buildings, and structures that have become or are becoming deteriorated, dilapidated, neglected, fire hazards, harborages for vermin, rodents or other pests, or otherwise unsanitary may constitute public nuisances, and are detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Village of Blue Mounds.
The general purpose of this chapter is to protect and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the Village by establishing minimum standards for maintenance of premises.
To further its general purpose, this chapter has the following specific objectives:
To provide minimum standards of maintenance necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare of persons occupying or using land, buildings and structures in the Village.
To provide minimum standards for the exterior appearance of all land, buildings and structures within the Village, and to thus prohibit the spread of blighted property in the Village.
To protect the character and stability of premises within the Village.
To preserve the value of land, buildings and structures throughout the Village.
To provide a means to declare that certain land, buildings and structures fail to meet the standards of this chapter and are detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of this community, and require that the community standards set forth in this chapter be enforced.
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Ordinance for the Village of Blue Mounds."
This chapter shall apply to all land, buildings, and structures (sometimes referred to collectively herein as "premises") in the Village, without regard to its class or its date of construction, alteration, or repair. The owner and operator of same shall be responsible for ensuring that the premises conform to the requirements of this chapter.
This chapter is not intended to replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, replacement or repair of buildings and structures. However, in the event there is any inconsistency or conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any other existing Village ordinance, the more restrictive provisions shall apply.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and phrases will be defined as follows:
- ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
- A structure, the use of which is incidental to that of the main building and which is attached thereto or located on the same premises.
- That portion of a building, the floor line of which is below the surface of the ground immediately adjoining it and its ceiling not more than four feet above lot grade.
- A combination of materials constructed or adapted for permanent or temporary use as a residence, business, storage facility or barn.
- The condition or appearance of a building, dwelling and/or accessory structure or part thereof, characterized by breaks, holes, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting, inadequate paint or other evidence of decay or neglect.
- Any structure designed for use by human occupants for sleeping and living purposes, whether occupied or vacant. A dwelling is one type of building.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents, or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping; or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by the State of Wisconsin or Dane County Health Department.
- An independent structure forming a barrier at grade or between lots, between a lot and a street or an alley, or between portions of a lot or lots and includes a wall or latticework screen but excludes a hedge or natural growth, or a barrier of less than 18 inches in height that is used to protect plant growth.
- All waste, animal, fish, fowl or vegetable matter incident to and resulting from the use, preparation and storage of food for human consumption.
- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises that constitutes a health hazard.
- INOPERABLE APPLIANCE
- Any stove, washer, refrigerator or other appliance that is no longer operable for the purpose for which it was manufactured.
- Any old or scrap metal, metal alloy, synthetic or organic material or waste.
- JUNKED VEHICLE
- Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, farm machinery or trailers in such state of physical or mechanical ruin as to be incapable of propulsion, being operated upon the public streets or highways or that is otherwise not in safe or legal condition for operation on public streets or highways due to missing or inoperative parts, flat or removed tires, expired or missing license plates or other defects.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- A vehicle, including a combination of two or more vehicles or an articulated vehicle, which is self-propelled, except a vehicle operating exclusively on rail. [See § 340.01(35), Wis. Stats.]
- A. Any public nuisance known at common law or in equity jurisprudence, or as provided by the Statutes of the State of Wisconsin, or in the Code of the Village of Blue Mounds.
- B. Any attractive nuisance that may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children in a building or structure, on the area outside of or surrounding a building or structure, or upon unoccupied property. This includes, but is not limited to: open and unprotected basements and excavations, inoperable appliances, junked vehicles, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris, or vegetation such as poison ivy, or oak sumac. Without limitation, the above are hereby declared to be public nuisances, pursuant to this chapter and other provisions of the Village of Blue Mounds Code, wherever they may be found in the Village.
- Any person occupying or having use of premises or any part thereof.
- Any person who has apparent authority for charge, care or control of premises or any part thereof.
- Any person who alone, jointly, or severally with others, shall hold title to premises, or who shall be in actual possession of, or have charge, care or control of premises as an employee or agent of the title holder, or who shall be trustee or guardian of the estate or person of the title holder. For purposes of providing notice under this chapter, the Village may rely on the presumption that the owner is the person or persons designated on the tax roll with respect to the premises.
