[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Northumberland County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 9-10-1987; amended in its entirety 9-12-2002]
This article shall hereinafter be known as and may be cited as the "Johnson Grass Control Ordinance of Northumberland County."
This article is enacted under the authority granted by Act of the General Assembly of Virginia as provided in Title 15.2, § 15.2-902, of the Code of Virginia of 1950, and amendments thereto.
The provisions of this article shall apply to all land within Northumberland County, including the incorporated municipalities.
This article is adopted for the purpose of preventing, controlling and abating the growth, importation and contamination of uninfested lands by the species commonly known as "Johnson grass." The existence of growth of this species is hereby declared to be a public nuisance in Northumberland County, Virginia.
Word usage. In the construction of this article, the rules contained in this section shall be observed and applied, except when the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Words used in the present tense shall include the future, and words used in a singular number shall include the plural number and the plural the singular.
The word "shall" is mandatory and not discretionary.
The word "may" is permissive and not mandatory.
Any reference to this article includes all ordinances amending or supplementing the same.
Definitions. For the purpose of this article, certain words or terms used herein shall be defined as follows:
- BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
- The governing body of Northumberland County, Virginia.
- CONTROL ZONE
- Northumberland County, Virginia, including the incorporated municipalities.
- JOHNSON GRASS
- The existence of growth of a species of grass, Sorghum halepense.
- Any person holding a fee simple interest or a lease holder interest in property located in Northumberland County, Virginia. "Landowner" does not include the holder of an easement.
The Program Supervisor shall be the Northumberland County Extension Agent or designee for the Board of Supervisors. The Northumberland County Extension Agent or designee is hereby delegated to administer this article.
In addition to the regulations herein contained, the Program Supervisor may from time to time establish any reasonable administrative procedures deemed necessary for the proper administration of this article or such other authority as the Board of Supervisors might delegate.
The Program Supervisor shall from time to time approve prevention and treatment procedures, and recommend to the Board of Supervisors the expenditure of any necessary funds subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors, as well as administer the Johnson Grass Control Program.
It shall be unlawful to knowingly allow Johnson grass to set seed on any land in the control zone. It shall be the duty of each landowner to mow, fallow, treat with herbicides or use such other practices as may be approved by the Program Supervisor as effective in preventing seed set on all Johnson grass on his or her property; provided, however, that as long as a landowner or lessee follows the current recommendations of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Cooperative Extension Service, he or she shall not be in violation of this article.
It shall be unlawful to import Johnson grass into Northumberland County or to transport Johnson grass within Northumberland County in any form capable of growth or to knowingly contaminate any uninfected land with Johnson grass through the movement of rootstocks, plant parts, seed, soil, mulch, nursery stock, farm machinery or other media.
The Program Supervisor shall conduct surveys to determine the location and amount of infestations of Johnson grass within Northumberland County, shall provide the necessary technical and other assistance to landowners in a cooperative control or eradication program and may effect a program of spraying or other control practices on road rights-of-way, drainage ditch banks, parks, playgrounds, utility rights-of-way and other public or private lands.
The Board of Supervisors may accept, use or expend such aid, gift. grant or loan as may from time to time be made available from any source, public or private, for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this article.
The Board of Supervisors may enter into an agreement with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the purpose of the control of Johnson grass within Northumberland County and may accept funds from said Department as agreed upon.
It will be the landowners' primary responsibility to meet the major burden of the costs for the control and eradication of Johnson grass. The Board of Supervisors may from time to time appropriate local funds to implement and continue the Johnson Grass Control Program. Local funds appropriated by the Board of Supervisors will be used to match funds extended by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on a 50-50 basis.
Any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of this article after having been notified, in writing, of such violation by the Program Supervisor shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished as provided for by County law.
Each violation shall constitute a separate offense. The Program Supervisor shall refer all violators of this article to the County Attorney for prosecution. Any fines collected shall be used in the Johnson Grass Control Program, after any court costs are paid.
Certified copies of this article and all amendments thereto shall be filed in the office of the County Administrator, and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Northumberland County, Virginia.