[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Marion as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Brush, Grass and Weeds
Article II Junked Vehicles and Appliances
[Adopted 7-22-1993 as Secs. 8-1-4 to 8-1-6 of the 1993 Code]
The City Clerk-Treasurer shall annually on or before May 15 publish as required by state law a notice that every person is required by law to destroy all noxious weed on lands in the City which he owns, occupies or controls. A joint notice with other towns or municipalities may be utilized.
If the owner or occupant shall neglect to destroy any weeds as required by such notice, then the Weed Commissioner of the City shall give five days' written notice by mail to the owner or occupant of any lands upon which the weeds shall be growing to the effect that said Weed Commissioner, after the expiration of the five-day period, will proceed to destroy or cause to be destroyed all such weeds growing upon said lands and that the cost thereof will be assessed as a tax upon the lands upon which such weeds are located under the provisions of § 66.0407, Wis. Stats. In case the owner or occupant shall further neglect to comply within such five-day notice, then the Weed Commissioner shall destroy such weeds or cause them to be destroyed in the manner deemed to be the most economical method, and the expense thereof, including the cost of billing and other necessary administrative expenses, shall be charged against such lots and be collected as a special tax thereon.
As provided for in § 66.0407, Wis. Stats., the City shall require that all noxious weeds shall be destroyed prior to the time in which such plants would mature to the bloom or flower state. The growth of noxious weeds in excess of eight inches in height from the ground surface shall be prohibited within the City corporate limits. "Noxious weeds" shall include any weed, grass or similar plant growth which, if allowed to pollinate, would cause or produce hayfever in human beings or would cause a skin rash through contact with the skin.
Noxious weeds, as defined in this section and in § 481-3, shall include but not be limited to the following:
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle).
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed).
Ambrosia trifida (great ragweed).
Euphorbia esula (leafy spurge).
Convolvulus arvensis (creeping jenny) (field bindweed).
Tragopogon dubius (goat's beard).
Rhus radicans (poison ivy).
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle).
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip).
Arctium minus (burdock).
Xanthium strumarium (cocklebur).
Amaranthus retroflexus (pigweed).
Chenopodium album (common lambsquarter).
Rumex crispus (curled dock).
Cannabis sativa (hemp).
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain).
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- NATURAL LAWN
- Includes common species of grass and wildflowers native to North America which are designed and purposely cultivated to exceed eight inches in height from the ground. Specifically excluded in natural lawns are the noxious grasses and weeds identified in § 481-1 of this article.
- NATURAL LAWN MANAGEMENT PLAN
- A written plan relating to the management and maintenance of a lawn which contains a legal description of the lawn upon which the planted grass will exceed eight inches in length, a statement of intent and purpose for the lawn, a detailed description of the vegetational types, plants and plant succession involved, and the specific management and maintenance techniques to be employed.
- NEIGHBORING PROPERTY OWNERS
- All those property owners who are located within 300 feet of the proposed natural lawn site.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- Includes the legal title holder and/or the beneficial owner of any such lot according to the most current City records.
Plan and permit required. The growth of a natural lawn in excess of eight inches in height from the ground surface shall be prohibited within the City corporate limits unless a natural lawn management plan is approved and a permit is issued by the City as set forth in this section. Natural lawns shall not contain litter or debris and shall not harbor undesirable wildlife.
Property owners who wish to plant and cultivate a natural lawn must submit their written plan and related information on the form provided by the City. Natural lawn management plans shall only indicate the planting and cultivating of natural lawns on property legally owned by the property owner. Applicants are strictly prohibited from developing a natural lawn on any City-owned property, including the street right-of-way. This shall include at a minimum property located between the sidewalk and the street, or a strip not less than 10 feet adjacent to the street where there is no sidewalk, whether the area is under public or private ownership. In addition, natural lawns shall not be permitted within 10 feet of the abutting property owner's property unless waived in writing by the abutting property owner on the side so affected. Such waiver is to be affixed to the natural lawn management plan.
Any subsequent property owner who abuts an approved natural lawn may revoke the waiver, thereby requiring the owner of the natural lawn to remove the natural lawn that is located in the ten-foot section abutting the neighboring property owner. Such revocation shall be put in writing and presented to the City Clerk-Treasurer by the subsequent abutting property owner. The Common Council shall revise the approved natural lawn permit accordingly. The owner of the approved natural lawn shall be required to remove the ten-foot section abutting the neighboring property owner within 20 days of receipt of the written notification from the City, provided that the notification is received sometime between May 1 and November 1. Property owners who receive notification from the City between November 1 and April 30 shall be required to remove the ten-foot section abutting the neighboring property owner no later than May 20 following receipt of the notification.
Property owners interested in applying for permission to establish a natural lawn shall obtain and complete an application form available from the City Clerk-Treasurer. The completed application shall include a natural lawn management plan. Upon submitting a completed application, a nonrefundable filing fee set by the Common Council will be assessed by the City. Upon receiving payment, copies of the completed application shall be mailed by the City to each of the owners of record, as listed in the office of the City Assessor, who are owners of the property situated wholly or in part within 300 feet of the boundaries of the property for which the application is made. If within 15 calendar days of mailing the copies of the complete application to the neighboring property owners the City receives written objections from 51% or more of the neighboring property owners, the City Clerk-Treasurer shall immediately deny the application.
