[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Lewiston 11-10-2008 by L.L. No. 1-2008 (Ch. 27 of the 1965 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted in recognition of the fact that the excessive growth of weeds, grass or other plants can constitute both a public and private nuisance. Such accumulations are a source of potential harm to children and others who may find them a nuisance; they constitute a blight on the Town's landscape, destroying the aesthetic qualities of the Town, and are generally unsightly and obvious sources of potential danger. The existence of such accumulations tends to depreciate not only the property on which they are located but also the property or other persons in the neighborhood and in the Town generally. They make the Town a less safe and less pleasant place in which to live and do business.
Certain public and private uses excluded.
The regulations of this chapter shall not be so construed as to limit or interfere with the dedication, development or use of any land or building for public parks, public playgrounds or public schools required for compulsory education; or with the use of land or buildings owned by the United States Government, the State of New York, the County of Niagara and/or the Town of Lewiston and used for governmental purposes; or the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of public utilities; or with any highway or railroad right-of-way existing or thereafter authorized by the State of New York, County of Niagara or the Town of Lewiston.
The intent of the chapter is to establish a legal procedure for removal of unhealthful plants, weeds, grass or other growths on lands in the Town of Lewiston, New York.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein:
- That area of state, county or Town property lying between and adjacent to the street between the curb or the edge of the pavement in absence of curbs and the private property line (generally referred to as the right-of-way).
- The Town of Lewiston, New York.
- Refers to, but is not limited to, any organic growths which constitute a fire, health or safety hazard.
It shall be unlawful for an owner, agent, lessee, tenant or other occupant of said owner to permit, on any lot place or area the size of two acres or less which is owned within the Town, the growth, to a height of over six inches or more of any unhealthful plants, weeds, grass or other growth in any residential zone or parcel abutting any residential zone, as defined in the Town of Lewiston Zoning Law. It shall be the duty of any owner or an agent, lessee or tenant of any premises fronting on any public street to keep the terrace in front of the same in good order and repair. Said duty shall include but not be limited to the cutting and removing of brush, weeds or other unhealthful growth of plants.
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized and empowered to notify the owner, agent, tenant, lessee or occupant of any open or vacant private property within the Town or the agent of such owner, agent, lessee, tenant or other occupant to properly dispose of litter and/or weeds, grass, unhealthful plants or other growths located on such owner's, tenant's, lessee's or occupant's property which is dangerous to public health, safety or welfare or otherwise not in conformity with this chapter after making an inspection thereof. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be directed to the owner of the property or directed to the owner and tenant, agent, lessee or occupant of the property, if the same is occupied, postage prepaid, at their last known post office address or, if not known, as recorded in the Town Assessor's records.
Upon failure, neglect or refusal of any owner, agent, tenant, lessee or occupant, or agent thereof so notified to properly dispose of litter or remove weeds, grass, unhealthful plants or other growths or to object in writing to the Building Department within five days from the date of notice provided for in § 346-4A above, the Building Inspector shall authorize and direct the appropriate Town office, department, or designee to proceed to dispose of such litter and/or cut and remove such weeds. In the event that the owner, agent, tenant, lessee, or occupant or agent shall object in writing within five days, the matter shall be referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which shall review the determination within 30 days from the date of receipt of any written objection. The determination of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be final. The Town shall keep an accurate and itemized account of the expenses incurred for all labor and equipment time, plus a charge of $100 to cover the costs and disbursements and administrative handling. The Building Department shall notify the Town Board of any such violation(s) on a monthly basis.
The Building Department, upon receiving the accounts described in § 346-5A above, shall prepare and collect bills. In the event that collection is not made within 30 days, the Building Department shall forward the unpaid accounts to the Town Assessor, who shall charge the cost of such expenditures against the owner or owners of said property on the next tax bill forwarded to said owner at the time of payment of such bill; or, as the Assessor and/or Building Inspector deem appropriate, immediately file a lien against said property in the County Clerk's Office and provide a filed copy to the owner of record by regular mail and thereafter, within 10 days of service, file an affidavit of service in the County Clerk's office.
The Code Enforcement Officer or any authorized Town employee shall have the right, at reasonable times, upon notification, to enter upon lands within the Town for the purpose of inspection to determine compliance with this section. The right of inspection herein granted shall apply to the exterior of the buildings and grounds only and the owner or tenant, agent, lessee or occupant may require postponement of such inspection for a period of up to 48 hours.
The Town Board reserves the right by resolution to increase fines or charges herein.
Any person committing an offense against any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of violation punishable as follows: by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days or by a fine not exceeding $250 or by both such imprisonment and fine. The continuation of an offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each day the offense is continued, a separate and distinct offense thereunder.