- Includes a corporation, firm, partnership, association, organization and any other group acting as a unit as well as individuals, including a personal representative, receiver or other representative appointed according to law. Whenever the word "person" is used in any section of this chapter prescribing a penalty or fine, it is identifying the person responsible for payment or corrective action. As to partnerships, associations or limited-liability companies, the word shall include the partners, members or managers thereof; and, as to corporations, the word shall include the officers, authorized designees or agents thereof.
- When used herein, the word "premises" is intended to be comprehensive and shall include land, buildings, structures or any part thereof.
- All solid waste (except body waste), including but not limited to: garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings and solid market and industrial wastes.
- To restore to a state of operation, serviceability or appearance in conformity with this chapter.
- To remove an existing item or portion of a building or structure and to construct or install a new item of similar or improved quality as the existing item when it was new. Replacement will ordinarily take place when the item is incapable of repair.
- Rubbish is the miscellaneous waste material, combustible and noncombustible, resulting from housekeeping and ordinary mercantile enterprises, and includes but it not limited to boxes, cartons, excelsior, paper ashes, cinders, tin cans, bottles and broken glass, rubber, grass clippings, brush, leaves and garden plants.
- Anything constructed or erected that requires location on the ground or is attached to something having location on the ground, including a building, fence, freestanding wall, sign or other advertising medium, whether detached or projecting.
- All buildings that do not conform to the minimum standards established by this chapter and by any other provisions of this Code or by the State of Wisconsin Administrative Code.
- UNLICENSED VEHICLE
- Motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, recreational vehicles or trailers that do not bear lawful current license places.
- Deterioration, decay, or damage by exposure to the elements.
- An open space at grade on the same lot as a building or structure located between such building or structure and the adjoining lot line, and/or street line.
Each owner of the premises shall have an independent responsibility for compliance. All owners shall be jointly and severally responsible for performance of the duties and obligations prescribed in this chapter. No owner shall be relieved from any such duty or obligation because another person is also responsible for performance of such duty or obligation. No owner shall be relieved from liability under this chapter because said person has contracted said responsibility to an operator or other person.
Operator(s) of premises in the Village shall also have responsibility for compliance. Operator(s) shall be jointly and severally responsible with owner(s) for performance of the duties and obligations prescribed in this chapter.
Maintenance and appearance of exterior of buildings and structures.
The exterior of buildings and structures shall be free of all nuisances, unsanitary conditions, and hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises.
The exterior appearance of all buildings and structures shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the standards of the neighborhood, and shall not constitute a blighting factor or an element leading to the progressive deterioration of the neighborhood.
Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed and maintained to minimize the hazard of fallings, and the same shall be kept structurally sound, in good repair and free of defects.
The exterior of every building and structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted as necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. Buildings and structures shall be maintained free of broken, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick, excessive peeling paint or other conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.
Every dwelling and accessory structure, exterior walls, siding and roofs shall be kept structurally sound and in a state of good repair to avoid safety, health or fire hazards and shall be so maintained as to be weather- and watertight.
Every building and structure shall be adequately protected against rats, mice, termites, and other vermin infestation, and shall not permit the entrance of such rats, mice, termites and other vermin. Owners and operators shall be responsible for the extermination of such vermin from that part of the premises under their exclusive control.
Every building shall have adequate refuse, garbage or rubbish storage facilities. No owner or operator shall allow occupants to accumulate rubbish, boxes, lumber, metal refuse or other materials that may provide a harborage for rodents or vermin.
Maintenance and appearance of land.
The land surrounding the buildings and structures shall be kept free of all nuisances and hazards, and clear of debris including, but not limited to, brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash, refuse, old tires, junk, inoperable appliances, and junked and unlicensed vehicles. The sole exception is where said nuisance, hazard or debris has been properly placed for pickup by the Village's waste disposal contractor.
Except where there has been prior application of a land management plan providing for an acceptable alternative and approval of such plan by the Village, yards around dwellings shall be provided with adequate lawn, ground cover or other acceptable decorative lawn treatments common in the Dane County area. Yards shall be trimmed to maintain a neat appearance. Lawns allowed to grow eight inches or taller shall be considered overgrown and in violation of this chapter. Any temporarily exposed areas shall be treated by the owner or occupant to prevent dust or the blowing or scattering of dust particles.
