Town of Millsboro, DE
Sussex County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Millsboro 9-4-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 66.
Building construction — See Ch. 70.
Open burning — See Ch. 81.
Housing standards — See Ch. 125.
Junkyards — See Ch. 128.
Loitering — See Ch. 133.
Solid waste — See Ch. 170.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 174.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 198.
A. 
As used in this chapter, a "public nuisance" shall mean any act, thing, occupation, condition or use of property which shall be of such a nature and shall continue for such length of time as to do any of the following:
(1) 
Substantially annoy, injure or endanger the comfort, health, repose or safety of the public.
(2) 
Greatly offend the public morals or decency.
(3) 
Unlawfully and substantially interfere with, obstruct or tend to obstruct or render dangerous for passage any street, alley, highway, navigable body of water or other public way.
B. 
Public nuisances shall include but not be limited to the following acts, conduct, omissions, conditions or things:
(1) 
All decayed, harmfully adulterated or unwholesome food or drink sold or offered for sale to the public.
(2) 
Carcasses of household pets or other animals not buried or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner within 24 hours after death.
(3) 
Accumulations of garbage in a manner in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rodents or other vermin may breed or may reasonably be expected to breed. (For purposes of this chapter, "garbage" means animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, storage or consumption of food.)
(4) 
Accumulations of refuse in which disease-carrying insects, rodents or other vermin may breed or may reasonably be expected to breed. (For purposes of this chapter, "refuse" means all putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes, including garbage, rubbish debris, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned or inoperable automobiles, abandoned or inoperable household appliances, moveable furniture not designed for or modified to withstand the elements and outdoor use, solid market wastes and industrial wastes.)
(5) 
Trash, paper, garbage, refuse which are not contained or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner.
(6) 
All stagnant water in which mosquitoes, flies or other insects can multiply.
(7) 
Containers with garbage or refuse which are not covered by solid, tight-fitting lids or which have any uncovered holes or for which at least weekly removal of garbage and refuse is not provided.
(8) 
Vegetation which:
(a) 
Harbors or aids in harboring rats, snakes or vermin.
(b) 
Harbors or hosts disease or insects which may reasonably be expected to injure other forms of life (except the harboring of insects, such as those commonly called "lady bugs," used for pest control).
(c) 
Is prohibited by law or ordinance, including but not limited to noxious weeds.
(d) 
By reason of its location or condition constitutes an imminent danger to any person or property.
(e) 
Hinders the removal of accumulation of junk, garbage and debris.
(f) 
Is unmanaged and in excess of eight inches, provided cultivated flowers, ornamentals or food plants shall be presumed to be managed vegetation; provided further that vegetation in excess of eight inches shall be presumed unmanaged (unless predominantly composed of cultivated flowers, ornamentals, cultivated wild flowers or food plants), including vegetation which interferes with or obstructs the view or passage of any street, alley or other public way.
(9) 
The escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash or industrial dust within the town limits or within one mile therefrom in such quantities as to endanger the health of persons or to threaten or cause substantial injury to property, but excluding smoke emanating from residential fireplaces.
(10) 
The pollution of any public well or cistern, stream, lake, canal or body of water by sewage, creamery or industrial wastes or other substances.
(11) 
Any use of property, substances or things within the town or within one mile thereof, emitting or causing any foul, offensive, noisome, nauseous, noxious or disagreeable odors, effluvia or stenches extremely repulsive to the physical senses of ordinary person which annoy, discomfort, injure or inconvenience the health of any appreciable number of persons within the town.
(12) 
Any structure or building that is in a state of dilapidation, deterioration or decay, is of faulty construction, is open to intrusion, abandoned, damaged by fire to the extent as not to provide shelter, is extremely unsound, in danger of collapse or failure and endangers the health and safety of the public.
(13) 
Any inoperable, unlicensed or abandoned vehicle which is stored outside, except at a place of business licensed to store junk vehicles. For purposes of this chapter, "inoperable vehicle" shall mean any vehicle not in working order or that lacks current legal registration.
