[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III)]
State law references: Control of musk thistle or curled thistle, Code of Virginia, § 3.1-177 et seq.; removal of grass, weeds and other foreign growth, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-901; control of Johnson grass and multiflora rose, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-902.
The existence of any of the following activities or conditions are hereby declared to be public nuisances; provided, however, this enumeration shall not be deemed or construed to be conclusive, limiting or restrictive:
Accumulation of rubbish, trash, refuse, junk and other abandoned materials, metals, lumber or other things that cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
Any condition which provides harborage for rats, mice, snakes and other vermin.
Any building or other structure which is in such a dilapidated condition that it is unfit for human habitation, or kept in such an unsanitary condition that it is a menace to the health of people residing in the vicinity thereof, or presents a more than ordinarily dangerous fire hazard in the vicinity where it is located.
All unnecessary or unauthorized noises and annoying vibrations which are reasonably likely to reoccur in the future.
All disagreeable or obnoxious odors and stenches, as well as the conditions, substances or other causes which give rise to the emission or generation of such odors and stenches.
The carcasses of animals or fowl not disposed of within a reasonable time after death.
The pollution of any public well or cistern, stream, lake, canal or body of water by sewage, dead animals, creamery, industrial wastes or other substances.
Any building, structure or other place or location where any activity which is in violation of local, state or federal law is conducted, performed or maintained.
Any accumulation of stagnant water permitted or maintained on any lot or piece of ground.
Dense smoke, noxious fumes, gas, soot or cinders, in unreasonable quantities.
Any action which unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct or renders dangerous for passage any public or private street, highway, sidewalk, stream, ditch or drainage area, and which is reasonably likely to reoccur in the future.
Any outdoor lighting which results in or creates an annoying, unsafe or hazardous condition.
It shall be unlawful for any person to create, cause, permit or maintain a public nuisance. It shall also be unlawful for any person to permit the continuation of a public nuisance after having been served a notice to abate such nuisance.
If the owner of a building or premises fails to abate or cause to be abated a public nuisance occurring on his property after receiving reasonable notice of its existence, even though such nuisance was caused or maintained by others, he shall be deemed to have permitted the continuation of such nuisance.
Violation of this section shall constitute a class 1 misdemeanor. In addition, each day a public nuisance shall continue after the date set by the Town for its abatement shall constitute a separate offense.
Whenever a nuisance is found to exist within the Town the Town Manager or his/her designee shall give written notice to the owner or occupant of the property upon which such nuisance exists and to the person causing or maintaining the nuisance, if such person is known.
The notice to abate a nuisance issued under the provisions of this chapter shall contain:
An order to abate the nuisance or to request a hearing within a stated time, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances.
The location of the nuisance, if the same is stationary.
A description of what constitutes the nuisance.
A statement of acts necessary to abate the nuisance and a date by which the nuisance shall be abated.
A statement that the nuisance is not abated as directed and no request for hearing is made within the prescribed time, the Town will abate such nuisance and assess the cost thereof against such person.
A statement that the failure to abate a nuisance constitutes a criminal offense punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor.
The notice to abate a nuisance shall be given to the owner, the owner's agent, or person in control of the property on which the nuisance is located by delivering a copy of the notice to abate in person. If the person named in the notice to abate cannot be found after a diligent search, such notice shall be sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of such person and a copy of the notice to abate shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. Such procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice.
The notice to abate a nuisance shall be given a corporation, bank, trust company or other corporate entity who is the owner of such property or who acts as the owner's agent by delivering a copy thereof to its president or such other officer, manager or director or agent thereof in the Town; or if such person cannot be found at the regular office or place of business in the Town of such corporation, bank, trust company, corporate entity, by delivering a copy to any employee thereof found at such office or place of business; or if no such person is found in such office or place of business, by leaving such copy posted at the front door of such office or place of business and a copy of the notice shall be posted on a conspicuous place on the premises. Such procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice.
If the owner of property on which a nuisance is located is unknown or has no place of abode, office or place of business in the Town, or after reasonable efforts the Town cannot locate a last known address, notice shall be given by order of publication, by publishing a copy of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least 30 days prior to the abatement of the nuisance and a copy of the notice to abate shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises.
Upon request, a hearing shall be held before a designated officer of the Town other than the officer who initially determined the existence of the nuisance. If, after hearing evidence, the hearing officer finds by a preponderance of the evidence that such a nuisance exists, he shall order its abatement; otherwise, he shall dismiss the notice. A hearing must be requested in writing at least 48 hours prior to the date given for the abatement of the nuisance. The hearing shall be an informal administrative proceeding rather than a judicial-type trial, and while each party shall have the opportunity to present pertinent information and to question adverse witnesses, the rules of evidence shall not apply. The decision of the designated officer is final and not subject to appeal.
Upon the failure of the person upon whom notice to abate a nuisance was served pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or who was so ordered by a hearing officer to abate the same, the Town shall proceed to abate such nuisance and shall prepare a statement of costs incurred in the abatement thereof. In order to abate a nuisance, the Town may revoke any permit or license issued by the Town to the owner of the offending property and which is required by law to conduct the business or activity which gives rise to the nuisance. If the nuisance is not subject to abatement by the Town, or if otherwise appropriate, the designated officer shall cause criminal proceedings to be instituted against the person or persons causing or permitting the continuation of the nuisance. When, in the opinion of the designated officer, a nuisance results in a condition that creates an immediate, serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of the public, the official may have the necessary work done to abate the nuisance whether or not notice to require the owner or occupant of the premises to abate the nuisance has been given.
Any and all costs incurred by the Town in the abatement of a nuisance under the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a lien against the property upon which such nuisance existed, which lien shall be filed, proven and collected as provided for by law. Such lien shall be notice to all persons from the time of its recording, and shall bear interest at the legal rate thereafter until satisfied. The minimum cost for nuisance abatement per violation shall be $150 for the first hour of Town staff time, with $75 being charged for each hour of staff time thereafter.