Except with prior application to and approval of a land management plan from the Village, and in addition to acceptable lawn and ground cover, landscaping, plantings and other acceptable decorative treatments common in the Dane County area shall be installed in the yard and shall be maintained in accordance with generally accepted landscaping practices in the Dane County area. Hedges, bushes and plantings shall be kept trimmed and shall not be allowed to become overgrown and unsightly or allowed to obstruct pedestrians' or vehicles' view.
Every yard, court, driveway or other portion of the land shall be graded or drained so as to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on any such surface. Driveways shall be maintained in good condition and repair.
Application for natural lawn. Any owner or operator of land in the Village of Blue Mounds may apply to the Plan Commission for approval of a land management plan that provides for a natural lawn to surround the dwelling and other buildings on the land. For purposes of this chapter, a "natural lawn" is one where the grasses exceed eight inches in height. Applications shall be submitted to the Village Clerk/Treasurer. Approvals, conditional approvals or denials of the land management plan shall be by majority vote of the Plan Commission.
"Land management plan" means a written plan relating to management of the lawn that contains a description of the area of the lawn surrounding the dwelling or other buildings upon which the grass or ground covering will exceed eight inches in height, a statement of intent and purpose for said area, a general description of the vegetational types, plants, and plant succession involved, and the specific management and maintenance techniques to be employed.
Revocation of the land management plan. The land management plan may be revoked for failure to comply with the general requirements of this chapter, or an approved land management plan. Notice of intent to revoke a land management plan may be issued by majority vote of the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission's decision may be appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. All applications for appeal shall be submitted within 15 days of notice of intent to revoke a land management plan, or the right of appeal shall be deemed waived.
Application requirements. Each application for a land management plan shall be accompanied by an application fee. The application fee shall be set by resolution of the Village Board. If the application is submitted by an operator, a copy of the application shall be mailed by the Village Clerk/Treasurer or given personally by the Village Clerk/Treasurer to the owner of record, as listed on the tax roll. The Village Clerk/Treasurer shall also mail or personally deliver notice of the application to owners of the property situated in whole or in part within 200 feet of the boundaries of the area subject to the land management plan. The Village Clerk/Treasurer shall certify that such owners have been duly notified and shall thereafter refer the application to the Plan Commission for hearing and decision. The Plan Commission meeting for hearing and decision on the land management plan shall occur no less than 15 days from the date of the Village Clerk/Treasurer's mailing of the notice. If there is insufficient time to mail such notice prior to the next Plan Commission meeting, the hearing and decision shall be set over to the next subsequent meeting unless the applicant provides written waivers of notice from the applicant and the property owners entitled to notice.
Application for appeal. The owner or operator of land in the Village of Blue Mounds may appeal a decision of the Plan Commission refusing to grant a land management plan. The fee for appeals shall be set by resolution of the Village Board. All appeals shall be to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which shall hear such appeals as necessary, March through September. All applications for appeal shall be submitted within 15 days of notice of denial of the land management plan, or the right of appeal shall be deemed waived.
Application to all premises. This chapter applies whether or not the premises are temporarily or continuously occupied or unoccupied, inhabited or uninhabited, commercial or noncommercial, and whether or not there is a structure, building or other improvement on the land.
Police officers are authorized to make inspections of the exterior of any premises for the sole purpose of determining whether the premises conform to the requirements of this chapter. Village residents may register complaints of violations of this chapter to the Village Clerk/Treasurer, in writing, in person, by email or by telephone. The Village Clerk/Treasurer, in his/her reasonable discretion, shall determine whether to respond directly to the complaint or refer the complaint to the building inspector or police officer for further action.
The Building Inspector and police officers are hereby made responsible for the enforcement of this chapter. All inspections, enforcement, orders or matters relating to violations of this chapter shall be under their direction and supervision. They may request such other public officials or employees of the Village to perform duties as they deem necessary to the enforcement.
The Building Inspector and police officers shall be supplied with official identification and shall exhibit such identification to the owner, operator or occupant upon request.
Whenever the Building Inspector or police officer determines that there are grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of this chapter, notice of the violation shall be given to the owner(s).
