[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Grand Chute 4-20-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-05 (Ch. 32 of the 1997 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 220.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 224.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 291.
Hazardous substances — See Ch. 310.
Housing standards — See Ch. 317.
Nuisances — See Ch. 398.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 415.
Trees and shrubs — See Ch. 497.
Waste management — See Ch. 520.
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code."
Pursuant to its authority granted by the broad powers under §§ 60.10(2)(c) and 60.22, Wis. Stats., and village powers under 61.34, Wis. Stats., which confers the power to act for the government and good order of the Town, for its commercial benefit and for the health, safety, welfare and convenience of the public, the Town Board has found that maintenance of buildings, structures and premises in the Town of Grand Chute affects the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the community. The general purpose of this chapter is to establish minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of residential and nonresidential premises and to set certain responsibilities and duties upon owners and operators and distinct and separate responsibilities and duties upon occupants. The Town recognizes that there may presently be or in the future be structures, yards and vacant lots, or unimproved areas, or any combination thereof, in the Town which are dilapidated, unsafe, dangerous, unhygienic, or inadequately maintained so as to constitute a threat to the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the Town. The establishment and enforcement of minimum property maintenance standards are necessary to preserve both private and public interests, with the overall purpose being to benefit the health, safety, welfare and convenience of the public.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply uniformly to all land, buildings and structures and surrounding areas within the Town, without regard to their class, date of construction, alteration or repair.
The following words, terms and phrases, when referred to in this chapter, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- An impaired condition leading to deterioration.
- Includes but is not limited to boxes, wood pallets, bottles, broken concrete, bricks, blocks, porcelain and other glass, lumber, posts, brush, tree branches, cardboard, rubber, discarded goods and appliances, junk lawn mowers, residues from burning, or any similar materials which constitute health, fire or safety hazards or serious blighting influence upon the neighborhood or the Town in general.
- The condition or appearance of a building or structure, or part thereof, characterized by breaks, holes, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting, chipping, inadequate paint or other evidence of decay, neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA
- Any lands designated as floodway, floodplain or flood storage
area, and mapped wetland areas. Steep slopes equal to or greater than
a 3:1 ratio, designated outlots, and areas within 75 feet of the ordinary
high-water mark of any navigable stream are also included in this
category.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- All waste animal, fish, fowl or vegetable matter incident to and resulting from the use, preparation and storage of food for human consumption.
- A cultivated, well-defined area dedicated to growing vegetables,
fruits, and annual or perennial plants. Also referred to as "cultivated
flower bed."[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- Includes, without limitation, old or scrap metal, metal alloy,
synthetic or organic material or waste and junked, ruined, dismantled
or wrecked motorized or nonmotorized vehicles or machinery, or any
part thereof, whether salvageable or not. An unlicensed motorized
vehicle, at the discretion of local law enforcement officers, may
be construed to be a junk vehicle.[Amended 2-4-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-03]
- NATIVE PLANTS
- Plants and grasses native to the state of Wisconsin.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- NATURAL LANDSCAPING
- A planned, intentional and maintained area on a property
that may include native plants, ornamental grasses and groundcovers,
perennial plants, shrubs, trees, and rain gardens. No-mow grasses,
that are intended to grow to lengths up to 12 inches and mound over
as to not reach a height over six inches, are also included in this
category.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- NOXIOUS WEEDS
- See § 398-2B(6) of the Town of Grand Chute Municipal Code.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- Includes code enforcement officers, the Police Chief and all police officers of the Town.
- ORNAMENTAL GRASSES OR GROUNDCOVERS
- Grasses and groundcovers not indigenous to the state of Wisconsin,
excluding turf grasses and noxious weeds.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- RANK GROWTH
- Vigorous and profuse growth of turf grass, noxious weeds,
brush or other vegetation that exceeds eight inches in height. Exceptions
include gardens, cultivated flower beds, environmentally sensitive
areas, and natural landscaping.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
- Includes all waste materials except garbage, including but not limited to solid waste consisting of both combustible and noncombustible waste, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin, cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, and crockery as well as other similar materials.
- TURF GRASS
- Any grass commonly used in groomed and maintained lawns or
play areas, including Bluegrass, Fescue and Rye Grass blends, or other
similar grasses.[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with the requirements provided for in this chapter. A person should not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy a premises which is not in a sanitary and safe condition and which does not comply with the requirements of this chapter.
All vacant structures and premises thereof and vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
General. The exterior of all structures shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.
Sanitation. All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupants shall maintain the exterior property areas in a clean manner, free from rubbish and garbage.
Exterior surfaces. All exterior surfaces of any structure on a premises, including but not limited to doors, door and window frames, porches, trim, balconies, decks, roofs, stairways and fences, shall be maintained in good condition. Exterior wood surfaces shall be protected by paint, stain or other water- and weather-resistant treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint, as well as other deterioration, shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.
Exterior walls. All exterior walls shall be free from holes, breaks, and loose or rotting materials and be maintained weatherproof and properly maintained to prevent deterioration.
Defacement of property. No person shall damage, mutilate or deface any exterior surface of any structure or building on any private or public property by placing thereon any marking, carving or graffiti. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of the premises to restore any surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.
Foundations. Every foundation and exterior wall shall be reasonably weathertight, rodentproof and insectproof, and the foundation elements shall adequately support the building at all points.
Windows, doors and hatchways. Every window, door and hatchway shall be kept in sound condition, good repair and weathertight. Every window shall be fully supplied with transparent or translucent windowpanes, without cracks or holes, weathertight and kept in good condition and repair. Every window, exterior door and door frame shall be kept in good condition and shall exclude rain and exclude wind from entering the building or structure.
