[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council 5-10-1999, effective 6-3-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Town of Mansfield Zoning Citations Ordinance."
The Zoning Agent is authorized to issue citations for each violation of the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Mansfield as follows:
Upon determination of a violation, the Zoning Agent shall notify, by certified mail, return receipt requested, the person(s) in control of the subject property upon which the violation exists or, in the case of a business use, the owner/operator/manager of said business. Such violation notice shall state the violation and the date by which said violation shall be remedied. Upon the failure to remedy the violation within the stated time, the Zoning Agent may issue a citation as provided for in Subsection B below. If the person(s) in control of the subject property is not the owner of record of said property, the Zoning Agent may notify such owner in the same manner.
This subsection shall not apply to those uses which have received a violation notice or citation within the previous twelve-month period for the same violation. Said repeat offenders shall be issued a citation without first receiving a violation notice.
[Amended 1-27-2003, effective 2-25-2003]
In the event that such violation persists notwithstanding such notice, the Zoning Agent may thereupon issue a citation. Such citation shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon the person named therein and shall cite this chapter, specify the violation(s) and the fine(s) therefor and require payment of such fine(s) within 30 days of the date of the citation. The Zoning Agent shall retain a copy of each such citation, certified to be a true copy of the original thereof by the Mansfield Town Clerk.
The fine for each such citation shall be $150, payable to the Mansfield Tax Collector.
Any person(s) receiving such a citation shall be allowed a period of 30 days from the receipt of the citation to make an uncontested payment of the fine specified in the citation to the Tax Collector. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of such person(s) or other person making the payment.
If a person(s) who has been issued a citation does not make uncontested payment of the fine(s) specified in the citation to the Tax Collector within 30 days, the Zoning Agent shall at any time within 12 months from the expiration of the final period for the uncontested payment of the fine(s), send a notice to the person(s) cited, informing such person(s):
Of the allegations against him or her and the amount of the fines;
That the person(s) cited may contest liability before a Hearing Officer appointed by the Town Manager, as provided in § 189-6A, by delivering to the Zoning Agent, in person(s) or by mail, within 10 days of the date of the notice, a written demand for a hearing;
That if the person(s) cited does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him or her; and
That such a judgment may issue without further notice.
The Town Manager shall appoint one or more Citation Hearing Officers to conduct hearings and enter orders authorized by this chapter. A Hearing Officer shall not be the Zoning Agent or be employed by the town.
Any person(s) who does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice provided for in § 189-5 shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the Zoning Agent shall certify to the Hearing Officer such person's failure to respond. The Hearing Officer shall thereupon enter and assess the fine and shall follow the procedures set forth in Subsection D of this section.
Any person(s) who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of notice, provided that the Hearing Officer shall grant upon good cause shown any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance. An original or certified copy of the citation issued by the Zoning Agent pursuant to § 189-2B shall be filed and maintained by the Town and shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of Section 52-180 of the Connecticut General Statutes and evidence of the facts contained therein. The Zoning Agent or the Zoning Agent's designee shall appear and present evidence on behalf of the municipality. Any person(s) wishing to contest his or her liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence on his or her behalf. If such person(s) fails to appear, the Hearing Officer may enter an assessment by default against that person(s) upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable zoning regulations. The Hearing Officer may accept from such person(s) copies of police reports, investigatory and citation reports and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person(s) is unnecessary. The Hearing Officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as deemed fair and appropriate by the Hearing Officer. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. The Hearing Officer shall announce a decision at the end of the hearing. If the Hearing Officer determines that the alleged violator is not liable, the matter shall be dismissed and the Hearing Officer's determination shall be entered in writing accordingly. If the Hearing Officer determines that the alleged violator is liable for the violation, a fine against the person(s) shall be entered and assessed as proved by this chapter.
If such assessment is not paid on the date of entry, the Hearing Officer shall send, by first class mail, a notice of the assessment to the person(s) found liable and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the Clerk of the Superior Court for GA-19 together with an entry fee of $8. The certified copy of the notice of assessment shall constitute a record of assessment. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same person(s) may be accrued and filed as one record of assessment. The Clerk shall enter judgment, in the amount of such record of assessment and court costs of $8, against such person(s) in favor of the municipality. Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, the Hearing Officer's assessment, when so entered as a judgment, shall have the effect of a civil money judgment, and a levy of execution on such judgment may issue without further notice to such person(s).
A person(s) against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this section is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal. An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the mailing of notice of such assessment by filing a petition to reopen assessment, together with an entry fee in the amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to Section 52-259 C.G.S. in the Superior Court for GA-19, which shall entitle such person(s) to a hearing in accordance the rules of the Judges of the Superior Court.
No action taken pursuant to this chapter shall preclude the Town from pursuing other enforcement remedies, either in addition to those specified within this chapter or separately, in order to achieve lawful compliance with the Mansfield Zoning Regulations.