The notice of violation shall:
Be in writing;
Indicate the nature of the alleged violation(s);
Indicate the time for the correction or abatement of the alleged violation and/or submission of a plan to correct the alleged violation, which time shall not be less than 20 days nor more than 40 days;
Be served upon the owner in the following manner:
Given to the owner by the building inspector or police officer or their designated representative; or
Sent by U.S. mail or by a commercial delivery service to the owner's last known address, as said address appears on the tax rolls. A tracking mail receipt and an affidavit of mailing shall be sufficient evidence of service, which service shall be deemed effective within five business days of the date of mailing.
Failure to comply with a notice of violation is a violation of this section.
The Director of Public Works or police officer shall cause to be placed upon a building, structure or premises a "red tag" placard, which shall provide notice of the violations, whenever all of the following occur:
Any building, structure or premise does not substantially comply with the requirements of this chapter;
The Director of Public Works or police officer has given notice of the violations involved as provided for in § 275-9 herein;
The owner, occupant or operator has failed to timely correct, or timely provide a satisfactory plan to correct, the violations set forth in said notice; and
The Building Inspector or police has determined that the building, structure, or premises are so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsafe or vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public, and is therefore unfit for use of occupancy.
The form of the "red tag" placard shall be determined by the Director of Public Works or police officer, with assistance from the Building Inspector, as needed, and shall substantially state the specific violations of this chapter.
No person shall deface or remove the "red tag" placard from any building, structure or premises that has been placed by the Director of Public Works, Building Inspector or police officer until removal of such placard is authorized by the Director of Public Works, Building Inspector or police officer.
When the Building Inspector or police officer, with the assistance of the Building Inspector, as needed, determines that a "red tag" placard should be placed on premises, and places same on the premises, then, notwithstanding other provisions herein, the occupants shall vacate the premises within 10 days of the date that the "red tag" placard has been placed on the premises.
No premises that have been so vacated shall be used or reoccupied until such time as the owner obtains written approval from the Director of Public Works or police officer. The Director of Public Works or police officer shall grant such approval and remove the "red tag" placard when the violations have been corrected and the Director of Public Works or police officer determines that the premises are again fit for use or occupancy.
The owner, operator or occupant of the premises shall have the time specified in the notice of violation to remedy the violations.
The Director of Public Works or police officer shall, in his or her discretion, have the ability to extend the time for corrections if the circumstances warrant an extension and the owner, operator or occupant is making a good faith effort to correct the violations.
If the owner, operator or occupant of the premises, after notice of violation and order, fails or refuses to timely remedy the violations, then the Village, at its sole option, may cause such work to be done. Prior to commencing such work, the Director of Public Works or police officer shall do the following:
Provide notice to the owner and occupant that the Village will abate the violations along with an estimate of the approximate dates and times during which abatement will occur; and
Have the Village Clerk/Treasurer certify the approximate cost for any such work done, including reasonable costs for administration, inspection and legal fees (collectively, "costs of abatement"), and provide notice of same to the owner, with a copy to the occupant.
Following such notice, the owner, operator and/or occupant shall give the persons designated by the Village full access to the land and the exterior of the buildings and structures to abate the violations. Failure of an owner, operator or occupant to permit such access shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and may also result in the Village obtaining an injunction from Dane County Circuit Court. Reasonable costs of obtaining the injunction (including legal fees) shall be added to the costs of abatement, and notice of the additional costs shall be provided to the owner.
If the owner fails to pay the costs of abatement within 30 days of the notice from the Village Clerk/Treasurer, interest shall accrue against the balance due at the rate of 1% per month and the total balance due shall become a lien against real estate on the next tax roll in accordance with law.
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any building, structure or premises who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner shall first furnish to the Director of Public Works a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee, or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation. To assure compliance with this provision, the Village may file a lis pendens against the real estate.
[Amended 5-14-2014 by Ord. No. A-221; 8-12-2015]
Each violation of any section or subsection of this chapter and each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense and be punishable as provided in § 1-3 of the Code of the Village of Blue Mounds.
Forfeitures set forth in this section shall be in addition to all other remedies of injunction, abatement or costs whether existing under this chapter or otherwise.