Nuisances - Vegetation, Garbage, Refuse and Other Debris
It is a rule of law that all property is held subject to the general police power of the state so as to regulate and control its use in a proper case as to secure the general safety, good order, health, and morals of the community.
Accordingly, the state, under the police power, has complete authority to provide for the abatement of nuisances as the State of Ohio has done by enacting Ohio Revised Code Section 505.87.|
ORC Section 505.87 authorizes the Board of Trustees to provide for the abatement, control, or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse and other debris from land in the Township, if the Board determines that the owner's maintenance of such vegetation, garbage, refuse and other debris constitutes a nuisance.
The process as outlined in ORC Section 505.87 effectively guarantees a person his due process rights by requiring that the individual receive notice of the condition to be abated.
The requirements of due process apply when a local government exercises its police power to abate nuisances.
Thus, an ordinance governing nuisance abatement should contain provisions providing for notice to the property owner where an alleged violation has occurred.
To utilize the procedure as outlined in ORC Section 505.87, the Plain Township Board of Trustees established the following policy:
- Upon receipt of a complaint or a determination by the Zoning Director that the public safety or health is being affected, the Zoning Director shall make an on-site inspection of the property and prepare a written report with a supporting description of the material contemplated by this policy, photographs and other documentation.
- Where a written report has been prepared as a result of a complaint, the Zoning Director shall send a notice to the property owner or post a notice on the principal structure on the land and photographing the notice with a camera capable of recording on the photograph the date which it was taken and provide the property owner with a seven (7) day period from the letter mailing date or posting date to address with the Zoning Director the contents of the written report before the filing of the report with the Board of Trustees as required in subparagraph 3.
- After conclusion of the seven (7) day period described in subparagraph 2, the Zoning Director shall file the written report with the Board of Trustees along with any information supplied by the property owner and the Board of Trustees shall determine whether the questioned material is covered by this policy and further whether the accumulation or storage of this material constitutes a nuisance. Factors to be considered by the Board of Trustees in determining whether a covered material is a nuisance are:
- A matter that endangers life or health, or;
- Obstructs the reasonable and comfortable use of surrounding properties.
This is a community standard decision where the average property owner's sensitivities would be the guide in reaching this decision.
The determined sensitivity level must be balanced against the regulated property owner's interest in the free use of their land.
The nuisance standard is also relative according to the type of property owner being regulated and the surrounding property owner (residential, rural, commercial, industrial) and the character and extent of the potential interference with the use of surrounding properties.
- If the Board of Trustees determines that the subject material is contemplated by this policy and also constitutes a nuisance, a notice to abate the nuisance shall be sent by certified mail to the owners of record or holders of legal or equitable liens of record upon the real estate or by posting the notice on the principal structure on the land and photographing the notice with a camera capable of recording on the photograph the date which it was taken, at least seven days prior to the abatement, control or removal of the nuisance.
- After completion of the notification period required in subparagraph 4, if the owner of the land has failed to abate, control or remove the vegetation, refuse or debris constituting a nuisance, the Board of Trustees shall provide for the abatement, control, or removal of the nuisance unless the Board of Trustees has entered into an agreement with the owner of record or the holders of liens of record upon the real estate to perform the abatement, control or removal of the nuisance.
In order to abate, control, or remove said vegetation, refuse or debris, the Board of Trustees may employ the necessary labor, materials, and equipment to perform the task.
- The Board of Trustees shall approve all expenses so incurred and said expenses shall be paid from the Township's general fund with monies not otherwise appropriated.
A report shall be prepared and filed with the county auditor summarizing the above expenses which said expenses, when allowed, shall be entered upon the tax duplicate by the county auditor.
- Dead plant material piled such that it emits objectionable and foul odors or presents a haven for rodents.
- Dead trees, shrubs, or other plant material, if they should fall, which present a safety hazard to adjacent public or private property.
- Any vegetation which presents a sight distance safety hazard to motorists using either public or private streets or driveways.
- Any vegetation which, because of its characteristics of growth, spreads onto adjacent property and cannot be controlled.
- Any grass or weeds on lots, either on which buildings and structures are built or which are vacant, where more than 50 percent of the parcel has vegetation exceeding eight inches (8") in height and a complaint has been filed.
Refuse, Debris and Garbage List
- Unlicensed, wrecked, junk and/or abandoned motor vehicles on private property with or without the permission of the property owner that is not in a completely enclosed building.
- Unlicensed motor vehicles
- A motor vehicle that is extremely damaged including but not limited to any of the following: missing wheels, tires, body parts, motors, transmissions, muffler parts, deflated tires
- A motor vehicle that is inoperable
- An abandoned motor vehicle
- Discarded and/Dismantled Motor Vehicle Materials or Parts
- Discarded or salvaged motor vehicle materials such as scrap metals.
- Discarded and/or dismantled motor vehicle parts including but not limited to any one of the following:
- Motor vehicle motors or engines
- Motor vehicle doors, windows or body parts
- Motor vehicle tires
- Motor vehicle mufflers and/or tailpipes
- Discarded or Used Building Materials-Household or Industrial Appliances
- Discarded or salvaged non-motor vehicle materials such as scrap metals
- Used building materials
- Used lumber
- Used glass
- Roof shingles
- Household or industrial appliances including, but not limited to, ovens, stoves, refrigerators, furniture, washers, dryers, heating and air conditioning units
- Any garbage, including but not limited to, food and/or organic waste.
Sections A, B, and C do not apply to a junkyard or automobile wrecking yard defined in and operating in compliance with the Plain Township Zoning Code.
Section D does not apply to a sanitary landfill as defined in and operating in compliance with the Plain Township Zoning Code.
The Plain Township Zoning Department has the following policy regarding the filing and investigation of complaints for zoning violations or nuisance conditions which affect public health and/or safety:
- Complaints will be taken in person, in writing, or by telephone.
- Complaints that are filed with an identifiable complainant will be immediately prioritized and dealt with in a timely manner.
- A response will be forwarded to identifiable complainants regarding the conditions found and intended course of action following initial investigation of the complaint.
- Anonymous complaints will be taken but are not prioritized and will only be investigated when all regularly scheduled work has been completed and there is additional time available within the Department.
|Obtain a Citizen Complaint Form from the on-line forms page.|