[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of Westernport 10-5-2015 as Ch. 190, Art. I, of the 2015 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- A structure adapted to permanent or continuous occupancy or use for residential, public, institutional, business, industrial or storage purposes.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the Westernport Police Department, or his duly authorized agent.
- Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants, provided that temporary housing shall not be regarded as a dwelling.
- All kitchen refuse of residences, hotels, restaurants or other places where food is prepared for human consumption and all offal from fish, meat, and vegetable markets and all vegetable or organic substances unfit for food that are subject to immediate decay.
- HEALTH OFFICER
- The Deputy State Health Officer, or his duly authorized representative.
- The presence, within or around a dwelling, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
- A piece, parcel or plot of land.
- Any condition or use of premises or building exteriors which is dangerous to human life, health or safety; renders soil, water, food, or air impure or unwholesome; is generally detrimental to the health and safety of the citizens of the Town; which is detrimental to the property of others; or which causes or tends to cause diminution in the value of other property in the neighborhood in which such premises is located.
- The refuse from slaughtered or salvageable dead animals, crustaceans, or any other animal form, including but not limited to heads, feet, viscera, hair, blood, feathers, bowels, scales, or oils.
- OPEN FIRE
- A fire where any material is burned in the open or in a receptacle other than a furnace, incinerator or other equipment connected to a stack or chimney.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon.
- All combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, including but not limited to the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery, abandoned automobiles and dust.
- TEMPORARY HOUSING
- Any tent, trailer or other structure used for human shelter which is designed to be transportable and which is not attached to the ground, to another structure or to any utility system on the same premises for more than 30 consecutive days.
- TOWN CLERK
- The Town Clerk of the Town of Westernport, or his duly authorized agent.
The purpose of this chapter is to require that dwellings be kept clean and free from dirt, filth, rubbish, garbage and similar matter, and that they be kept free from rodent infestation, and to provide for the control of weeds on vacant lots or other properties within the Town of Westernport, and to authorize the Chief of Police to issue notices compelling compliance with the provisions hereof and to correct such conditions at the expense of the property occupants or the owner or owners of properties upon which violations occur.
Whatever is dangerous to human life, health or safety and whatever is detrimental to the health and safety of the citizens of the Town are hereby declared to be nuisances and are prohibited. Acts of nuisance shall include but are not expressly restricted to:
Any house or dwelling, or the lot or yard thereof, which, in the opinion of the Health Officer, has been, or could be, rendered unsanitary or offensive by the keeping of animals.
Depositing in any street, alley, lot or public place any manure, hay, straw, filth, offal or any offensive substance which, in the opinion of the Health Officer, is, or could become, detrimental to the public health and comfort.
Any dead animals, other than those lawfully slaughtered for food, remaining on any premises within the Town for a period longer than is reasonably required to effect their removal.
Every dwelling within the Town of Westernport and every part thereof shall be kept clean and free from any accumulation of dirt, animal excrement, filth, rubbish, garbage or similar matter and shall be kept free from vermin and rodent infestation. All yards, lawns and vacant lots shall be similarly kept clean. It shall be the duty of each occupant and owner, jointly and severally, of a dwelling unit, yard, lawn or vacant lot to keep in a clean condition that portion which he occupies or over which he has control.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, occupant or person in control of any lot or land within the Town to allow or maintain on any such lot or land any growth of grass, weeds or other rank vegetation to a height over 12 inches. Every owner, occupant or person in control of any lot or land within the Town shall cause such lot or land to be kept free from ragweed, wild mustard, wild lettuce, wild parsley, common thistle, milkweed, poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac by destroying such noxious weeds by spraying with a chemical compound or by cutting and removal. It shall likewise be unlawful for any property owner to permit grass, weeds or any vegetable matter, other than shade trees, to grow or remain growing upon the sidewalks, curbs, or gutters abutting his property.
It shall be unlawful for any person to burn any trash or rubbish out of doors within the corporate limits of the Town of Westernport; provided, however, that a person may have an open fire for the burning of brush or leaves if that person obtains the required permits from the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Fire Department of the Town of Westernport. It shall be unlawful for any person to allow any accumulation of, or to burn, any vegetable matter or animal matter upon any property within the Town. Burning permits should be registered with the local fire company.
Except as may be hereafter provided, whenever the existence of any violation of any provision of this chapter on or about any lots or parcels of real estate situated within the Town shall come to the knowledge of the Chief of Police, it shall be his duty to cause a written notice identifying such violation to be issued to the person owning and/or occupying the same. Such notice shall be addressed to such person requiring the abatement of such nuisance by grubbing and removing such weeds, brush, rubbish or other objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary matter of whatever nature, as the case may be, or by filling in, draining, leveling or otherwise regulating such lots or parcels of real estate so as to prevent stagnant water standing therein, within the time specified in such notice. Such notice shall further state that, in default of the performance of the above condition, the Town may, at once, cause the same to be done and charge the cost and expense incurred in doing or having such work done, or improvements made, to the owner of such property and collect the same as provided in this chapter.
The notice is effective if given by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, personal delivery to the property owner, and/or by regular mail and posting such notice on the property.
Any property owner or person occupying such property shall have the right to contest the determination by the Chief of Police and/or the Health Officer that the violation of this chapter exists by filing with the Chief of Police an appeal within five days of the date of the notice provided by the Chief of Police. Said appeal shall be heard by the Mayor and Commissioners within a period of five days from the date of appeal. The property owner or occupant, whichever is applicable, shall have the right to be represented by counsel at such hearing and, further, shall have the right to present evidence on his behalf and to cross-examine all witnesses produced by the Chief of Police. The Town inspector shall have the right to inspect the property which is the subject of the appeal and further shall have the right to consult with such experts as he deems appropriate to determine whether or not a violation of the provisions exists; provided, however, that any party to the appeal shall have the right to cross-examine any person consulted by the Town inspector. A decision by the Mayor and Commissioners on the appeal shall be rendered within five days of the date of the hearing. The same shall be in writing and delivered to all parties to the proceeding.
Any party to the proceeding aggrieved by the decision of the Mayor and Commissioners shall have the right of appeal on the record to the Circuit Court for Allegany County; provided, however, that the appeal shall not stay the effect of the decision of the Town inspector and any order issued by him as part of his decision.
In addition to the remedies provided by this chapter, and cumulative thereof, if it shall be brought to the attention of the Town inspector and it shall be determined by him after consulting with the Health Officer that any such nuisance or nuisances are likely to have an immediate adverse effect upon the public health, comfort or safety, then and in that event the Town inspector may order such nuisance or nuisances summarily abated by the Town in the manner provided in § 85-9 above.
All notices to cut weeds or abate any nuisance under this chapter and all statements evidencing costs to the Town of cutting weeds or abatement of nuisances, upon failure, refusal or neglect of the owner to cut weeds or abate the nuisance after having been notified to do so, shall be mailed to the person or entity listed as the owner of the property upon the tax records of the Town of Westernport and shall be mailed to the address of the owner as of record on said tax records.
Whenever any person or persons shall be in actual or constructive possession or have charge, care or control of any property within the Town of Westernport as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or agent, such person shall be deemed and taken to be the owner or owners of such property within the intent and meaning of this chapter and shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter to the same extent as the owner, and notice to any such person given pursuant to this chapter shall be deemed and taken to be a good and sufficient notice as if such person or persons were actually the owner or owners of such property.