City of St. Francis, WI
Milwaukee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of St. Francis as Ch. 10 and §§ 11.04 and 11.07 of the 1981 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 170.
Animals — See Ch. 180.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 245.
Health and sanitation — See Ch. 262.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 338.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 351.
Solid waste — See Ch. 386.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 431.
No person shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain, or permit to exist any public nuisance within the City.
A public nuisance is a thing, act, occupation, condition or use of property which continues for such length of time as to:
A. 
Substantially annoy, injure, or endanger the comfort, health, repose, or safety of the public.
B. 
In any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property.
C. 
Greatly offend the public morals or decency.
D. 
Unlawfully and substantially interfere with, obstruct, or tend to obstruct or render dangerous for passage any street, alley, highway, navigable body of water or other public way or the use of public property.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things are specifically declared to be public health nuisances, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other health nuisances coming within the definition of § 320-2:
A. 
Adulterated food. All decayed, adulterated, or unwholesome food or drink sold or offered for sale to the public.
B. 
Carcasses. Carcasses of animals, birds, and fowl not intended for human consumption or food which are not disposed of in a sanitary manner within 24 hours after death.
C. 
Breeding places for insects or vermin. Accumulations of decayed animal or vegetable matter, trash, rubbish, rotting lumber, bedding, packing material, scrap metal or any material in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rats or other vermin can breed.
D. 
Stagnant water. All stagnant water in which mosquitoes, flies, or other insects can multiply.
E. 
Garbage cans. Garbage cans which are not flytight.
F. 
Noxious weeds.
[Amended 8-2-2011 by Ord. No. 1305]
(1) 
The term "noxious weeds" shall include all noxious weeds and other rank growth of vegetation of any sort that exceeds nine inches in height.
(2) 
All weeds and grasses shall be kept cut to a height not to exceed nine inches. The City or the Weed Commissioner may cause all weeds and grass to be cut and destroyed at a rate as determined each year by motion of the Common Council.
(3) 
On or before May 15 of each year, the City Clerk shall publish a Class 2 notice, under Ch. 985, Wis. Stats., that every person is required to destroy all noxious weeds on lands in the City which the person owns, occupies, or controls.
(4) 
The cost of destruction of such weeds shall be levied as a special tax as provided in § 66.0517, Wis. Stats., as it may be amended from time to time.
(5) 
The City shall charge an administrative fee of 75% to be included in the special tax levied on the property.
G. 
Water pollution. The pollution of any public well or cistern, stream, lake, canal, or other body or water by sewage, creamery or industrial wastes or other substances.
H. 
Noxious odors, etc. Any use of property, substances or things within the City emitting or causing any foul, offensive, noisome, noxious or disagreeable odors, gases, effluvia or stenches extremely repulsive to the physical senses of ordinary persons which annoy, discomfort, injure or inconvenience the health of any appreciable number of persons within the City.
I. 
Street pollution. Any use of property which causes any noxious or unwholesome liquid or substance to flow into or upon any street, gutter, alley, sidewalk or public place within the City.
J. 
Air pollution. The escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash, industrial dust or other atmospheric pollutants within the City or within one mile therefrom in such quantities as to endanger the health of persons of ordinary sensibilities or threaten or cause substantial damage to property in the City.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things are specifically declared to be public nuisances offending public morals and decency, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances offending public morals and decency coming within the definition of § 320-2:
A. 
Disorderly houses. All disorderly houses, bawdy houses, houses of ill fame, gambling houses and buildings or structures kept or resorted to for the purpose of prostitution, promiscuous sexual intercourse or gambling.
B. 
Gambling devices. All gambling devices and slot machines.
C. 
Unlicensed sale of liquor and beer. All places where intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages are sold, possessed, stored, brewed, bottled, manufactured or rectified without a permit or license as provided for by the ordinances of the City.
D. 
Continuous violation of City ordinances. Any place or premises within the City where City ordinances or state laws relating to public health, safety, peace, morals, or welfare are openly, continuously, repeatedly and intentionally violated.
E. 
Illegal drinking. Any place or premises resorted to for the purpose of drinking intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages in violation of state laws.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 10.04(6), Obscenity, which immediately followed this subsection, was deleted at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II). See Ch. 944, Wis. Stats.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things are declared to be the public nuisances affecting peace and safety, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances affecting public peace or safety coming within the definition of § 320-2:
A. 
