City of Aberdeen, MD
Harford County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Aberdeen 1-10-2000 by Ord. No. 564-99 (Ch. 109 of the 1990 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarms — See Ch. 190.
Animals — See Ch. 196.
Environmental control — See Ch. 250.
Firearms — See Ch. 263.
Littering — See Ch. 344.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 413.
A. 
The Mayor and City Council find that:
(1) 
Illegal activities or behavior of persons on properties within the City can constitute public and private nuisances.
(2) 
To maintain the public health, safety and welfare, the City must abate nuisance-creating conditions existing on properties.
(3) 
Owners of properties within the City must be responsible to monitor their properties and to take timely and appropriate action if a nuisance exists thereon, whether that nuisance is created by existing physical conditions or by nuisance-creating behaviors. Such nuisances can be avoided with adequate property management.
B. 
The City deems it necessary to set forth and enforce minimum standards relating to the management of residential and commercial properties to protect the public health, safety and welfare and to provide a remedy which will permit the City or private persons to take effective action against property owners on whose property nuisances occur, in order to compel such owners to abate the nuisances.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply generally to all property throughout the City of Aberdeen wherein any of the nuisances hereinafter specified are found to exist; provided, however, that any condition which would constitute a violation of this chapter but which is duly authorized under any City, state or federal law shall not be deemed to violate this chapter.
A. 
Every owner of real property within the City is required to manage the property in a manner so as not to create or allow a public nuisance or to have an adverse impact on adjoining properties or the neighborhood or to violate the provisions of this Code. The owner shall remain liable for violations thereof regardless of any contract or agreement with any third party regarding the property.
B. 
Every building or unit within a building used for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, delivering, selling, storing or giving away any controlled substance, and every building or unit within a building wherein or upon which such acts take place, is a nuisance which shall be enjoined, abated and prevented, whether it is a public or private nuisance.
C. 
As used in the chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADVERSE IMPACT
Includes consideration of, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Any search warrants served on the property where controlled substances were seized;
(2) 
Investigative purchases of controlled substances on or near the property by law enforcement or their agents;
(3) 
Arrests of persons who frequent the property for violation of controlled substances laws;
(4) 
Increased volume of traffic associated with the property; and
(5) 
The number of complaints made to law enforcement of illegal activity associated with the property.
BUILDING
Includes, but is not limited to, any structure or any separate part or portion thereof, whether permanent or not, or the ground itself.
It is hereby declared a public nuisance for any person, firm or corporation, whether owner, lessor, lessee, sublessor, sublessee or occupant of any premises in this City, to permit those premises to be used in such a manner as to constitute a public nuisance or create an adverse impact on adjoining properties or the surrounding neighborhood that any one or more of the activities described in the following subsections are found to occur thereon:
A. 
The illegal sale of controlled substances and other illegal drugs and substances which creates a public nuisance.
B. 
The illegal use of controlled substances and other illegal drugs and substances which creates a public nuisance.
C. 
Increased volume of traffic associated with the property and/or arrests of persons who frequent the property for violation of controlled substance laws.
D. 
Prostitution.
E. 
The firing of gunshots or brandishing of weapons by a resident or by a guest of a resident.
F. 
The occurrence of criminal activity which threatens life, health, safety or welfare of the residents, neighbors or the public.
G. 
"Nuisance" which includes a property (including a mobile home) that is used:
(1) 
By persons who assemble for the specific purpose of illegally administering a controlled dangerous substance;
(2) 
For the illegal manufacture or distribution of:
(a) 
A controlled dangerous substance; or
(b) 
Controlled paraphernalia, as defined in § 5-101 of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(3) 
For the illegal storage or concealment of a controlled dangerous substance in sufficient quantity to reasonably indicate under all the circumstances an intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense:
(a) 
A controlled dangerous substance; or
(b) 
Controlled paraphernalia, as defined in § 5-101 of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
H. 
Maintains property in such a manner so as to create adverse impact on adjoining properties or surrounding neighborhoods.
A. 
