Town of New Windsor, MD
Carroll County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of New Windsor as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 96.
Noise — See Ch. 121.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 135.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 144.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 170.
Junk vehicles — See Ch. 196.
[Adopted 11-2-2005 by Ord. No. 10-05-05-1 (Ch. 5.12 of the 1998 Code).]
The purpose of this article is to protect the public health, safety and welfare and to preserve the character and value of the Town, by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of both residential and nonresidential premises; to proscribe certain acts, places or conditions which are or may become deleterious to the general citizenry; to fix certain responsibilities and duties of owners, operators, and tenants; to fix penalties for violations of this article; and to provide for the remediation, repair or demolition of premises which do not or are unable to meet the requirements established herein.
Every residential, nonresidential or mixed occupancy building and the land on which it is situated, used or intended to be used for a dwelling, commercial, business or industrial occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this article, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this article, irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the building or premises, for the construction or repair of the building or premises, prior to the effective date of this article.
Each of the following conditions, actions or activities, unless otherwise permitted by law, is declared to constitute a public nuisance, and is subject to civil and criminal enforcement and penalties as provided in this article:
A. 
Public nuisance - general. A public nuisance is a thing, act, occupation, condition or use of property which shall continue for such length of time as to:
(1) 
Substantially annoy, injure or endanger the comfort, health, repose or safety of the public;
(2) 
In any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property;
(3) 
Greatly offend the public morals or decency;
(4) 
Unlawfully and substantially interfere with, obstruct or tend to obstruct or render dangerous for passage any street, alley, highway, or other public way or the use of public property;
(5) 
Be detrimental to the property of others or cause or tend to cause substantial diminution in the value of other property in the neighborhood in which such premises is located.
B. 
Public nuisances affecting health. The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby specifically declared to be public health nuisances, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other health nuisances coming within the general definition of this section:
(1) 
Carcasses or portions thereof of animals, birds or fowl not intended for human consumption or food which are not buried or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner within 24 hours after death;
(2) 
All animals running at large;
(3) 
The escape of soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash, industrial dust or other atmospheric pollutants within the Town limits or within one mile therefrom in such quantities as to endanger the health of persons of ordinary sensibilities or to threaten or cause substantial injury to property in the Town;
(4) 
The pollution of any public road right-of-way or public well or cistern, stream, or other body of water by sewage, creamery or industrial wastes or other substances;
(5) 
Any use of property, substances or things within the Town emitting or causing any foul, offensive, nauseous, unwholesome or disagreeable odors, gases, stenches, liquids or substances offensive to the physical sense to an ordinary person possessed of ordinary tastes and susceptibilities or which otherwise annoy, discomfort, injure or inconvenience the health of persons within the Town. This definition shall not apply to odors produced through the operation of farming practices;
(6) 
Disassembled, dismantled, partially dismantled, inoperable, junked, wrecked, or unlicensed motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, trailers, boats, or campers in such state of physical or mechanical ruin as to be incapable of self-propulsion or of being operated upon the public streets, highways, or waters, other than at a business location, licensed and operating as a repair facility or junkyard;
(7) 
Abandoned, discarded or unused objects or equipment such as furniture, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, cans, containers, lumber, trash, or debris;
(8) 
Weeds, grass, undergrowth and uncut shrubbery without apparent supervision by an owner or tenant so that the premises is in disrepair, contains excessive amounts of high weeds, tall grass, unkempt greenery and undergrowth about the premises creating an invitation to dust, obstructions to view and a potential harbor for unauthorized persons, animals, snakes, insects or vermin;
(9) 
Any dead, diseased, infested or dying tree or vegetation including such tree or vegetation that may constitute a danger to street trees, streets, utilities, or neighboring buildings or property.
C. 
Public nuisances affecting peace and safety. The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby declared to be public nuisances affecting peace and safety, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances affecting public peace or safety coming within the provisions of this section:
(1) 
Noise.[1]
(a) 
Production of any of the following sounds or noises between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays, excluding legal holidays, and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and legal holidays, except in the cases of bona fide emergency or under municipal permit in case of demonstrated necessity:
[1] 
Sounds caused by the construction or repair of any building or structure;
[2] 
Sounds caused by construction, maintenance, repair, clearing or landscaping;
[3] 
Sounds created by the installation or repair of utility services;
[4] 
Sounds created by construction equipment including special construction vehicles;
(b) 
It is intended that the sounds described in this subsection refer to sounds heard beyond the property line of the source;
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 121, Noise.