Dangerous signs, billboards, etc. All signs, billboards, awnings, and other similar structures over or near streets, sidewalks, public grounds or places frequented by the public so situated or constructed as to endanger the public safety.
B. 
Illegal buildings. All buildings erected, repaired or altered in violation of City ordinances relating to materials and manner of construction of buildings and structures within the City.
C. 
Unauthorized traffic signs. All unauthorized signs, signals, markings or devices placed or maintained upon or in view of any public highway or railway crossing which purport to be or may be mistaken as official traffic control devices or railroad signs or signals or which, because of their color, location, brilliance or manner of operation, interfere with the effectiveness of any such device, sign or signal.
D. 
Obstruction of intersections. All trees, hedges, billboards, or other obstructions which prevent persons driving vehicles on public streets, alleys or highways from obtaining a clear view of traffic when approaching an intersection or pedestrian crosswalk.
E. 
Low-hanging tree limbs. All limbs of trees which project over and less than 10 feet above any public sidewalk, street or other public place.
F. 
Dangerous trees. All trees which are a menace to public safety or are the cause of substantial annoyance to the general public.
G. 
Fireworks. All use or display of fireworks except as provided by state laws and City ordinances.
H. 
Dilapidated buildings. All buildings or structures so old, dilapidated or out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise unfit for human use.
I. 
Low-hanging wires and cables. All wires and cables over streets, alleys, or public grounds which are strung less than 15 feet above the surface thereof.
J. 
Noisy animals or fowl. The keeping or harboring of any animal or fowl which, by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking, crowing or making of other noises, greatly annoys or disturbs a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the City.
K. 
Obstructions of streets; excavations. All obstructions of streets, alleys, sidewalks or crosswalks, and all excavations in or under the same, except as permitted by the ordinances of the City but including those which, although made in accordance with such ordinances, are kept or maintained for an unreasonable or illegal length of time after the purpose thereof has been accomplished or which do not conform to the permit.
L. 
Unlawful assemblies. Any unauthorized or unlawful use of property abutting on a public street, alley or sidewalk or of a public street, alley or sidewalk which causes large crowds of people to gather, obstructing traffic and free use of the streets or sidewalks.
M. 
Blighted buildings and premises. Premises existing within the City which are blighted because of faulty design or construction, failure to maintain them in a proper state of repair, or improper management, or due to the accumulation thereon of junk or other unsightly debris, structurally unsound fences, and other items which depreciate property values and jeopardize or are detrimental to the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the people of the City.
(1) 
The blighted premises contribute to conditions that are dangerous to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people; the conditions necessitate excessive and disproportionate expenditure of public funds for public health, public safety, crime prevention, fire protection and other public services; and the conditions cause a drain upon public revenue and impair the efficient and economical exercise of governmental functions in such areas.
(2) 
Elimination of blighted premises and prevention of blighted premises in the future is in the best interest of the citizens and this shall be fostered and encouraged by this chapter. It is essential to the public interest that this chapter is liberally construed to accomplish the purpose of this Subsection M.
N. 
All open and unguarded pits, wells, excavations or unused basements freely accessible from any public street, alley or sidewalk.
O. 
All abandoned refrigerators or iceboxes from which the doors and other covers have not been removed or which are not equipped with a device for opening from the inside.
A. 
Public nuisance declared. The Common Council, having determined that the health of the elm trees within the City is threatened by a fatal disease known as "Dutch elm disease," hereby declares the following to be a public nuisances:
(1) 
Any living or standing elm tree or part thereof infected with Dutch elm disease fungus or which harbors any of the elm bark beetles Scolytus multistriatus (Eichh) or Hylurgopinus rufipes (Marsh).
(2) 
Any dead elm tree or part thereof, including logs, branches, firewood, stumps or other elm material from which the bark has not been removed and burned or sprayed with an effective elm bark beetle destroying insecticide.
B. 
City Forester. The City Forester shall have the powers and perform the duties imposed by this section and by Ch. 27, Wis. Stats.
C. 
Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following phrases are defined as follows:
(1) 
Dutch elm disease.
(2) 
Elm bark beetles Scolytus multistriatus (Eichh) or Hylurgopinus rufipes (Marsh).
(3) 
Any living or standing elm tree infected with Dutch elm disease fungus or in weakened condition which harbors any of the elm bark beetles.
(4) 
Any dead elm tree or part thereof, including logs, branches, firewood, stumps or other elm material from which the bark has not been removed and burned or sprayed with an effective elm bark beetle destroying concentrate.
