[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Dorchester County 12-14-1993 as Ord. No. 227. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 116, Nuisance Control, adopted 6-22-1976 as Ord. No. 23, as amended.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Nuisance Control Ordinance of Dorchester County."
It is the purpose of this chapter, as enacted and as ordained by the County Commissioners of Dorchester County, to provide that the nuisances set forth herein are hereby prohibited.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COMMERCIAL AREA
- An area within 200 feet of any roadway or habitable building used for other than residential purposes.
- All organic waste, consisting of the residue of animal, fruit or vegetable matter, resulting from the preparation, cooking, handling or storage of food, exclusive of human or animal feces.
- HEALTH OFFICER
- The Health Officer of Dorchester County.
- Ashes, garbage, rubbish, junk, industrial waste, motor drain oil, dead animals and all other solid waste materials, including salvageable waste.
- RESIDENTIAL AREA
- An area having an average of two acres or less per dwelling
unit.[Amended 9-4-2012 by Bill No. 2012-4]
- All refuse other than garbage, whether combustible or noncombustible, which shall include but not be limited to the following: rubbish from building construction or reconstruction, dead trees, uprooted tree stumps, slash, rubble, street refuse, abandoned automobiles, household appliances, machinery, bottles, cans, wastepaper, cardboard, sawdust piles and slash remaining from abandoned sawmill operations and all other waste material and unsightly debris from any industry.
- UNFIT STRUCTURE
- Any vacant dwelling, building or part thereof which constitutes a hazard to the safety, health or welfare of the public because it is in disrepair, unsanitary or vermin- or rodent-infested.
The following specific acts, deeds or conditions shall constitute a nuisance within the meaning of this chapter:
The deposit or accumulation of any foul, decaying or putrescent substance or garbage or refuse or rubbish or other offensive matter in or upon any land, street or highway, unless in a manner approved by the Health Officer or his designated agents.
The discharge of any foul liquids or overflow of sewage waste from any type of mobile vehicle holding tank or residential or commercial septic system, except into an approved sewer treatment works or on-site septic system.
Any open cesspool or collapsed septic tank.
The existence of any open pit or hole as a result of abandonment of a septic tank, cesspool or seepage pit; any other excavated pit or hole without a safety fence.
The disposal of human excreta, dead chickens, hogs, horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats or any other fowl or animal upon any land, street or highway or in or upon any public or private place without it first being buried to a suitable depth or otherwise disposed of in a manner approved by the Health Officer or his designated agents.
The conveying of garbage, swill, refuse, dead animals, deal fowl or other filthy matter in a manner not approved by the Health Officer or his designated agents through any street or any highway, public or private.
The use of garbage, offal or other decaying or putrescible matter, either by itself or in connection with ashes or other harmless matter, for the purpose of filling in any land or other space, exempting licensed sanitary landfills.
The existence of grass, weeds and similar vegetation more than 12 inches in height upon any property in any residential area within two hundred (200) feet of a habitable dwelling or the existence of grass, weeds and similar vegetation more than 12 inches in height upon any commercial area. Areas noted as official wetlands or isolated by official wetlands, drainageways or ditches, agricultural lands and forests are exempt. Forested residential areas or commercial areas are exempt.
The permitting or existence of an unfit structure as defined by this chapter.
Permitting the presence of rats and allowing property to become a rat harborage.
The presence of abandoned or junked vehicles or parts thereof on any property for in excess of 30 days unless the vehicle(s) in question is undergoing current repair or restoration or meets the requirements of Chapter 121 of the Dorchester County Code, Maintenance of Property Ordinance of Dorchester County, § 121-5B. Legally situated junkyards or commercial vehicle lots or vehicle repair shops are exempted.
Abandoned refrigerators, freezers or other airtight appliances.
The owner or the occupant of any premises within the County of Dorchester shall be responsible for sanitary conditions of the premises occupied by him, and it will be unlawful for any person to place, deposit or voluntarily allow to be placed or deposited on his premises any matter which constitutes a nuisance under the terms of this chapter.
The Health Officer of Dorchester County, his designee or other properly designated law enforcement agent of Dorchester County shall be the enforcement officer. When he receives a complaint in writing from any legally qualified medical practitioner or any person affected thereby, he shall institute an investigation, and if the place or thing complained of is in such a condition as to constitute a nuisance under the terms of this chapter, he shall serve a notice in writing on the person, firm or corporation responsible for the condition requiring him or it to abate the same within a time specified in the notice.
If the property owner fails to abate a nuisance cited under § 116-4H (grass, weeds and similar vegetation) as required in the notice, the County is hereby authorized to enter upon the property and perform or have performed the necessary action to abate the condition as stated in the notice of violation.
In the event that the County is required to abate or correct a nuisance as provided herein, the cost of such abatement or correction shall be assessed to the owner(s) of the land on which the nuisance existed. The cost of abatement or correction shall include all actual costs incurred by the County, including but not limited to costs of all material and labor.
If unpaid, all said costs and applicable penalties assessed shall become a lien against the property and shall be collected in the same manner as real estate taxes by the County.
In addition to the filing of a tax lien, the County may institute any other legal proceedings to collect the costs incurred by the County to correct any nuisance and applicable penalties.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $75 nor more than $150 for the first offense; and for each subsequent offense in reference to the same place or thing, such person, firm or corporation shall be fined not exceeding $250.