[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Town of Mount Airy 5-5-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Various nuisances, Code violations and municipal infractions are defined and prohibited in other chapters of this Code, and it is the intent of the Town Council in enacting this chapter to make it supplemental to those other chapters where nuisances are defined; by defining in this section certain Code violations and municipal infractions as nuisances; and by granting the Town supplemental powers pursuant to the provisions of this chapter relating to the abatement of nuisances and procedures for the abatement of nuisances in those instances where other methods and procedures for abatement are provided. This chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Mayor or other staff or official designated by the Mayor and Town Council.
It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, harbor, commit or maintain or to suffer to be caused, harbored, committed or maintained any nuisance, as defined by the statutes or common law of this state or as defined in this section, by this Code or other ordinance of the Town of Mount Airy, at any place within the Town.
The following acts when committed or conditions when existing within the Town of Mount Airy are hereby defined and declared to be nuisances:
An act done or committed or aided or assisted to be done or committed by any person or any substance, being or thing kept, maintained, placed or found in or upon any public or private place which is injurious or dangerous to the public health or safety.
All buildings, bridges or other structures of whatever character kept or maintained or which are permitted by any person owning or having control thereof to be kept or maintained in a condition unsafe, dangerous, unhealthy, injurious or annoying to the public, including but not limited to the emission of dust, fumes, gas, smoke, odor, noise, vibration or other noxious disturbances.
Creation of a noise disturbance, including but not limited to a noise disturbance defined under Chapter 82 of this Code and noise which is unhealthy, injurious or annoying to the public.
All trees and other appendages of or to realty kept or maintained or which are permitted by any person owning or having control thereof to be kept or maintained in a condition unsafe, dangerous, unhealthy, injurious or annoying to the public.
All ponds or pools of stagnant water and all foul or dirty water or liquid when discharged through any drain, pipe or spout or thrown into or upon any street, public place or lot to the injury or annoyance of the public.
All obstructions caused or permitted on any street or sidewalk to the danger or annoyance of the public, and all stones, rubbish, dirt, filth, slops, vegetable matter or other article thrown or placed by any person on or in any street, sidewalk or other public place which in any way may cause injury or annoyance of the public.
All sidewalks, gutters or curbstones permitted to remain in an unsafe condition or out of repair.
All stables, cattle yards, hog, sheep or cow pens or yards for poultry permitted by the owner thereof or the person responsible therefor to be in such a condition as to become offensive, annoying or injurious to the public.
All houses or buildings used for special storage of powder, dynamite or other explosive substances, except those maintained pursuant to a permit issued by competent authority.
All abandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators or freezer cabinets which are uncrated and have a door or lock which cannot be released for opening from the inside thereof and which are placed outside of a building or dwelling in a place accessible to children.
A disorderly property defined to mean a property where, within a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period, two or more criminal arrests, criminal citations, criminal indictments, criminal warrants, criminal summonses, or civil citations have occurred or been issued, arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances, a defined by the statutes of the State of Maryland, ordinances of the Town or of the county in which the property is situated which occur on the property, within any building, house or structure thereon, within the property's curtilage or otherwise on other property in close proximity to the property where it can be established that the conduct giving rise to the criminal or civil action emanated from or is connected to the property.
[Added 12-1-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-16]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection A(11) as Subsection A(12).
Any other act or condition which is defined elsewhere in this Code to be a nuisance.
The nuisances described in this section shall not be construed as exclusive, and any act of commission or omission and any condition which constitutes a nuisance by statute or common law of the state, when committed, omitted or existing within the Town of Mount Airy is hereby declared to constitute a nuisance.
Persons in possession and/or legal owners of property creating nuisances described in this section shall be held legally responsible for their creation, continuation and shall be required to comply with all orders and/or citations issued under this section if duly notified as required herein.
No person owning or in possession of any lot, house, building or enclosure shall allow or suffer to exist in or upon such premises any stagnant water, animal or vegetable matter or other substance liable to become putrid, offensive, annoying or unhealthy or otherwise allow any condition to exist in violation of Chapter 85 of this Code. Persons owning or in possession of any real estate shall provide proper and adequate drainage therefor so that no offensive, baneful or disagreeable liquids shall flow or seep into any street. Any violation of this section is hereby declared to be a nuisance.
It shall be the duty of the Mayor or other staff or official designated to cause inspections to be made from time to time of all portions of the Town of Mount Airy to determine whether any condition exists or activity is being practiced which constitutes a nuisance; and he or she shall cause an investigation to be made upon complaint made by any responsible person.
The Mayor or other staff or official designated shall have the right to enter upon private premises for the purposes specified in § 76-5 upon compliance with all applicable provisions of law, including the issuance of an administrative warrant. Unless it appears probable that advance warning would defeat the purpose of such entry, occupants of premises to be entered shall be given reasonable notice in advance, and, in any case, it shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant to prevent such entry which is sought to be made in compliance with law.
If at any time the Mayor or other staff or official designated shall find that an activity or practice which constitutes a nuisance is occurring within the Town of Mount Airy, he or she shall promptly and by the most expeditious means notify the violator, person in charge, occupant and/or the property owner to cease and desist forthwith.