(14) 
Any vehicle parked on private property except on a weed-free surface made of gravel, crushed stone, asphalt or portland cement concrete.
(15) 
Dumpsters, trash containers, or trash container stands, located on a public right-of-way unless the dumpster is owned, leased or under the control of the town; provided, further, that trash containers may be placed on the publicly owned area adjacent to the pavement, on the day the trash in the container is scheduled for removal by a trash hauler.
(16) 
Such other actions, conduct, omissions, conditions or things defined or specified in the Municipal Code of the Town of Millsboro as nuisances or as public nuisances.
A. 
No person shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain or permit to exist any public nuisance outside of any building within the town.
B. 
The procedures and remedies set forth in §§ 144-3 and 144-4 may be used in the alternative or in consonance with or in lieu of any other remedy or procedure authorized by law for the removal of violations or nuisances.
A. 
All complaints alleging the existence of a public nuisance shall be filed with the Town Manager or designee.
B. 
The Town Manager or designee shall promptly inspect the premises or cause them to be inspected and shall make a written report of the findings of the inspection. Whenever practical, photographs of the premises shall be attached to the written report. The Town Manager or designee shall keep all such written reports on file for at least three years.
C. 
Upon determining that a public nuisance exists on private property and that there is a danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, the Town Manager or designee shall cause a notice to be delivered to the owner and the occupant of the private property where the public nuisance exists or upon the person causing, permitting or maintaining such nuisance, if such owner, occupant or person causing the nuisance can be found, and shall post a copy of the notice on the premises where the public nuisance exists.
D. 
Such notice shall specifically describe the public nuisance and shall direct the owner and the occupant of the private property where the public nuisance exists or the person causing, permitting or maintaining such nuisance to abate or remove such nuisance within 24 hours of service or posting of the notice. Such notice shall contain a telephone number and a name of the town officer or employee who made the inspection resulting in the notice, and shall state that telephone inquiries may be made. If the owner, occupant or person cannot be located after reasonable inquiry, posting shall be sufficient notice. The notice shall state that unless such nuisance is so abated or removed the town will cause it to be abated or removed, that the cost thereof will be charged to the owner, occupant or person causing, permitting or maintaining the nuisance and that such cost shall be a lien on the real property where the nuisance was abated or removed. Such notice shall also state that the failure of such owner, occupant, or person to abate the nuisance as required by such notice shall be deemed an implied consent for the town to abate or remove such nuisance. Such implied consent shall be deemed to form a contract between such owner, occupant or person and the town. If the public nuisance does not constitute a great or immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare, the Town Manager or designee may serve the owner or occupant of such premises or the person in whose name such real estate was last billed for property tax purposes a notice to demand the abatement or removal of the violation within 10 days. Service may be had by certified mail or personal service; or by posting the notice on the property and mailing notice by first class mail.
E. 
If a nuisance is not abated or removed after notice pursuant to this section and within the time specified in the notice, the Town Manager or designee may cause the abatement or removal of such public nuisance. The reasonable cost thereof shall be a lien on the real property where the nuisance was abated or removed.
F. 
The owner or occupant of the private property where the public nuisance exists who fails to abate or to remove the nuisance required by this section, thereby consents, under the terms of this section, to have the town abate or remove the nuisance at the expense of the owner or occupant.
G. 
The person upon whom a notice to abate a nuisance is served, the property owner, tenant or other affected person may appeal the determination of nuisance in writing to the Town Manager or designee. The written appeal must be made within the time period in which to abate the nuisance is given in the notice. The Town Manager or designee shall meet with the appellant within five working days of the receipt of the written appeal. The Town Manager or designee may extend the time in which the nuisance must be abated, determine that a nuisance does not or no longer exists, or that the nuisance must be abated within the time period set out in the notice or immediately if the period set out in the notice has run; provided, however, that if the nuisance was determined to be an emergency and that the opportunity for an appeal was not available due to the short period of time to abate the nuisance, an appeal may be heard after the abatement of the nuisance by the town. In that event, the Town Manager or designee may determine that the appellant is liable for the costs or that, upon good cause shown, the appellant is not liable for the costs and that a lien shall not be filed by the town upon the property. The notice to abate shall contain a statement as to the right of appeal.