PUBLIC PROPERTY
Any premises owned or controlled by the City, including but not restricted to public sites, parks, playgrounds, streets, alleys, sidewalks, boulevards, and terrace strips between the lot line and the curb or improved portion of any public way.
D. 
Inspections.
(1) 
The City Forester shall inspect at least twice a year all premises and places within the City to determine whether any public nuisance exists thereon. He shall also inspect any elm tree reported or suspected to be infected with Dutch elm disease or any elm bark bearing material reported or suspected to be infested with elm bark beetles.
(2) 
Whenever necessary to determine the existence of Dutch elm disease or elm bark beetles in any tree, the City Forester shall remove or cut specimens from the tree in such manner as to avoid permanent injury thereto and forward them to the State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for analysis to determine the presence of such nuisances.
(3) 
The Forester and his agents or employees may enter upon private premises at reasonable times for the purpose of carrying out any of the provisions of this section.
E. 
Abatement of nuisances.
(1) 
The Forester shall order, direct, supervise, and control the abatement of public nuisances by spraying, removal, burning or other means which he determines to be necessary to prevent as fully as possible the spread of Dutch elm disease fungus or the insect pests or vectors known to carry such disease fungus.
(2) 
Whenever the Forester determines that a public nuisance exists on public property in the City, he shall immediately abate or cause the abatement of such nuisance in such manner as to destroy or prevent as fully as possible the spread of Dutch elm disease or the insect pests or vectors known to carry such disease fungus.
(3) 
When the Forester determines the reasonable certainty that a public nuisance exists upon private premises, he shall immediately serve personally or by registered mail upon the owner of such property, if he can be found, or upon the occupant thereof, a written notice of the existence of such nuisance, directing that the nuisance be abated within 10 days after service of such notice. Such notice shall describe the nuisance and recommend the procedure for its abatement and shall state that, unless the owner abates the nuisance as specified in the notice, the Forester will cause the abatement thereof at the expense of the property served. If the owner or occupant cannot be found, such notice shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City.
(4) 
When trees on private property are to be sprayed, the Forester shall notify the owner of such property and proceed in accordance with Subsection E(3).
F. 
Spraying.
(1) 
Whenever the Forester determines that any elm tree or part thereof is infected with Dutch elm disease fungus or is in a weakened condition and harbors elm bark beetles, he may cause all elm trees within a one-thousand-foot radius thereof to be sprayed with an effective elm bark beetle destroying concentrate.
(2) 
To facilitate the work and minimize the inconvenience to the public of any spraying operation conducted under this section, the Forester shall cause to be given advance public notice of such operation by newspaper, radio, television public service announcements or other effective means and shall cause the posting of appropriate warning notices in the areas and along the streets where trees are to be sprayed at least 24 hours in advance of spraying. When any residue or concentrate from municipal spraying operations can expected to be deposited on any public street, the Forester shall also notify the Chief of Police, who shall make and enforce such temporary parking and traffic regulations on such streets as conditions require. Temporary "No Parking" notices shall be posted in each affected block of any street at least 24 hours in advance of spraying operations.
(3) 
If appropriate warning notices and temporary "No Parking" notices have been given and posted in accordance with Subsection F(2) above, the City shall not allow any claim for damages to any vehicle caused by such spraying operations.
(4) 
When trees on private property are to be sprayed, the Forester shall notify the owner of such property and proceed in accordance with Subsection E(3).
G. 
Prohibited acts. No person shall:
(1) 
Transport any bark bearing elm wood, elm bark or elm material on public streets or highways or other public premises without first securing the written permission of the Forester.
(2) 
Interfere with or prevent any act of the Forester or his agents or employees while they are engaged in the performance of duties imposed by this section.
(3) 
Refuse to permit the Forester or his duly authorized representative to enter upon his premises at reasonable times to exercise the duties imposed by this section.
(4) 
Permit any public nuisance to remain on any premises owned or controlled by him when ordered by the Forester to abate such nuisance.
A. 
Declaration of nuisance. The female cotton-bearing trees of the poplar family commonly called the "Eastern Cottonwood" (Populus deltoides) and the "White Poplar" (Populus alba) are hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
B. 
New trees prohibited. No person shall plant such trees anywhere within the City limits after July 30, 1987, nor cause or allow such to germinate.
C. 