If at any time the Mayor or other staff or official designated shall find that a condition which constitutes a nuisance exists within the Town, he or she shall give notice, in writing, to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the premises upon which such condition exists, stating therein the condition which constitutes a nuisance and directing such addressee to remedy the condition within the time stated in such notice, which shall be not more than 10 days; and it shall be unlawful for any such owner, occupant or person in charge to fail to comply with the terms of such notice.
Recourse of Town when notice to abate nuisance is ignored.
Upon the failure of any person to whom notice has been given pursuant to Subsection A to comply with the terms of such notice or with the terms imposed by the legislative body on appeal, as the case may be, the Mayor or other staff or official designated shall forthwith direct the appropriate Town staff or contractors to remedy the condition which is the subject of such notice, and the expense incurred by the Town in so doing shall be charged to the addressee of such notice, to be collected as Town taxes; and such expenses shall constitute a lien upon the premises where such condition occurred, to be collected as Town taxes are collected if not otherwise first paid to the Town.
Abatement by the Town of any condition which constitutes a nuisance and reimbursement to the Town of expenses incurred thereby shall not bar prosecution for maintenance of a nuisance.
The Town may seek any appropriate abatement orders from a court of competent jurisdiction in prosecuting citations brought under this section and in any other legal action may seek any appropriate court orders to the extent permitted by law.
[Added 12-1-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-16]
In addition to the remedies otherwise set forth in this chapter, with respect to a disorderly property as defined in § 76-3A(11) above, if after issuance of a notice to abate pursuant to § 76-7 and/or a notice to cease and desist pursuant to § 76-8 the owner and/or occupant of the property has not achieved compliance, the Town shall have the right to:
Direct that the owner and/or occupant of the property attend an abatement conference with the Town's Code Enforcement Officer and/or other Town staff or officials to come to an agreement as to the terms of an abatement agreement to be entered into with the Town setting forth the specific actions that the owner and/or occupant will undertake to abate the disorderly property nuisance;
Require that the owner and/or occupant enter into an abatement agreement with the Town on terms agreed upon at the abatement conference and/or other terms reasonably required by the Town in order to abate the nuisance, including, but not limited to:
Specifications and a specific schedule of deadlines for said actions to abate the nuisance;
Provisions for periodic assessment of compliance with the agreement and/car the agreement's effectiveness;
The Town's sight to require modifications to the abatement agreement in the event that the agreement's terms are not effectively abating the nuisance;
Institution of eviction proceedings against identified individuals from the property in question, including eviction of any tenant;
An assignment to the Town of the owner's rights to evict identified individuals from the property in question, including any and all rights of the owner pursuant to any lease entered into with any tenant of the property;
The reimbursement to the Town by the owner and/or occupant for the Town attorney's fees and litigation costs in prosecuting an action to abate the nuisance including any eviction proceedings;
Written notification from the owner and/or occupant to identified individuals that they are prohibited from entering onto the property;
Utilization of written leases containing a provision or provisions requiring eviction for criminal activity;
The completion of improvements upon the premises of the dwelling which have the impact of mitigating crime, including but not limited to the erection of fences, installation of security devices upon entrances or increased lighting;
The posting of a cash bond in an amount determined by the Mayor reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with the specific condition or requirements imposed by the nuisance abatement agreement, including but not limited to the completion of improvements required by the abatement agreement; or
Any other reasonable condition or requirement designed to abate the nuisance.
Institute an action in a court of law in the event that owner and/or occupant fails or refuses to comply with the terms of an abatement agreement in order to enforce the abatement agreement, including for specific performance and other equitable relief, forfeiture of any bond or a portion thereof put up pursuant to an abatement agreement, for eviction of any tenant or occupant of the property pursuant to any assignment of the owner's rights pursuant to the terms of the abatement agreement, to enjoin any person who shall own, rent or occupy the property from using or permitting its use in violation of the provisions of an abatement agreement, for attorney's fees and costs of litigation and for other relief available at law or in equity as the Court deems appropriate; or
Commence an action in a court of law in the event that an owner and/or occupant does not attend a nuisance abatement conference or fails or refuses to sign a proposed written nuisance abatement agreement or proposed written modification thereof or otherwise violates or fails to remedy violations of this chapter to seek, and upon a finding that this chapter has been violated by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall be empowered to grant one or more of the following as relief:
Imposition by court order upon the owner and/or occupant of any of the terms that the Town is empowered to require in an abatement agreement in Subsection A(2) above;
Imposition of a period of court supervision to monitor compliance with any terms that the Court imposes on the owner and/or occupant pursuant to Subsection A(4)(a) above; or
Upon a determination by a preponderance of the evidence that a court order issued pursuant to Subsection A(4)(a) above has been violated by the owner or occupant and/or that terms thereof have not been complied with, issuance of orders requiring specific performance or other equitable relief, forfeiture of any bond or a portion thereof, eviction of any tenant or occupant of the property pursuant to any assignment of the owner's rights, to enjoin any person who shall own, rent or occupy the property from using or permitting its use in violation of the provisions of the court's orders for attorney's fees and costs of litigation and for other relief available at law or in equity as the Court deems appropriate.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any police officer from arresting any person for committing or maintaining a nuisance when such arrest is made pursuant to law.
Any violation of this chapter is declared to be a municipal infraction. The penalty for violation shall be $100 for each initial offense and $300 for each repeat offense. In addition, the Town may, to the extent permitted by law, seek and obtain any appropriate court orders providing for additional fines and remedies in the event of further violations, including the penalty of contempt of court.