[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Waterford 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 571. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this article, the words set out in this section shall have the following meanings:
- The complete killing of weeds or the killing of plants above the surface of the ground by cutting, at such time and in such manner as will effectually prevent such plants from maturing to the bloom or flower stage, and no later than the time that such weeds and plants reach the height of 12 inches.
- NOXIOUS WEEDS and RANK GROWTH OF VEGETATION
- Includes the following:
- A. Canada thistle, leafy spurge, field bindweed (creeping Jenny), quackgrass, purple loosestrife, multiflora rose and any other weed that the State of Wisconsin declares to be noxious.
- B. Any weed, grass or similar plant growth that, if allowed to pollinate, would cause or produce hay fever in human beings or would cause a skin rash through contact with the skin.
- C. Grass or vegetation exceeding 12 inches in height, or the accumulation of dead weeds, grass or brush. Such rank growth of grass and vegetation or accumulation of dead weeds, grass or brush may constitute a fire hazard or allow debris to be hidden, affecting the public safety, and may adversely affect property values of other land within the Village. Trees, shrubbery and garden areas that are reasonably maintained are not included in this definition.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant or occupant of land to permit or maintain noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation on such land. It shall be unlawful to allow or permit any growth of noxious weeds or vegetation to a height greater than 12 inches.
This section shall not apply to natural areas, which shall be defined as densely wooded areas, wetlands, marshes, floodplains or Village-approved conservancy areas, or on certain DNR land exempted under Wis. Stats. § 66.0407(5). Stormwater pond areas are exempted as to the length of the grass if the grass conforms to the approved plans for the stormwater pond, but noxious weeds shall be controlled.
The Village Clerk 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 weeds and rank growth of vegetation on lands in the Village which he or she owns, occupies or controls. The notice shall also state that, in the event that noxious weeds and rank growth of vegetation are not destroyed, the Village may destroy the noxious weeds and rank growth of vegetation, and the costs will be charged to the land, and, in addition, citations for failure to comply with this requirement may be issued.
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the provisions of Wis. Stats. §§ 66.0407 and 66.0517 and the Village's power to act for the health, safety and welfare of the public set forth in Wis. Stats. § 61.34.
This chapter shall be administered by the Director of Public Works, who shall be the Weed Commissioner as set forth in Wis. Stats. § 66.0517 and who shall enforce the provisions of Wis. Stats. §§ 66.0407 and 66.0517 and the provisions of this chapter. The Weed Commissioner may appoint designees to assist in the duties set forth in this chapter.
The Weed Commissioner is authorized to destroy noxious weeds pursuant to Wis. Stats. § 66.0517, which provides that if a person neglects to destroy noxious weeds as required under Wis. Stats. § 66.0407(3), the Weed Commissioner shall destroy, or have destroyed, the noxious weeds in the most economical manner, and that a Weed Commissioner may enter upon any lands that are not exempt under Wis. Stats. § 66.0407(5) and cut or otherwise destroy noxious weeds without being liable to an action for trespass or any other action for damages resulting from the entry and destruction, if reasonable care is exercised.
The Weed Commissioner or his or her designee shall carefully investigate concerns regarding the existence of noxious weeds within the borders of the Village of Waterford which are brought to his or her attention. The Weed Commissioner shall respond to complaints within a reasonable period of time.
If a person violates the provisions of § 95-2, the Weed Commissioner shall document in the file and photograph the violation, and send a notice via priority mail with delivery confirmation to the property owner at the owner's address as listed in the property tax records.
The notice shall identify the property and the violation, shall demand that the noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation be destroyed within 10 days from the date of the notice, and the property shall be kept in conformance, and shall advise that failure to correct the problem will result in the destruction or removal of the noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation by the Village, and that all of the costs incurred by the Village shall be billed to the property owner as a special tax.
The notice shall advise that violation of this chapter may result in the issuance of citations and the imposition of forfeitures.
Additional notice is not required for second and subsequent violations occurring within the same calendar year as the first violation of this chapter.
After 10 days, the property shall be reinspected to determine if the noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation are destroyed, and the results of the inspection shall be documented in the file, along with photographic evidence of a violation. If the noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation are still present, the Weed Commissioner shall arrange for the noxious weeds or rank growth of vegetation to be removed by a contracted cutter as soon as reasonably possible. For second and subsequent violations, the Weed Commissioner shall document the violation as set forth above, notify the Police Department of the violation, and request that citations be issued to the property owner for each day the violation continues. The Weed Commissioner shall also arrange for the weeds or other rank growth of vegetation to be removed by a contracted cutter as soon as reasonably possible.
The Weed Commissioner will forward the Village's costs of cutting the property to the Village Treasurer, who shall bill the property owner for the work, together with an administrative fee to recover the Village's costs for enforcing this chapter, in an amount set by the Village Board. If the bill is not paid within 30 days, it shall become a lien on the property, and if not paid by October 15, the Treasurer shall place the billed amount, plus an additional ten-percent administrative fee to recover the Village's additional costs, on the tax roll as a special charge upon the property where the noxious weeds or other rank growth of vegetation were destroyed pursuant to Wis. Stats. § 66.0627.
Any person who is aggrieved by a notice of violation and order to remove the violation under this chapter may appeal to the Village Board by providing notice of the appeal to the Village Clerk within 10 days of the written notice of violation. The Board, after a hearing, may reverse, affirm or modify the order of the Weed Commissioner upon notice to the appellant, and to that end shall have all of the powers of the Weed Commissioner. The Weed Commissioner shall not remove or arrange for the removal of the violation while the appeal is pending.