(2) 
The keeping or harboring of any animal or fowl which by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking, crowing or making of other noises shall annoy or disturb neighbors or other residents of the Town;
(3) 
All obstructions of streets, alley, sidewalks or crosswalks and all excavations in or under the same, except as permitted by the ordinances of the Town or which, although made in accordance with such ordinances, are kept or maintained for an unreasonable or illegal length of time after the purpose thereof has been accomplished;
(4) 
All open and unguarded pits, wells, cisterns, cesspools, excavations or unused basements freely accessible from any public street, alley or sidewalk;
(5) 
Any junk, wood, bricks, cement, concrete blocks, abandoned vehicles, or machinery or parts thereof, appliances, fixtures and furniture, including, but not limited to, items such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, sinks, cabinets and other kitchen appliances, furniture, mattresses, clothes washing and drying machines, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, washtubs, lawn and garden equipment when such items are not stored inside a building. This section shall not apply to furniture except that furniture and other equipment designed for outdoor use shall not constitute a nuisance when kept in any district and in view of adjacent properties or public rights-of-way; and any other unsightly accumulation of items or materials such as may tend to depreciate property values in the area, or create a blighted condition, or create a hazard (except when such items are properly housed and out of public view);
(6) 
Waste, including, but not limited to, items such as paper, rags, trash, garbage, discarded clothing, shoes, curtains, linen, and other apparel, tin cans, aluminum cans, boxes, bales, or baled items, plastic containers, glass containers, plastic wrap, cleaning utensils, cooking utensils, and discarded household fixtures, when such items are stored, collected, piled or kept on private or public property, and in view of adjacent properties or public rights-of-way;
(7) 
Any unauthorized or unlawful use of property abutting on a public street, alley or sidewalk or of a public street, alley or sidewalk which causes large crowds of people to gather, obstructing traffic and free use of the streets or sidewalks;
(8) 
The existence of any building, fence, well or other structure or thing or portion thereof or private property abutting or fronting upon any public street, sidewalk or place which has holes, loose boards, broken or cracked finish or which is sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed, or from which any construction material, bricks, siding, etc., has fallen or is in danger of falling, or is otherwise in a dilapidated or unsafe condition.
A. 
The Mayor and Council are hereby authorized and empowered to notify the owner or owners, occupier or occupiers of any premises which they deem to be in a state of nuisance or in such a condition that the creation of a public nuisance is imminent or in such condition that the water supply of the Town of New Windsor may become polluted and the health of the citizens thereby endangered, directing such persons to have such nuisance or condition abated or removed within 72 hours except as provided in Subsection B hereof, from the date that said notice is personally served or mailed by certified mail, addressed to said owner, owners, occupier or occupiers or tacked upon the main building on the premises.
B. 
The Mayor and Council are authorized to extend the period of time to abate or remove a nuisance, upon application by the owner or occupier and a showing that such abatement or removal is not practicable or possible within that time frame.
C. 
If the Mayor and Council determine that the structure constituting the nuisance is so old, dilapidated or out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy, and that it is unreasonable to repair the structure, the Mayor and Council may order the owner to demolish and remove such structure. The time for compliance shall be reasonable, but shall not exceed 60 days.
If such owner or occupier fails to abate such nuisance or condition or remove the cause thereof within the time set out in § 127-4, the Town Council of New Windsor may then cause such nuisance or condition to be abated and the cause of such nuisance removed by whatever means it deems feasible, including demolition; and the actual cost thereof shall thereafter be billed to the owner or owners of said premises, who thereupon become obligated to reimburse said Town of New Windsor, and suit may be brought to recover such sums.
If the owner or owners fail to make payment as provided for in § 127-5 above, then, in addition to all other remedies, the Town may cause to be recorded in the Town office a sworn statement showing the cost and expense incurred for such work, the date the work was done and the location of the property on which the work was done. Recording of such sworn statement shall constitute a lien on the property involved and shall remain in full force and effect for the amount due, plus interest and cost of court, if any, for collection, until final payment is made. Said cost and expenses shall be collected in the manner fixed by law for the collection of taxes and shall be subject to a delinquent penalty of 2/3 of 1% per month in the event that the same is not paid in full on or before the date that the tax bill, upon which such charge appears, becomes delinquent. Sworn statements filed in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be prima facie evidence that all legal formalities have been complied with and that the work was done properly and satisfactorily at a reasonable cost and shall be full notice to every person concerned that the amount constitutes a charge against the property designated or described in said statement and that the same is due and collectible as provided by law.
