Mathews County, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Mathews County 11-28-1979; amended in its entirety 12-18-2012. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 86-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Mathews County Litter Control and Public Nuisance Ordinance."

§ 86-2 Neglect of property.

It shall be unlawful for any person to trespass on the rights of another through the neglect of property by causing or allowing unsightly litter or foul odor to remain on or emanate from the property or to discard, abandon or cause such on public property or others' private property.

§ 86-3 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and terms are defined. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
DERELICT BUILDING
A residential or nonresidential building or structure, whether or not construction has been completed, that might endanger the public's health, safety, or welfare and for a continuous period in excess of six months, it has been:
A. 
Vacant,
B. 
Boarded up in accordance with the building code, and
C. 
Not lawfully connected to electric service from a utility service provider or not lawfully connected to any required water or sewer service from a utility service provider.
DISPOSABLE PACKAGE OR CONTAINER
All packages or containers intended or used to contain solid, liquids, or materials and so designated.
LITTER
All waste material, including but not limited to disposable packages or containers but not including the wastes of the primary processes of mining, logging, sawmilling, farming, fishing, or manufacturing.
LITTER RECEPTACLE
Those containers, suitable for the depositing of litter, between 20 and 60 gallons in capacity, with a tight lid or cover.
PERSON
Any natural person, corporation, partnership, association, firm, receiver, guardian, trustee, executor, administrator, fiduciary, or representative or group of individuals or entities of any kind.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
Any:
A. 
Building, wall, or other structure whose condition might endanger the public health or safety of other residents of Mathews County;
B. 
Vessel that has been abandoned, or any wharf, pier, piling, bulkhead or any other structure or vessel that might endanger the public health or safety of other persons, or which might constitute an obstruction or hazard to the lawful use of the waters within or adjoining Mathews County; or
C. 
Trash, garbage, refuse, litter or other substances which might endanger the health and safety of other residents of Mathews County.
PUBLIC PLACE
Any area that is used or held out for use by the public, whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
REASONABLE NOTICE
Reasonable notice required by this chapter shall include written notice:
A. 
Mailed by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, sent to the last known address of any known property owner; and
B. 
Published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in Mathews County.
VEHICLE
Includes every device capable of being moved upon a public highway and in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a public highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
WATERCRAFT
Any boat, ship, vessel, barge, or other floating craft.

§ 86-4 Littering prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to throw or deposit litter in or upon any public or private property whatsoever within Mathews County, including any street, sidewalk, park, body of water, or vacant or occupied lot, except in public receptacles, in authorized private receptacles for collection or in official County dumps, as specified in this chapter.

§ 86-5 Littering from vehicles.

A. 
It shall be unlawful to dump or dispose of trash, garbage, refuse or other unsightly matter on a public highway, right-of-way, property adjacent to such highway or right-of-way, or on private property without the written consent of the owner thereof or his/her agent.
B. 
When a violation of the provisions of this section occurs, and the material has been ejected from a motor vehicle, the owner or operator shall be presumed to be the person who ejected the material.

§ 86-6 Litter receptacles.

A. 
It shall be the responsibility of the owner or person in control of any property which is held out to the public as a place for assemblage, the transaction of business, recreation, or as a public way to cause to be placed and maintained receptacles for the deposit of litter of sufficient numbers to contain the litter which can be expected to be generated by the numbers of people customarily coming on or using the property. Such litter receptacles shall be maintained in a manner to prevent overflow or spillage of litter from the receptacles.
B. 
A person owning or operating any establishment or public place in which litter receptacles are required by this section shall procure and place such receptacles at his/her own expense.
C. 
Any person who fails to place and maintain such litter receptacles on the premises or who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of $15 for each day of violation.

§ 86-7 Maintaining litter receptacles.

It shall be the responsibility of the owner, manager, occupant, lessee, or other person responsible for any property or place of business to maintain in good condition and to regularly empty litter receptacles on such property for the disposal of litter by persons employed at or frequenting such property or place of business.

§ 86-8 Sweeping litter into gutter or street; property maintenance.

It shall be unlawful for any person to sweep into or deposit in any gutter, street, or other public place within Mathews County any accumulation of litter from any building or lot, or from any public or private sidewalk or driveway. The owner, manager, occupant, lessee, or other person responsible for any property or place of business within Mathews County shall maintain his/her property in a clean and litter-free manner, including sidewalks, grass strips, parking areas, alleys or rights-of-way.

§ 86-9 Allowing escape of vehicle cargo.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any vehicle upon any public street, highway, lane, alley or other thoroughfare in Mathews County unless the cargo is in containers or covered by a tarpaulin in such a manner as to prevent any part of its contents from falling or being scattered upon any such street, highway, lane, alley or other thoroughfare in Mathews County.

§ 86-10 Construction sites.

It shall be the responsibility of the property owners and the prime contractor in charge of any construction site to provide litter containers for construction and worker litter. All litter from construction activities or any related activities shall be containerized, and all litter will be picked up and placed in containers at the end of each workday.

§ 86-11 Casting solid waste into waters.

