AN ORDINANCE FOR REMOVAL OF WEEDS, RANK VEGETATION AND REGULATION OF UNMOWED GRASS AND PLANT LIFE IN THE TOWN OF MICHIANA SHORES, INDIANA
WHEREAS, the Indiana Code, specifically IC 36-1-3-2, grants government units such as the Town of Michiana Shores all powers they need for effective operation and IC 36-1-3-1 et seq. grants local units of government powers to perform any function necessary to the public interest in the exercise of its municipal affairs; and,
WHEREAS, the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores has always regarded the care of premises, avoidance of nuisance and blight, preservation of property values, health safety and convenience of the community to be proper matters for regulation by the exercise its police powers under law; and,
WHEREAS, the Town of Michiana Shores has previously enacted Ordinances and Codes such as for the regulation and “Care of Premises,” an Unsafe Building Code, and the Nuisance Ordinance for the purposes of enhancing property values and eliminating nuisance and blight; and.
WHEREAS, Indiana Code Chapter 36-7-10,1 provides authorization for the Town Council to adopt an ordinance requiring the cutting and removal of weeds, other rank vegetation and undesirable plant life growing on property in the town; and,
WHEREAS, the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores now finds that it is in need of further amendment of existing Codes and Ordinances to provide meaningful regulation and a program for eradication of weeds, noxious and rank vegetation, unkept and / or unmowed lawns and lots and specifically providing for the removal of weeds and rank vegetation and regulation of unkept and unmowed grass and plant life and to enhance the Town’s ability to enforce its ordinances and regulations to eliminate nuisances and blight resulting from unkempt properties and to enhance the aesthetics of the community and for the benefit of public health, safety, convenience and the general welfare of the community;
NOW THEREFORE, be it Ordained and Enacted by the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores, LaPorte County, Indiana, as follows:
SECTION 1. Title: This Ordinance may be identified and referred to as the Town of Michiana Shores “Weed, Rank Vegetation and Unkept Lawn Ordinance”.
SECTION 2. Definitions: For the purposes of this Ordinance the following definitions shall apply:
“unkept grass” or unmowed grass” or “unmowed lawn” shall mean any grass, weeds or other vegetation growing on any property within the town corporate limits that is unkept and unmowed over a period of time and left to grow to a height of eight inches or more.
“weeds and other rank vegetation” shall mean all plant life that is unkept and unmowed over a period of time and left to grow to a height in excess of twelve (12) inches or more. This definition of “weeds and other rank vegetation” shall include, but not be limited to the following:
(1) Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense).
(2) Johnson grass and Sorghum album (Sorghum halepense).
(3) Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus).
(4) Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor (L.).
(5) Moench spp. drummondii (Steud.) De Wet).
(6) Poison ivy.
(7) Poison sumac.
(8) Poison oak.
(9) Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens).
(10) Carolina horsenettle (Solanum varolinense).
(11) Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium).
(12) Wild mustard (Brassica kaber var: pinnatifida).
These terms shall not include
a. Agricultural and vegetable crops such as com, wheat, hay and pasture;
b. Designated wetlands, parklands and forest preserves;
c, River banks, creek banks and county drainage ditches from the centerline of the waterway to the area within ten feet (10′) of the top edge of each bank;
d. Landscaped trees, ornamental flowers and shrubs.
SECTION 3. Violations.
A. Weeds and other rank vegetation, unkept grass, unmowed grass and/or an unmowed lawn are prohibited in the Town of Michiana Shores and the existence of which shall constitute a violation of this Ordinance and the Town Code.
B. Whenever property within the town corporate limits has grass or plant life which is or becomes unkept grass, unmowed grass, constitutes an unmowed lawn or contains weeds and other rank vegetation such condition is a violation of this Ordinance and the Town Code.
C. No grass, weeds or other vegetation or plant life grown on any property within the town corporate limits shall be allowed to grow beyond the height stated in this ordinance nor shall any such growth be permitted to endanger the health, safety and welfare of the community or obstruct any pedestrian or motorist view or vision.
D. No grass, weeds or other vegetation or plant life on any property within the town and within ten (10) feet of any municipal property or governmental easement or other right-of-way which, because of its size, location or other condition, shall interfere in any manner with the public safety or lawful use of such property, easement right-of-way.
E. No tree, shrub, vice or plant may be standing adjacent to any public street, so as to obstruct thereby the vision of travelers along such street, road or public way.
F. No dead, decayed, broken or dangerous limbs are permitted to be overhanging or too close to a public way.
G. No tree or other vegetation may overhand the surface of a public way below a clear height or at least eight feet so as to interfere with the passage of light from the street lighting system or pedestrian traffic.
SECTION 4, Duty to Abate. All owners of real estate in the town (except those governmental owners exempt by local, county, state or federal law) shall be under a duty to remove or cause to be abated any public nuisance a defined herein. This duty shall also extend to the parkway or other strip of ground laying between private property and the curb or paved portion of the street.
