[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Dagsboro as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 9-4-1973 by Ord. No. 4; amended 5-23-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-1; 3-26-2007; 2-24-2014; 1-27-2020]
The owner, tenant or occupant of any lot or parcel within the Town of Dagsboro shall keep all weeds and grass growing thereon cut to a height of eight inches or less and in such condition that the lot or parcel shall not have noxious weeds growing thereon or be a harboring place for flies, mosquitoes or vermin. No accumulated trash, tree limbs, logs, lumber, piles of dirt, or rubbish of any kind shall be permitted to be placed or be maintained upon any lot, except that trash or rubbish placed within containers for regular collection and removal.
Any owner, tenant or occupant of any lot or parcel found by a Code Enforcement Officer to be violating any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a civil violation and of maintaining a nuisance, and shall be fined a civil penalty in the amount of $100. Any civil penalty not paid within 30 days of the date of the citation/invoice, or if an appeal was filed, within 15 days of the Town Administrator's final decision, shall double and shall be added to the property tax bill as outlined in this article.
Courtesy notice. When a Code Enforcement Officer observes a violation of this article on a property that within the past 12 months has not been subject to an abatement action or been issued a courtesy notice or legal notice of violation, the Code Enforcement Officer shall place a courtesy notice of violation on the door of the property requiring abatement of the violation within five calendar days of the posting of the notice. For vacant properties, notice shall be posted in a prominent location on the property.
Legal notice. If a violation is not abated as prescribed in a courtesy notice, or if a Code Enforcement Officer observes a violation of this article on a property that does not meet the eligibility requirements prescribed in Subsection A for a courtesy notice, legal notice shall be issued requiring abatement within seven calendar days of the date of the posting or mailing or hand delivery of the notice, whichever occurs last, or the Town will assess the property owner civil penalties and the costs of abatement. Legal notice shall be posted on the property, mailed or hand delivered to the property owner, and mailed or hand delivered to the occupant (if the property owner's mailing address differs from the address of the property). The legal notice shall indicate that for the remainder of the calendar year (January 1 through December 31), the Town shall proceed, without further notice, to abate any violations of this article observed on the property and assess the property owner the costs of abatement and civil penalties. After each enforcement action, the Town shall mail a citation/invoice to the property owner for the abatement costs and civil penalties.
Civil penalties. Civil penalties, collection costs, and other costs incurred by the Town, shall constitute a claim against the property owner and may be collected as any other fine or cost is collected. Thirty days after the date of the citation/invoice, or if an appeal was filed, 30 days after the Town Administrator's final decision, as authorized by 25 Del. C. § 2901(a)(1), unpaid civil penalties shall be added to the property tax bill for the property and may be collected in the same manner as property taxes. The legal notice of violation and any citation/invoice sent to the property owner shall include notice of the right to appeal.
In addition to the power to impose fines and penalties for the maintenance of such nuisances or unsanitary conditions as described above, in the event that owner, tenant or the occupier shall fail or neglect to comply with any such notice, the Code Enforcement Officer or the Town Council, by its designated official, shall be empowered to enter upon any such lot, together with such assistance and equipment as may be required, and thereupon to cut and/or remove the same, all without being deemed a trespass and all at the expense of the owner, tenant or occupier of the lot. Such expenses shall be deemed an expense to be paid by the owner, tenant or occupier of the lot, and if not paid within 30 days of written invoicing, mailed by registered mail, addressed to the last known address or the address of the owner as indicated upon the Sussex County Tax Parcel Index or to the property address if such address differs from the Tax Index, such expenses shall be charged as a tax lien on the real property of the party responsible for such nuisance or unsanitary condition and the costs of filing the lien in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds. Reasonable attorney's fees for preparation, filing and satisfaction of the lien shall be included as a lien charge. Such lien shall be enforceable and collectable by the means provided for the collection of delinquent taxes under the laws of the State of Delaware. This provision shall not be construed as an obligation on the part of the Town or its officers to provide grass cutting, garbage or trash removal services.
Any property owner or responsible party seeking to appeal the decision of a Code Enforcement Officer finding the property to be in violation of this article may file an appeal, in writing, to the Town Administrator after receiving a courtesy notice or legal notice, provided the appeal is filed no later than 10 business days of the post-marked date of the citation/invoice sent to the property owner for the abatement costs and civil penalties. The Town Administrator shall review the appeal and provide the appellant with an opportunity to present his/her case to the Town Administrator. The Town Administrator shall issue a written determination within 20 business days of receipt of the appeal.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to leave, store or deposit or cause to be left, stored or deposited or, as owner, occupant lessee, agent, or otherwise of any private or public property within the Town of Dagsboro, permit the storage of:
Any vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer that is inoperable, dismantled, wrecked or from which major components have been removed, that are in such a state of disrepair as to be incapable of being operated in the manner for which it was designed and that is situated on private property in such circumstances as to appear to have been abandoned.
