[Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pittsfield 5-13-1997 as §§ 3.401 to 3.403 of the 1997 Code; amended in its entirety 3-13-2018. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
No person shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain or permit to exist any public nuisance within the Town of Pittsfield.
A public nuisance is a thing, act, occupation, condition or use of property which shall continue for such length of time as to:
Substantially annoy, injure, or endanger the comfort, health, repose or safety of the public.
In any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property.
Greatly offend the public morals of decency.
Unlawfully and substantially interfere with, obstruct, or tend to obstruct or render dangerous for passage any street, alley, highway, navigable body of water or public way.
Any condition or use of premises or of building exteriors which is detrimental to the property of others or which causes or tends to cause substantial diminution on the value of the property in the neighborhood in which such premises are located.
No person shall throw or deposit any weeds, sod, brush, cans, garbage, or rubbish on or along any highway, or upon the lands of another within the limits of the Town, except that it shall be lawful to dump any such material in or upon any public dumping grounds duly designated as such by the Town Board so long as any such dumping is done in full compliance with any applicable rules and regulations.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and things are hereby specifically declared to be public nuisances affecting health but shall not be construed to exclude other health nuisances coming within the definition of § 179- 2 of this chapter:
All decayed, harmfully adulterated, or unwholesome food or drink sold or offered for sale to the public.
Carcasses of animals, birds, or fowl not buried or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner within 24 hours of death.
Accumulations of decayed animal or vegetable matter, trash, rubbish, rotting lumber, bedding, packing material, scrap metal or any material in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rats or other vermin breed.
All stagnant water in which mosquitoes, flies, or other insects can multiply.
Garbage cans which are not flytight.
All noxious weeds and other rank growth of vegetation.
All animals running at large.
The escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash, or industrial dust within the Town of such quantities as to endanger the health of persons of ordinary sensibilities or to threaten or cause substantial injury to property.
The pollution of any public well or cistern, stream, lake, canal or body of water by sewage, creamery or industrial wastes, refuse, garbage or other substance.
Any use of property, substances, or things within the Town emitting or causing any foul, offensive, noisome, nauseous, noxious, or disagreeable odors, or stenches extremely repulsive to the physical senses of ordinary persons which annoy, discomfort, injure or inconvenience the health of any appreciable number of persons with the Town.
All abandoned wells not securely covered or secured from public use.
Any obstruction in or across any watercourse, drainage ditch or swale.
The deposit of garbage, refuse, or any offensive substance on any public or private property except as may be permitted by ordinance.
Junked vehicles. Disassembled, dismantled, partially dismantled, inoperable, junked, wrecked, or unlicensed motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, trailers, boats or campers, exempting farm equipment on land used for agricultural purposes, in such state of physical or mechanical ruin as to be incapable of propulsion or of being operated upon the public streets, highways, or waters. See § 179-3.1 herein.
Definitions. In this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, company, or organization of any kind that owns or leases real estate in the Town.
- Any real property within the Town which is not a street or highway.
- STREET and HIGHWAY
- The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.
- A machine propelled by power other than human power and shall include without limitation automobiles, trucks, ATV, snowmobile, and motorcycles, whether operable or inoperable.
Nuisance vehicles. No vehicles shall be allowed to remain outside a closed building upon public or private property within the Town for a period in excess of six months unless it is in connection with a duly authorized business enterprise in a properly zoned area.
Abandonment of vehicles. No person shall abandon any vehicle within the Town, and no person shall leave any vehicle at any place within the Town for such time and under such circumstances as to cause such vehicle to appear to have been abandoned.
Wrecked vehicles on street. No person shall leave any partially dismantled, nonoperating, wrecked, or junked vehicles on the street or highway within the Town.
Public property and streets. If any Town Board Member, Zoning Administrator, or police officer finds any vehicle placed or stored upon public property or on a public street or highway in violation of this section, such vehicle shall be removed to a junk or salvage yard and stored there for 30 days or until claimed by the owner, whichever is sooner. Unclaimed vehicles shall be disposed of in accordance with state law.
