Town of Trenton, WI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Trenton 11-7-1989 as Title 9, Ch. 5 and § 6-1-1 of the 1989 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 158.
Hazardous materials — See Ch. 228.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 295.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 302.
Solid waste — See Ch. 338.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 364.
No person shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain or permit to exist any public nuisance within the Town of Trenton.
A public nuisance is:
A. 
A thing, act, occupation, condition or use of property which shall continue for such length of time as to:
(1) 
Substantially annoy, injure or endanger the comfort, health, repose or safety of the public.
(2) 
In any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property.
(3) 
Greatly offend the public morals or decency.
(4) 
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.
B. 
Unnecessary conduct which may tend to annoy, intimidate, threaten or otherwise disturb another in or about any public street, sidewalk, bridge, or public or private areas which is offensive to the public morals or decency of the citizens of the Town of Trenton.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby specifically declared to be public health nuisances, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other health nuisances coming within the definition of § 280-2:
A. 
Adulterated food. All decayed, harmfully adulterated or unwholesome food or drink sold or offered for sale to the public.
B. 
Unburied carcasses. Carcasses of animals, birds or fowl not intended for human consumption or foods which are not buried or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner within 24 hours after death.
C. 
Breeding places for vermin. Accumulations of decayed animal or vegetable matter, trash, rubbish, rotting lumber, bedding, packing material, scrap metal or any material whatsoever in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rats or other vermin may 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. All noxious weeds and other rank growth of vegetation.
G. 
Water pollution. The pollution of any public well or cistern, stream, lake, canal or other body of water by sewage, creamery or industrial wastes or other substances.
H. 
Noxious odors. Any use of property, substances or things within the Town or within one mile thereof causing any foul, offensive, noisome, nauseous, 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 Town.
I. 
Street pollution. Any use of property which shall cause any nauseous or unwholesome liquid or substance to flow into or upon any street, gutter, alley, sidewalk or public place within the Town.
J. 
Dogs at large. All dogs running at large in violation of Town ordinances.
K. 
Accumulations of refuse. Accumulations of old cans, lumber, elm firewood and other refuse, including garbage.
L. 
Air pollution. The escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash or industrial dust within the limits or within one mile therefrom in such quantities as to endanger the health of persons of ordinary sensibilities or to threaten or cause substantial injury to property.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby 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 § 280-2:
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, except as authorized by state law.
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 in the ordinances of the Town.
D. 
Continuous violation of Town ordinances. Any place or premises within the Town where Town 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 the laws of the State of Wisconsin or ordinances of the Town.
F. 
Conduct of unlawful activity. Any place or premises resorted to for the conduct of unlawful activity in violation of the laws of the State of Wisconsin or this Code.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby declared to be 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 § 280-2:
A. 
Signs and billboards. All signs and 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 the provisions of the ordinances of the Town relating to materials and manner of construction of buildings and structures within the Town.
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 an official traffic control device, railroad sign or signal 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. 
Tree limbs. All limbs of trees which project over a public sidewalk less than 10 feet above the surface thereof and all limbs which project over a public street less than 14 feet above the surface thereof.
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 the laws of the State of Wisconsin and ordinances of the Town.
H. 
Dilapidated buildings. All buildings or structures so old, dilapidated or out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for use.
I. 
Wires over streets. All wires 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 shall greatly annoy or disturb a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the Town.
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 Town, or 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. 
Open excavations. All open and unguarded pits, wells, excavations or unused basements accessible from any public street, alley or sidewalk.
M. 
Flammable liquids. Repeated or continuous violations of the ordinances of the Town or laws of the state relating to the storage of flammable liquids.
N. 
Damage to roadways. All damage to the roadway surface of streets, alleys, sidewalks or crosswalks except as permitted by the ordinances of the Town, such as to endanger the public safety.
No person shall deposit or cause to be deposited in any public street or on any public ground or on any private property not his own any refuse, garbage, litter, waste material or liquid or any other nonagricultural objectionable waste, material, or liquid. When any such material is placed on the person's own private property, it shall be properly enclosed and covered so as to prevent the same from becoming a public nuisance.
A. 
Enforcement. The Town Chief of Police and the Building Inspector 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 shall have 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 shall determine that a public nuisance exists within the Town and that there is great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, the Town Chairperson, upon the recommendation of the appropriate department head, 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 shall determine that public nuisance exists on private premises but that the nature of such nuisance is not such as to 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 such 10 days, the proper officer shall cause the nuisance to be removed as provided in Subsection B. In case of an emergency, the inspecting officer may order immediate abatement of the nuisance.