SECTION 5. Violations Declared a Nuisance. Consistent with the Town’s Nuisance Ordinance, Unsafe Building Ordinance, Care of Premises Code and other ordinances, resolutions, laws and declarations of the Town, any and all violations of the conditions prohibited by this Ordinance and Code is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
SECTION 6. Penalty for Violation of Ordinance. Any violation of this Ordinance shall subject the landowner or occupant to a civil fine of up to Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00). Each day that a violation continues after issuance of a notice of violation shall constitute a separate offense. The civil fine shall be in addition to the cost collection procedures set forth herein.
SECTION 7. Administration. The Police Department, Building Commissioner, Street Commissioner, Code Enforcement Officer and Clerk-Treasurer shall be responsible to administer the enforcement of this ordinance. However, this Ordinance shall be administered by police personnel and the respective Town officers, employees, agents, officials and Departments as is reasonable and as specifically directed and specified within this ordinance.
SECTION 8. Citations. The Police Department, Building Commissioner, Street Commissioner or Code Enforcement Officer of the Town may issue a citation for any violation of this Ordinance.
SECTION 9. Notice for Abatement. Upon receipt of information from the Police Department, the Building Commissioner, Code Enforcement Officer or by referral by the Town Council, that a violation of this Ordinance exists, the Clerk-Treasurer shall issue a five (5) day written notice to cut and remove the weeds and other rank vegetation or unkept grass or unmowed grass which shall be served by the Police Department upon the landowner or occupant of the subject premises, if he or she is a resident of the Town of Michiana Shores, or by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address if the person is a non-resident of the Town.
SECTION 10. Removal by the Town. If the landowner fails to abate the nuisance by violation of Section 3 (A) – (D) or fails to cut and remove the weeds and other rank vegetation or cut the unkept grass or unmowed grass within the five (5) days time prescribed by the written notice, the Town or a contractor of its hiring may enter the real property to cut and remove the weeds and other rank vegetation or cut the unkept grass, unmowed grass, or unmowed lawn and abate the ordinance violation.
SECTION 11. Notice of Costs to Land Owner. Within 30 days following any such abatement of the ordinance violation by the Town or its contractor as provided for in Section 10 or as soon thereafter as practicable, the Town Clerk-Treasurer shall prepare a certified statement of the actual costs incurred by the Town in the cutting and removal of the weeds and other rank vegetation or cutting of unkept grass or unmowed grass, including administrative costs and removal costs. The certified statement shall be delivered to the landowner by the Police Department or issued by registered or certified mail.
SECTION 12. Certification for Tax Lien. If the landowner fails to pay the certified amount within ten (10) days after receiving the certified statement the Clerk-Treasurer certify to the LaPorte County Auditor the amount of the original certified statement plus any additional administrative costs incurred in the certification process. The LaPorte County Auditor shall place the total amount certified on the tax duplicate for the property involved and the total amount, including any accrued interest shall be collected as delinquent taxes are collected and shall be disbursed to the general fund of the Town of Michiana Shores.
SECTION 13. Complaint and Summons. If the landowner (and /or tenant or occupant) fails to cut and remove the weeds and other rank vegetation or unkept grass, unmowed grass or unkept lawn within the five (5) day time prescribed in the written notice, the ordinance violation shall be enforced under proceedings brought in the same manner as other ordinance violations enforcement and infraction proceedings.
SECTION 14. Appeals. The landowner may appeal a notice of violation or a certified statement of costs issued under this Ordinance to the Town Council. The Town Council shall conduct an investigation and hearing and shall make a written determination which shall be forwarded to the landowner. The decision of the Town Council shall be final.
SECTION 15. Applicability and Governmental Exemption.
The foregoing shall apply within the corporate limits of the Town of Michiana Shores to all residential and commercially zoned property. It shall not be applicable to property in the Governmental Zoning District, Town property, Fire Department and Park Department property, property under the ownership or control of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, other agencies of the State of Indiana, the Federal Department of the Interior or the Federal Government.
SECTION 16. Repeal of Conflicting Provisions.
The provisions of any or all other Ordinances, Resolutions or Town Code provisions in conflict with the Provisions hereof are of no further force or effect and hereby superseded and repealed.
SECTION 17. Severability Provision.
If any part of this Ordinance shall be held invalid, such part shall be deemed severable and the invalidity thereof shall not affect the remaining parts of this Ordinance.
SECTION 18. Emergency Enactment Clause.
The Town Council hereby declares that an emergency exists for the immediate taking effect of the provisions set forth in this Ordinance so that it shall become and remain in full force and effect immediately following its passage and adoption by the Town Council and as otherwise provided for by law.
SECTION 19. Publication Requirements. Notice of the Enactment of this Ordinance is required within the time required by law.
ALL OF WHICH IS ORDAINED, ADOPTED AND ENACTED on this 9th day of the month of October, 2012 A.D., by a majority vote of the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores, La Porte County, Indiana.