Any vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer which is inoperable, dismantled, wrecked, or which display expired registration plates which are at least 30 days expired, or which display no registration plates, or from which major components have been removed and which shall have been placed upon any public street or property for a period in excess of 12 hours without being removed.
Any vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer on public or private property for a period in excess of 30 days, whether such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer is operable or not, which is not properly licensed; provided, however, that if, in the opinion of the Police Department, such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer constitutes a danger to the public or an impediment to the normal flow of traffic, such vehicle may be moved immediately.
On public property. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Town Police Department that any nuisance or vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer under § 210-5 of this chapter, appears to exist on public property, it shall cause a written order to be affixed to the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer declaring the existence of the nuisance and ordering whoever has an interest in the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer to comply with this chapter by removing said vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer within 48 hours of the notice.
On private property. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Town Police Department that any nuisance or vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer, as defined in § 210-5, appears to exist on property, it shall, in addition to affixing an order to the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer itself as provided in Subsection A above, mail a copy of the order to the owner of such private property by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall hand deliver a copy of such order to the occupant of such property. If the property is not occupied or the occupant is not at home a copy of such order shall be posted on the main entrance to the premises.
Form of order. Any orders required under Subsection A or B above shall contain the following information:
A description of such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer, including the make, year, model, color and registration number if known.
The location of such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer.
The date and time that the order was affixed to the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer.
An order for removal within 48 hours from the time the order was affixed to the vehicle, boat, watercraft and trailer.
That upon failure to comply with the order for removal, the Town Police Department may remove or cause to be removed such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer at the expense of the owner of the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer and/or the owner or occupant of the property.
That such person may appeal the order for removal to the Town Administrator by filing a written notice of appeal at the Town Hall within three business days subsequent to the affixing of the order of removal on the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer. Such hearing shall be held as soon as is reasonably possible, but in no event more than four business days after the written notice is received at the Town Administrator's Office.
If the violation is not remedied within the time set forth in the order as outlined herein, the Town Police Department is hereby authorized to remove or have removed such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer from the premises. Except for the Town Police Department, such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer shall be removed only by wreckers or towing services duly licensed by the state. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or refuse to allow the Town Police Department and/or any person acting in concert with or at the direction of the Town Police Department to enter upon private property for the purpose of removing a vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer under the provisions of the chapter.
Within five days of the removal of such vehicle, the Town Police Department shall give written notice (by certified mail, return receipt requested) to the registered owner of the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer, if known, and also to the owner or occupant of the private property from which the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer was removed that said vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer has been impounded and stored for violation of this chapter. This notice shall provide the location of where the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer is stored.
Any person who tows, removes, stores or keeps a vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer at the direction of the Town Police Department acting under the provisions of this chapter shall, from the time taking possession thereof, be entitled to all rights, remedies and authority as provided under the Delaware Garageman's Lien Statute, 25 Del. C., Chapter 39, as it may be amended from time to time hereafter or any future corresponding provision of law. In exercising such rights, remedies and authority, such persons shall be governed, in all respects, by the terms of that statute.
In the event that the Town should become liable for all or any portion of the expenses incurred in the removal and storage of such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer, the Town may recover the same from the owner of the vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer and/or the owner of the private property from which it was removed in an action for debt; or if authorized by law, impose a lien upon the property from which such vehicle, boat, watercraft or trailer was removed.
Any person convicted of knowingly causing or permitting a nuisance to exist in violation of this chapter; or interfering with the removal of a vehicle as provided in § 210-7 shall pay such fines as set out in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation, punishable as such.
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. II, Adoption of Standards, adopted 9-13-1993 by Ord. No. 65.
The International Property Maintenance Code, 2009 Edition, and all subsequent editions thereof as published, with the following revisions to Chapter 1, Section 103.2 and 103.3, are hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the Town of Dagsboro. In the event that there exist any conflicts between the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code and the provisions of this Municipal Code of the Town of Dagsboro, the provisions of this Municipal Code of the Town of Dagsboro shall prevail. Amendments to the International Building Maintenance Code by its publishers shall not require legislative action by the Dagsboro Town Council to adopt such amendments, and such amendments shall become incorporated herein.
The provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code, 2009 Edition, are hereby amended to state as follows:
Any provision of this article to the contrary notwithstanding, where it reasonably appears that there is imminent danger to the life or safety of any person unless a dangerous or dilapidated building or structure is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building or structure. For this purpose he may at once enter such structure of land on which it stands, or abutting land or structure, with such assistance and at such cost as may be necessary. He may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades or such other means as may be necessary and for this purpose may close a public or private way. The cost of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building or structure shall be collected from the property owner.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the International Building Maintenance Code, equitable relief may be sought to enforce the provisions of this article by the filing of a civil action in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware to initiate an injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate equitable action to require property owners to make necessary repairs to their premises. Any person violating any of the provisions of this Chapter against whom equitable relief has been successfully ordered, shall become liable to the Town for any expense, loss or damage incurred by the Town, including but not limited to, the Town's attorneys' fees, court costs and associated litigation filing fees.