If any Town Board Member, Zoning Administrator, or police officer finds any vehicle placed or stored upon private property in violation of this chapter, the owner of such property shall be given notice by certified mail or personal service (in the event of inability to mail or personally serve, said notice may published twice in a local newspaper) to remove the same within seven days of delivery of said notice. If such vehicle is not removed within the time specified, the Town Board Member, Zoning Administrator, or police officer shall issue a violation notice to the owner of the property upon which the vehicle is placed or stored.
The owner of any property on which a vehicle is stored or permitted to remain in violation of this chapter, as well as the owner of the vehicle, shall be jointly and severally liable for violations of this section.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things are hereby specifically declared to be public nuisances offending public morals and decency, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances offending public morals and decency coming with the definition of § 179-2 of this chapter:
All disorderly houses, bawdy houses, houses of ill fame, gambling houses, and buildings or structures kept or restored to for the purpose of prostitution, promiscuous sexual intercourse, total nudity, or gambling.
All gambling devices and slot machines.
All places where intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages are sold, brewed, bottled, manufactured, or rectified without a permit or license as provided by the Town.
Any place or premises where Town ordinances or state laws relating to public health, safety, peace, morals or welfare are openly, continuously, repeatedly, and intentionally violated.
Any place or premises resorted to for the purpose of drinking intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages in violation of the laws of the State of Wisconsin or the ordinances of the Town.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things are hereby declared to be public nuisances affecting peace and safety, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances affecting public peace or safety coming within the provisions of § 179-2 of this chapter:
All ice and snow not removed from the public sidewalks with 24 hours after it has ceased to fall thereon.
All signs and billboards, awnings, and other similar structures over or near streets, sidewalks, public grounds or places frequented by the public so situated or constructed as to endanger the public safety.
All buildings erected, repaired or altered within the fire limits of the Town in violation of the provisions of the ordinances of the Town relating to materials and manner of construction of buildings and structures within said district.
All unauthorized signs, signals, markings, or devices which purport to be, or may be mistaken as, official traffic control devices placed or maintained upon or in view of the public highway or railway crossing.
All trees, hedges, billboards or other obstructions which prevent persons driving vehicles on public streets, alleys, or highways from obtaining a clear view of traffic when approaching an intersection or pedestrian crosswalk.
All limbs of trees which project over a public sidewalk less the eight feet above the surface thereof or less than 10 feet over the surface of a public street.
All uses or display of fireworks except as provided by the laws of the State of Wisconsin and ordinances of the Town.
All buildings or structures so old, dilapidated or out of repair so as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise unfit for human use.
All wires over streets, alleys or public grounds which are strung less than 15 feet above the surface of the street or ground.
The obstruction of streets, alleys, sidewalks or crosswalks and all excavations in or under the same, except as permitted by ordinances of the Town, or which, although made in accordance with such ordinances, are kept or maintained for an unreasonable length of time after the purpose thereof has been accomplished.
All open and unguarded pits, wells, excavations, or unused basements freely accessible from any public street, alley, or sidewalk.
All abandoned refrigerators or iceboxes from which the doors and other covers have not been removed or which cannot be opened by pushing from the inside by a small child.
Any unauthorized or unlawful use of property abutting on a public street, alley or sidewalk or of a public street, alley or sidewalk which causes large crowds of people to gather, obstructing traffic and free use of the streets or sidewalks.
Repeated or continuous violations of the ordinances of the Town or laws of the State of Wisconsin relative to the storage of flammable liquids.
Any structure, material or condition which constitutes a fire hazard or will impair extinguishing of any fires.
Any and all excavations, including basements, which have been abandoned or for which a building permit has become null and void, or which permit has been revoked by the Zoning Administrator.
All loud and unusual noises or annoying vibrations, which offend the peace and quiet of persons of ordinary sensibilities.
All trees which are a menace to public safety or are the cause of substantial annoyance to the general public.