It shall be unlawful to cast, throw or dump solid waste into any of the waters of this county. When a violation of this provision occurs and the material has been ejected from a boat, the owner or operator of such boat shall be presumed to be the person ejecting such material. Such presumption may be rebutted by competent evidence.

§ 86-12 Disposal of household garbage in litter receptacles.

It shall be unlawful for any person to dispose of household garbage by placing it in litter receptacles which have been properly placed in accordance with § 86-6, Litter receptacles. This section shall not be construed to mean that wastes of food consumed on the premises at any public place may not be deposited in litter receptacles.

§ 86-13 Public nuisance prohibited; penalty.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to create, cause, permit or maintain a public nuisance.
B. 
Every person found guilty of a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 for each violation.

§ 86-14 Reasonable notice of public nuisance.

Upon making a determination that a public nuisance exists, the County Administrator may provide reasonable notice requiring any known property owner to abate the public nuisance. In the case of a structure that is deemed to pose a significant threat to public safety, such notice may state such fact and advise that the County Administrator may take action to prevent unauthorized access to the structure within seven days of either return of the receipt or newspaper publication of the reasonable notice.

§ 86-15 Failure to abate public nuisance.

If the property owner fails within 30 days after the return of the receipt or the date of the newspaper publication of the reasonable notice to either abate a public nuisance, or to provide evidence satisfactory to the County Administrator that there is no public nuisance referenced in the reasonable notice, the County Administrator may take steps to remove, repair, or secure the property which is the public nuisance. In the case of a structure that is deemed to pose a significant threat to public safety and reasonable notice is provided thereof, the County Administrator may take action to prevent unauthorized access to the building within seven days. The cost of such abatement shall be charged to the property owner and collected as taxes are collected. Every charge authorized by this section with which the owner of any such property has been assessed and which remains unpaid, to the extent applicable, shall constitute a lien against the owner's real property.

§ 86-16 Derelict structures.

A. 
In addition to or as an alternative to the procedure set forth in §§ 86-14 and 86-15, the County Administrator may find a building or structure to be a derelict building and deliver notice of the finding to the property owner thereof as provided in this section.
B. 
The notice required in this section shall require the derelict building owner to submit to the County Administrator a plan, within 90 days, to demolish or renovate the derelict building to address the items that endanger the public's health, safety, or welfare as listed in a written notification provided by the County Administrator. Such plan may be on a form developed by Mathews County and shall include a proposed time within which the plan will be commenced and completed. The plan may include one or more adjacent properties of the owner, whether or not all of such properties may have been declared derelict buildings. The plan shall be subject to approval by the County Administrator. The County Administrator shall deliver the written notice to the address listed on the real estate tax assessment records of the locality. Written notice sent by first-class mail, with the locality obtaining a U.S. Postal Service Certificate of Mailing shall constitute delivery pursuant to this section.
C. 
If the County Administrator delivers written notice and the owner of the derelict building has not submitted a plan to the County Administrator within 90 days as provided in Subsection B, the County Administrator may exercise such remedies as provided in this section or as otherwise provided by law.
D. 
The owner of a building or structure may apply to the County Administrator and request that such building or structure be declared a derelict building for purposes of this section.
E. 
The County Administrator, upon receipt of the plan to demolish or renovate the building, at the owner's request, shall meet with the owner submitting the plan and provide information to the owner on the land use and permitting requirements for demolition or renovation.
F. 
If the property owner's plan is to demolish the derelict building, the building permit application of such owner shall be expedited. If the owner has completed the demolition within 90 days of the date of the building permit issuance, the County shall refund any building and demolition permit fees. This section shall not supersede any ordinance adopted pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2306, relative to historic districts.
G. 
If the property owner's plan is to renovate the derelict building, and no rezoning is required for the owner's intended use of the property, the site plan or subdivision application and the building permit, as applicable, shall be expedited. The site plan or subdivision fees may be refunded, all or in part, if approved by the Board of Supervisors, but in no event shall the site plan or subdivision fees exceed the lesser of 50% of the standard fees established by the ordinance for site plan or subdivision applications for the proposed use of the property, or $5,000 per property. The building permit fees may be refunded, all or in part, if approved by the Board of Supervisors, but in no event shall the building permit fees exceed the lesser of 50% of the standard fees established by the ordinance for building permit applications for the proposed use of the property, or $5,000 per property.
H. 
Prior to commencement of a plan to demolish or renovate the derelict building, at the request of the property owner, the County shall cause an assessment to be made of the property in its current derelict condition. On the building permit application, the owner shall declare the costs of demolition or the costs of materials and labor to complete the renovation. At the request of the property owner, after demolition or renovation of the derelict building, the real estate assessment shall reflect the fair market value of the demolition costs or the fair market value of the renovation improvements and reflect such value in the real estate tax assessment records. The real estate tax on an amount equal to the costs of demolition or an amount equal to the increase in the fair market value of the renovations shall be abated for a period of not less than 15 years, and is transferable with the property. The abatement of taxes for demolition shall not apply if the structure demolished is a registered Virginia landmark or is determined by the Department of Historic Resources to contribute to the significance of a registered historic district.

§ 86-17 Violations and penalties.

Every person found guilty of a violation of any provision or section of this chapter, for which no penalty is specially provided, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100 for each violation.