[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Washington 7-15-1982 by Ord. No. 1300; amended in its entirety 4-24-1986 by Ord. No. 1356 (Ch. 10, Part 7, of the 1986 Code of Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
No person, firm or corporation owning or occupying any property within the City of Washington shall permit the following:
Any grass or weeds or any vegetation whatsoever, not edible or planted for some useful or ornamental purpose, to grow or remain upon such premises so as to exceed a height of six inches or to throw off any unpleasant or noxious odor, or to conceal a filthy deposit, or create or produce pollen which causes extreme illness to others, or to obstruct a pedestrian walkway or vehicle right-of-way.
Any dead trees or limbs, shrubs or vegetation which may harbor insect pests or, by decay, cause destruction to private or public property.
Any grass, weeds or other vegetation growing or dead upon any premises in the City of Washington in violation of any of the provisions of this section is hereby declared to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety, cleanliness and comfort of the City of Washington.
The owner of any premises, or the occupant of premises occupied by other than the owner, shall remove, trim or cut all grass, weeds or other vegetation growing or remaining upon such premises in violation of the provisions in § 342-1.
The Board of Health or the Health Officer, acting as the representative thereof, is hereby authorized to give notice, by personal service or by United States Mail, to the owner or occupant, as the case may be, of any premises whereon grass, weeds or other vegetation is growing or remaining in violation of the provisions of § 342-1 of this chapter, directing and requiring such occupant to remove, trim or cut such grass, weeds or vegetation so as to conform to the requirements of this chapter within 10 days after issuance of such notice. Whenever, in the judgment of the Health Officer, it shall appear to be impracticable to give the notice provided, either because the owner or occupant cannot readily be found or because a search for the owner or occupant would entail unreasonable delay, the Board of Health or the Health Officer, acting as representative thereof, may give notice by posting conspicuously on the property where such nuisance exists a notice or order directing and requiring that such nuisance be abated within 10 days. In case any person, firm or corporation shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with such notice within the period of time stated therein, the Board of Health may order the removal, trimming or cutting of such grass, weeds or vegetation, and the cost thereof, together with a penalty of 10% of the cost thereof, shall be collected by the City of Washington from such person, firm or corporation in the manner provided by law.
The owner or occupant of any premises may appeal before the Board of Health a notification from the Health Officer to remove, trim or cut grass, weeds or vegetation. Application for appeal may be made when it is claimed that the true intent of this chapter has been incorrectly interpreted or the provisions of this chapter do not fully apply. Application for an appeal hearing must be in writing, setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor, and submitted to the Secretary of the Board of Health within 10 days after the notice was served. Appeals shall be heard at the public monthly meeting of the Board of Health, providing that the meeting is not scheduled sooner than five days after the request was received. In such a case, the Board of Health may call a special public meeting to hear the appeal or schedule the appeal for the next monthly meeting.
The applicant shall be notified of hearing date and shall be given the opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. When three members of the Board are not present to consider a specific appeal, either the appellant or the Health Officer may request a postponement. A postponement may also be granted if the appellant has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. The Board shall affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Health Officer by a concurring vote of three members. Every action of the Board shall be a resolution, and certified copies shall be furnished to the appellant and the Health Officer. Failure to secure three concurring votes shall be deemed a confirmation of the decision of the Health Officer, except that the appellant shall be entitled to a further hearing before the full Board if there were not five members present when the vote was taken. The Health Officer shall immediately take action in accordance with the decision of the Board.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Health may apply to the appropriate court of jurisdiction within 15 days after the filing of the Board's decision in the office of the Health Officer.
[Amended 12-7-2006 by Ord. No. 1766]
Any individual, person, firm, corporation or other entity who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon being held liable in any civil proceeding or upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a penalty, fine or charge of no less than $100 nor more than the maximum amount permitted by law, but not to exceed $1,000, and in default of payment or any failure to pay any fine or penalty, upon a summary or other criminal conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days, or both.
Each day that a violation of this chapter shall continue shall constitute a separate offense, subject to the fines, costs, penalties and charges set forth above for each offense.
Nothing herein shall limit, prevent or preclude the City of Washington from taking any and all legal action or exercising any other remedy available to the City by law, including but not limited to the initiation of civil or criminal proceedings or injunctive relief, in order to enforce or ensure compliance with this chapter. As an additional remedy, the City of Washington may abate any nuisance, dangerous or hazardous condition by any means permitted by law, which shall include but not be limited to an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania, for injunctive relief; the use of any City of Washington personnel, equipment and materials or that of an authorized agent or contractor hired by the City to remove or abate any nuisance, dangerous or hazardous condition, and with all costs thereof or related thereto to be charged against the property owner(s) and/or person or entity who has violated the chapter or portion thereof; said costs shall include all actual costs and expenses, including all costs of collection and reasonable administrative costs of the City, incurred in enforcing the provisions of the chapter.