Any authorized or unlawful use of property abutting on a public street, alley or sidewalk of a public street, alley, or sidewalk which causes large crowds of people to gather, obstructing traffic and free use of the streets or sidewalks.
Any nuisance so defined by the Wisconsin Statutes.
Dense smoke. The emission of dense smoke from the smokestack of any engine or from the smokestack or chimney of any building within the Town is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and is prohibited.
Furnace or stationary engine. The owner, lessee, or occupant of any building or the fireman, engineer, or any other person having charge or control of any furnace or stationary engine who shall cause, permit or allow dense smoke to issue or to be emitted from the smokestack or chimney connected with any such furnace of stationary engine within the Town shall be guilty of creating a public nuisance and of violating the provisions of this section.
All soot prohibited. The emission of soot, cinders, or coal dust from any chimney, stack, furnace, or from any building within the Town is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and is prohibited.
No person shall store junk or discarded property, including old, unused junk and automobiles not in good, safe operating condition, and any other vehicles or personal property of any kind, or automobile parts, trucks, tractors, machinery, machinery implements, or machinery parts, refrigerators, furnaces, washing machines, stoves, wood, bricks, cement blocks or other unsightly debris which is no longer safely usable for the purpose for which it was manufactured and/or which substantially depreciates property values in the neighborhood, except in an enclosure which houses such property from public view or upon permit issued by the Town. A violation of this section is declared a public nuisance.
The Town acknowledges the need for agricultural practices and recognizes that the law should not hamper agricultural production. In order to protect the interests of all involved, the Town hereby adopts § 823.08, Wis. Stats. (as from time to time amended, repealed or modified by the Wisconsin Legislature), for the judging of actions within this chapter against agricultural uses or practices.
Inspection of premises. Whenever complaint is made to the Town Board that a public nuisance exists, the Board shall notify the County Health Officer or Building Inspector, and the County Health Officer, Building Inspector or the Board itself shall forthwith inspect or cause to be inspected the premises and shall make a written report of the findings. Whenever practical, the inspecting officer shall cause photographs to be made of the premises and shall file the same in the office of the Town Clerk.
Notice to owner. If the inspecting officer shall determine that a public nuisance exists on private property, and that there is great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, the Town Chair may direct the inspecting officer to serve notice on the owner or, if the owner cannot be found, on the occupant or person causing, permitting, or maintaining such nuisance and to post a copy of the notice on the premises. Such notice shall direct the owner, occupant, or person causing, permitting or maintaining such nuisance to abate or remove such nuisance within 24 hours and shall state that unless the nuisance is so abated the Town will cause the same to be abated and will charge the cost thereof to the owner, occupant, or person causing, permitting or maintaining the same.
Abatement by Town. If the nuisance is not abated within the time provided, or if the owner, occupant or person causing the nuisance cannot be found, the Town Board shall cause the abatement or removal of such nuisance.
Abatement by court action. If the inspecting officer shall determine that a public nuisance exists on private premises, but that the nature of such nuisance is not such as to threaten great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, he shall file a written report of his findings with the Town Board, which shall cause an action to abate such nuisance to be commenced in the name of the Town in the Circuit Court for Brown County in accordance with the provisions of Ch. 823, Wis. Stats.
Other methods not excluded. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the abatement of public nuisances by the Town or its officials in accordance with the laws of the State of Wisconsin.
Cost of abatement. In addition to any other penalty imposed by this chapter for the erection, contrivance, creation, continuance or maintenance of a public nuisance, the cost of abating a public nuisance by the Town shall be collected as a debt from the owner, occupant, or person causing, permitting or maintaining the nuisance, and if notice to abate the nuisance has been given to the owner, such cost shall be assessed against the real estate as special taxes.
The penalty for violation of any provision of this chapter shall be a forfeiture of not less than $75 nor more than $1,000 together with the actual costs of prosecution, including attorneys' fees. Each day of continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense and, in default of payment of such forfeiture and costs of prosecution, the person convicted may be imprisoned in the County Jail of Brown County until said forfeiture and cost are paid, but not to exceed 30 days for each violation.