[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of North Codorus 8-16-2011 by Ord. No. 235-08-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the "North Codorus Township Weed Ordinance."
The Township's Board of Supervisors have determined that the unrestrained growth of grass, weeds, and other vegetation (excluding woodland) on residential lots is a nuisance, and that it is necessary to regulate the mowing of residential lots in the Township in order to control the spread of pollen and noxious weed seeds, and to control rodents, snakes, pests, and other undesirable forms of life which develop and live in unattended properties, and that such regulation shall promote the general health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Township.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- RESIDENTIAL LOT
- Every lot on which a dwelling unit as defined in the North Codorus Township Zoning Ordinance has been placed, or which is used as a dwelling lot, and every lot which has been created or subdivided for residential use or development pursuant to the North Codorus Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance or otherwise. For dwellings on lots or tracts which are used for agricultural purposes, the portion of the lot on which the dwelling and structures accessory to the dwelling are located, commonly referred to as the yard, shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter.
- USE FOR AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES
- The use of land for commercial production and/or preparation for market of crops, livestock and livestock products and in the production, harvesting and preparation for market or use of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural and aquacultural crops and commodities. The term includes an enterprise that implements changes in production practices and procedures or types of crops, livestock, livestock products or commodities produced consistent with practices and procedures that are normally engaged in by farmers or are consistent with technological development within the agricultural industry.
- Land which is covered by naturally occurring woods, and from which natural groundcover, including but not limited to leaves, pine needles, or vegetative growth, has not been cleared from the land or, if cleared, has remained in its natural vegetative state, without alteration by the landowner.
No grass, weeds, or other planted or vegetative cover of any residential lot as defined in this chapter shall be permitted at any time to exceed 12 inches in length or height from the surface of the ground. It shall be the obligation of every landowner to mow or cause to be mowed every portion of all grass, weeds, or other planted or vegetative cover before any portion of it reaches 12 inches in length or height, subject to the exceptions in subsection B.
This mowing requirement shall not apply to:
Any residential lot or portion thereof which has been planted with an agricultural crop during the calendar year in question and which has been or will be harvested as an agricultural crop during such calendar year;
Any areas covered by appropriate ground cover (such as crown vetch) planted either for erosion or other control, or for decorative purposes;
Any residential lot or portion occupied by buildings or by woodlands, except that, once cleared, if the cleared area is planted with grass or similar groundcover which is normally intended to be periodically mowed, then such area shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter. It shall be a defense to a violation notice of this chapter if, upon notice of violation, the landowner of unaltered woodlands notifies the Township of his or her intention to allow the woodlands to remain in, or in the case of altered woodlands to revert to, its unaltered or natural state. Any alteration of unaltered woodlands after such notice to the Township, or the failure of the landowner to proceed consistent with the landowner's notice to the Township, shall void such notice, and shall make the landowner subject to the requirements of this chapter."
In the event the owners of a residential lot fail to mow such lot as required by § 184-4 of this chapter, the Township shall have the following rights:
The Township is authorized to, and may, enter onto the property and mowing the property at least the to the length required in § 184-4, without liability by the Township to the landowners for any damages which may occur to the property in the exercise of the Township's rights pursuant to this chapter.
The Township may charge the cost of the mowing, including all staging of set-up charges or fees, plus an additional 10% administrative fee, to the owners of the property, which shall be paid within 10 days after the date of notification of such charges.
Upon failure of the landowners to make payment in full as set out in Subsection A(2), the Township may enter the amount owed, together with all costs, including attorney's fees authorized by statute or ordinance, as a lien on the property, and may collect such lien in any and all manners permitted by law.
At least 10 days prior to exercising its rights pursuant to Subsection A(1), the Township shall notify the landowners as identified in the latest records in the possession of the Township from the York County Tax Assessment Office either personally or by both certified and first class mail that they are in violation of this chapter, and of their obligations as set forth in Subsection A. Such notice shall include:
That the landowners have 10 days from the date of mailing, or from the date of personal service upon the landowners, whichever is applicable, to complete the mowing in accordance with § 184-4 of this chapter;
In addition to the penalties set out in § 184-5A of this chapter, every owner of a residential lot who fails to mow as required by the provisions of this chapter shall be charged with a summary offense, and, upon a finding of guilty by a District Justice of competent jurisdiction, shall be fined $500 for the first offense, $750 for the second offense, and $1,000 for any subsequent offense. For purposes of grading the penalty under this section, an offense shall be defined as the filing of charges by the Township with the Magisterial District Judge (formerly known as District Justice), and shall not require an adjudication by the Magisterial District Judge, except that the acquittal of any landowner by a Magisterial District Judge of charges under this chapter shall not constitute an offense for grading purposes. Voluntary dismissal or withdrawal of any charges under this chapter by the Township shall not constitute an acquittal for grading purposes. Every day that a violation of any provision of this chapter occurs shall be considered a separate and distinct offense, and shall be subject to separate and distinct penalties, except that multiple days of violations may be brought by the Township in one charge or citation, so long as the citation is sufficiently specific as to the dates of such offenses. For purposes of grading under this section, citations from prior years shall be considered as prior offenses, so long as the Township can show evidence that such prior citations were filed against any landowner.