A. 
Any person violating the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $100. Each day the violation continues shall be a separate violation. These fines are in addition to any liability for costs under § 127-5 hereof.
B. 
If such owner or owners, occupier or occupiers of said premises shall, after the abatement and/or removal of the cause of said nuisance within a period of two years from the date of said notice provided in § 127-4 hereof, create a similar nuisance on such premises or allow a similar condition endangering public health to exist, such conduct shall be a municipal infraction subject to a fine not to exceed $500. Each day such nuisance shall continue unabated shall constitute a separate infraction.
Any person aggrieved by any issuance of a notice hereunder may appeal the same to the Circuit Court for Carroll County in accordance with Title 7, Chapter 200 of the Maryland Rules of Procedure, as from time to time amended.
[Adopted 4-2-2014 by Ord. No. 03-05-14]
For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply:
DWELLING
Any building arranged, designed or used, in whole or part, to provide living facilities for one or more families. "Dwelling" shall include both the enclosed area within a dwelling as well as the exterior premises of the dwelling within the boundary lines of any real property on which the dwelling is located.
OCCUPANT
Any person who lives in or has possession of or holds an occupancy interest in a dwelling; or any person residing in or frequenting the premises of the dwelling with the actual or implied permission of the owner of lessee.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the dwelling; or recorded in official governmental records as holding title to the dwelling; or otherwise having control of the dwelling, including the guardian of the estate of any such person and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of such property by a court.
A disorderly house nuisance is a dwelling as defined in this article where any of the following has occurred within a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period:
A. 
Two or more criminal arrests, criminal citations, criminal indictments, criminal warrants, criminal summonses, civil citations, civil summonses or calls to the Carroll County 911 Call Center arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances (as defined by the statutes of the State of Maryland and/or the ordinances of the Town of New Windsor or of Carroll County, Maryland) which occur at a dwelling or on property in proximity to a dwelling; or
B. 
Two or more violations of Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland relating to alcoholic beverages arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
C. 
Two or more violations of Chapter 81 of the Carroll County, Maryland, Code of Public Local Laws and Ordinances (Animals) arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
D. 
Two or more violations of Chapter 141 of the Carroll County, Maryland, Code of Public Local Laws and ordinances (Livability Standards) arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
E. 
Two or more violations of Article I of Chapter 127 of the Town Code (Nuisances) arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
F. 
A combination of two incidents from any of the above categories arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances.
A. 
No owner or occupant of any dwelling shall allow or permit such dwelling to be, or become, a disorderly house nuisance.
B. 
An owner and/or occupant shall be deemed to have allowed or permitted a dwelling to be or become a disorderly house nuisance if:
(1) 
The owner or occupant has personally committed the acts set forth in § 127-11; or
(2) 
Such acts were committed by invitees of the occupant or owner; or
(3) 
Such acts were committed by persons attending events, or functions, sponsored, permitted or allowed by the occupant or owner; or
(4) 
Such acts were committed by a combination of Subsection B(1), (2) or (3); or
(5) 
The owner or occupant has been provided with the written notice of a disorderly house nuisance pursuant to § 127-12 below, the facts alleged therein are true, and the owner or occupant fails or refuses to enter into a nuisance abatement agreement, or after entering into such agreement, fails to comply with its terms.
No person shall be prosecuted for a violation of this article until such person shall have been served with the notice provided for herein, and the person has either failed or refused to enter into the nuisance abatement agreement provided for hereinafter or, after entering into such agreement, the person fails to comply with its provisions. Such notice may be served on such person by personal service or, in the case of an occupant or occupant owner, by certified mail addressed to the address of the dwelling or, in the case of a nonoccupant owner, by certified mail to his/her last known address or, if none, the address to which any tax statement is sent to such owner for the dwelling or by posting of the dwelling, on the structure or at a location on the exterior premises, or by any other method of service reasonably calculated to give actual notice. Such notice shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
A. 