The City or any person affected by a public nuisance described in this Code may bring a civil action for injunctive relief to abate the nuisance against any owner who violates this Code, provided that the City has given the owner or the owner's agent(s) written notice to abate said nuisance. Notification shall be sent by certified mail or hand delivered by a law enforcement official and shall describe in detail the adverse impact associated with the property on the surrounding neighborhood. The owner of the property shall have a maximum of 45 days from the date the notice is received to abate the nuisance before a formal complaint is filed with the court; provided, however, that if the violation cannot be abated within the time period specified, the Mayor and City Council may extend the time period for compliance for a reasonable period of time upon submission of an acceptable abatement plan by the property owner or the property owner's agent. In determining whether the abatement plan is acceptable, consideration by the Mayor and Council shall include but shall not be limited to:
(1) 
The sufficiency and dates of all actions undertaken to abate the nuisance;
(2) 
The sufficiency of a plan detailing further actions which are needed to abate the nuisance; and
(3) 
The length of time necessary to complete the abatement of the nuisance.
B. 
Any complaint filed under this chapter shall be accompanied by an affidavit for purposes of showing that the owner or his or her agent has had an opportunity to abate the nuisance, including time extensions, if any. The affidavit shall contain a description of all attempts to notify and locate the owner of the property or the owner's agent.
The City or other person shall have the following remedy:
A. 
Failure to abate the nuisance within the time period specified by this chapter, including any extensions, if any, shall be subject to an application for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. The court may, upon a showing of good cause, issue an ex parte restraining order or preliminary injunction preventing the defendant and all other persons from removing or in any manner interfering with the personal property and contents of the place where the nuisance is alleged to exist and may grant such preliminary relief as is necessary to prevent the continuance or recurrence of the nuisance pending the decision; the stock-in-trade may not be so restrained, but an inventory and full accounting of all business transactions may be required. Any violation of the order or injunction is a contempt of court, and where such order or injunction is posted, mutilation or removal thereof while the same remains in force is a contempt of court if such posted order or injunction contains a notice to that effect.
B. 
If the existence of the nuisance is established in the action, an order of abatement shall be entered as part of the final judgment in the case. Plaintiffs costs in the action, including those of abatement, shall constitute a lien upon the building or unit within a building. The lien is enforceable and collectible by execution issued by order of the court.
C. 
If the court finds that the owner has been making reasonable efforts to abate the nuisance, has not been guilty of contempt of court in the proceedings, and will immediately abate any such nuisance that may exist at the building or unit within a building and prevent it from being a nuisance within a period of one year thereafter, the court may order the building or unit within a building to be delivered to the owner, and no order of abatement shall be entered. If the owner meets the requirements of this subsection, the order of abatement shall be canceled.
Any final order of abatement issued under this chapter shall:
A. 
Direct removal of all personal property subject to seizure and forfeiture from the building or unit within a building and direct its disposition;
B. 
Provide for the immediate closure of the building or unit within a building against its use for any purpose and for keeping it closed for such period of time as the court may determine; and
C. 
State that while the order of abatement remains in effect the building or unit within a building shall remain in the custody of the court.
The provisions of this chapter are intended to be supplementary to all of the other provisions of the City Code and state law, and all remedies set forth herein shall be cumulative to other remedies which may be available under the City Code or state law.
Upon adoption of this chapter, all written leases, rental contracts and agreements that give individuals or groups of individuals the right or privilege to occupy real property for the purpose of using such property as a residence, dwelling, refuge or shelter shall contain the following provision:
"The City of Aberdeen has adopted a Property Nuisance Abatement Ordinance which states it is a public nuisance for any person, firm, or corporation, whether owner, lessor, lessee, sublessor, sublessee or occupant of any premises in this City, to permit those premises to be used in such a manner so as to create an adverse impact on adjoining properties or the surrounding neighborhood.
'Adverse impact' includes consideration of, but is not limited to, the following: Any search warrants served on the property where controlled substances were seized; investigative purchases of controlled substances on or near the property by law enforcement or their agents; arrests of persons who frequent the property for violation of controlled substances laws, increased volume of traffic associated with the property; and the number of complaints made to law enforcement of illegal activity associated with the property.
It shall be a violation of this agreement and grounds for eviction if any of the adverse impact offenses occur as a result of activity on this property."