Exterior areas. All exterior property and premises, including all yard areas and dumpster areas, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish, garbage, debris, junk, graffiti, pet fecal matter and/or refuse.
[Amended 2-4-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-03]
Rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from noxious weeds and rank growth of vegetation in excess of eight inches in height. This subsection applies to properties zoned or used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes, including vacant lots in platted subdivisions. Exceptions include gardens, cultivated flower beds, environmentally sensitive areas, and natural landscaping.
[Amended 4-23-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-06; 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
Emergency access road. Each property owner shall maintain a driveway/private road clear and unobstructed for a width of 20 feet as a fire apparatus/emergency vehicle access road.
Vandalism and dilapidation. If it is found upon inspection of any vacated building within the Town that the building is in danger of vandalism and/or dilapidation by the weather or any other reason, the Town shall order the owner to make the building secure against vandalism and/or dilapidation in a workmanlike manner. Any damaged or vacant buildings shall be restored to comply with this chapter within a time set by an enforcement officer of the Town of Grand Chute.
Boarded-up windows. Boarded-up windows shall not be permitted except in the case of fire, natural disaster, or act of God.
Natural landscaping. The purpose of this subsection is to promote the planting and maintenance of natural landscaping. It is in the public's interest to encourage diverse landscaping practices, particularly those that promote native plantings and natural landscapes. When properly implemented and managed, these treatments can increase biodiversity, have a positive effect on soil and water conservation, and be an economical and low maintenance landscaping option. Native plants also provide habitat, food, and shelter for native pollinators. Nothing in this subsection is intended to promote the rank growth of vegetation or noxious weeds. Rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds adversely impact public health and safety, and can decrease adjacent property values. Planned natural landscaping is not intended to allow property owners to ignore proper maintenance duties. It is also not acceptable for property owners to simply stop maintaining the existing turf grass on their property. Implementation of natural landscaping does not preclude the requirements to provide landscaping as identified in § 535-52 of the Town of Grand Chute Municipal Code. In such instances, natural landscaping may be implemented in addition to those requirements.
[Added 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-08]
Establishing natural landscaping. A natural landscaping permit application must be received and approved by the Town before a property owner can implement natural landscaping. Natural landscaping elements are to be planted through transplanting or seeding. Prior to implementing natural landscaping, turf grass and any noxious weeds are to be eliminated.
Required setback. A setback area, consisting of regularly cut turf grass, trees, shrubs, mulch, wood chips or landscape stone must be maintained between the natural landscaping area and an abutting property line. The minimum setback distances are defined as:
Three feet from any adjoining side and rear lot lines. No setback is required on side or rear lot lines if any of the following conditions exist:
Inspection by officers. All officers are authorized to administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. Said officers shall enforce the provisions of this chapter and are authorized and directed to make inspections in response to a complaint or when they have good reason to believe a violation is being committed.
Entrance into property. For the purpose of making an inspection, officers are authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times the exterior portions of all buildings, structures and/or premises. If an officer is denied access to a building, structure or premises he or she may apply to the courts for a special inspection warrant.
Notice of violation.
[Amended 4-23-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-06]
In the event that an officer determines that a building, structure and/or exterior area, excluding rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds, violates or fails to meet the requirements of this chapter, he or she shall issue a notice in writing setting forth the alleged failures or violations and advising the owner, occupant or agent that such failures or violations must be corrected within 30 days of the date of the written notice of violation, unless a written extension is granted by the officer. In determining whether or not to grant an extension, the officer may consider the health of the owner/occupant as it relates to his or her ability to correct the violation in a timely manner, the length of time required to correct the violation, the weather conditions and any other factors which relate to the ability of the owner/occupant to correct the violation within 30 days.
In the event that an officer determines that rank growth of vegetation or noxious weeds violates or fails to meet the requirements of this chapter, he or she shall request that the Weed Commissioner or his designee issue a written notice to the property owner via first-class United States Mail. The property owner or current occupant shall have three days to comply with this chapter. Failure to comply will result in the Town performing the necessary services to bring the property within compliance. The cost of property maintenance services and equipment shall be in accordance with the Town's current fee schedule and equipment charge out rates. All costs of such service and equipment used will be borne by the property owner and may be placed as a lien on the property for a lack of payment.
Penalty. A violation, pursuant to Subsection C above, not corrected within 30 days, or three days in the case of rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds, from the date of the written notice of violation, or within the written time extension granted by the officer if granted, shall be punishable by a fine or forfeiture for each violation committed hereunder, plus reasonable costs of inspection and prosecution. The amount of such fine and forfeiture shall be in accordance with bond and forfeiture schedules in effect for the Town of Grand Chute. Under emergency circumstances, determined by and at the discretion of an officer, whereby a violation puts the public health, safety and/or welfare at an imminent risk of harm, the officer may provide notice and order the violation to be corrected within 24 hours instead of 30 days, or three days in the case of rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds.
[Amended 4-23-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-06]
Each day separate violation.
Each day a violation exists and fails to be corrected within 30 days, or three days in the case of rank growth of vegetation and noxious weeds, of the written notice of violation, or within a written time extension granted by the officer if granted, shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter punishable pursuant to Subsection D above.
Enforcement and penalties set forth in this section shall be in addition to all remedies of injunction, abatement and/or costs whether existing under this chapter or otherwise.
In addition to the penalties set forth herein the Town of Grand Chute may commence a nuisance action in the Outagamie County Circuit Court to abate a violation under this chapter, the Property Maintenance Code.