CHAPTER 50

NUISANCE ABATEMENT PROCEDURE

50.01  Definition of Nuisance

50.05  Nuisance Abatement

50.02  Nuisances Enumerated

50.06  Abatement of Nuisance by Written Notice

50.03  Other Conditions

50.07  Municipal Infraction Abatement Procedure

50.04  Nuisances Prohibited

 

50.01   DEFINITION OF NUISANCE.  Whatever is injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property so as essentially to interfere unreasonably with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property is a nuisance.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.1)

50.02   NUISANCES ENUMERATED.  The following subsections include, but do not limit, the conditions that are deemed to be nuisances in the City:

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2)

1.                  Offensive Smells.  Erecting, continuing, or using any building or other place for the exercise of any trade, employment, or manufacture that, by occasioning noxious exhalations, unreasonably offensive smells, or other annoyances, becomes injurious and dangerous to the health, comfort, or property of individuals or the public.

2.                  Filth or Noisome Substance.  Causing or suffering any offal, filth, or noisome substance to be collected or to remain in any place to the prejudice of others.

3.                  Impeding Passage of Navigable River.  Obstructing or impeding without legal authority the passage of any navigable river, harbor, or collection of water.

4.                  Water Pollution.  Corrupting or rendering unwholesome or impure the water of any river, stream, or pond, or unlawfully diverting the same from its natural course or state, to the injury or prejudice of others.

5.                  Blocking Public and Private Ways.  Obstructing or encumbering, by fences, buildings or otherwise, the public roads, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, or burying grounds.

6.                  Billboards.  Billboards, signboards, and advertising signs, whether erected and constructed on public or private property, that so obstruct and impair the view of any portion or part of a public street, avenue, highway, boulevard or alley or of a railroad or street railway track as to render dangerous the use thereof.  (See also Section 62.06)

7.                  Storing of Flammable Junk.  Depositing or storing of flammable junk, such as old rags, rope, cordage, rubber, bones and paper, by dealers in such articles within the fire limits of the City, unless in a building of fireproof construction.  (See also Chapter 51)

8.                  Air Pollution.  Emission of dense smoke, noxious fumes, or fly ash.

9.                  Weeds, Brush.  Dense growth of all weeds, vines, brush, or other vegetation in the City so as to constitute a health, safety, or fire hazard.  (See also Chapter 152)

10.              Dutch Elm Disease.  Trees infected with Dutch elm disease.  (See also Chapter 151)

11.              Houses of Ill Fame.  Houses of ill fame, kept for the purpose of prostitution and lewdness; gambling houses; places resorted to by persons participating in criminal gang activity prohibited by Chapter 723A of the Code of Iowa or places resorted to by persons using controlled substances, as defined in Section 124.101 of the Code of Iowa, in violation of law, or houses where drunkenness, quarreling, fighting or breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted to the disturbance of others.

50.03   OTHER CONDITIONS.  The following chapters of this Code of Ordinances contain regulations prohibiting or restricting other conditions that are deemed to be nuisances:

1.                  Junk and Junk Vehicles (See Chapter 51)

2.                  Dangerous Buildings and Property Maintenance (See Chapter 145)

3.                  Weeds and Height of Grass (See Chapter 152)

4.                  Solid Waste Control (See Chapter 105)

5.                  Trees (See Chapter 151)

50.04   NUISANCES PROHIBITED.  The creation or maintenance of a nuisance is prohibited, and a nuisance, public or private, may be abated in the manner provided for in this chapter or State law.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.3)

50.05   NUISANCE ABATEMENT.  Whenever any authorized municipal officer finds that a nuisance exists, such officer has the authority to determine on a case-by-case basis whether to utilize the nuisance abatement procedure described in Section 50.06 of this chapter or the municipal infraction procedure referred to in Section 50.07.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

50.06   ABATEMENT OF NUISANCE BY WRITTEN NOTICE.  Any nuisance, public or private, may be abated in the manner provided for in this section:

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

1.                  Contents of Notice to Property Owner.  The notice to abate shall contain:  

A.                 Description of Nuisance.  A description of what constitutes the nuisance.

B.                 Location of Nuisance.  The location of the nuisance.

C.                 Acts Necessary to Abate.  A statement of the act or acts necessary to abate the nuisance.

D.                 Reasonable Time.  A reasonable time within which to complete the abatement.

E.                  Assessment of City Costs.  A statement that if the nuisance or condition is not abated as directed and no request for hearing is made within the time prescribed, the City will abate it and assess the costs against the property owner.

2.                  Method of Service.  The notice may be in the form of an ordinance or sent by certified mail to the property owner.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

3.                  Request for Hearing.  Any person ordered to abate a nuisance may have a hearing with the Council as to whether a nuisance exists.  A request for a hearing must be made in writing and delivered to the Clerk within the time stated in the notice, or it will be conclusively presumed that a nuisance exists and it must be abated as ordered.  The hearing will be before the Council at a time and place fixed by the Council.  The findings of the Council shall be conclusive and, if a nuisance is found to exist, it shall be ordered abated within a reasonable time under the circumstances.

4.                  Abatement in Emergency.  If it is determined that an emergency exists by reason of the continuing maintenance of the nuisance or condition, the City may perform any action that may be required under this chapter without prior notice.  The City shall assess the costs as provided in subsection 6 of this section after notice to the property owner under the applicable provisions of subsection 1 and 2, and the hearing as provided in subsection 3.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

5.                  Abatement by City.  If the person notified to abate a nuisance or condition neglects or fails to abate as directed, the City may perform or hire a third party to complete the required action to abate.  Penalties will be calculated as such:  $25.00 per hour, per employee needed, and $25.00 per hour per piece of equipment used, and a $150.00 administrative fee OR the entire cost of a City-hired third party, and a $150.00 administrative fee.  The minimum hourly rate shall be calculated in full hour increments only.  A minimum penalty of $150.00 will be assessed to the property owner who neglects or fails to abate as directed.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

6.                  Collection of Costs.  The Clerk shall send a statement of the total expense incurred by certified mail to the property owner who has failed to abide by the notice to abate, and if the amount shown by the statement has not been paid within one month, the Clerk shall certify the costs to the County Treasurer and such costs shall then be collected with, and in the same manner as, general property taxes.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

7.                  Installment Payment of Cost of Abatement.  If the amount expended to abate the nuisance or condition exceeds five hundred dollars ($500.00), the City may permit the assessment to be paid in up to ten (10) annual installments, to be paid in the same

manner and with the same interest rates provided for assessments against benefited property under State law.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.13)

8.                  Failure to Abate.  Any person causing or maintaining a nuisance who shall fail or refuse to abate or remove the same within the reasonable time required and specified in the notice to abate is in violation of this Code of Ordinances.


50.07   MUNICIPAL INFRACTION ABATEMENT PROCEDURE.
  In lieu of the abatement procedures set forth in Section 50.06, the requirements of this chapter may be enforced under the procedures applicable to municipal infractions as set forth in Chapter 4 of this Code of Ordinances.