A. 
Whenever a bill for the reasonable costs of abatement or removal of a nuisance pursuant to this chapter remains unpaid for 30 days after it has been sent, the Town Manager or designee shall file a notice of lien with the County Recorder. Any notice of lien pursuant to this chapter shall be filed within 90 days after the cost and expense of abatement or removal of nuisance has been incurred by the town. The notice shall consist of a sworn statement setting out a description of the real estate sufficient for identification thereof; the amount of money representing the cost and expense incurred or payable by the town; and the date or dates when such cost and expense was incurred by the town. However, any purchaser whose rights in such real estate have arisen subsequent to removal of the public nuisance and prior to the filing of such notice shall not be held liable for the costs of abatement or removal, and the lien of the town shall not have priority as to any mortgage, judgment creditor or other lienor whose rights in and to such real estate arise prior to the filing of such notice.
B. 
Costs and expenses under this chapter include, but are not limited to, the actual costs and expenses in time of town employees or town-authorized contractors and in materials concerning the actual actions of abatement of the nuisance pursuant to this chapter, transportation to and from the property, title searches or certifications, preparation of lien documents, foreclosures and other related expenses, including but not limited to reasonable attorney's expenses.
C. 
A copy of the notice of lien shall be mailed by the Town Manager or designee to the owner of the property or to the occupant, or to the person or persons in whose name such real estate was last billed for property tax purposes.
D. 
The real estate subject to a lien for such an unpaid assessment of such costs and expenses may be sold for nonpayment thereof and the proceeds of the sale applied to pay the charges, after deducting costs.
E. 
The Town Attorney may institute proceedings in the name of the town in any court having jurisdiction over such matters against any property for which such costs and expenses have remained unpaid 30 days after a statement of such costs and expenses have been mailed to the property owner, to the occupant or to the person or persons in whose name the property was last billed for property tax purposes.
F. 
Upon payments of the costs and expenses, plus interest, from the date 30 days after the bill was sent after notice of lien has been filed, the Town Manager or designee shall file with the County Recorder a release of the lien.
G. 
If the payment of the town's costs of removal or abatement of the nuisance is not paid to the town within 30 days of filing of the notice of lien, the Town Attorney is empowered to commence proceedings in Court seeking a judgment from the owner or occupant of such property. The action authorized by this subsection shall be in addition to, and without waiver of any other remedy.
Whenever in this chapter duties are given to the Town Manager or designee, such duties may be performed by any employee of the Town of Millsboro assigned to such duty by the Town Manager or designee.
A. 
A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation of this chapter continues unabated 10 days after the mailing of a notice pursuant to this chapter. Any person, firm or corporation found guilty of a violation of the terms of this chapter shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $500 for the first offense. Any person, firm or corporation found guilty of a second violation occurring after the first conviction or payment pursuant to Subsection B below, but within six months of the first conviction or payment pursuant to Subsection B below, shall be fined not less than $20 nor more than $1,000. Any person, firm or corporation found guilty of a third violation occurring after the first offense, shall be fined not less than double the fine imposed for the second offense nor more than $1,000 for each offense. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. Violations after the third offense shall be treated in the same manner provided for the third offense.
B. 
Any person, firm or corporation accused of a violation of this chapter may settle and compromise the claim against him/her/it for such violation by paying to the town the sum of $100 and costs incurred by the town for abatement of the nuisance within 48 hours of the time such alleged offense was committed. Such payment shall be in addition to any and all fees owed the town for such violation.
C. 
The provisions for remedying violations of this chapter are in addition to other applicable remedies, including but not limited to an action in court for an injunction, which shall include collection of the town's costs and attorney's fees.