Trees planted or germinated after September 19, 1972. All such trees either planted or germinated after September 19, 1972, shall be declared by the City Engineer to be a nuisance herein on any premises in the City, and he shall notify the owner or person in charge of such premises to destroy such tree. In case such owner or person in charge shall neglect or refuse to comply with the terms of such notice, the City Engineer may proceed to destroy and remove such tree. The expenses thereof shall be paid by the owner of the land upon which such expenses were incurred and shall be assessed, collected, and enforced and shall be paid to the City treasury. No damages shall be awarded to the owner for the trees destroyed under the provisions of this subsection.
D. 
Trees existing prior to September 19, 1972. All such trees existing prior to September 19, 1972, shall be declared by the City Engineer to be a nuisance herein on any premises in the City, and he shall notify the owner or person in charge of such premises to destroy such tree. In case such owner or person in charge shall neglect or refuse to comply with the terms of such notice, the City Engineer shall contact such owner or person in charge to arrange to have such tree eliminated at City expense. If after two attempts the City Engineer is unable to contact such owner, such tree shall be eliminated by the City at City expense. No damages shall be awarded to the owner for trees destroyed under the provisions of this subsection.
A. 
Enforcement. The Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, the Building Inspector and the Health Officer/Public Health Administrator shall enforce those provisions of this chapter that come within the jurisdiction of their offices, and they shall make periodic inspections and inspections upon complaint to ensure that such provisions are not violated. No action shall be taken under this section to abate a public nuisance unless the officer has inspected or caused to be inspected the premises where the nuisance is alleged to exist and has satisfied himself that a nuisance does in fact exist.
B. 
Summary abatement. If the inspecting officer determines that a public nuisance exists within the City and that there is great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, the Mayor may direct the proper officer to cause the same to be abated and charge the cost thereof to the owner, occupant or person causing, permitting or maintaining the nuisance, as the case may be.
C. 
Abatement after notice. If the inspecting officer determines that a public nuisance exists on private premises but that such nuisance does not threaten great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, he shall serve notice on the person causing or maintaining the nuisance to remove the same within 10 days. If such nuisance is not removed within 10 days, the proper officer shall cause the nuisance to be removed as provided in Subsection B.
D. 
Other methods not excluded. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the abatement of public nuisances by the City or its officials in accordance with the laws of the state.
E. 
Court order. Except when necessary under Subsection B, any officer hereunder shall not use force to obtain access to private property to abate a public nuisance but shall request permission to enter upon private property if such premises are occupied and, if such permission is denied, shall apply to any court having jurisdiction for an order assisting the abatement of the public nuisance.
In addition to any other penalty imposed by this chapter for the erection, contrivance, creation, continuance or maintenance of a public nuisance, the cost of abating a public nuisance by the City shall be collected as a debt from the owner, occupant or person causing, permitting, or maintaining the nuisance; and if notice to abate the nuisance has been given to the owner, such cost shall be assessed against the real estate as a special charge.
The Registered Sanitarian or the Health Officer/Public Health Administrator may abate health nuisances in accordance with § 254.59, Wis. Stats., which is adopted by reference and made part of this chapter as if fully set forth herein.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
A. 
Statutory authorization. This section is enacted pursuant to § 66.0415, Wis. Stats.
B. 
Permit required. No person shall conduct within the City any business which has a tendency to create a public nuisance, except upon permit issued by the Registered Sanitarian and subject to such conditions as he may impose.
C. 
Definition. A business which has a tendency to create a public nuisance is one which, unless properly regulated, may create a public nuisance as defined in § 320-2 of this chapter.
A. 
Findings. The Common Council finds that any premises that has generated three or more calls for police service for nuisance activities has received more than the level of general and adequate police service and has placed an undue and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City. The Common Council therefore directs the Chief of Police and the Commissioner of Neighborhood Services, as provided in this section, to charge the owners of such premises the costs associated with abating the violations at premises at which nuisance activities chronically occur.
B. 
Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
NUISANCE ACTIVITY
Any of the following activities, behaviors or conduct whenever engaged in by premises owners, operators, occupants or persons associated with a premises.
(1) 
An act of harassment as defined in § 947.013, Wis. Stats.
(2) 
Disorderly conduct as defined in § 947.01, Wis. Stats.
(3) 
Battery, substantial battery or aggravated battery as defined in § 940.19, Wis. Stats.
(4) 
Indecent exposure as defined in § 944.20(1)(b), Wis. Stats.
