Township of Three Oaks, MI
Berrien County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Board of the Township of Three Oaks 10-14-2019 by Ord. No. 59. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Three Oaks Township Tall Grass and Weed Ordinance."
The Township Board hereby finds that tall grass and weeds can have a blighting effect on neighborhoods and can provide a refuge for vermin and insects. The purpose of this chapter is to secure the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents and property owners of the Township by regulating the height grass and weeds allowed to grow in certain areas of the Township.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
GRASS
Any type of grass or other ground cover.
OCCUPANT
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.
OWNER
Any person holding an ownership interest in land in the Township upon which there is tall grass growing. For the purposes of this chapter, the name and address listed on the Township tax assessment roll shall indicate ownership interest in such land.
WEEDS
Weeds shall include 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 (Berteroa incana), ragweed (ambrosia elatior) and poison ivy (rhus toxicodendron), poison sumac (toxicodendron vernix) or other plant, any of which, in the opinion of the Township Board, 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 part of a vegetable or flower garden, and is regarded as a common nuisance.
A. 
This chapter applies to platted and unplatted properties located in the Township, regardless of being vacant or containing buildings or other structures.
B. 
This chapter does not apply to:
(1) 
Land used for agricultural purposes compliant with the provisions of Chapter 380, Zoning.
(2) 
Portions of lots used for flower gardens or shrubbery.
(3) 
Portions of a residential lot used for vegetable gardens and crops grown as a source of income.
(4) 
Naturally wooded areas, regulated wetlands or meadows.
(5) 
Areas designated as undeveloped open space.
The owner and/or occupants of land to which this chapter applies shall not allow tall grass or weeds to grow over six inches in height throughout the growing season, including grass and weeds in the right-of-way, and it shall be the duty of all owners and/or occupants of land located in the Township either to cut or otherwise destroy by lawful means all tall grass and weeds, as defined in this chapter, which are growing upon said property, before they reach a seed-bearing stage, and to prevent said weeds from perpetuating themselves and from becoming a detriment to public health. On an undeveloped lot in excess of two acres in area, tall grass and weeds must be cut back at a distance of at least 50 feet from the edge of street/road surface edge so as to allow a clear line of sight.
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.
A. 
Enforcement officer. This chapter shall be enforced by such persons who shall be so designated by the Township Board, who shall for purposes of this chapter be the Ordinance Enforcement Officer (OEO), and shall also be known as the "commissioner of noxious weeds."
B. 
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 Township for the purpose of inspecting, removing of and/or destroying of tall grass and weeds prohibited under this chapter. No person shall molest or interfere with such person or persons while they are engaged in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Violation notice. After inspection, if any property is determined to be in violation of this chapter, a violation notice shall 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 Township The notice shall be sent by both first class mail and by posting a copy of said notice on the property. The notice shall give the property owner seven days from the date of the notice to cut the tall grass and weeds and describe methods of treatment and eradication.
D. 
Failure to comply. If the tall grass and weeds are not cut within seven days, the OEO shall have the authority to enter upon the land and/or to cause the lawn to be mowed by an authorized representative, who is hereby empowered to enter upon any premises or land in the Township 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 Township, 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.
E. 
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. After having a lot mowed, the Township 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 30 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 (MCLA § 247.64). The lien shall be enforced in the manner prescribed by the laws of the state of Michigan, providing for the enforcement of tax liens according to the General Property Tax Act (MCLA § 211.1 et seq).
A. 
Any violation of this chapter is a municipal civil infraction and shall be subject to payment of a fine of not less than $50, plus applicable court costs and expenses to which the Township has been put in connection with enforcement of this chapter, not to exceed $500 (MCLA § 600.8727).
B. 
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:
(1) 
The fine for any offense which is a first repeat offense shall be not less than $100, plus costs.
(2) 
The fine for any offense which is a second repeat offense shall be not less than $200, plus costs.
(3) 
The fine for any offense which is a third repeat or any subsequent repeat offense shall be not less than $300 each, plus costs.
C. 
Each day on which any violation of this chapter occurs or continues constitutes a separate offense subject to separate sanctions.
Any violation of any provision of this chapter is hereby declared to be a nuisance, and the Township 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, including reasonable attorney fees.
The provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable. If any clause, sentence, word, section or provision is hereby declared void or unenforceable for any reason by a court of competent jurisdiction, it shall not affect the remainder of such chapter, which shall continue in full force and effect.
All ordinance or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall take effect the 31st day after publication.
This chapter or a summary shall be published as required by law in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township promptly after its adoption, and shall be recorded in the Code book of the Township and such recording authenticated by the signatures of the Township Supervisor and Township Clerk.