D. 
Other methods not excluded. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the abatement of public nuisances by the Town or its officials in accordance with the laws of the State of Wisconsin.
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 Town shall be collected as a debt from the owner, occupant or person causing, permitting or maintaining the nuisance, such cost to be assessed against the real estate as a special charge, pursuant to § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.
[Added 1-21-2014 by Ord. No. 2014.01.02]
A. 
Introduction. Notwithstanding other provisions of the Municipal Code with regard to public nuisance prohibitions, penalties, and enforcement, this section establishes additional enforcement authority of the Town with regard to "chronic nuisance premises" as defined herein.
B. 
Definitions. The following definitions shall apply to this section:
CHRONIC NUISANCE PREMISES
A premises that meets any of the following criteria:
(1) 
Is a premises which has generated three or more calls for police services that have resulted in enforcement action for nuisance activities on three separate days within a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period and/or has generated five or more cases for nuisance activities from at least five building inspections occurring within a one-year period, with such calls resulting in enforcement action. Three or more calls for police services resulting in enforcement action for nuisance activities includes enforcement action taken against any person associated with the premises while at or within 200 feet of the premises for a nuisance activity; or
(2) 
Is a premises for which a court of law has determined that, pursuant to a search warrant request, probable cause exists that manufacture, distribution or delivery of a controlled substance has occurred on or in association with the premises within 30 days prior to the date of the search warrant application; or
(3) 
Is a premises which has had one enforcement action associated with the premises resulting from the manufacture, delivery or distribution of a controlled substance(s) as defined in Chapter 961 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
CHRONIC NUISANCE PREMISES NOTICE
The notice issued by the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, and/or the Building Inspector or his/her designee and referred to in § 280-9C(1).
ENFORCEMENT ACTION
Any of the following: the physical arrest of an individual(s), the issuance of a citation for a law violation, or the filing of a civil or criminal action in a court of law by Town Attorney or District Attorney regarding nuisance activities.
NUISANCE ACTIVITIES
For purposes of establishing a "chronic nuisance premises" means any of the following activities, behaviors, or conduct:
(1) 
An act of harassment as defined in § 947.013, Wis. Stats.
(2) 
Disorderly conduct as defined in § 947.01, Wis. Stats.
(3) 
Crimes of violence as defined in Ch. 940, Wis. Stats.
(4) 
Resisting or obstructing an officer as prohibited by § 946.41, Wis. Stats.
(5) 
Indecent exposure as prohibited by § 944.20(1)(b), Wis. Stats.
(6) 
Damage to property as prohibited by § 943.01, Wis. Stats.
(7) 
Discharge of a firearm as prohibited by § 295-5 of the Trenton Municipal Code.
(8) 
Crimes involving illegal possession of firearms as defined in §§ 941.23, 941.26, 941.28, 941.29 and 948.60, Wis. Stats.
(9) 
Trespass to land as defined in § 943.13, Wis. Stats, or criminal trespass to dwelling as defined in § 943.14, Wis. Stats.
(10) 
Theft as defined in § 943.20, Wis. Stats.
(11) 
Arson as defined in § 943.02, Wis. Stats.
(12) 
All nuisances enumerated in Chapter 280 of the Town of Trenton Municipal Code.
(13) 
Keeping a place of prostitution as defined in § 944.34, Wis. Stats.
(14) 
Prostitution as prohibited by § 944.30, Wis. Stats.
(15) 
Soliciting prostitutes as prohibited by § 944.32, Wis. Stats.
(16) 
Pandering as prohibited by § 944.33, Wis. Stats.
(17) 
Selling, offering for sale or giving away of any intoxicating liquors or fermented malt beverages without a license as provided in § 125.04(1), Wis. Stats.
(18) 
Possession, manufacture, distribution or delivery of a controlled substance or related offenses as defined in Ch. 961, Wis. Stats.
(19) 
Maintaining a drug dwelling as defined in § 961.42, Wis. Stats.
(20) 
Illegal gambling as defined in § 945.02, Wis. Stats.
(21) 
Owning, keeping or harboring a dangerous animal, as defined in Chapter 6.04 of the Municipal Code.[1]
(22) 
Violations regarding regulation of dogs, cats and other animals as defined in Chapter 158 of the Town of Trenton Municipal Code.
PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH
Any person who, whenever engaged in a nuisance activity, has entered, patronized, visited, or attempted to enter, patronize or visit, or waited to enter, patronize or visit a premises or person present on a premises, including without limitation any officer, director, customer, agent, employee, or any independent contractor of a property, person in charge, or owner of a premises. "Person" under this section includes entities as well as individuals.
PERSON IN CHARGE
Any person, in actual, operator, or constructive possession of a premises, including but not limited to an owner or occupant of premises under his or her ownership or control.
[1]
Editor's Note: So in original. See also Ch. 158, Animals.
C. 
Procedure.
(1) 
Upon finding that a premises meets the definition of a chronic nuisance premises, the Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, may declare the premises a chronic nuisance premises. The Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, shall provide written notice of his or her determination to the premises owner identified by the Town Assessor's records for that premises. The chronic nuisance premises notice ("CNP Notice") shall be deemed delivered if sent either by first-class mail to the premises owner's last known address or 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 CNP Notice. If a current address cannot be located, it shall be deemed sufficient if a copy of the CNP Notice is sent by first-class mail to the last known address of the owner as identified by the records of the Town Assessor.
(2) 
The CNP Notice shall contain the following information:
(a) 
Street address, parcel number or a legal description sufficient to identify the premises.
(b) 
A concise statement, including a description of the relevant activities supporting the determination that the premises are a chronic nuisance premises.
(c) 
A statement that the owner shall immediately notify the Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, of any change in address to ensure receipt of future notices.
(d) 
A statement that the cost of future enforcement may be assessed as a special charge against the premises.
(e) 
A statement that the owner shall, within 10 days of receipt of the CNP Notice, respond to the Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, either with an appeal or to propose a written course of action to abate the nuisance activities. The statement shall direct the premises owner to schedule a meeting with the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, and/or Building Inspector or his/her designee to discuss the nuisance activity and the premises owner's intent regarding abatement.
(f) 
A statement that the premises owner may be subject to a forfeiture action with a penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 per day for permitting a chronic nuisance premises and may be subject to imprisonment for failure to pay such forfeiture.
(3) 
In reaching a determination that a premises is a chronic nuisance premises, activities that were reported to the police by the premises owner or on-site premises manager shall not be included as nuisance activities.
(4) 
Chapter 968, § 968.075, Wis. Stats., broadly defines "domestic abuse." Therefore, in reaching a determination that a premises is a chronic nuisance premises, activities that are "domestic abuse" incidents pursuant to § 968.075, Wis. Stats., shall not be included as nuisance activities unless the incidents have been reviewed by the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, and the Town Attorney and a determination is made that, based upon the specific facts of each incident, the activities should be deemed nuisance activities as identified under § 280-9B. In determining whether to include such activities, the Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, and the Town Attorney shall consider the strong public policy in favor of domestic victims reporting alleged abuses.
(5) 
If the owner responds to the CNP Notice pursuant to § 280-9C(2)(e) with a nuisance abatement proposal, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, may accept, reject or work with the owner to modify the proposal. The plan is acceptable if it can reasonably be expected to result in abatement of the nuisance activities described in the CNP Notice within 60 days.
(6) 
Premises owners and operators shall be consulted if possible regarding nuisance abatement methods and strategies and shall be encouraged to submit a comprehensive nuisance abatement plan.
(7) 
Premises owners and operators shall be consulted if possible regarding use of available resources, including community service providers, when nuisance activity associated with the premises is not caused or contributed to by the direct actions of a tenant.
(8) 
If the premises owner or operator meets with the Chief of Police, or his designee, or his designee, and presents an acceptable abatement plan and initiates action to abate the nuisance activities occurring on the premises, the Police Department may delay further enforcement of this section.
(9) 
If the premises owner or operator ceases to cooperate with the efforts to abate the nuisance activities, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, will reinstitute enforcement of this section and the premises owner will be sent a change-in-status letter. This letter will document Police Department efforts to contact and/or obtain cooperation of the owner or operator.
(10) 
Failure by the premises owner or operator to respond within 10 days as directed in this section shall result in a forfeiture of $1,000 plus court costs and fees.
