[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Ashford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Wetlands Agent is authorized to issue citations for violations of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Ashford to the extent and in the manner provided by this article; such action shall be taken only subsequent to the issuance of a cease-and-desist order and failure to respond to such order in a timely manner. Any such citation may be served either by hand delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to a person named in such citation. If the person named in a citation sent by certified mail refuses to accept such mail, the citation may be sent by regular United States mail. If sent by regular mail, the day of receipt of the citation shall be determined to be three days after the day of mailing. The Wetlands Agent shall file and retain an original or certified copy of the citation.
The fines for each such citation shall be no more than $1,000.
The citation shall include the following provisions:
The allegations against him or her and the amount of the fines;
That the person may pay the fine specified in the citation to the Town within 30 days of the receipt of the citation or service on the property where the violation occurs;
That the person cited may contest liability before a hearing officer appointed by the First Selectman, as provided in § 154-7 of this article, by delivering, in person or by mail, within 10 days of the date of the notice, a written demand for a hearing;
That if the person cited does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him or her; and
That such a judgment may issue without further notice.
If the person who is sent notice pursuant to § 154-3 of this article wishes to admit liability for any alleged violation, he or she may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fine, either in person or by mail, to the Wetlands Agent. All fines shall be made payable to the Town of Ashford. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of such person or other person making the payment. Any person who does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice described in § 154-3 of this article shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the Wetlands Agent shall certify to the hearing officer that such person has failed to respond. The hearing officer shall thereupon enter and assess the fines provided for by this article and shall follow procedures set forth in § 154-6 of this article.
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held no less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of notice, provided that the hearing officer shall grant upon good cause shown any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance. The presence of the Wetlands Agent shall be required at the hearing if requested by the person who was issued the citation; such request must be included within the appeal. A person wishing to contest liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his or her behalf and may be represented by agent or attorney. The Wetlands Agent may present evidence on behalf of the municipality. If the person who received the citation fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter an assessment by default against him or her upon finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable provisions of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations. The hearing officer may accept written information by mail from the person who received the citation and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is unnecessary. The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as he or she deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. The hearing officer shall announce his or her decision at the end of the hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the person who received the citation is not liable, the hearing officer shall dismiss the matter and enter that determination in writing accordingly. If the hearing officer determines that the person who received the citation is liable for the violation, the hearing officer shall forthwith enter and assess the fines against such person as provided by the citation.
If such assessment is not paid on the date of entry, the hearing officer shall send by first-class mail a notice of the assessment to the person found liable and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the Clerk of the Windham County Superior Court, together with an entry fee of $8. Further proceedings may then be held pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 7-152c(f) as amended from time to time.
The First Selectman shall appoint three citation hearing officers to conduct the hearings provided by this article. Neither the Wetlands Agent nor the Zoning Enforcement Officer, nor members of the Ashford Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, may be appointed as a hearing officer pursuant to this article.