That a disorderly house nuisance exists as defined by § 127-10 at the location specified in the notice;
B. 
The date of the commission of the acts which constitute the basis for the disorderly house nuisance, the name(s) of the person(s) committing such acts, if known, and all other facts and circumstances that the Town relies upon to allege that such acts form the basis for the disorderly house nuisance. Copies of police reports may serve as this documentation;
C. 
The date, time and place where the person is to appear and meet with the Town's representative to participate in the nuisance abatement conference;
D. 
That failure to appear, or failure to make satisfactory arrangements for an alternative date and time, at the time, place and manner designated in the notice may result in prosecution of a violation of this article and the imposition of penalties, as prescribed by this article.
At the nuisance abatement conference, the Town's representative and the owner and/or occupant shall discuss the facts constituting the disorderly house nuisance and shall attempt to agree on specific actions that the owner and/or occupant can take to abate said disorderly house nuisance.
A. 
At the conclusion of the nuisance abatement conference, the Town's representative shall submit to the owner and/or occupant a proposed written nuisance abatement agreement. If, at the conclusion of the conference, the Town's representative needs more time to draft said proposed agreement, then a follow-up meeting shall be scheduled with the owner and/or occupant within 10 days of the initial conference for submittal and review of the completed proposed nuisance abatement agreement.
B. 
Any nuisance abatement agreement under this article shall include a list of specific actions and specific schedule of deadlines for said actions to abate the disorderly house nuisance. It may also include provisions for a periodic reassessment of the agreement's effectiveness, and the procedure for a modification of the agreement. A nuisance abatement agreement or any written modification to said agreement may impose conditions or requirements on the owner and/or occupant for a period of up to 24 months from the date the original agreement is entered into by the owner and/or occupant and the Town. A nuisance abatement agreement or any modification may impose one or more of the following conditions or requirements:
(1) 
Institution of eviction proceedings against identified individuals(s) from the dwelling in question;
(2) 
Written notification from the owner and/or occupant to an identified individual or individuals that they are prohibited from entering on to the premises of the dwelling;
(3) 
Utilization of written leases containing a provision or provisions requiring eviction for criminal activity;
(4) 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime, including but not limited to the erection of fences, installation of security devices upon the entrances or increased lighting;
(5) 
Any other reasonable condition or requirement designed to abate the disorderly house nuisance.
C. 
Once a proposed written nuisance abatement agreement or written modification to a nuisance abatement agreement has been submitted to the owner and/or occupant, said owner and/or occupant shall have 48 hours to review it and enter into said agreement by signing it and returning it to the Town Manager.
The Town Manager may commence prosecution alleging a violation of this article under the following circumstances:
A. 
The owner and/or occupant commits a violation described in § 127-11 of this article; or
B. 
The owner and/or occupant does not attend a nuisance abatement conference with the Town Manager within the time period set forth herein; or
C. 
The owner and/or occupant fails or refuses to sign a proposed written nuisance abatement agreement or proposed written modification to said agreement within the prescribed time period set forth herein;
D. 
The owner and/or occupant subsequently fails or refuses to comply with any conditions or requirements set forth in a nuisance abatement agreement, including any prescribed deadlines for taking particular actions.
A. 
Any person who shall violate a provision of this article, or fail to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, shall be prosecuted within the limits provided by state or local laws. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to other remedies, any violation may be deemed a municipal infraction and prosecuted as such. The penalty for violation shall be a fine of $500 for each offense, which may be doubled in accordance with applicable law, and/or the issuance of an abatement order.
B. 
Upon a finding of guilt under this article, the court may, in addition to other remedies permitted by law, impose any or all of the following conditions:
(1) 
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime and criminal activity, including, but not limited to, the erection of fences, installation of security devices or increase lighting;
(2) 
Requirement of a written lease for occupants which includes provisions requiring eviction for criminal activity;
(3) 
Submitting tenancy lists on a periodic basis to the Town;
(4) 
Imposition of a period of court supervision with the posting of a cash bond of no less than the minimum fine and up to the amount of the maximum fine for the period of court supervision in an interest-bearing account conditioned on unsuccessful completion of the conditions imposed by the court under the court supervision, and failure to complete successfully shall result in forfeiture of the bond to the Town; and
(5) 
Any other condition reasonably related to the objective of abating the disorderly house nuisance.