(11) 
The Town may charge the property owner for the cost of enforcement whenever the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, determines that any of the following have occurred:
(a) 
A premises owner has failed to respond to the CNP Notice in § 280-9C(1); or
(b) 
Enforcement action for an additional nuisance activity has occurred at a premises for which notice has been issued pursuant to this section and this enforcement action has occurred not less than 15 days after the CNP Notice has been issued; or
(c) 
A course of action submitted pursuant to § 280-9C(5) has not been completed,
(12) 
To charge such costs of enforcement to the property owner, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, shall calculate the cost of enforcement to abate this and any subsequent nuisance activities and refer such cost to the Town Finance Director so that the cost may be billed to the premises owner. The Chief of Police, or his/her designee, shall notify the premises owner of the decision to refer the cost of enforcement to the Town Finance Director. Delivery of this notice, along with a copy of the Chief's referral letter to the Town Finance Director, shall be made as set forth in § 280-9C(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, or his/her designee, has referred the cost of enforcement to the Town Finance Director with a concise description of the nuisance activities and the relevant chapters of the ordinances.
(c) 
Notice of the premises owner's right to appeal pursuant to § 280-9E.
(13) 
Each subsequent incident of enforcement action for nuisance activity shall be deemed a separate violation and costs will continue to be assessed pursuant to until the nuisance is abated.
D. 
Penalties and remedies.
(1) 
Cost recovery. The Chief of Police, or his/her designee, shall keep an accurate account of the cost of enforcement and shall report it to the Town Finance Director. The Town Finance Director shall establish a reasonable charge for the costs of enforcement of this section. Upon receipt of a notice from the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, issued pursuant to § 280-9C(12), the Town Treasurer shall charge any premises owner found to be in violation of this section the costs of enforcement in full or in part. Such costs shall be billed to the premises owner by invoice sent by regular mail and must be paid within 30 days of the date on the invoice. Any unpaid invoice shall be a lien on such premises and may be assessed and collected as a special charge pursuant to § 66.0627, Wis. Stats. An administrative fee of $100 shall be added to the cost of enforcement charged to the benefited premises any time the premises is declared a chronic nuisance premises.
(2) 
Suspension of cost recovery. If after the receipt of a billing notice from the Town Finance Director, the premises owner develops an acceptable plan and initiates action to abate nuisance activities occurring on the premises, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, will suspend further enforcement of this section. The premises owner is still responsible for any enforcement costs incurred prior to the premises owner's submitting an abatement plan, including the administrative fee. If the premises owner ceases to cooperate with the efforts to abate the nuisance activities, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, will reinstitute enforcement of this section after sending the premises owner a change in status letter.
(3) 
Forfeiture. A forfeiture action may be commenced by the Town Attorney for each enforcement action for nuisance activity occurring after the premises has been declared a chronic nuisance premises. The forfeiture shall be not less than $100 nor more than $2,000 per day. Upon default of payment, the premises owner may be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days.
E. 
Appeal. Appeal of the determination of the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, pursuant to § 280-9C or the action of the Town Finance Director imposing special charges pursuant to § 280-9D against the premises, may be submitted in writing to the Board of Appeals as an administrative decision under Chapter 62, § 62.23, Wis. Stats.
F. 
Eviction or retaliation prohibited.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for a landlord to terminate the lease agreement or periodic tenancy of any tenant or otherwise retaliate against any tenant because that tenant complained to the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, about nuisance activities on the landlord's premises. It shall be unlawful for a landlord or any person acting as an agent for the landlord, to intimidate or actively discourage a tenant and/or persons associated with a tenant, from calling the police to report nuisance activity associated with a premises. It shall be presumed that any attempt to increase charges, reduce services, or to otherwise harass or retaliate against the tenant during the twelve-month period following receipt of the complaint by the Chief of Police, or his designee, constitutes unlawful retaliation under this subchapter. Such presumption shall be rebutted by the preponderance of evidence that the actions taken by the landlord were based upon good cause. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a tenant's lease agreement or periodic tenancy may be terminated for a failure to pay rent; committing nuisance activity as defined in § 280-9B, for the commission of waste upon the premises; violating the terms and conditions of the lease agreement or periodic tenancy or as otherwise provided in Ch. 704, Wis. Stats., and Ch. Ag. 134,[2] Wis. Adm. Code. A landlord's failure to renew a lease agreement or periodic tenancy upon expiration of such lease agreement or periodic tenancy shall not be deemed a violation of this subsection.
[2]
Editor's Note: See now Ch. ATCP 134, Wis. Adm. Code.
(2) 
"Good cause" as used in this subsection means that a landlord must show good cause for his or her actions, other than one related to or caused by the operation of this section.
(3) 
Penalty. Any person violating § 280-9 shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than $100 or more than $2,000 per day for each violation and, upon failure to pay said forfeiture, may be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days.