[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wheatfield 5-5-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted in recognition of the fact that the excessive growth of weeds, grass or other unhealthful plants can constitute both a public and private nuisance. Such accumulations are a source of potential harm to children and others who may find them a nuisance; they constitute a blight on the Town's landscape, destroying the aesthetic qualities of the Town, and are generally unsightly and obvious sources of potential danger. The existence of such accumulations tends to depreciate not only the property on which they are located but also the property of other persons in the neighborhood and in the Town generally. They constitute the Town a less safe and less pleasant place in which to live and do business.
Certain public and private uses excluded.
The regulations of this chapter shall not be so construed as to limit or interfere with the dedication, development or use of any land or building for public parks, public playgrounds or public schools required for compulsory education; or with the use of land or buildings owned by the United States government, the State of New York, the County of Niagara and the Town of Wheatfield and used for governmental purposes; or the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of public utilities; or with any highway or railroad right-of-way existing or thereafter authorized by the State of New York, County of Niagara or the Town of Wheatfield.
The regulations of this chapter shall not be so construed as to limit or interfere with normal agriculture operations.
The intent of this chapter is to establish a legal procedure for removal of weeds, grass and other unhealthful growths on lands in the Town of Wheatfield, New York.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- That area of state, county or Town property lying between and adjacent to the street between the curb, or the edge of the pavement in absence of curbs, and the private property line (generally referred to as the "right-of-way").
- The Town of Wheatfield, New York.
- Refers to, but is not limited to, any organic growth which constitutes a fire, health or safety hazard.
It shall be unlawful for an owner or for the agent or lessee of said owner to permit, on any lot, place or area the size of two acres or less which he owns within the Town, the growth to a height of over six inches of noxious weeds, grass or other unhealthful plants in any residential zone or parcel abutting any residential zone, as defined in the Town of Wheatfield Zoning Law. It is also the duty of an owner or an agent or lessee of said owner to cut back 15 feet around the perimeter if said property is larger than two acres in size. Furthermore, it shall be the duty of any owner or an agent or lessee of any premises fronting on any public street to keep the terrace in front of the same in good order and repair. Said duty shall include but not be limited to the cutting and removing of noxious brush, weeds, grass or other unhealthful growth of plants.
[Amended 1-6-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
The Town Building Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to notify the owner, tenant, lessee or occupant of any open or vacant private property within the Town or the agent of such owner, tenant, lessee or occupant to properly dispose of litter and/or weeds located on such owner's, tenant's, lessee's or occupant's property which is dangerous to public health, safety or welfare after making an inspection thereof. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be directed to the owner of the property or directed to the owner and the tenant, lessee or occupant of the property if the same is occupied, postage prepaid, at their last known post office address or, if not known, as recorded in the Town Assessor's records.
[Amended 1-6-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
Upon failure, neglect or refusal of any owner, tenant, lessee or occupant or agent thereof so notified to properly dispose of litter or remove weeds or to object in writing to the Building Department within five days from the date of notice provided for in § 196-4 above, the Building Inspector shall authorize and direct the appropriate Town officer, department or designee to proceed to dispose of such litter and/or cut and remove such weeds. In the event that the owner, tenant, lessee or occupant or agent shall object in writing within five days, the matter shall be referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which shall review the determination of the Building Inspector and make a determination within 30 days from the date of receipt of any written objection. The determination of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be final. The Town shall keep an accurate and itemized account of the expenses incurred for all labor and equipment time, plus a charge of 20% to cover the costs and disbursements and administrative handling. The Building Department shall notify the Town Board of any such violations on a monthly basis.
The Building Department, upon receiving the accounts described in Subsection A above, shall prepare and collect bills. In the event that collection is not made within 30 days, the Building Department shall forward the unpaid accounts to the Town Assessor, who shall charge the cost of such expenditure against the owner or owners of said property on the next regular tax bill forwarded to said owner at the time of payment of such bill.
All invoices to the owner, tenant, lessee or agent thereof shall reflect labor and equipment, plus an administrative fee as determined by the Town Board, as stated in the current schedule of fees on file in the Town Clerk's office.
[Added 1-6-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003]
The Town Building Inspector or any authorized Town employee shall have the right, at reasonable times, upon notification, to enter upon lands within the Town for the purpose of inspection to determine compliance with this section. The right of inspection herein granted shall apply to the exterior of the buildings and grounds only, and the owner or tenant, lessee or occupant may require postponement of such inspection for a period of up to 48 hours.
Any person committing an offense against any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable as follows: by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days or by a fine not exceeding $250, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The continuation of an offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each day the offense is continued, a separate and distinct offense thereunder.