If the property owner's application is in full compliance with the natural lawn management plan requirements and less than 51% of the neighboring property owners provide written objections, the City Clerk-Treasurer shall issue permission to install a natural lawn.
Application for appeal. The property owner may appeal the Clerk-Treasurer's decision to deny the natural lawn permit request to the Common Council at an open meeting. All applications for appeal shall be submitted within 15 calendar days of the notice of denial of the natural lawn permit. The decision rendered by the Common Council shall be final and binding.
Safety precautions for natural grass areas.
When, in the opinion of the Chief of the Fire Department serving the City of Marion, the presence of a natural lawn may constitute a fire or safety hazard due to weather and/or other conditions, the Fire Chief may order the cutting of natural lawns to a safe condition. As a condition of receiving approval of the natural lawn permit, the property owner shall be required to cut the natural lawn within three days upon receiving written direction from the Fire Chief.
Natural lawns shall not be removed through the process of burning unless stated and approved as one of the management and maintenance techniques in the natural lawn management plan. The Fire Chief shall review all requests to burn natural lawns and shall determine if circumstances are correct and all applicable requirements have been fulfilled to ensure public safety. Burning of natural lawns shall be strictly prohibited unless a written permit to burn is issued by the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief shall establish a written list of requirements for considering each request to burn natural lawns, thereby ensuring the public safety. In addition, the property owner requesting permission to burn the natural lawn shall produce evidence of property damage and liability insurance identifying the City as a third-party insured. A minimum amount of acceptable insurance shall be $300,000.
Revocation of permit. The Mayor, upon the recommendation of the Weed Commissioner, shall have the authority to revoke an approved natural lawn permit if the owner fails to maintain the natural lawn or comply with the provisions set forth in this section. Notice of intent to revoke an approved natural lawn permit shall be appealable to the Common Council. All applications for appeal shall be submitted within 15 calendar days of receipt of the written notice of intent to revoke the approved natural lawn permit. Failure to file an application for appeal within 15 calendar days shall result in the revoking of the natural lawn permit. All written applications for appeal filed within the fifteen-calendar-day requirement shall be reviewed by the Common Council in an open meeting. The decision rendered by the Common Council shall be final and binding.
Public nuisance defined; abatement after notice.
The growth of a natural lawn as defined in this section shall be considered a public nuisance unless a natural lawn management plan has been filed and approved and a permit is issued by the City as set forth in this section. Violators shall be served with a notice of public nuisance by certified mail to the last known mailing address of the property owner.
If the person so served with a notice of public nuisance violation does not abate the nuisance within 10 days, the enforcement officer may proceed to abate such nuisance, keeping an account of the expense of the abatement, and such expense shall be charged to and paid by such property owner. Notice of the bill for abatement of the public nuisance shall be mailed to the owner of the premises and shall be payable within 10 calendar days from receipt thereof. Within 60 days after such costs and expenses are incurred and remain unpaid, the City Clerk-Treasurer shall enter those charges onto the tax roll as a special tax as provided by state statute.
The failure of the City Clerk-Treasurer to record such claim or to mail such notice or the failure of the owner to receive such notice shall not affect the right to place the City expense on the tax rolls for unpaid bills for abating the public nuisance as provided for in this section.
Any person, firm or corporation who or which does not abate the nuisance within the required time period or who or which otherwise violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to the general penalty found in § 1-4 of this Code.
In addition to any penalties herein provided, the City may issue stop-work orders upon owners of lots where work is unfinished under a previously issued building permit for any violation of this section.
Purpose. This section is adopted due to the unique nature of the problems associated with lawns, grasses and noxious weeds being allowed to grow to excessive length in the City of Marion.
Public nuisance declared. The Common Council finds that lawns, grasses and noxious weeds on nonagricultural lots or parcels of land, as classified under Chapter 625, Zoning, of this Code, within the City of Marion which exceed eight inches in length adversely affect the public health and safety of the public in that they tend to emit pollen and other discomforting bits of plants, constitute a fire hazard and a safety hazard in that debris can be hidden in the grass, interfere with the public convenience and adversely affect property values of other land within the City. For that reason, any nonagricultural lawn, grass or weed on a lot or other parcel of land which exceeds eight inches in length is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, except for property located in a designated floodplain area and/or wetland area or where the lawn, grass or weed is part of a natural lawn approved pursuant to § 481-2 above.
Nuisances prohibited. No person, firm or corporation shall permit any public nuisance as defined in Subsection B above to remain on any premises owned or controlled by him within the City.
Inspection. The Weed Commissioner or his designee shall inspect or cause to be inspected all premises and places within the City to determine whether any public nuisance as defined in Subsection B above exists.
Abatement of nuisance.
The notice shall be served at least five days prior to the date of the hearing and shall be mailed to or served on the owner of the lot or parcel of land or, if he is not known and there is a tenant occupying the property, then on the tenant, of the time and place at which the hearing will be held.