(5) 
Keeping a place of prostitution as in § 944.34, Wis. Stats., or leasing a building for the purposes of prostitution.
(6) 
Littering of premises.
(7) 
Theft as defined in § 943.20, Wis. Stats.
(8) 
Arson as defined in § 943.02, Wis. Stats.
(9) 
Possession, manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance or related offenses as defined in Ch. 961, Wis. Stats.
(10) 
Gambling as defined in § 945.02, Wis. Stats.
(11) 
Keeping a prohibited dangerous animal.
(12) 
Trespass to land as defined in § 943.13, Wis. Stats., or criminal trespass to dwelling as defined in § 943.14, Wis. Stats.
(13) 
Any act of aiding and abetting any of the activities, behaviors or conduct enumerated in Subsection (1) to (12).
(14) 
Any conspiracy to commit, as defined in § 939.31, Wis. Stats., or attempt to commit, as defined in § 939.32, Wis. Stats., any of the activities, behaviors or conduct enumerated in Subsection (1) to (12).
(15) 
Discharge of a firearm.
(16) 
The production or creation of excessive noise.
(17) 
Loitering.
(18) 
Public drinking.
(19) 
Owning, keeping, having or harboring any bird or animal that causes a disturbance of the peace.
(20) 
Misuse of emergency telephone numbers.
PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH
Any person who, whenever engaged in a nuisance activity, enters, patronizes, visits or attempts to enter, patronize or visit, or waits to enter, patronize or visit, a premises or person present on a premises, including any officer, director, customer, agent, employee or independent contractor of a premises owner.
C. 
Procedure.
(1) 
Whenever the Chief of Police determines that three or more nuisance activities have occurred at a premises on separate days during a thirty-day period or that repeated nuisances of the types defined in this section have occurred at a premises, the Chief may notify the premises owner in writing that the premises is in danger of becoming a chronic nuisance. This notice shall be deemed to be properly delivered if sent either by first-class mail to the premises owner's last known address or if delivered in person to the premises owner. If the premises owner cannot be located, the notice shall be deemed to be properly delivered if a copy of it is left at the premises owner's usual place of abode in the presence of some competent member of the family at least 14 years of age or a competent adult currently residing there and who shall be informed of the contents of the notice. If a current address cannot be located, it shall be deemed sufficient if a copy of the notice is sent by first-class mail to the last known address of the owner as identified by the records of the City Assessor. This notice shall contain:
(a) 
The street address or legal description sufficient for identification of the premises.
(b) 
A description of the nuisance activities that have occurred at the premises and a statement indicating that the cost of future enforcement may be assessed as a special charge against the premises.
(c) 
A statement that the premises owner shall within 10 days respond to the Chief of Police either with an appeal or to propose a written course of action to abate the nuisance activities which is acceptable to the Chief.
(2) 
Whenever the Chief of Police determines that an additional nuisance activity has occurred at a premises for which notice has been issued pursuant to Subsection C(1) and either this nuisance activity has occurred not less than 13 days after notice has been issued or a course of action submitted pursuant to Subsection C(1)(c) has not been completed, the Chief of Police may calculate the cost of enforcement for this and any subsequent nuisance activities and may refer such cost to the Common Council. The Chief of Police shall notify the premises owner of the decision to refer the cost of enforcement. Delivery of this notice, along with a copy of the Chief's referral letter to the Common Council, shall be made as set forth in Subsection C(1). The notice shall contain:
(a) 
The street address or legal description sufficient for identification of the premises.
(b) 
A statement that the Chief of Police has referred the cost of enforcement to the Common Council with a concise description of the nuisance activities and the relevant sections of this Code.
(c) 
A notice of the premises owner's right to appeal pursuant to Subsection E.
(3) 
Violation. Each subsequent incident of nuisance activity shall be deemed a separate violation.
D. 
Cost recovery. Upon receipt of a notice from the Chief of Police issued pursuant to Subsection C(2), the Common Council may charge any premises owner found to be in violation of this section the costs of enforcement, including administrative cost, in full or in part. All costs so charged are a lien upon such premises and may be assessed and collected as a special charge. The Common Council shall establish a reasonable charge for the costs of administration and enforcement of this section.
E. 
Appeal. Appeal of the determination of the Chief of Police may be submitted pursuant to Chapter 4, Administrative Review, of this Code.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter, or any regulation, rule or order made hereunder, or permit or cause a public nuisance shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-4 of this Code.