[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Bridgman 8-20-2018 by Ord. No. 199. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "City of Bridgman Tall Grass and Weed Ordinance," and shall be applicable and in full force and effect from May 1 through October 31 of each year.
The City hereby finds that unsightly tall grass and weeds growing in unsuitable areas can have a blighting effect on neighborhoods, and can provide a refuge for vermin and insects. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the height of grass and weeds in certain areas of the City in which there is a higher population density, while still maintaining and preserving the City's unique lakefront location, which includes sand dunes, wild dune grasses, meadows, wetlands, and woodlands.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any type of grass or weed, but not including crops grown as a source of income, including but not limited to corn, oats or barley.
- LAND USED FOR AGRICULTURE
- The use of land for tilling of the soil, the raising of field or tree crops or animal husbandry, as a source of income.
- Any person who has the right to occupy a parcel of property due to being an owner or pursuant to a verbal or written lease or rental agreement with the owner or agent thereof.
- Any person holding an ownership interest in land in the City of Bridgman upon which there is tall grass growing. For the purposes of this chapter, the name and address listed on the City tax assessment roll shall indicate ownership interest in such land.
- Includes Canada thistle (Circium arvense), dodders (any species
of Cuscuta), mustards (charlock, black mustard and Indian mustard,
species of Brassica or Sinapis), wild carrot (Daucus carota), bindweed
(Convolvulus arvensis), perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis), hoary
alyssum (Bertero aincana), giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum),
ragweed (ambrosia elatior 1), Japanese knotweed (fallopian japonica),
poison ivy (rhus toxicodendron), poison sumac (toxicodendron vernix),
garlic mustard (alliaria petiolata), spotted knapweed (centaurea maculosa),
phragmites (phragmites australis), and/or any other plant which, in
the opinion of the City Council, comes under the provisions of the
Noxious Weeds Act, Public Act 359 of 1941, as amended (MCLA § 247.61
et seq.), including grass over six inches in height, other than that
which is part of a vegetable or flower garden. Weeds shall be regarded
as a common nuisance.[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
This chapter applies to the following:
This chapter does not apply to:
Land used for agricultural purposes, including weeds in fields, devoted to growing any small grain crops such as wheat, oats, barley, or rye.
Portions of lots used for flower gardens, shrubbery or vegetable gardens.
Naturally wooded areas, dune and dune-grass areas, or regulated wetlands or meadows.
Areas designated as undeveloped open space or meadows by the City Council.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, an owner and/or occupants who owns or otherwise has occupancy rights for property in the City is responsible for cutting, destroying, and removing or causing to be cut, destroyed, or removed from the land all noxious and poisonous weeds growing thereon, as well as dead grass and brush thereon, to prevent such weeds from going to seed or blossom, as the case may be; to prevent grass from growing in excess of six inches in height, except for dune grass; and preventing such dead grass and brush from becoming a fire hazard.
The duties imposed in this section extend to the tree lawn, which includes any portions of the abutting public right-of way that would become part of the property if the right-of-way were vacated, except for any roadway which is paved for vehicular traffic.
In addition to the property owner or occupant, the manager of a business on a property, meaning the person that exercises the most control over the day-to-day operations of the business, shall also be responsible parties subject to the duties imposed in this section.
On an undeveloped or vacant lot, tall grass and weeds must be cut back at a distance of at least 20 feet from the roadway by the owner and/or occupants so as to allow a clear line of site for drivers, and the owner and/or operator shall also cut grass and weeds back at least 20 feet on each lot line where such property abuts any residential property. The 20 feet which abuts a public street for purposes of this section shall begin at the curb or, if none exists, at the edge of the paved roadway nearest to the property. If a property under this section abuts a residential property on the rear or side of the property, the 20 feet shall start at the lot line.
It shall be unlawful for the owner and/or occupant of any lot or parcel of land to which this chapter applies to allow or maintain upon any portion of such lot or parcel any growth of tall grass or weeds as defined herein, or to permit the deposit or accumulation upon any portion of such lot or parcel of land, of any brush, yard debris, dead vegetation, or cut grass or weeds so as to create a nuisance due to unsightliness, an unhealthy or unsafe condition, or traffic hazard, or fire hazard. Growth of grass to a length greater than six inches shall be considered to be a nuisance for the purposes of this section. Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to prohibit natural composting when such composting is done in an appropriate area of the property, which shall not include the front yard.
It shall be unlawful for the owner and/or occupant of any lot or parcel of land to which this chapter applies to place, throw, sweep or otherwise deposit any yard waste material of any kind on any alley, street, gutter, sidewalk or utility right-of-way in the City.