Due process hearing. If the owner believes that his grasses or weeds are not a nuisance, he may request a hearing before the Common Council. The request for said hearing must be made in writing to the City Clerk-Treasurer's office within the five days set forth in the Weed Commissioner's notice. Upon application for the hearing, the property owner must deposit a bond of $25. If a decision is rendered in the property owner's favor, the $25 will be returned to the property owner. If the property owner fails to appear for the hearing or if the decision is rendered against the property owner, the deposit shall be forfeited and applied to the cost of City personnel abating the nuisance, if necessary. When a hearing is requested by the owner of the property, a hearing by the Common Council shall be held within seven days from the date of the owner's request. The property in question will not be mowed by the City until such time as the hearing is held by the Council. At the hearing, the owner may appear in person or by his attorney, may present witnesses in his own behalf and may cross-examine witnesses presented by the City as well as subpoena witnesses for his own case. At the close of the hearing, the Common Council shall make its determination in writing specifying its findings, facts, and conclusions. If the Common Council determines that a public nuisance did exist, the Council shall order the Weed Commissioner to mow the property in question, unless the property has been mowed by the owner within 48 hours of the Common Council's decision. If the owner does not abate the nuisance within the prescribed 48 hours, the Weed Commissioner shall cause the same nuisance to be abated and cost in excess of the forfeited fee assessed accordingly.
City's option to abate nuisance. In any case where the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property shall fail to cut his lawn, grass or weeds as set forth above, then and in that event the City may elect to cut said lawn, grass or weeds as follows:
The written notice required in Subsection E shall inform said person that in the event of his failure to abate the nuisance within the prescribed time the City shall abate the same and the cost thereof shall be assessed to the property owner as a special charge.
The City shall cut or cause to be cut all grass and weeds from the subject's property and shall charge the expenses of so doing at a rate as established by resolution by the Common Council. The charges shall be set forth in a statement to the City Clerk-Treasurer who, in turn, shall mail the same to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the subject premises. If said statement is not paid in full within 30 days thereafter, the City Clerk-Treasurer shall enter the charges in the tax roll as a special tax against said lot or parcel of land, and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate or as provided under § 66.0907(3)(f), Wis. Stats.
[Adopted 7-22-1993 as Sec. 10-5-8 of the 1993 Code]
No disassembled, inoperable, unlicensed, junked or wrecked motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, trailers, farm machinery, vehicle parts or tires, or appliances shall be stored upon private residential property or unenclosed within a building upon nonresidential property within the City of Marion for a period exceeding 10 days unless it is in connection with an authorized business enterprise located in a properly zoned area maintained in such a manner as to not constitute a public nuisance.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DISASSEMBLED, INOPERABLE, JUNKED OR WRECKED MOTOR VEHICLES, TRUCK BODIES, TRACTORS OR TRAILERS
- Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, farm machinery or trailers in such state of physical or mechanical ruin as to be incapable of propulsion or being operated upon the public streets or highways or which are otherwise not in safe or legal condition for operation on public streets or highways due to missing or inoperative parts, flat or removed tires, expired or missing license plates or other defects.
- INOPERABLE APPLIANCE
- Any stove, washer, refrigerator or other appliance which is no longer operable in the sense for which it was manufactured.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- As defined in § 340.01(35), Wis. Stats.
- UNLICENSED MOTOR VEHICLES, TRUCK BODIES, TRACTORS OR TRAILERS
- Motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, recreational vehicles or trailers which do not bear lawful current license plates.
This article shall not apply to any motor vehicle or motor vehicle accessories stored within an enclosed building or on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner in a properly zoned area when necessary to the operation of such business enterprise, in a storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner, or seasonal use vehicles such as snowmobiles, motorcycles, motor scooters and nonmotorized campers, provided that such vehicles are stored in compliance with the ordinances of the City. Also excepted are motor vehicles registered pursuant to §§ 341.265 and 341.266, Wis. Stats. In other situations the Common Council may issue temporary permits permitting an extension of not to exceed an additional 30 days' time to comply with this article where exceptional facts and circumstances warrant such extension.
Whenever the Police Department shall find any vehicles, vehicle parts or tires, or appliances, as described herein, placed or stored in the open upon private property within the City, it shall notify the owner of said property on which said vehicle or appliance is stored of the violation of this article. If said vehicle, part thereof or appliance is not removed within five days, the Police Department shall cause to be issued a citation to the property owner or tenant of the property upon which said vehicle or appliance is stored.
If such vehicle or appliance in not removed within 20 days after issuance of a citation, the Chief of Police shall cause the vehicle or appliance to be removed and impounded, and it shall thereafter be disposed of as prescribed in §§ 568-3 through 568-6 by the Chief of Police or his duly authorized representative. Any cost incurred in the removal and sale of said vehicle or appliance shall be recovered from the owner. However, if the owner of the vehicle or appliance cannot readily be found, the cost of such removal shall be charged to the property from which it is removed, which charges shall be entered as a special charge on the tax roll.
Any person who shall interfere with the enforcement of any of the provisions of this article and shall be found guilty thereof shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-4 of this Code. Each motor vehicle or appliance involved shall constitute a separate offense.