Enforcement officer. This chapter shall be enforced by the Bridgman City Police Department and/or the City's designated Code Enforcement Officer.
Right of entry. The ordinance enforcement officer and his or her authorized representatives are hereby empowered to enter upon any premises or land in the City of Bridgman for the purpose of inspecting, removing of and/or destroying tall grass and weeds prohibited under this chapter. No person shall interfere with such person or persons while they are engaged in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
Violation notice. After inspection, if any property is determined to be in violation of this chapter, a violation notice will be sent to the property owner and/or occupant of said premises in which the name appears in the last local assessment record of the City. The notice shall be sent by both first class and by posting a copy of said notice on the property. The notice shall give the property owner 10 days from the date of the notice to cut the tall grass and weeds.
Appeal provisions. A party aggrieved by a decision under Subsection C of this section may appeal the violation notice as follows:
Within the ten-day time period for which a lawn must be cut in Subsection C, an aggrieved party may file a written request with the City Clerk setting forth an appeal of the violation notice, along with specific reasons alleging why the allegations in the violation notice are improper.
The Clerk shall notice the aggrieved party, in writing, of the time, place and date that the City Council will hold a hearing on the appeal.
The City Council may grant relief on appeal if it finds that there is good cause to believe that the violation notice was issued in error. "Good cause" shall mean that the City Council finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the area ordered to be mowed is exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Failure to comply. If no appeal is filed, and the tall grass and weeds are not cut within 10 days, or if the tall grass and weeds are not cut within five days of a decision on appeal ordering the cutting of the grass and weeds, the City shall have the authority to enter upon the land and/or to cause the grass and weeds to be mowed by an authorized representative who is hereby empowered to enter upon any premises or land in the City for the purpose of mowing tall grass and weeds in violation of this chapter, even if the property owner and/or occupant failed to actually receive said notice. The City of Bridgman, its agents and representatives shall not be responsible for damage to buildings, vehicles, landscape, trees, shrubs, etc., during the mowing of property in violation of this chapter.
Assessment of costs. All expenses of such cutting, to include equipment usage, transportation, man-hours involved, and overhead, including any and all cost incurred in the removal or relocation of debris, junk or other miscellaneous obstructions which would be necessary or convenient to carry out the requirements of this chapter, shall be paid by the owners of such land, plus an administrative charge of 15% thereof per residential parcel, per cutting. After having a lot mowed, the City shall then submit a bill to the property owner for the cost of the mowing. If the property owner does not pay the bill within 60 days of the date of the invoice, the cost of such payment shall be charged against the premises and it shall become a lien on the land or property assessed of the same character in effect as the lien created by general law for taxes, plus an additional delinquency fee of 10% per month until paid.
Any violation of this chapter shall be a municipal civil infraction, subject to payment of a civil fine of not less than $50, plus applicable costs and other sanctions for each violation as authorized by Section 1 of Act 17 of the Public Acts of 1994 (MCLA § 117.4l), as amended, and the Bridgman Municipal Ordinance Violations Bureau ordinance.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Repeat offenses under this chapter shall be subject to increased fines as provided by this section. As used in this section, "repeat offense" means a second (or any subsequent) violation of the same requirement or provision of this chapter within any three-year period for which the person admits responsibility or is determined to be responsible. The increased fine for a repeat offense under this chapter shall be as follows:
The fine for any offense which is a first repeat offense shall be not less than $125, plus costs.
The fine for any offense which is a second repeat offense shall be not less than $250, plus costs.
The fine for any offense which is a third repeat or any subsequent repeat offense shall be not less than $400 each, plus costs.
Each day on which any violation of this chapter occurs or continues constitutes a separate offense subject to separate sanctions.
If there is any evidence of retaliation by any offender against any complainant or witness, such evidence shall be communicated to the District Court. In sentencing any violator, the District Court or Magistrate shall first examine the evidence of retaliation and, if such be shown, shall consider such acts, including the amount of property damage, and sentence the violator accordingly, which sentence may include restitution for any damage.
Any violation of any provision of this chapter is hereby declared to be a nuisance and the City may seek enforcement of the chapter by suit for injunction, damages, or other appropriate legal action, as against a nuisance, at the expense of the property owner under MCLA § 600.2940(3), including reasonable attorney fees, which may be charged as a lien against the premises pursuant to the procedure in § 272-7F. Any such civil action shall be in addition to any prosecution for violations of this chapter as a municipal civil infraction. Commencement of any such proceedings shall not constitute an election of remedies.
The several provisions of this chapter are declared to be separate; if any court shall hold that any section or provision hereof is invalid, such holding shall not affect or impair the validity of any other section or provision of this chapter.